During a pandemic, a risky act of self-indulgence is an act of indifference against your neighbours.
This is so whether you refuse to wear a mask in Tesco or recklessly indulge your love of golf and celebratory dinners.
The mass of the people know that.
So, for six months we've adjusted to stress and pain and isolation. Because we want to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our neighbours.
And, while this lasts, we'll take our lead from the best advice the scientists can devise.
Even though we're aware the scientists are fallible; even though their advice is filtered through politicians who may be influenced by lobbyists hired by commercial interests.
We've taken it on trust that the politicians will behave responsibly in this crisis - that they will subordinate their party interests and their class interests to the greater good.
Well, that was the theory.
Which is why the Oireachtas Golf Society scandal was so unsettling for so many.
Now, we're being ticked off - we're being told our disgust with Phil Hogan and his pals led to a holier-than-thou 'mob' that 'hounded' people into resigning.
No. This has nothing to do with morality.
It has nothing to do with punishing someone for breaching the rules, it has nothing to do with meek conformity.
The mass of the people, in their unyielding anger, are forcing the elite to take the public health measures as seriously as we do.
Here's a pandemic story, about smart people sitting down to their dinner.
On February 26-27, 2020, there was a conference at the Marriott Long Wharf hotel in Boston. It was hosted by a drug firm, Biogen.
Everyone knew the virus was on its way, but the president of the US assured his people the danger would magically vanish.
At the Biogen conference, 175 of the company's top executives gathered for dinner. Among those attending was someone who came from Europe and who is believed to have brought the coronavirus.
At meetings, and in crowded lifts and in corridors, in bars and at dinner, the virus was passed on. People went back to their homes and their offices, they went to parties, they shook hands with colleagues, they hugged friends and kissed lovers.
By March 2, as the sick list grew, the chief medical officer at Biogen twigged that something bad was happening.
By the end of March, 99 people were known to have been infected via that one unwitting carrier at the Biogen conference.
Months later, after more sophisticated research, which traced identifiable elements of the virus as it replicated itself and moved through the US population, that figure of 99 has changed. Scientists calculated that by May there were at least 20,000 cases deriving from that one event in Boston.
A week before that conference, there were 30 confirmed cases in the US.
No one knows how the virus travelled from the Biogen executive dinner to a Boston homeless shelter, but it did.
Large gatherings aren't dangerous just to those directly involved - they can lead to an unimaginably rapid spread of infections.
What's the difference between the Biogen dinner and the Oireachtas Golf Society shindig?
Six months of hard-won knowledge, and a suite of protective measures created by scientists. We worked hard and got the numbers down. Then, swaggering politicians ignored meat plants and Direct Provision centres, they "accelerated the roadmap" and the numbers went back up.
And some among them resumed their golfing habits - and the ancillary social engagements.
The surge of public anger towards the Oireachtas Golf Society was not just about the principle that the rules should apply equally to everyone. It's not about wanting to see anybody brought down a peg. It's because the golf gathering was - in and of itself - a danger to us all.
Down here - far below the exalted status of EU commissioners, government ministers and Supreme Court judges - we get it.
We know an infinitesimal speck may kill any of us at random, or may wreck our inner organs and leave us vulnerable for the rest of our lives.
We know it can rip through the population.
When we observe the rules, the numbers go down. When we breach the protective measures, the numbers go up.
It's not a moral law, it's not a magic formula - it's the law of physics.
It's a bloody dangerous virus, but soap and water can defeat it; observing the rules of distance can defeat it.
Protective measures have created conditions all of us find uncomfortable and frustrating. And wreaked economic havoc.
But obeying the rules isn't a fetish, it's an essential defence. It's the difference between the Biogen world of mass sickness and a world put on hold while science strives to find greater protections.
We get safely through the day by asking ourselves questions. Is this safe? How can I make it safer? Should I give it a miss altogether?
It's about improving the odds against the virus, while avoiding paranoia. There's no certainty, just that suite of protective measures, the best that science can do right now.
A range of the exalted ones - of politics, business, the media, the judiciary, the lobbying outfits - went into a big room and seemingly didn't ask those basic questions about numbers, safety, the risk to themselves and to everyone they would meet in the days that followed. If it was just them at risk - go ahead. But they risked us all.
None of us enjoy following the rules, but it's the only dependable way forward, while keeping to a minimum the number of socially-distant funerals.
There are eejits all around us, waving placards and tricolours - the right-wing anti-mask brigade. They demand their inherent human right to cough in your face.
They believe coronavirus is a left-wing conspiracy in which everyone from billionaire Bill Gates to the nurses at the Mater Hospital are pretending there's a deadly virus killing people.
Personally, I believe the anti-mask people can't cope with the complexity of modern life. They survive by finding intricate ways to ignore reality.
But, tell me this: what's the difference, in behaviour, between one of those eejits howling outside the GPO and Séamus Woulfe of the Supreme Court, Seán O'Rourke, eminent journalist, or Phil Hogan, erstwhile EU commissioner?
In reality, in behaviour, they're all in denial.
The mighty Hogan zipped through Kildare, Galway, Limerick, Kilkenny, Roscommon, denying he broke any rules.
Marketing geniuses are already plotting a new tourist trail for golfers, the Wild Hogan Way.
Any day now Nasa will release a photo of Big Phil golfing on the moon.
Yes, it's all fun and games until you're burying your brother-in-law when he's died alone behind a perspex shield.
For too many among us, 2020 has already been unbearably savage and sad. Which is why the anger unleashed by the frolics of the elite was so unyielding.
Hogan still denies doing anything wrong. He says he resigned because public pressure was a "distraction" from his job. Fine Gael mouthpieces say he resigned because public anger "was not going to go away".
The Oireachtas Golfing Society has its fans. They denounce the 'populism' that dares demand the nobles observe the rules that seek to protect us all.
They're talking through an orifice primarily used for other purposes.