Unlike millions, I have not lost my job or my income. Unlike tens of thousands, I have not lost my life or health to the coronavirus. Unlike countless others, I am not risking my life daily to care for COVID-19 patients, collect the garbage or sell groceries. Unlike the young, I have not seen my education or career prospects cast into a void by the pandemic. Nor am I locked down in an overcrowded tiny apartment with screaming children and no quiet place to work or think.Indeed, I’ve been working harder from home, doing interviews and videoconferences via Zoom, WhatsApp and Skype, since I cannot travel to Arctic countries to research a report on the impact of great power rivalry and climate change on security in the High North.Lock up your elders at your peril. They will bite you in the behind at election time.Whether and when I will be able to resume my peripatetic un-retirement, shuttling between Paris, Provence and Brussels, is a source of gnawing anxiety — but hardly an existential threat.Perhaps I should just count my blessings and stop whining. But there is a subtext of looming societal conflict that sets my nerves on edge.In the early days of the pandemic, a widely shared social media meme in the United States hailed COVID-19 as the “boomer remover.” Here was the great leveler, the actuarial reaper, come to “flatten the curve” of pension entitlements and cut the costs of global aging. I snorted at terms like “senior,” even though I carry the rail pass. Who me, senior? Geddaway!Suddenly, I have become a “person at risk,” and my wife — to coin a comparative — is “at risker.”I feel grounded like a wayward adolescent punished for underaged smoking or drinking.Even when lockdowns on the rest of society are eased, we face potentially months more confinement “for your own good” — warned against taking trains, planes or public transport when they resume service, deprived of seeing our grandchildren except on our smartphones “lest they infect you.”In pained but stern terms, our children in their 30s and 40s tell us that, no, we absolutely cannot babysit or host our grandchildren for the foreseeable future. Not now, not in May, not in June, nor during the summer school vacation.They yell at us — out of loving concern for our safety, of course — if we go to the supermarket. I feel grounded like a wayward adolescent punished for underaged smoking or drinking. It was only after prominent boomers began to rebel and threaten legal action for unconstitutional deprivation of individual liberty that Macron backpedaled, giving an assurance — for what it is worth — that there would be no discrimination by age group.Alain Minc, an influential business consultant and whisperer in conservative presidential ears, became the megaphone for the wrinkly generation.“Are the old more contagious? No. Are they more at risk? Yes, but taking that risk is part of their personal freedom,” thundered the 71-year-old son of Polish immigrants, whose parents fought in the French Resistance and grandparents were killed in the Holocaust.“You’re going to see a revolt of the old rising in the coming weeks, a revolt of the white-haired,” Minc forecast.Intergenerational conflictI am trying hard to see the bigger picture and step back from my selfish frustration. That freedom now looks to be at risk.This week, for example, I was due to have been in Uzbekistan, exploring the turquoise, tiled mosques and teeming central Asian bazaars with a gang of like-minded “twelderlies.” Now, I don’t even know if we’ll be able to have that adventure next year, if and when the epidemic has abated for most of us.An employee of a Boots pharmacy and a client in Pontefract, northern England | Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty ImagesPresident Emmanuel Macron set the tone of compassionate incarceration in his most recent televised address, telling the French: “For their protection, we will ask the most vulnerable, the elderly, the severely handicapped, the chronically ill, to stay confined even after May 11, at least for an initial period.”I imagined he was referring mostly to care home residents and the infirm, but the next day, the head of his council of scientific advisers on COVID-19, Jean-Francois Delfraissy, told the Senate that 18 million “persons of a certain age — above 65 or 70” would have to remain at home when the government starts to lift a strict national lockdown on May 11.For perspective, that’s more than a quarter of France’s population.Asked how long this purgatory might last, Delfraissy replied, “I don’t know. Perhaps until we find a preventive medicine.” The twelderlyIn the quest for a new consumer market, American advertisers dreamed up the term “teenagers” to describe those between childhood and adulthood. More recently, the vernacular has spawned “tweens” to define the pre-adolescent age band.But my cohort of fit, never-been-busier un-retirees lacks a marketing epithet to distinguish us from the elderly. We are the ageless, suddenly brought down to earth by our age. Perhaps we should brand ourselves the “twelderly.”Whatever you call us, we are legion — and we’re used to getting our way.Western baby boomers must be mankind’s most spoiled generation. The economist John Kenneth Galbraith coined the term “The Affluent Society” to describe us. Statistically, we are usually defined as those born between 1946 and the early 1960s — between the end of World War II and the advent of the contraceptive pill.Raised over three decades of exuberant economic growth, consumer convenience and expanding social welfare, we have enjoyed carefree lives without experiencing war, oppression, mass unemployment, hunger or disease. We sowed our wild oats after the pill and before AIDS.As a journalist, I covered the wars, dictatorships, religious conflicts, famines and plagues of other, less fortunate people. But in Europe, we took for granted abundant food and drink; home ownership; universal, high-quality health care; long-term stable jobs with dependable pensions; subsidized culture and — perhaps the most underrated freedom — the right to roam with cheap, unrestricted travel. Also On POLITICO Coronavirus in Europe: Coverage in full By POLITICO Coronavirus vaccine could cost more than Europe’s willing to pay By Jillian Deutsch The term “boomer doomer” even made it into Urban Dictionary — the unofficial online repository of American youth speak — as a synonym for today’s plague. Top definition: “It’s gonna kill all the boomers.”Home-made signs of support of the NHS and care workers in Walthamstow, north London | Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty ImagesThese linguistic inventions are straws in the wind, harbinger of intergenerational strife over who screwed whose future, and who will pay the massive bill for the pandemic.Be prepared for the “twelderly” to put up a fight. We boomers, used to securing our political interests because of our high voter turnout, will have to make financial sacrifices. We know that. Just don’t expect us to enjoy it.But please don’t try to make us sacrifice our freedom to travel, and since it is our own health at stake, let us weigh for ourselves the balance of risks between affection and infection — between seeing our friends and grandchildren, and staying home.Lock up your elders at your peril. They will bite you in the behind at election time. Paul Taylor, a contributing editor at POLITICO, writes the “Europe At Large” column.PARIS — Some days it feels as if the coronavirus, or society’s response to it, is about to cancel the future for my blessed generation.Until early March, I was a healthy, dynamic 65-and-a-bit-year-old, looking forward to at least another two decades of active life, part-time work, travel and exploration with my 70-something wife, a weekly tennis game, concerts and theater outings, parenting and grandparenting, and putting the world to rights over too much wine with friends around our dinner table.