A recent opinion piece in Bloomberg stated that social unrest is going to be an inevitable legacy of this pandemic. There are a lot of reasons cited, from the conspiracy theories to the economic realities. The most compelling, and terrifying, argument is that this sort of thing happens with every plague. We have data on this going back centuries.
Looking at things from that perspective, it’s bad. It wasn’t enough that a certain country was unprepared for the impacts on health and wealth. Why are there no long-term plans for the historically-validated effects on civilization itself? How is there no plan for instilling confidence in the process, or the leaders, or the institutions of government itself?
“Seven social sins: politics without principles, wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, and worship without sacrifice.”
Mahatma Gandhi, a list closing an article in Young India (22 October 1925)
When you consider that Gandhi wrote that almost a hundred years ago, it stings. We know these things, and we still allow them to happen. For some reason we continue to allow the unprincipled, the lazy, the psychopaths, the corrupt, the immoral, the monstrous, and the greedy to run things.
Commerce without Morality, Science without Humanity
Things are bad because those sorts of people were in charge of the pandemic response. It’s even worse because those same bad actors have leveraged the pandemic to further their own aims. The only way we can properly prepare for the next one — and there will be a next one, even if it takes another hundred years — is to weed their people out of leadership positions. We need to have systems in place that reinforce the values that Gandhi talked about, and elevate only the people that can attempt to embody those values.