Viral liberalism makes it hard to imagine how to heal a mass public.
Zooming with colleague/friends from Amsterdam surfaced Covid contrasts between our worlds. There was a pause, a break, a rift when my Dutch colleague asked: "What's going on in the US with solidarity?"

I was puzzled. "Solidarity?"
Yes, solidarity. She meant to ask how Covid has generated a sense of relational, accountable action: To wear a mask, to stay home if you're sick, to distance, might be understood as things you do to prop up the health of *others*.

I was puzzled.
I talked about the pathological demands to "LIBERATE" the states. The "Face Mask Exempt" cards that appeared, shamelessly appropriating the ADA to assert privacy. An embodied affect whose relationality shores up the individual: *I* do what I want, even though it might kill *you*.
Viral liberalism doubles down on autonomy, even though infection is always relational.
Viral liberalism shores up the body's sovereignty, even though so many of Covid's symptoms breach bodily bounds.
Viral liberalism erases care labor, as if there wasn't extensive and exhausting work entailed in making sick people less sick. Or attending to the dying. Or mourning. Or feeling rehabilitating, trying to help someone feel themselves again.
Viral liberalism is allergic to mobility: of migrants, of foreign students, of Floridians going to New York, of New Yorkers going to Florida. Stasis is its happy place.
Viral liberalism eschews expertise. ("This whole thing is a hoax!")
How much can we live with viral liberalism? How much will we let it shape our questions, answers and bodies? What demands is it placing on others? And how might it be thought otherwise?
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