In this Lenten season, readers may feel like the Israelites, under their heavy taskmasters in Egypt, forced to make bricks without straw. People must pay rent and mortgages and taxes without jobs or income; look for a job, when there are so few and nearly everything closed; maintain some sort of social life when most of that is verboten; even try to get married when getting within six feet of another is, well, you get the gist…

But there are signs of hope! Yes, Texas is opening up completely on Wednesday, (don’t tread on me!), following the breathe-easy examples of Florida and South Dakota (and Sweden, along with a few other places), chucking the universally-mandated masks, social distancing, curfews, stay-at-home orders, and other totalitarian terrors. So far – and ‘so far’ means now a year for some places, such as Sweden – such havens of freedom do not seem to have fared any worse in Covid statistics. (For an objective view of the current epidemiological literature evincing the inefficacy of lockdowns, border closures and such, please see here). And certainly in terms of quality of life, happiness, social cohesion, citizen–Church-state relations, worship, prayer and sacramental life, medical care for other conditions – as well as other incalculable incidental effects -they have fared far, far better.

Might we not ask ourselves if what we are doing might not be the best idea, and in fact might be a rather bad, and even evil, one?

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