So here’s the deal. Every time there is a new threat to life and limb – real, exaggerated or fictional – we are going to shut down the world.

Perhaps the next threat will be another novel virus, or a jihadist with a loose nuke, or a fake environmental emergency. Perhaps it will be Russia or China conspiring to sap and impurify our precious bodily fluids.

Regardless of what it is, the threat will trigger the same flurry of demands and orders we are seeing now. Shut everything down. Don’t leave your house. No, you can’t get a haircut, celebrate Mass, or have a picnic in the park. These things are banned until further notice… until WE decide it’s safe.

The intensifying restrictions on life in dozens of countries are thus a kind of worldwide experiment in compliance. We (both institutions and individuals) are being tested to see how easily we will roll over in the face of official demands that we change our behavior and surrender our liberties – temporarily, of course, and for our own good.

The test has been performed and the results are in.

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