The Post-Pandemic Fever of Living

People dance in front of the Manhattan Bridge in New York City, November 4, 2020. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)
Will a carpe-diem economy return to society after COVID? A look through history offers clues.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T he 21st century must be a teenager. It thinks it has discovered everything, including death and the pandemic. But the truth is the world has survived worse epidemics. The Black Death in the 14th century killed more than half of all Europeans. Yet out of this suffering, that plague brought better wages and more freedom — although I am not suggesting we should create a pandemic every time we want a better world.

I’ve been up to my ears lately in historical documents about the end of that horrible illness, and as a result, my hypochondria has been acting up. I’ve