Viral Submission

on the Emerging Totalitarianism of the New Biopolitics

Giorgio Agamben likes to shock. His 2021 book, Where Are We Now? The Epidemic as Politics, makes the boldest of claims. Fear of catching a virus—and fear of death, for that matter—is irrational and has caused us to elevate "bare life," or what Agamben terms zōē, above any consideration of the particularities of our life, what he calls bios. (As an aside, Saint John's Gospel has a much richer use of the term zōē, using it to designate "eternal life.")

The current elevation of "bare life," reinforced by the coronavirus panic, offers political opportunity: world rulers use it to pursue their own, totalitarian ends. Conspiracy theories—particularly those involving Bill Gates—should be taken seriously. Science (or medicine) has become a religion, replacing Christianity and capitalism as top religious contender. Biopolitics is transforming the right to health into an obligation to be healthy. Mask mandates purge our common life of its political dimension. Social distancing—witnessed most notably in online learning and in the evacuation of physical, public sites of political and cultural discourse—is here to stay. The traditional division of powers (legislative, executive, and judiciary power) is collapsing through extended states of emergency as executive powers establish a "Security State."

THIS ARTICLE ONLY AVAILABLE TO SUBSCRIBERS.
FOR QUICK ACCESS:


Hans Boersma is the Saint Benedict Servants of Christ Chair in Ascetical Theology at Nashotah House, Wisconsin.


more on culture from the online archives

33.4—July/August 2020

No Option

Clear Out the Rubble & Rebuild! by Anthony Esolen

23.2—March/April 2010

Job’s Progress

on Maturity for a Rising Generation by Peter J. Leithart

32.6—November/December 2019

Listening Up

Historical Truth, Beguiling Stories & Three Kinds of Hearers by Anthony Esolen

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone

• Not a subscriber or wish to renew your subscription? Subscribe to Touchstone today for full online access. Over 30 years of publishing!


personal subscriptions

Purchase
Online Subscription

Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives including pdf downloads for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!


RENEW your online subscription

Purchase Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!


RENEW your print/online
subscription

gift subscriptions

GIVE Print &
Online Subscription

Give six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for the reduced rate of $29.95. That's only $2.50 per month!


RENEW your gift subscription

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

kindle subscription

OR get a subscription to Touchstone to read on your Kindle for only $1.99 per month! (This option is KINDLE ONLY and does not include either print or online.)

Your subscription goes a long way to ensure that Touchstone is able to continue its mission of publishing quality Christian articles and commentary.


more from the online archives

21.8—October 2008

Weed Free

on Tending a Child’s Garden of Influences by John Thompson

30.2—March/April 2017

Keep Them from Idols

The Education of Children Takes Generations of Fidelity by W. Ross Blackburn

24.1—January/February 2011

The Romance of Domesticity

Marriage Thrives in Reality, Not in Our Dreams by Nathan Schlueter