Archives for posts with tag: masks

A thoughtful fellow commented on how someone could argue for mandating a moral good. He pointed out how nearly everyone agrees religion is a moral good, but we all insist on freedom of religion. Of course. (Wise man, isn’t he?)

I add that available evidence shows clearly that individual religious observance is beneficial for the individuals and their groups. On the other hand, available evidence shows masks have no benefit with regard to viruses, and they result in grave harm to individuals and groups in psychological factors. Masks and distancing interfere with what makes us human; we are communal, and masks break the communion.

I here provide a link,, to a definitive study from authoritative sources that establishes mechanistic measures do not impede virus transmission. Masks do not slow the spread of viruses.

The study was completed before politics entered disease research. If you look, you can find several older studies concluding the same, though most aren’t as thorough and definitive. I’m not offering any supporting evidence regarding religious practice, but you all know that, and you can look for yourself if you want evidence. When religions are abused for evil, it is by authoritarianism. Authoritarianism is always bad regardless of the level of application or the means. Authoritarianism can be inflicted by science and experts as easily as by religious officials. It can be wielded by bosses or politicians or police or menial bureaucrats. The result is the same, coercion. Coercion is evil.

Masks don’t help. Please don’t mandate masks. If you call for the imposition of masks and other socially harmful measures, understand I define your actions as evil; you are causing unnecessary, unjustifiable suffering. Perhaps you don’t care about my opinion, but if it is evil, are you willing to live with that? Are you intentionally inflicting evil on society and your fellows? I say so.

I ask why? Why are you willing to coerce your neighbor when coercion is certainly evil? Are you afraid? Then I say grow up.

I have erred. There is hardly a more axiomatic truth than, “coercion is evil.” Some draw the line at physical violence; some at aggressive, insulting, in-your-face shouting-level speaking, but I draw it at knowingly, intentionally manipulating or deceiving, no matter how politely.

I trust I haven’t deceived anyone, but I have grown manipulative. I’ll do my best to correct that.

Laws, in general, are coercive. Yes, I hold that most laws are evil. Perhaps I should say most laws are more evil than the thing they were intended to prohibit. (Authoritarian prohibition doesn’t work.)

COVID-19 has created a catastrophe in the USA. While the virus itself is tragic and horrid, the aftermath has weakened our society such that I believe we are in the last days of the American experiment. Lincoln feared we would not long endure at only four score and seven years. We have made it a ways past that, but I think we’ve lost the plot. I am not optimistic about the world we are leaving our children and grandchildren. They may have their own bloodlettings, tragedies that might make the world wars and the communist slaughters seem trivial in comparison.

Still, humanity has been in sad shape before. No matter how bad it gets, brighter days lie beyond. I weep because I believe my generation and the current generation should have seen it coming and avoided it.

For those with apocalyptic suppositions consistent with Pentecostalism, I do not suppose we are in those last days. I’ve grown to suppose we should take the promise to Abraham as more literal than the description of the end times common among the tribe of my upbringing. That is, I expect the descendants of Abraham to number as the stars before that great and terrible day of the Lord. No time in history has better matched the premillennial interpretations better than WWII. We are still here.

To the point: I am firmly convinced that persuasion is an illusion, and the only true persuader is the pain and suffering resultant directly as consequence of one’s own belief and actions. When we suffer, when our children suffer, directly as a result of our choices, then we change our minds and our practices. Nothing else persuades, at least nothing humans can wield in any sense.

It seems to me we all unconsciously understand this fact; though I’ve yet to meet anyone who humbly accepts it. (I have much to grow into regarding that particular humility.) People pretend persuasion is real. People like Scott Adams admit most of it is hypnosis and trickery, but that is simply manipulation. Such persuasion techniques lure some into one’s fold, but nothing like rational mind-change and growth is involved. Argumentation never convinces anyone. The rare instances of seeming persuasion result only from truth-seekers who happen to find better truth while in your presence and under the sound of your voice. Your arguments didn’t convince them. They were already convinced, and you just happened to help them realize it. Because one’s effort to persuade are ultimately frustrated, everyone degenerates to coercion, or at least the desire to get one’s own way. Consequently, when we can’t persuade people to do what is right, we attempt to force them for their own good. It is the foundation of all the evil humans commit against each other.

