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Since the onset of the pandemic, progressive opinion has been clear that hard lockdowns are the best way to preserve life, while only irresponsible and destructive conservatives like Trump and Bolsonaro oppose them. But why should liberals favor lockdowns, when all the social science research
shows that those who suffer most are the economically disadvantaged, without access to good internet or jobs that can be done remotely; that the young will pay the price of the pandemic in future taxes, job prospects, and erosion of public services, when they are already disadvantaged in comparison
in terms of pension prospects, paying university fees, and state benefits; and that Covid's impact on the Global South is catastrophic, with the UN predicting potentially tens of millions of deaths from hunger and declaring that decades of work in health and education is being reversed.
Toby Green analyses the contradictions emerging through this response as part of a broader crisis in Western thought, where conservative thought is also riven by contradictions, with lockdown policies creating just the sort of big state that it abhors. These contradictions mirror underlying
irreconcilable beliefs in society that are now bursting into the open, with devastating consequences for the global poor.