We’ve tried to minimize the politicization of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, treatments and cures, and the economic and social ripples that have followed, but the global pandemic has become a political issue, both in its interpretation and our reaction to it.
So, we might as well run with it.
Knowing what we know, it’s hard to argue against a conservative approach to the virus — that is, one developed from a textbook definition of the position.
For instance, conservatism advises caution when moving forward into the unknown. So, it dictates that we should minimize our exposure to the virus by avoiding contact with the other humans until we know more.
Despite what the people who bring guns into Subway will tell you, at the root of the traditional conservative viewpoint is an aversion to change. William F. Buckley put it best in the mission statement of the National Review, once considered the pinnacle of conservative thought: “It stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.”
Personal responsibility is another conservative tenet, and so the true conservative should recognize their own potential to transmit the virus to others, and should take reasonable precautions against it, like wearing a facemask in public, and appreciating when others do, too.
Conservatives can be establishmentarian, authoritarian even, and so would tend to listen to virologists and other scientists who spend their careers studying this sort of thing instead of jumping on a trend that sounds a little to good to be true. Taking an experimental drug is one of the least conservative things a person can do.
Conservatives believe in law and order, and so any rules set by our elected leaders should be followed — not unquestioningly, of course, but with the understanding that the rules are there for all of us.
The very nature of conservatism implies that something is being conserved, held back, saved against an unknown future instead of squandering it on the here and now. So, let’s be conservative about this, shall we