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Every liberty-loving American can recall Benjamin Franklin’s famous quip that “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” It’s become also cliched to quote Franklin, but those words bear repeating, cliched or not, in The Age of The Virus.
The response to The Virus has been something akin to mass social and economic suicide, coupled with plenty of scorn for those not willing to go along with the kabuki theatre of our national hara-kiri. It seems that the early attempts at “flattening the curve” have worked at preventing hospitals from turning away afflicted patients, so much so that our hero nurses and doctors are staging elaborate Internet dance routines (and yet will also be the first to urge us to take their advice to shut everything down forever).
What I’m beginning to realize is that people truly fear The Virus. I don’t just mean they’re worried about getting it—I certainly don’t want to succumb to it—they’re worried about dying from it. That’s not an unrealistic concern for the elderly or those with preexisting health conditions, but I think that fear runs deeper.
Consider: the people most hysterically concerned with The Virus, in general, are deep progressives. Progressivism, at bottom, is a materialist philosophy: it can only conceive of existence in this realm. That’s not to say it isn’t a religion; rather, it’s a religion without an afterlife. That’s why progressives spend so much time attempting to create Heaven on Earth—to immanentize the eschaton, as William F. Buckley, Jr., warned us not to do.
It’s an ideology that constantly sacrifices the good to the perfect, because anything less than perfection isn’t paradise. And because there is no life after this one, the fear of death takes on a terrifying new dimension. Coupled with progressives’ lust for power and perpetual revolution, and you have half of the population ready to sacrifice everything—including liberty—to appease The Virus.