“People keep saying this is an unprecedented pandemic,” says Bernard-Henri Lévy, France’s rock-star philosopher. “It is not true. Humanity has had to deal with many pandemics, often more grave than this one. There seems to be an intention, a collective desire, to panic. It is not as big a disaster as we think.”
Lévy, 71, is France’s greatest and most outspoken public intellectual. He is also a journalist and a dandy adventurer with expensive clothes and a baroque hairdo. He is brave; he pursues injustice wherever he finds it: when the lockdown came, he was reporting from Bangladesh. He caught the last plane out. He is also rich, worth an estimated £100m, much of it inherited from his father, a timber magnate.
And Lévy is