Theory vs. Practice

A chasm exists between the ideas behind COVID protocols and their actual practice



I recently returned from a visit to Perth. Western Australia and Tasmania are COVID-free “bubbles” and one is able to travel fairly freely between them (freely, that is to say, if you except the necessity of obtaining what amounts to a visa to pass from one state of the Commonwealth to another). Naturally our aircraft avoided Victorian airspace entirely! We are all familiar with the “white noise” that is an inescapable feature of modern air travel – no smoking, no unnecessary moving around, no use of “devices” while taking off or landing – but this is now extended by almost non-stop commentary arising from the pandemic. Add to that the compulsory wearing of masks (particularly unpleasant for those of us who wear glasses) and the whole travel process has become pretty ghastly.

We were of course cautioned to keep “an appropriate distance” from each other as we disembarked. That in itself is unexceptionable. But we were then lined up, compacted together in an enclosed passage for 30 minutes, to await the admission process (temperature check, examination of documents, etc.). No mask could have provided much protection in that close and fetid environment. It made me wonder at the awesome chasm between theory and practice that seems to be particularly characteristic of our times. If the Nawab of Bengal were alive today, would he advise his prisoners to maintain an appropriate distance before entering the suffocating Black Hole dungeon? I wouldn’t be surprised.


David Daintree was President of Campion College (Australia’s only Catholic liberal arts college) from 2008 to 2012. In 2013 he founded and is now Director of the Christopher Dawson Centre for Cultural Studies, under the patronage of the Archbishop of Hobart.

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