The Virus in the Age of Madness by Bernard-Henri Levy
French philosopher Bernard Henri-Levy writes an impassioned essay on the dangers to society from the virus. He argues that society's attitude to the virus threatens our freedoms, our way of life, our perceptions of one another and even just general civility. Whether you agree or not probably depends on what kind of person you are, but he certainly presents excellent arguments. These include the rise of medical power, the ill effects of lockdowns and the advance of social distancing and staying at home, all caused by our fear of the virus.
He quotes Rabbi Yehuda who wrote that 'the best of doctors go to hell.' This is because they reduce medical power to the body, and health becomes an obssession. An example is that books aren't considered necessities, and even going to church, let alone parks and museums was made impossible so that spiritual sustenance during lockdowns is difficult. Even comfort in death was abandoned, and bodies were wrapped in white plastic as if they were terrible nuisances. We have delegated power to the medics who only treat illness, even though we elect politicians to govern.
As for lockdowns, David L. Katz, the founding director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, writes that the effects of these will probably be 'graver than the direct toll He argues that there is a risk of another huge depression which will drive millions into poverty and suicide. He doesn't deny the health risks, but thinks that we should concentrate on protecting the people most at risk.
He also thinks that working at home can help to destroy creativity and innovation, and finds the suggestions that we all somehow thrive at home unable to enjoy our normal activities shocking. He finds the idea that we should get rid of shaking hands altogether rotten, and people going around in fear of each other in masked faces horrendous - we should do this for as short a period as necessary.
I found this book extremely interesting, and I would like to read more of Bernard Henri-Levy's books.
I received this free ebook from Yale Press through NetGalley in return for an honest review.