I tend to forget persuasion is an illusion. I intentionally commit myself to truth and reality as best I can manage, and I tend to assume my arguments, my presentation of facts and rationality, can somehow lead people to better truth. It is easy to be fooled into thinking there are means of persuasion. No.

No matter how sound my argument, no matter how demonstratable and replicable my facts and figures, they mean nothing to the one who wasn’t already approaching them to begin with.

Facts do not matter.

Truly, to us humans, facts don’t matter.

We pretend to “believe” in facts. We assent to science. Still, to most people, science is merely a secularized religion and blind faith. Facts do not matter to us in general.

You can’t understand something when your livelihood depends on not understanding it.

What applies to understanding applies to persuasion. People believe whatever they want to believe for whatever reasons (or emotions) they find sufficient at the moment.

One cannot get from an is to an ought.

We all know that. We all pretend our science, our reasoning, our facts, our data, “clearly and obviously” show what ought to be done. Yet, policy is merely politics. There is no science nor facts involved except by happenstance.

I’m above average regarding what is. Really. As haughty as it is to say so, I do understand the is of things better than average. That is, odds are I understand whatever it is we are talking about better than you. You can take offense at that, or we can continue.

Regardless of how well I understand a thing, even if my understand is closer to ultimate reality than all other observers, I have no authority to impose what you ought to think about it. Whether I am perfectly right or absolutely wrong about it, there is no difference with regard to what anyone ought to do about it. My rightness or wrongness regarding the facts does not usually affect the morality of it.

The COVID-19 virus caused political panic, and our governments imposed grave hardship on our society. The least among us suffered most, and the infection spread unabated, and many died despite illusions of control.

Because facts don’t matter, I’ll not compare the infection-epidemics of the last century. Any story anyone wants can be woven from the history and the scant data. What is clear is our governments overreacted. It matters not how much or what might have been done differently or better. The fact remains, our governments overreacted at all levels, but facts don’t matter.

Typically, viruses spread quickly, and deadly viruses tally deaths frightfully. So was COVID-19. Then, it subsided just as viruses typically do, and our governments mostly became more rational again, but the rot is extensive and the loss of the plot of our national story is too far gone. Politics and the fears that drive politicians have held sway, and the madness of the crowds has only grown darker and more destructive.

Lacking control, and politicians find lack of control to be an existential threat, the politicians flailed about for anything to grasp and control. The pain and suffering resultant from lockdowns was sufficient to dissuade many politicians of trying that again, so they settled on ritualistic outward shows. Face it, the mask is no more than a social-religious purity rite. One can point to countless superstitions and religious rituals that are the same. While there is no evidence the rite is at all efficacious for the need, it obviously does something; “it helps” is so easy to say when this or that can be shown to be reliably demonstrated, despite the fact that none of it addresses the disease or the realities of transmission. It looks good to the majority; thus, it must be so. Facts don’t matter.

I can point to many more research papers than you can, but facts don’t matter.

Masks are of no practical value, but facts don’t matter. This is where we stumble from the is to the ought.

Masks are not medically significant, but they are an outward show, and they are supposed (they ought) to be of at least some moral significance. See the difficulty? The fact cannot argue for the ought. The moral significance is not something science or medicine can address. The moral significance is a cultural and religious issue, thus, a social-religious purity rite is the obvious outcome.

In the USA, we hold moral significance in the separation of the church and the state. The government, at every level in our nation, ought not impose any religious practice on anyone. We, as a culture, find it morally reprehensible to impose the beliefs of some onto others. It is our moral consensus, the majority opinion, faithfully held and executed.

Yet, our governments are imposing an outward moral practice, a social-religious purity rite, upon us all regardless of our own individual morals or convictions.

Can you acknowledge that mask-wearing is a moral issue?

If you can, can you not see that many individuals will have moral convictions in opposition strong enough to die for, strong enough to fight for, even kill for?

Why would you want that?

