The Ethics of Post-Quarantine Life

People are mad.

People have always been mad. About everything. But people are once again mad.

At people who aren’t wearing masks. At people who are wearing masks. At people who are hanging out with everyone and their mother. At people who refuse to go anywhere because it’s not safe.

We didn’t envision how to properly handle a quarantined life, and now we are not envisioning how to properly handle a post-quarantine-but-still-COVID life. So how do we collectively navigate this? There is no choice but to go through it together, considering no one is coming out unscathed.

What are ethics?

Ethics and morality go hand in hand, though they differ slightly in their definitions.

So, ethics apply to society as a whole, in a way.

And thus it is constantly at odds with people’s individual morality. Which is really tricky when you get into the philosophical aspect of all of that.

Anyway, we aren’t going to discuss that now. I just wanted to point out the differences in the definitions.

Everyone is going to get [COVID-19] eventually, so why does it matter?

I must say that I find this to be a weak argument. From a logical fallacy perspective, this statement seems to be begging the question (une pétition de principe en français). Face masks, social distancing, take whatever example you want. I am not a medical expert, but I do think it matters what early measures we take even if one implies that eventually “everyone” will get the virus. Perhaps I’m naive.

Add cultural norms and mindsets on top of all of that. Americans have not always done selfless well,” points out TIME Editor Jeffrey Kluger (This is a pretty interesting, short read from TIME magazine.)

And perhaps that is precisely what is sparking some of the anger. I know the issue is being politicized in many other countries, but I’m not sure if I’ve seen it on as dramatic a scale as that of the United States. There are many reasons for this, and I am not getting into those now. What I will say is that, for better or worse, the world is watching. And our communities are suffering.

It may be idealistic to say, but I truly believe if we set aside our pride and selfishness for a mere minute–and we regard the other as a valid being with intrinsic value–things could change. It doesn’t mean they will, though. Will this scenario happen in a post-modern culture with little to no moral absolutes? I would argue no. But I will continue to wistfully dream.


Interested in doing some further reading? Me too. That’s why I’m currently studying this working paper from Johns Hopkins University. Let’s read it together!

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