I’ll try to keep this respectful but it’s not easy because the masks that so many of you are so proudly wearing are the pinnacle of stupidity and I just don’t know how to be nice about communicating that.
I know we’re all desperate to stay positive. And I know most Americans don’t have the time or energy to really look past the top-line news they see and hear. And I know the media, academia and Hollywood are very effective at shaping our impressions of social and political goings-on. And I know politicians on both sides of the aisle are congratulating you for “doing your part” to help beat the COVID-19 virus. And I know that makes you feel good at a time we could all really use some lifting up.
It’s a powerful cocktail of forces especially when virtually everyone you know is 100% bought in, too. But as every good parent will at some point tell their children: just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t make it right.
YOUR MASK IS MAKING YOU MEANER
Because you’re wearing one, you’re mad at anyone else who isn’t. You can’t say with any real certainty or evidence that you know you’re right to wear one, or that the other person is wrong not to. But that’s what you were told, and you believed it. So you decided to get a mask and wear it and yes it’s a pain but you believe it’s part of a noble, collective effort to work together and do something big. And I say it’s a pain but let’s be honest: a good chunk of you excitedly see your masks as fashion accessories that make you look cooler, hotter or just more “woke.” But whether you love or hate wearing it, when you see someone who isn’t you take it personally. You’ve been told that that person doesn’t care about your health and safety. And you believed it. And so you see the person who isn’t wearing a mask as a bad person; one who isn’t willing to chip in, as you are, for the collective greater good. And worse, you see someone who doesn’t care if he or she puts others in harm’s way. You’re wrong. And I’ll explain why shortly. But that hostility you feel for those not wearing masks is both unhealthy and unfounded. Your mask is making you meaner.
YOUR MASK IS MAKING YOU DUMBER
You’ve decided to become a “joiner” without doing even the smallest amount of research. You’ve ignored the exhaustive list of things the experts have gotten wrong about COVID-19. You’ve barely glanced at the totality of the social, economic and health-related collateral damage that those experts’ failures have cost you, your family and our country. You were really worried about toilet paper a few months back but as soon as you got a decent supply, you just kind of accepted everything else that came after it. You’ve got toilet paper. You’re good. But man those jobless claims are hard to see. And man that tanking economy and all the businesses that are suffering or shuttering are a tough pill to swallow. Having the kids out of school is uncomfortably taxing on you, and them. Not being able to go out to eat or hang out with your friends, it’s all super rough. But what can you do? We just gotta grin and bear it and listen to the experts. Right? Wrong. You don’t have to look far to realize the experts’ response to this thing was wildly overblown. Everything they advised was to “flatten the curve” so we wouldn’t overburden hospitals. And now hospitals are firing people just so they can stay afloat. Why? Because the experts scared and in many cases mandated anyone who didn’t have COVID-19 out of treating their other health problems. So instead of getting help people are suffering and dying at home. and the hospitals are so thinned out that they can no longer pay their own bills. Great job! Sweden kept everything open and went straight for herd immunity, and their per capita numbers are effectively the same as everyone else’s with one important exception: they’re light years ahead of everyone else in terms of truly beating this thing. These aren’t opinions. These are facts. And you don’t have to look far to substantiate them. But at some point very early on in this whole national humiliation you decided you weren’t going to do any research of your own. You were just going to accept everything you were told. And you were told to be terrified. And you were told to stay home. And you were told never to go within 6 feet of anyone. And now you’re told to wear a mask. And you applied exactly zero critical thinking to any of what you were being told, and instead just accepted it because that’s what everyone else was doing and you lacked the confidence or courage to look more closely or assert even a shred of independent thought. And now you’re walking around with a mask on, and you’re mad at anyone you see who isn’t wearing one. You haven’t spent a full 20 seconds washing your hands in over a month. In fact you’re not even really washing your hands with any more diligence or regularity than you were before COVID-19 arrived. You’re touching your face without giving it a second thought. Those staples of common sense viral risk mitigation are out the window, because you didn’t really invest any of yourself in understanding their application or merit. You just listened to what you were told. And you’re not told those things so much anymore, so you basically forgot about them. But now you’re told to wear a mask. So you’re eagerly doing it. Because doing what you’re told is easier than thinking about things. Your mask is making you dumber.
YOUR MASK IS MAKING YOU MORE AFRAID
You feel good about your mask because you believe you’re making a positive difference. You’re part of something bigger now. You’re doing your part to help really beat this thing once and for all. That’s how you feel. That’s what you tell yourself. That’s what you believe. But as human beings, we have something called subconscious. Your subconscious is where deeply meaningful impressions are forged psychologically that manifest in your thoughts and actions yet are completely undetected by your overt feelings or awareness. And while you tell yourself your mask is a badge of nobility that means you’re doing your part to help save lives, you’re subconsciously reinforcing a constant fear of the entire world that exists beyond the confines of your own home. Everywhere you go, you only see masks. When you don’t see masks, you’re offended and angry at the people not wearing them. You believe masks are saving lives, and the absence or inefficiency of masks means lives are at risk. And it’s constant. And it’s all around you, all the time. You wanted to get back to normal. You wanted to stop being afraid. You were told that masks were the best way to do that. But now masks are the new normal. And that means fear — ubiquitous, perpetual, constant fear — is the new normal. You don’t realize it because you’re so proud to be doing your small part to help those around you. You think about your fear and deem it appropriate given the dangerous environment that lurks all around you. But your mask, more than anything else, is what’s reinforcing the belief that a dangerous environment lurks all around you. And I’m here to tell you you’re wrong. A dangerous environment doesn’t lurk all around you, at least no more than usual anyway. Your mask is making you more afraid.
