In a classless society, presumably all are equal and deserve to be treated that way. Exceptions are presumably allowed when some disadvantaged group needs extra care and attention. This slippery slope was evident during the first “wave” of coronavirus in the UK. Lockdown restrictions were imposed on the elderly, as well as those caring for them. The lockdowns were more onerous and lasted longer than those imposed on the general population. Why? Well, obviously “for their own good.”
The threat of unequal treatment “for their own good” continues to hover like a black cloud on the horizon of the elderly as the UK debates the “wave theory” of COVID-SARS-2 infections and considers “moonshot”1 solutions among others. This in spite of the fact that our embryonic understanding of coronavirus infections now depends on far more complex factors than age alone.
Some frightening scenarios being discussed affect people who are more vulnerable such as the elderly (of which this writer is a paid up member). Pre-pandemic-type, unrestricted social habits could be gradually restored to the general population except those protected for their own good, allowing coronavirus to run a more natural course.
Extremely comprehensive as well as accurate testing and tracing would determine who have a natural immunity to the disease. As well, testing would identify those who have been infected, have recovered, and are now protected by antibodies as a part of their personal defence systems. Assuming (questionably) that COVID-SARS-2 is lightning that only strikes once per person in a lifetime, these “cleared” individuals can then be given physical “passports” which prove their . . . normality?. . . and will allow them to interact with society unfettered by coronavirus worries.
Meanwhile those most at risk will be quarantined in our gilded cages “for our own good.” There we will live, year after year, dropping daily to our knees and praying for a vaccine as effective as the smallpox one, which completely eradicated that virus . . . after only a hundred and fifty years or so. Prayers will also have to be made for the reformation or death of all anti-vaxxers, who will otherwise make certain that eradication of COVID-SARS-2 is impossible via even the best vaccination.
In such a scenario, this writer sees a bleak future for himself, pointing towards either death while incarcerated, or possibly a jailbreak. That’s because, unfortunately, there is no means for those home-jailing for their own good to become infected by the virus and, with luck, earn that blessed passport back to normal life.
Can we have a considered opinion on the humanity of such “for your own good” incarceration? We most certainly can, from the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing. It is an “assault on human dignity.”
As it happens, the comment was made made, not in reference to the elderly and unhealthy classes of humanity who might be protected “for their own good” in a UK “moonshot” attempt to tackle COVID-SARS-2. Leilani Farha’s comments concerned the involuntary lockdown of another group of supposed equals who have been tasting a little “more equal than others” treatment in Melbourne, Australia.
Social housing residents have been locked down, supposedly for their own good, in what at best might be described as crowded, unhealthy, run-down social housing towers. Read more on Farha’s discomfort with the prejudices and discrimination at play in this situation, in SBSNews: Melbourne’s public housing lockdown was an ‘assault on human dignity’, says the UN’s former housing expert