In America, since March and courtesy of state governors and mayors, tens of millions of citizens were forced onto the unemployment rolls and numerous small business owners were forced to close their doors. As of May, at least 100,000 of them have had both their dreams and livelihoods shattered. About 40% of black-owned small businesses have had to close, with up to half of them expected to close for good.
All of those “little platoons,” as Edmund Burked described those associations, those various communities to which we belong and that, constituting as they do our very identities as the unique persons that we are, invest our lives with meaning and purpose, have been ruptured.
It is not just cynical and opportunistic politicians and media figures who are responsible for all of this suffering. It is as well those millions who contributed to the hysteria by endorsing it that must shoulder some responsibility for the evisceration of people’s lives. As is undoubtedly the case for most of the True Believers (i.e. those to whom I have referred as “Corona Walkers”), that genuine fear of contracting the Virus motivates them to “mask-shame” and the like may suffice to mitigate their culpability, but only to an extent. There is a simple, straightforward, and readily demonstrable reason for this.
First, their fear is irrational. They should no more fear, to the paralyzing degree to which they do in fact fear it, contracting this virus than they should fear contracting any virus, or getting into a car accident on the way to work.