YOUR MASK IS MAKING YOU LESS SAFE
One of the cooler things about evolution is that nature provided a vaccine that’s built in automatically. It’s called “herd immunity.” And while the experts who want to scare you in to perpetual submission are pretending that “herd immunity” is some farcical phenomenon that only crazy people talk about, it is in reality our only current shot at actually beating COVID-19. The alternative to herd immunity is simple: stay home, keep the economy shut down, continue turning away any patient who doesn’t have COVID-19, and twiddle our thumbs for a year or two while our nation and its people rot away waiting for a vaccine to be found, approved, and delivered to everyone in America. And I’m guessing some of you, because you’re so bought into the fear, would say “Hey man, if that’s what it takes, so be it!” You’re insane. There isn’t a ventilator big enough to save the USA if we did that, and you’re so spoiled by all the comforts and security this nation has given you that you don’t even realize the irresponsibility of what you’re suggesting. The stupidity is eclipsed only by the sanctimony. One of the only things we know for sure about COVID-19 is that the overwhelming majority of people who get it will either have very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. So for the love of all that’s holy if you’re not elderly or immunocompromised, go do everything you can to contract COVID-19. Because the sooner you get it, the sooner you’ll develop antibodies that will prevent you from getting it again. And that means you won’t be able to spread it. And when enough of us get it and can no longer spread it, do you know what happens? It stops spreading. That’s the goal. That’s where we want to be. That, if you were truly wanting to do something noble and contribute in a meaningful way to beating this, would be your goal. But because the experts have you so bought into the fear, and because they’re talking to you about things like “Phase 1” and “Phase 2” and convincing you that means they have a real plan other than herd immunity (they don’t), you’re instead walking around with a mask — meaner, dumber, more afraid — and doing everything you can to make sure we don’t develop herd immunity. Your mask is making you less safe.
Again, I wanted to be respectful but it’s very frustrating to watch. Most of you don’t appreciate that the social, economic and health-related collateral damage caused by our overblown response to this far eclipses anything the virus itself could’ve done with or without our “flatten the curve” measures. Most of you don’t realize that the data you’re being given is massively flawed across every metric and it’s all going in the same direction: toward prolonging the fear and collateral destruction, and away from calm and actual mitigation. Most of you are so convinced that you’re doing the right thing, because most of you are wonderful people who care deeply not just about your own health but your neighbors’, and your parents’, and your grandparents’, and really — at a time so beset by fear and perceived danger — even your worst enemy’s. You’re setting everything else aside because you want to help and do good. And I get that. But I’m telling you, your mask isn’t the way to do that. And I don’t expect you to take a stand with me and try to convince your friends and family and local leaders that the media and academia have been hyping this from the start and have actually been wrong about virtually all of it and have caused a lot more damage than they’ve prevented. But I had to at least try to make this case to you because if nothing else, I want you to be a little less judgmental of the people you see who aren’t wearing masks. I want you to be a little less sanctimonious, and mean, and uninformed, and afraid, and counter-productive with respect to our shared goal of beating this with as little pain as possible. And I want you to seriously consider investing in getting a serology (antibody) test. Because if you already got it and can no longer spread it, like tens of millions of Americans undoubtedly have, you deserve to know that instead of living in constant fear that is actually doing more to prolong the misery than to mitigate it.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: And because “mob mentality” is now considered a virtue while “herd immunity” is considered a vice, I realize anyone who says anything that goes against the COVID-19 grain will be accused of callously not caring if people live or die. For that reason I’m inclined to include this video as often as possible at the end of one of my pieces. If you’ve never watched it, you should. It’s under 2 minutes and provides some much needed perspective with regard to the sanctimony and intellectual dishonesty of the “YOU WANT PEOPLE TO DIE!” crowd.
UPDATE, 5/4/20 at 8:46AM ET: Seeing and hearing feedback that Sweden’s numbers are allegedly higher than everyone else’s. That feedback, like so much else that people are wrong about, is predicated on garbage numbers that the experts are pushing to help keep people afraid. The numbers they’re using assume nobody else in Sweden caught COVID-19 except those who went through their systems and were formally diagnosed with it. That is, of course, nonsense as one thing we know for sure about COVID-19 is that many or even the vast majority of us will have either mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, and are thus not being counted in the coveted “confirmed cases” numbers that Johns Hopkins and others are tallying and the media is amplifying. I explain in more detail in reply to a Sweden-related comment below, and will write about this later today.
UPDATE, 5/4/20 at 12:21PM ET: As promised, here’s a link to the piece specifically about Sweden.
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