On the proper disposition regarding the legal authorities and their directives regarding the declared cσɾσnαvιɾυs pandemic:
I speak from the point of view of one who is attempting to direct my families' actions according to Catholic / Thomistic principles as best as my limited lights allow.
Law: “An ordinance of reason promulgated by legitimate authority for the sake of the common good.”
As a family, in the current case regarding this pandemic, we are intending to follow the spirit, as well as the letter of the law of our local, regional, and national authorities as best we can. I think that the current directives by the authorities is intended for the sake of the common good (primarily here the overall health and wellbeing of the community) and thus these requests should be presumed reasonable, at least on account of their end. The directive is by a legitimate authority that relies, as best it can, on the most competent council, in terms of the scientific community, as possible. That says nothing of course to the question of whether some other direction by the authorities might not be more prudent. The subject matter of prudence, as in this case applied to the political sphere, deals with the contingent where certitude and exactitude are not available as in other sciences. Aristotle and St. Thomas, when speaking about the sciences of ethics and politics (Nicomachean Ethics BK I ch.3), point out that it is a lack of wisdom on our part if we demand a certitude that is not appropriate to the subject matter of a science. We do not demand the same sort of certitude and exactitude of the carpenter as we do the neurosurgeon and neither is there the sort of clarity in the political sphere (not to mention the medical art) as there is in mathematics. This becomes all the more true the further we move from more general to more concrete principles and directives.
A law can become unjust because it is contrary to the common good (as when one makes a law for the sake of his own cupidity or vainglory), or on account of the fact that the law exceeds the power committed to the lawgiver or if the burdens placed are imposed unequally. “Unequal” is spoken of in terms of proportion and not strict equality. The mean of distributive justice is a proportionate mean as opposed to the strict mean of equality which measures commutative justice. So, for instance, we dole out tax burdens proportionately based on tax brackets but it would be unjust for the grocery store to charge me more for a gallon of milk than they charge you.
I certainly do not claim to have any sort of certitude as to the most prudent way for those in authority and for we as a community to proceed in the current case but I have no reason to insist that such laws are unjust on their face.
In addition, it would be a strange thing if in the midst of a global crises (however “real” or not) those “of the world” would be willing to make sacrifices for the sake of the good of their community while we of the faith would seem unwilling to do so.