The universe, in all its terrible beauty, has a way of presenting us with as many opportunities as it takes to learn life’s most fundamental lessons.
Not least of these – recent days have again shown — is that there really are few rock-ribbed conservatives in times of economic extremis, few implacable government-haters when calamity strikes, not many of us who are truly self-reliant or agree, deep down, with Sartre’s proposition that hell is other people.
If little good has come from COVID-19, it might be noted that the virus killing and sickening people around the world and throttling the global economy has at least turned the worst of strident right-wingers across the influential nations.
There was Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre less concerned, for the moment at least, with the state of the books than he was about immediate government help for vulnerable citizens and small businesses.
And there, astonishingly, were some of this country’s leading climate-change-deniers and scoffers at science pleading with citizens to heed the warnings of medical experts or we’re all in peril.
Imagine! A blessed period in human affairs when politicians happily yield to medical officers of health, when epidemiologists replace partisan spin doctors on political chat shows, when government leaders frankly acknowledge they don’t know what will happen next.
As if they now adhered to the wisdom of the ancients, that the greatest joy comes from helping others, that we will be judged according to how we treat the most vulnerable among us.
Happily, the obscurantism and toxic partisanship that were fouling the political system here and around the world have been eclipsed by the needs of the hour.
Equally happily, it’s a development that might be difficult to reverse once the crisis has passed.