By Jacqueline Fox
COVID has shown us that the burdens and inequities that characterize everyday life for many Americans are not merely vestiges of an older time, but an honest reflection of our unwillingness to treat everyone with dignity and respect.
We have undergone an ethical stress test in the last 18 months. While many people have exhibited heroic commitments to their fellow citizens, much of our governmental response is indefensible in a society that professes to care for all of its members. This implies we are not such a society.
Rather, we are a society riddled with healthism — discrimination based on health status — and eugenics — a pseudo-science that arbitrarily elevates some human traits over others, much as we do with breeding dogs and horses.
As a result, although we are armed with the power to prevent much harm, we lack the will or inclination to use that power for our most vulnerable. Instead, we place different values on people’s lives using arbitrary definitions of quality, and treat people differently based on their health status. Examples include placing a lower value on a life because a person is older, disabled, or overweight.