There is an understated idea at the heart of the disgruntlement about lockdown. It is so nasty that those who push this idea are embarrassed to state it clearly in all its implication, but those that have ears can hear.
The idea is that old people are expendable.
This shouldn't surprise us. The fact that thousands of deaths went virtually unnoticed in care homes, that nobody at the start of the spread of the virus even thought to protect those homes, is itself symptomatic of a cultural preference for shoving old people out of the way.
The argument in favour of isolating the old and letting everybody else get back to normal never actually goes as far as to say, "sure, they don't matter anyway", but that's in there.
The young want to work. The middle-aged drive the economy with their dynamic, entrepreneurial energy. And the old? Well, sure, they have had their day anyway.
Campaigners for the Johnsonian "take it on the chin" philosophy mean taking it on granda's chin.
Granda is the one most likely to die, grandma a little behind him and, sure, they'll be gone soon anyway.
And it is an echo of the more widely accepted idea that the old are content to be shuffled away from the main business of society to see out their last days without being a nuisance.
There have even been voices from among old people endorsing the logic of it all, virtually volunteering to die so that the wheels of industry can keep turning and young people can get back to school.
What this is about is bigger than solving the problem of the virus. People would only be thinking like this if they already accepted that the old are unimportant.
And the neglect of the care homes is plain evidence of that.
The parallel is with the thinking that accompanied the spread of Aids. People called it the "gay plague" and assumed that it had nothing to do with anyone else. That was hardened by an eagerness to blame gay people for bringing it on themselves.
Old people are not being blamed for Covid-19, but they are being told that they are the burden, the ones for whom the rest are going to so much trouble.
I am thinking about this because I am 70 next birthday and now officially old. I don't feel old, but I am in a category that may be told to self-isolate or cocoon myself for months.
This will protect me from infection and it will also allow other people at lower risk to get on with their lives.
The sacrifice that I will be making for them will be much greater than the sacrifice they will be making for me.
The argument against lockdown is that the damage that can be caused to the economy is a calamity competing for our attention against the calamity of pandemic. So, there is a choice: save the economy or save lives.
But since most of the lives to be saved are those of the old and most of the workers whose jobs are to be spared are young, this becomes a choice of which generation to favour.
That is a flawed choice because locking up the old isn't possible. The easy assumption at the start of this was that at least those old people in care homes would be safe and the end result of that was carnage.
Hospitals actually discharged infected patients into care homes, where they spread the disease.
And even without that unthinking and indefensible contamination, there were also low-paid carers, struggling to feed their families, having to go home at the end of a shift and interact with their children and partners and shopkeepers and those in the general population who refused to take seriously the need for social separation.
Isolation is a myth. There can only be a reduction of contact with the outside world. It cannot be eliminated.
Understanding this the Government has prioritised protecting the NHS as its goal. If so, many people get ill in a second wave, the hospitals are clogged up, then everybody suffers. Unless the evil thought occurs to someone with the courage to say it out loud that it really would be acceptable to let people in the care homes die.
The idea was put forward to ministers last week that cocooning the elderly would free up younger people to go to work. That's what following the science would suggest and, up to that point, politicians were proudly proclaiming that scientists knew best and that they would follow their advice.
The Government anticipated a backlash against this. It would be discriminatory, thought that noted egalitarian Iain Duncan Smith.
This squeamishness might have something to do with the age profile of the Conservative Party.
But the science has, indeed, suggested that getting everybody over 70 isolated for four months could halve the death toll. And what would we do if the most vulnerable category was children? We would surely shelter them. We would not be thinking of reopening the schools if the death toll among children was what it is among the old.
It is not the Government that would be discriminating against a generation, but the virus itself.
The other threat, the one that attacks the economy, also has a generation bias in it.
It deprives young people of education and of jobs and prospects. Its reach extends beyond this group. Neither threat is finely targeting a generation, just tilting against one more than another.
The old will see their private pension investments suffer. But broadly speaking the virus kills more older people and the stalled economy and closed schools affect the young.
This suggests a balanced approach which recognises the needs of each generation in its primary vulnerability.
Getting the young and healthy back to work, because that is that they most need, along with restoring their social lives and relationships must be balanced with a far more careful approach to the protection of the old. We can't just lock them away.
The danger is that keeping just the old in lockdown will enable the rest of the busy world to forget about them. Because that has always been the way.
That's how the risk to care homes was overlooked, how pensions were kept at impoverishment levels, how loneliness ate away at people, even how many people ended up in care homes in the first place, so that they would be no bother to the busy, productive young.