In the age of coronavirus, the primary indicator of anger is the sense of inequality regarding the risk of infection. The vulnerability of the elderly is accepted as a fact, provided that it is not presented as a form of social Darwinism in which "woe to the old" replaces the vae victis ("woe to the vanquished") of the Romans. But when those who are most at risk are told, by people who are less exposed and in positions of responsibility, that the protection they demand is not necessary and may even be more dangerous than useful, anger explodes. A suspicion of dishonesty is added to one of incompetence. "The feud of the masks" in France is a most apt illustration of this phenomenon. How dare "white-collar workers", often protected by the ability to work from home, tell "blue-collar workers" who may be "white coats" and who are at the frontlines of the crisis, that their fears are exaggerated? It is true that "powerful and wealthy" people have also died from Covid-19, but this is not enough to create a sense of justice.
A perception of "fate inequality"
Asking citizens to "work more" in light of the exceptional circumstances we find ourselves in is not in itself shocking. In 1998, when Asia was facing a serious economic and financial crisis, the response of a country like South Korea was to work much more (just as France was embarking on the 35-hour workweek). But how can we ask some to make an extra effort, when trust and a sense of equality in the efforts to be made are lacking? How can we call for collective responsibility, if the sense of "fate inequality" is too strong and the sense of solidarity too weak? This is all the more true when the public’s anger precedes the epidemic.
The second indicator of anger could, de facto, revolve around the concept of accumulation. Anger, like fear, adds up. Today’s anger at the increase of unequal suffering breaks open the scars of yesterday’s furies. It is all too easy to lapse into anger when one is already torn between fear and humiliation.