Is your fear of the virus so overwhelming that you will trade the life of the person willing to die for his beliefs over the person who might not be able to overcome an infection, an infection that is likely inevitable eventually anyway?

I started by saying I erred. I tried to manipulate people emotionally with shortcuts to my arguments here.

I hold it self-evident that authoritarian impositions directly harm the lest among us, especially those with less mental stamina than average, those who just might be pushed into suicide or unrecoverable mental illness by the authoritarian imposition.

While mask-shamers assert refusing masks endangers others, I am just as certain mask-mandaters are endangering those who could not resist the power of the state, the police, the fine-collectors, and the jailers.

Thus, I erred, I sinned. I repent. While the mandaters and shamers were trying to coerce me and others resistant to being told what to do, I was trying to coerce them for opposite reasons. The basis is moral. It cannot be resolved without relationships, trust-building, and proven good faith.

Thus, I find the reason for coercion and mandate. Power corrupts, but it temporarily enforces the morals of the powerful.

Get it? Some say, “But not everyone will do what is right.” Of course. Fundamentally, you have no authority to say what is right. While you are so fallible, your highest ideals and notions of what is right are as filthy rags. Of course, not everyone will do it. Many will believe it is wrong to do it. They believe you are morally wrong. You have no authority to assert otherwise; thus, you grab power, you call a vote to rubber stamp your edict, and you make pretenses that your coercive evil acts are justified. No, it is not justified. It is merely hypnotic manipulation of the mob. Mob rule is never justifiable.

No, your evil coercive acts bread more evil and coercion. Soon, it is the Soviet Union. Soon, it is the Gulag and every third person is a government informant seeking some small favor and morsel of the power for turning you in.

Only love can drive out hate. Only relationship, trust, and cooperation can find and build societal moral consensus. Seizing power and forcing mandates, restrictions, and social-religious purity rites may work quicker, but is far more brutal. It is the opposite of humane. We pass more and more laws and emergency edicts at our peril.

It is not just a mask.

Call me crazy, but taken to the logical extreme, wearing face masks and observing (and enforcing) social-religious purity rites will disrupt most humans beyond our capacity to live civilly.

For thousands of generations, for heritage beyond all but the memory written in our genetic code, we humans have lived in close communion with one another, often touching for work, for communication, for cooperation, for comfort, for comradery, for communion, and for intimacy.

After a successful run of more than 100 years hardly observing more than common-sense hygiene practices and routine handwashing, we’ve all the sudden lost our collective mind and we are afraid, not only to touch each other, but to even approach each other, and the gravest, hateful sinner is the one you fails to don a face covering.

No, for the sake of humanity, no.

We humans cannot survive without closeness.

I suppose the face-mask fad will wax and wane like all fads and cults, but what if it doesn’t? What if politicians and the powerful find it useful? What if the authoritarians find the lust for control overwhelming and unrelinquishable? What if mob-mentality rules and nonconformists are scapegoated and actually stoned or shot or caged? That is not a world I would wish on the vilest among us. It is certainly not a world I’d want to live in.

More than enough experts have weighed-in regarding mask efficacy and lack thereof, and nuance is lost to most. Masks obviously do some with regard to reducing respiratory expulsions, but is it enough? Are normal respiratory expulsions, even with the currently feared virus, significant as a vector for infection and transmission? Evidence is mounting that it is not.

Evidence is leading to the standard vectors of face-to-hands-to-face and direct contact with infected people. Yes, transmission of this virus and some other viruses through the air do occur, but they are rare. Most occur with intimate or jubilant physical contact. We’ll be wise to not be too familiar and close in crowds and with strangers, but we cut ourselves off from physical contact at existential peril.

Coercion is evil.

Coercing and mandating certain behaviors establishes you as part of evil and part of the problem. Even if the mandates and coercion are actually for the better and efficacious, we destroy our humanity, we destroy our souls, in the enforcement. We cheapen life and individuality to the ever-increasing central power and authoritarian control. We become the brave new world, and, figuratively or literally, we all die.

Wear a mask if you feel like it, but please respect others and do not try to force or shame behaviors that you happen to prefer at the moment, especially with such new and unproven behaviors, behaviors that certainly go against all of human history.

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