Have you noticed that our dear leaders have been all over the map regarding the wearing of masks or face coverings as part of the public response to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Yeah, me too.

First, masks were useless. Turns out that was a lie meant to ensure that sufficient N95 masks were available to medical professionals.

Then, anything that wasn’t N95 was useless. That was an oversimplification of a nonbinary reality: N95s are better than tight-weave cloth or paper, tight-weave cloth or paper is better than a bandana, and a bandana is better than nothing.

Finally, certain public events (cough, cough, BLM protests) are “too important” to be included in the large-gathering bans or mask-mandates that other public events are being subject to. As if the virus has some sort of woke-discriminator. “Oh, you’re doing social justice? Ok, I won’t infect you.”

So, now, my social media and news feeds are littered with stories of people not wearing masks in public places, of others mask-shaming them, and of still others screaming that the whole mask thing (and in some cases the pandemic itself) is a hoax. The latter is often “supported” by armchair “analysis” (both deserve scare quotes) that argues the virus’s mortality is overstated, that statistics are being monkeyed with in order to amplify the pandemic’s severity, and the like. Since the Internet became a thing, crackpot erudition can be found to support any position at any time. That actual scientific inquiry has become infected with political correctness, excessive logrolling, and a massive reproducibility problem only exacerbates people’s tendency to find and share that which supposedly validates their preferred narrative.

Yet, truth remains truth. COVID is not just another flu bug. It’s worse. While we’ve better learned how to treat it, and have a better sense of who’s at risk, it’s still uncontained, and it’s still harming and killing people.

It will continue to do so until one of two things happens: Enough people get sick (and recover) to achieve herd immunity, or a vaccine is developed, mass-produced, and mass-distributed. Yes, there’s a chance it’ll fizzle out, either by mutation to a more benign form or simply by being isolated away, but there’s no rational reason to think that that’s what we should expect.

The fact that politicians have acted like politicians in response to COVID doesn’t change the truth. While it should serve as a reminder of what we already know: that we shouldn’t overly rely on their wisdom, we shouldn’t expect them to be consistent and apolitical, and that we should view them not as saviors but as the pond scum we generally know them to be, it shouldn’t motivate us to be contrarian.

We shouldn’t fault them for getting some things wrong, because the early information on the virus was scant and conflicting, and many decisions were little more than guesses. We should call them to task for getting things wrong where they knew better (NY governor Andrew Cuomo and the nursing homes comes to mind). But, we shouldn’t let those instances drive us to behavior that we know is wrong, either.

In other words…

Wear a ****ing mask.

It’s a really trivial imposition, in the grand scheme, considering how ravaging this bug is to the elderly and other high-risk groups. Remember, you’re not just wearing it to keep yourself from getting sick, and you’re not wearing it to keep that other young and healthy person from getting sick. You’re wearing it to prevent a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th degree of separation, high-risk person from getting sick. You’re wearing it to keep that young person’s grandparent from getting sick. You’re wearing it to keep that person’s immunocompromised, or obese, or COPD-afflicted, or kidney-sick friend, relative, or acquaintance from getting sick.

Yeah, I get it, it’s bullshit that politicians are giving a bye to massive social justice protests while getting all bully-thug on everyone else, but mask-refusal isn’t truth-to-power, it’s just petty obstinacy. You’re not “showing” the shitheads in charge that you’re not sheep, you’re just being selfish.

Wear a ****ing mask. It’s good citizenship, it’s a kindness to your fellow Americans, and it’s the most trivial of impositions. Even if you believe that COVID is overstated, or that the numbers are being doctored, you can wear a mask. No one of any value is going to chasten you for being a sheep or a sellout. Wearing one doesn’t risk your rights or put your liberty at peril. And, who knows, you might actually keep yourself or someone else from getting sick.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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