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And here we get at the second, more important reason that Australia has become more authoritarian than the U.S. A famous policy split decades ago highlights this growing distinction.

Australia embraced national gun control in the 1990s and implemented the widespread confiscation of firearms. This happened as many Americans became less favorable to more gun control by the government. 

Australians chose to embrace government protection while sacrificing their liberty, a liberty that countless Americans see as fundamental and sacred.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that, mere decades later, Australians are even more willing to trade freedom for security, to trust the government to take care of everything. The firearms debate wasn’t just about guns, it was about how citizens saw their role in relation to their government.

More Australians, at least more of those in power, embrace a view of collective security in which rights are simply grants of privilege by state authorities. By contrast, the American view is that rights are God-given and inviolable, except through the due process of law.

The same views about government and the rights of the governed apply to both mass gun control and extreme COVID-19 lockdowns. In both, individual and communal power to make decisions is taken out of the hands of citizens and placed in the hands of government authorities and bureaucrats.

Australia is a warning to America. 

— Jarrett Stepman in A Warning From Australia About Power of Government

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