Let’s never get used to this

Then, there is the problem of what we do to each other. In Britain there is a reported surge of citizens snitching on each other, self-righteously calling the police to turn in neighbors who exercise outside more than once a day. Tabloid newspapers print large photographs of everyday people shopping and ask their readers if they think the action depicted was really necessary. Police in Darbyshire used a drone to film hikers taking legal exercise (even this phrase is sinister), then publicized the video on social media and encouraged a spasm of public outrage at those not sheltering in place. The same police also poured black dye into a lagoon to deter hikers who might take selfies in it. Now, even pollution is necessary for public health and safety.

European countries such as Germany are considering handing out antibody certificates, which would allow one to move about freely if he had provably survived the virus and could demonstrate some immunity. One can see the logic of a measure like this, but it is a logic that vitiates freedom: One’s physical presence in normal life is presumed to be so potentially toxic and dangerous that it is preemptively disallowed. The unintended consequences of this are easy to imagine.

Of course, one doesn’t even need to resort to a slippery-slope argument to see the combined toll these indignities have taken on our fellow Americans. A friend who is a New York policeman is already seeing and dreading more suicides — jumpers particularly — that he knows must be the result of house arrest in a place such as Manhattan.