In a world as wicked as this, it's hard to be certain of anything temporal. This new strain of coronavirus has inexplicably ground the world to a halt. Everybody is affected, not just those infected and their loved ones. Simple things like walking unmolested into a supermarket or visiting the sick on a hospital ward are gone, perhaps forever. Worse still, the Devil has worked with hideous delight to have all the churches closed. Not even Stalin managed to close every church in the Soviet Union and yet our bishops and pastors have supinely accepted this blow to our faith, with few voices raised in protest, and all for what? Some epidemiologist's report? From what I can tell, Covid-19 (with very few exceptions) only affects the very old and the very sick. Never have I heard of anything so ridiculous as putting the hale in enforced quarantine in order to, perhaps slightly, extend the lives of the morbidly obese or those over the age of 75. It's the most crass materialism I've ever seen and is only possible because not one of these "scientists" believes in the life eternal.
Since the start of this civil year we've heard a lot about "the science." What does that mean? I don't imagine that it's a phrase chosen at random. It's the new idol, like capitalism and the separation of church and state. Those who dissent from "the science," even if they are sober and considered persons like Lord Sumption, are treated with derision. From where I'm standing as an Orthodox Christian, medical science is as imprecise, uncertain and subject to just as much political manipulation as any other academic area. To make matters worse, because of the growing adulation people have for "our NHS heroes" and the kind of credulous trust that people have in our institutions, they are more easily manipulated by the government. I was surprised and shocked that people took to this "lockdown" so easily, even voluntarily. I've seen a few instances of protest, mostly people grumbling in the endless queues to buy food, but I've also heard of narks ready to involve the police in the minor doings of their neighbours. It's chilling. That's not to say that I think little of the effect Covid-19 has on people. I take reasonable precautions; I observe social distancing when I am out, I have kept to the "lockdown" rules to the best of my ability, etc. I was even, back in March, in favour of the lockdown. The trouble is, in Britain we haven't really had one. If we'd had a strict house arrest, enforced by the army, with a "track and trace" policy from the start then we might be in a better position than we are now. Instead we've had this protracted semi-quarantine in which large numbers of people have disobeyed government advice, and what evidence is there that this stupid policy has saved even a single life? Meanwhile peoples' livelihoods are down the pan. This crisis could see the ultimate end of private proprietorship.
Cui bono? That's difficult to say at this stage. I'm not going to give air to conspiracy theories but I'll say this much: this strain of coronavirus is proof that the Chinese (the "yellow peril") will eat anything. Does it strike you as coincidental that this disease has come in the wake of the "extinction rebellion" protests last year? Furthermore, if private proprietorship is at an end, perhaps it's also the end of other private institutions. I have a great dread of the future. Already we're heading into a self-inflicted economic recession. It won't be long before your government starts seizing your assets, raiding your pensions and savings. But in the words of Christ, Take no thought for the morrow for sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Lord, have mercy!
Art: Poussin. It's the adoration of the golden calf.