In March 2020, the world declared war on COVID-19.
The use of martial rhetoric with reference to peacetime political conflicts — the War on Drugs, the War on Poverty, the domestic arena of the War on Terror — has a long and dubious history in American politics. The appeal is obvious. Warlike language depicts every conflict as a life-or-death struggle, encourages mass mobilization, justifies significant intrusion into people’s lives, and provides a pretext for novel (and possibly illegal) political solutions. (more…)