The Fascist Spirit of the Pandemic Might Kill More People Than COVID-19
Let's not deceive ourselves. A concern for public health is not at the root of this attitude. Instead, it is the satisfaction of the morbidity of people who have found the pandemic an excuse for a dangerous catharsis
Spanish – The Argentine government literally shut down the country. Borders are closed. Businesses (except those that provide food, medicines, or essential services) are closed. Even people (with a few exceptions) are not allowed to walk on the streets. The country is under total quarantine.
The debate on the economic viability of these measures or the basis of the positions that divide liberals on the issue will be discussed another time. But if the state has already embarked on this path, some things do not make any sense and are dangerous in these circumstances.
I am referring to the embarrassing attitude displayed by many people. Although the authorities are already sticking to the plan to the T, some people have dedicated themselves to being moral prosecutors and pro bono police officers. A kind of parallel pandemic of fascism that does nothing but exposes frustrations and resentment.
It should be noted that the government has already made telephone lines available to the public so that people can communicate with and report those who violate the security measures. But it seems that this private and anonymous measure is not enough for many. People are incomprehensibly using social media to “wreck” those who behave in a way that could be reckless. Each post brings to light the worst: prejudice based on religion, nationality, or social class. At the same time, insults such as “chetos” for those who travel abroad and “villeros” for those who do not stay in their humble places are proliferating. It is all against all in a merciless war.
Let’s not deceive ourselves. A concern for public health is not at the root of this attitude. Instead, it is the satisfaction of the morbidity of people who have found the pandemic an excuse for a dangerous catharsis. Videos of outraged people behaving in an authoritarian manner are constantly going viral amid a climate that seems to bring out the worst in us. A recurring scene is that of journalists mistreating people who have allegedly committed an offense even though the reckless ones in question are already in the hands of the security forces. They dig up dirt while there is a large audience ready to consume it. They all want blood.
These attitudes are, unfortunately, deeply rooted in human behavior. Today, they highlight many customs that were seen in authoritarian processes throughout history. It is evident that this is a virus that is still alive even though it is asymptomatic most of the time.
Precautionary measures have already been taken, everyone knows what they have to do, and the Argentine government has chosen the hard way to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. If a person feels that a neighbor is behaving irresponsibly and dangerously, they have the tools to notify the authorities, and that is it. But witch hunts and public posting on social media are not going to get us anywhere better in this difficult situation.