I get it: You don't trust government to contain Ebola in the United States, or to be honest about its dangers. You might be a Republican. You also don't trust Washington to be the single-payer for national health care. You'd die before government gets your guns.
Or you might be a Democrat. You get queasy at the thought of government mucking around in your telephone records, prosecuting a journalist, or waging war for oil.
Conservative or liberal, you're skeptical—with damn good reason. And yet, on Ebola, you'd allow government to curb the most basic freedom. You support mandatory quarantines. Most Americans do.
You're among the 80 percent of Americans who want travelers from West Africa to be forcibly isolated upon arrival to the United States. You trust government not to exploit or extend civil-liberty limitations like those suffered by Kaci Hickox, an extraordinary nurse who tested negative twice for Ebola since fighting the disease at its West African roots.
Are you a hypocrite? No, you're conflicted. First, the nagging incompetence of public and private institutions gives you pause about the ability of government to curb the insidious disease. Long ago, most Americans lost some measure of faith in the institutions that could be calming fears now: government, medicine, and journalism.