If you feel like you are back in high school while being ordered around and told to wear a mask and not question it, you are not alone.
Do not dare defy this order. If you do, Big Brother, in the form of some junior league media outlet reporter, will expose you to all their Twitter followers as not doing your part for a better, safer and healthier society.
You must be shamed!
That is not an exaggeration. It is, in a literal sense, precisely what is going on in our country and our state.
However, it isn’t that there is no merit to wearing a mask to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. It probably does.
Is it definitive? No one knows. That is the most significant thing about the coronavirus. There are a lot of unknowns.
There are arguments on both sides of this whole mask situation. We could probably debate, hurl insults and review spreadsheets and charts. Then we still might not come to a consensus as to whether or not local mask requirements are worthy of violation of an individual’s liberties.
It is, however, remarkable how the issue has become political.
“Ah, come on — wearing a mask isn’t partisan! It is good health! It is the right thing to do! And it is science!”
Has anyone noticed that generally speaking, the pro-mask crowd is left of center, and the anti-mask crowd is right of center?
This is not a coincidence. Almost every public debate, if you boil it down, comes down to the individual versus the collective. The right stakes out the side of the individual, and the left is firmly entrenched on the side of the collective.
Should an individual’s liberties be violated by government telling him he has to do something? Should we not mandate this if it is for the “greater good”?
Our institutions do play a role in this. Americans once trusted elite institutions — government, entertainment, finance, media.
The trust has eroded over the past few decades. Our once-elite institutions are now just elitist institutions.
For example, not that long ago you read something on the front page of your local newspaper, it was something you could believe or at least know a good-faith effort was made to convey the truth.
Now, everything is politicized. Everything in many newspapers has a political angle — story selection, placement and construction of the inverted pyramid in articles.
They told us not to vote for Donald Trump. They told us Russians were knocking on our door, interfering in elections. They reported someone put a noose in Bubba Wallace’s NASCAR garage stall, which was an act of hate.
Now we must wear masks, or we all die — or at least grandma gets it.
People do not believe you. There is no balance. It is all or nothing. You’re either with us or against us. And, the ends will justify these means, so we are told.
This is where the delineation of elite and elitist occurs.
At one time, our elite institutions were trusted and could make the case — this is why you should wear a mask and encourage others to do so. People would have gone along with it, organically and patriotically.
However, our friendly elitist institutions now tell us we should obey and that we are not intellectually equipped to know what is good for us.
“You people elected Donald Trump. He is bad. Therefore, we do not owe you an explanation. You must trust us because we have social science degrees from smart-people places like Northwestern, Duke and Cornell.”
“You have a dishwasher repair certificate from a correspondence junior college. Do as you’re told and leave the intellectual heavy lifting to us sophisticates.”
Somewhere along the way, we have lost the concept that trust is earned and not granted through some authority. The bar to earn that trust is much higher in Alabama than it is on a national level.
Why is that? It isn’t because we are inbred, barefoot and paranoid, although some say that is what being conservative entails.
Alabama is a right-of-center state. Most of the people in southwestern Alabama are ideologically conservative. They work hard to pay taxes and bills, raise families and be a productive part of society.
All of a sudden, here comes Susie Monroe of Action Eyewitness News taking to social media expressing her disappointment that people would dare go to Cracker Barrel or Walmart without a mask.
What does she know that makes her smarter than anyone else? She has a liberal arts degree from some mediocre northeastern private school and is slumming it in Alabama until a bigger market comes calling?
“Well, the experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci say .…”
That takes us to a place where we get into debating science. It is something very few on any side of an issue have the ability or the credentials to do. Nonetheless, everyone returns to their battle stations.
It might be different if there was not the apparent perverse incentive of gaining a political edge. Using the power of government to tell people to do something is a violation of freedom. Sometimes those violations are necessary.
It is not irrational to question measures when it seems that we’re throwing things at the wall and trying to see what will work.
Most importantly, stop treating adults like children who do not know what is right for them. We know the impulse of the nanny state is to tell people to do as they are told. But we are not there — at least not yet.
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