In reality, late-stage liberalism is obsessed with health and state supervision for the purposes of personal liberation, pleasure-seeking, tourism and commerce. So a period of lockdown and closed borders is not the apotheosis of liberal cosmopolitanism, but its temporary negation. (And it’s not a coincidence that the most self-consciously secular and cosmopolitan of Western countries, Sweden, has kept the bars open and aimed for herd immunity instead.)
That temporary negation doesn’t mean the liberal order is about to give way to a new post-liberal age, and neither does the weakness of the W.H.O. or the E.U. mean that globalism, ideological and institutional, will simply disappear. But in the post-pandemic era both liberalism and globalism may seem more like zombie ideologies, ghosts of the more ambitious and utopian past, then ascendant forces capable of inspiring either hope or fear.
And those who presently fear them, even to the point of paranoia and conspiracy, may come to realize that they were mistaking spasms for real strength, and the bitter twilight of the globalist era for a new world order’s dawn.