I’ve never shared the widespread interest in hope or despair. We have a moral responsibility to do what needs doing. What more has to be said? But the work of the doctor/narrator in Albert Camus’ The Plague, which I’ve referred people to as a model is not quite right — or at least could be misleading. The importance of preparing for the plague at the first signs of it must be increased dramatically. And one cannot simply plod along, working long hours, until the plague has run its course. This plague ends us before it runs its course. We have to dedicate ourselves to ending with dignity and kindness, with the closest thing we can manage to the grace and wisdom that could have saved us. And then we have to rededicate ourselves to redoubling our efforts, again and again, with ever greater effort as we continue. The alternative of giving up is guaranteed not to be more enjoyable than working well together on a crisis that could bring out the best in us. The alternative of pretending everything is normal, scorning radical activism, and contenting ourselves with voting in yet another “most important election of our lifetime” every two years is guaranteed to create a crisis of faith and a crisis of guilt. Let’s not go there. Or rather, let’s not stay there.
Read the full book review here.