Neoliberal thinking is based on the idea that “it’s your fault.” Everything is the fault of an individual. Everything can be solved if an individual just tries hard enough. If something goes wrong, it’s because of an individual who didn’t do everything right.
So here’s an exercise in tracking neoliberal mentality.
If Hillary or Bernie was president right now, everything with the virus would be exactly like it is except we’d be persecuted for using the word “China” in any context but that of abject praise. Everything would be the same not because Trump is good and they are bad but because the pandemic isn’t about any single person. It isn’t about anybody’s moral character or anybody trying hard enough or making the right decisions. The pandemic is simply one of those shitty things that happen completely outside of our control.
Of course, now that I mentioned Trump nobody will notice the larger point, which is that a lot of really important things are completely outside of our control. In terms of the pandemic, you can hoard masks and ventilators but the next time it will be, whatever, a gastrointestinal thing transmitted by insect bites. Or an encephalitis-type problem. Or a nuclear explosion, or an asteroid. And immediately there will be a crowd of people infected with neoliberalism who will know exactly whom to blame.
The good news is that there’s a vaccine for this ailment. Simply say, “it just happened!” And you’ll get better.