In the eighteenth century, during the most prosperous period of the Qing dynasty’s rule, mass hysteria broke out in the empire’s commercial capital over rumours that a band of sorcerers were roaming the countryside chanting incantations and stealing their souls. There are instructive parallels between China’s sorcery crisis of 1768 and the Trump administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trump’s insistence that a martial response is required reflects an inability to think about collective action outside the realm of war and the nation state.
The dead-carts have been replaced by hearses and the bodies are burnt rather than buried, but this scenes are not altogether dissimilar to those depicted by Daniel Defoe in A Journal of a Plague Year.
The paradox that seems to elude Agamben is that spatially isolating oneself is a collective response to the crisis.
Richard Dawkins and the New Atheists preach fideism dressed up as rationalism.
‘Red Flag’ repeats many of the West’s favourite clichés about China and refuses to hold a mirror up to Australian policy-making. It fails to understand China’s rise and misrepresents the nature of power and empire.