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Coronavirus and Civil Society
Coronavirus has upended our lives. How should we respond? How should we think about the government's response? What moral principles should govern our society as we move forward? And how can we flourish during these trying times? Public Discourse authors shed some light.
  • The Coronavirus Has Unveiled a Deeper Political Disease

    A crisis like a pandemic forces citizens to confront what they hold in common. But the coronavirus has revealed that many, whether boomer or millennial, do not even see themselves as citizens—as participating in and being partially responsible for the common good.

  • What We’ll Learn about Civil Society, Family, and Technology from Coronavirus

    No one can say with precision how many people this virus will infect or kill. Predictions are difficult. But we know some things about ourselves, so we can venture to say what this unusual moment will reveal about us.

  • Leisure in a Time of Coronavirus

    Schools are closed. Sports and music lessons are cancelled. Everyone is at home. What are you going to do? Instead of allowing coronavirus to control your life, why not plan for leisure? We can make this evil an occasion for despair, or we can choose to see it as a “severe mercy” for our benefit, our joy, and ultimately our sanctification.

  • Cooperation, Coercion, and the Coronavirus

    When times become difficult, people come to help each other as a rule. It’s not really a case of our better angels emerging; it’s our regular angels doing what they almost always do when the chips are down.

  • How to Flourish During the Coronavirus Pandemic: Research from the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard

    Our confrontation with suffering and death provides an important opportunity for reflection. What is it that we value most? What relationships need forgiveness or reconciliation? How should we understand our lives and our own mortality? Both empirical data and religious traditions show that, by engaging in such interior reflection, it can be possible to grow and flourish even amidst great suffering.

  • The Strange Battle of Staying Home

    My home is my battlefield, and maintaining peace and joy for my family is my fight. I cannot treat those infected by Covid-19, but I can help flatten the curve. This is my time to keep our homefires burning with gusto, as if each meal I set before my family were a punch in the teeth to the chaos caused by this deadly illness. We may be stuck at home for weeks or months, but by God we’ll have fresh sourdough bread and afternoon tea every day.

  • Can We Measure the Value of Saving Human Lives in Dollars? Somber Calculations in a Time of Plague

    In fighting Coronavirus, the precautionary principle is reasonable: we need to act so as to bring as close to zero the probability of the most extreme results. However, the precautionary principle does not point in only one direction. Closing down an entire society for a prolonged period of time is uncharted territory, with many perils. We must also bear in mind the pre-eminent importance of the common good to avoid a catastrophic social collapse.

  • Moral Guidance on Prioritizing Care During a Pandemic

    In the next few weeks, as the pandemic perhaps reaches its zenith, we will have the opportunity to decide once again what sort of society we intend to be. We should eschew all invidious discrimination and recommit ourselves to treating all who are ill as bearers of profound, inherent, and equal worth and dignity.

  • What Do Christians Do in a Plague?

    I am astonished by how many people think a deadly pandemic is the right time to foment the spirit of rebellion and pick a fight with the government over what many will inevitably see as our right to infect others. That’s what it looks like to our neighbors. They do not see this as a testimony of our unshakable faith, but as evidence of callous unconcern for their lives and the lives of the police, grocery workers, mailmen, health workers, and garbage men with whom we all interact.

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