This bit of a letter from a young doctor puts a spotlight on one of the weaknesses of our modern culture. Noting that healthcare workers are still going to be needed no matter what happens with this virus, he asks:
How can we be proactive about protecting our healthcare workers? To start, we need to consider protecting our older colleagues and those with certain preexisting medical conditions. We may even need to decide that only young and healthy doctors and nurses should be triaging and caring for these patients. I’m in. But is this discriminatory or putting too much risk on the young? I’m not sure.
Step out of our times for a moment, and this is an astonishing thing to read. Not that long ago, it used to be expected that people would sacrifice for others. Young people, in particular young men, would take risks for the whole community where strength and resilience were needed. Heretical as it may be to acknowledge, this is so true that we seem to have evolved around the principle.
Yes, maybe that increased risk came with the compensation of some privileges and cultural encouragement, but trying to distribute such things without the prejudices of the past doesn’t have to mean discarding the ability to differentiate.
A society that doesn’t inspire its people to sacrifice will not last, and a grievance culture characterized by identity politics will not inspire anybody.