One thing that every COVID-19 mandate has in common—masks, lockdowns, and now vaccines—is that they originated in the dictatorship of technocracy. By this term, I am referring to the combination of applied science and statecraft as the solution to the problem of suffering and death. The underlying historical context of this phenomenon is the centuries-old assumption that positivistic reasoning through government-led social conditioning and the technological application of modern scientific discovery is the only response to what we Christians know to be the effects of original sin, in either its physical or moral manifestation. Today, devoid of any reference to sin whatsoever, post-moderns are driven by a singular determination to get rid of all the “evil” stuff that threatens our individual comfortability.
It’s not that working to mitigate the effects of evil is wrong. Rather, it’s that the ethical framework of technocracy is utilitarian through and through. This means that whatever it takes to maximize pleasure and eliminate suffering must be done, regardless of whether the means are morally licit or the proposed solutions create far worse problems than the one being addressed. Embedded within this assumption is the mistaken belief that to suffer anything is contrary to human dignity.
Christianity has a different view of how to handle suffering and death. First off, we recognize that we do not have the authority from God, nor the capacity, humanly speaking, to eradicate the problem of evil. We only have a rather modest capacity to mitigate the effects of it. History has proven repeatedly that our attempts to eliminate suffering and death have profound limits. Any attempt to dig evil up, root and branch, leads by a kind of necessity to the perpetration of greater evils. This is because belief in our capacity to eliminate evil is rooted in pride and is itself a perverse form of hubris, a Promethean spirit of the highest order. This is a far greater threat to human life than any virus will ever be, if the death toll of the Gulag is any indication.