In normal times, a government that worships the state is conservative in name only.

‘The NHS has saved my life, no question,” Boris Johnson said yesterday after being discharged from St. Thomas’s hospital in London, where he was treated for a serious case of coronavirus. The Prime Minister went further still, saying that the NHS is “the beating heart of this country” and “the best of this country.” While the Queen had, in her Easter address to the country, invoked the transcendent, the “risen Christ,” Johnson made his own devotion to the British health-care system, which he said was “unconquerable” and “powered by love.”

It is quite natural that a person recovering from a life-threatening illness should feel indebted to those responsible for saving his life. But is it natural for a political leader to worship an institution of the state, to place it on a pedestal, above and beyond all criticism or talk of reform?