COVID-19 Re-Opening

Why Shutdowns and Masks Suit the Elite

from The Wall Street Journal,

Covid restrictions seem less onerous from the standpoint of ‘expressive individualism,’ which defines the self in terms of ‘its will and not its body.’

... the bizarre and at times perverse response of prosperous Western nations to the pandemic: the long discontinuation of economic life, the belief that pixelated screens can facilitate human relationships, the prohibitions on ordinary social interactions, the fetishization of masks. These policies and practices weren’t handed down from the ether by Reason and Science but bore the weight of contemporary assumptions about...what it means to be human.

...a new book by O. Carter Snead, “What It Means to Be Human: The Case for the Body in Human Bioethics.”... Mr. Snead’s premise and theme is that humans are embodied creatures, not mere wills and intellects. That premise stands in contrast with the dominant modern worldview, which he calls “expressive individualism”: the belief that the human self “is not defined by its attachments or networks of relations, but rather by its capacity to choose a future pathway that is revealed by the investigation of its own inner depths of sentiment. . . .

On Zoom, Mr. Snead says, “the person you see on your laptop is only an image. What matters is only the content coming from the person’s cognitive faculty.”

Physical presence is what governmental authorities snatched from people, especially from the vulnerable, during the pandemic. Some of those interventions were necessary, Mr. Snead concedes, but the authorities—together with alarmist news media—showed little capacity to weigh costs against benefits.

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