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Rebel Yell and I were speaking yesterday (he from his castle, I from mine) about what the current plague will mean, does mean, for ideas and institutions that have wandered the landscape these many years that will disappear as snow in spring.
I predict the following will be gravely diminished or are about to be finished:
- calls for open borders will be dismissed
- tighter immigration policies will be more politically palatable
- global supply chains will be much diminished
- the EU will be largely cast off . (Notice especially that Italy’s call for medical aid to fellow EU members went unmet by every EU country.)
- China’s reputation, if it ever had one, as the coming force.
I think that all social institutions will be gravely hurt – which is bad – and that a lot of activity will have to move on-line if the isolation lasts more than four months:
- masons, fraternities, knights of columbus etc
- sports leagues
How are courts to function? How will witnesses be heard? How will lawyers argue?
Are universities necessary if they do not perform the function of educating students?
There is a part of me that figures this is all a plot of Satan (fill in your favourite force of evil in the spot occupied by Satan, but why not go to the top?) to further isolate people in their cells, to confine them to quarters, to have them willingly surrender their freedoms for a bit of security. We are becoming like the former Soviet Union, where zero trust is the operative condition; where you must have known people from high school before you are able to trust them with political discussion. We are nearly at that stage now in Ottawa. Or maybe we have been in that stage for thirty years and I am finally noticing the political repression.
Here is a piece of music written in equally fraught times by the Catholic composer William Byrd at the time of the English Reformation. Two pieces actually: Ne Irasceris Domine (be not wrathful, O Lord) and Sancta Civitas (Holy City) with its great line “Ieruslaem desolata est”. Jerusalem is indeed desolate this morning. But I am feeling quite well.