Christopher Griffin deposited Covid Disobedience and the Autoimmune Self-Destruction of Liberal Individualism on Humanities Commons 4 months, 1 week ago
In this short article, I discuss a form of civil disobedience that emerged during the Covid-19 pandemic: the refusal to comply with lockdown rules. Because such rule-breakers often claim that they are acting to preserve freedom, I ask whether their unwillingness to help prevent the spread of the virus is symptomatic of neoliberal individualism. Drawing on Jacques Derrida’s work on autoimmunity, I argue that Covid disobedience is ironically self-defeating, because in exacerbating the crisis the rule-breakers force governments to adopt increasingly draconian measures. Lockdown-refusers evidently believe that the protection of their individual rights is more important than the protection of vulnerable members of society, but this is an illusion. The self-sufficiency that they presuppose is a myth that sustains liberalism, and which has been debunked by the interdependency that the pandemic reveals.