In my home state of California, Gov. Newsom recently commented, “Wearing a face-covering is a sign of toughness, it’s a sign of resolve, and it’s a sign of someone who gives a damn.” Though this could be dismissed as empty virtue signaling, our supreme leader means what he says: those who wear facial coverings are morally superior than those who don’t. After all, according to the media, those not wearing masks are the people causing coronavirus to spread more rapidly; they are preventing small businesses from reopening, which would allow the economy to recover. If that is the case, if what our comrades in the media are telling us is true, then anti-mask believers can be likened to the eternal adversary himself.
Another example of virtue-signaling concerning the wearing of facial coverings comes from Jennifer Aniston, who recently commented on Instagram, “If you care about human life, please… just #wearadamnmask and encourage those around you to do the same.” Last month Aniston donated over $1 million to various “racial justice organizations,” and during those weeks of looting, rioting, and not-so-peaceful protests, she never once uttered a sentiment with regards to the swaths of people who packed the streets, including many without masks.
Last week on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) shared her feelings about President Trump’s decision to not wear a mask: “Real men wear masks. Be an example to the country and wear the mask. It’s not about protecting yourself; it’s about protecting others.” Again, we hear the same message: put the mask on or be shamed! It’s a dogmatic assertion: compliance is the only choice we have, putting on the mask is the one action we can take to avoid being humiliated and condemned. This is exactly what these intimidators want us to believe.
As for the epidemiological evidence that suggests wearing a face mask is a beneficial health precaution, let us hop back to March, when infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci told 60 Minutes, “There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask” and “they (the masks) do not provide the level of protection people think they do. Wearing a mask may also have unintended consequences: People who wear masks tend to touch their face more often to adjust them, which can spread germs from their hands.”
Of course, he later flipped-flopped on this recommendation, instructing people instead to do the complete opposite: “We can say very clearly that wearing a mask is definitely helpful in preventing acquisition as well as transmission.”
Besides the virtue-signaling from mask-wearers, it is more important that we recognize that there are internal institutional contradictions about the precautionary advantages or disadvantages derived from wearing a mask. Not only do I think that institutional corruption is preposterous and devastating, but it is a transparent indicator of a larger problem; we can no longer confidently trust our institutions to provide us with honest information, much less precautionary health advice. Most of us on the political right acknowledge this reality, hence why a sizable proportion of us choose to distrust these particular health institutions when “others” demand that we remain faithful to them.
Whether masks are effective or not, it is a personal decision for every American to make; not for the state to make, not for bureaucrats to make, and, most definitely, not for Hollywood celebrities to make.
Dylan Shetler is a freelancing self-taught journalist and Christian apologist. He owns and operates his personal blog The Onlookers Publication: onlookers.news.