The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

The Weird Logic of COVID-19 Panic

Posted on | April 20, 2022 | Comments Off on The Weird Logic of COVID-19 Panic

Tuesday afternoon, Nate Silver was trending on Twitter because so many liberals were trying to “dunk” on his take about the end of the mask mandate for air travel (after a federal judge in Florida ruled that the CDC doesn’t have authority to impose such a restriction). The fact that so many people were in panic mode about the end of the mask mandate — more than two years after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic — is highly illustrative of the “maximum restriction” mentality that liberals have displayed about this virus. Start with a simple question: Does wearing a mask protect you from COVID-19?

If the answer is “yes,” and you are protected by your mask, then why does it matter whether or not other people are also wearing masks? If you think other people must also be compelled to wear masks — because their mask protects you from their germs, supposedly — then doesn’t that imply that your mask is ineffective? But if your mask isn’t working to protect you, then why do you think their mask is necessary, since you apparently don’t think masks really provide a barrier to germs?

We could have a long discussion about the efficacy of masks — do they reduce the spread of airborne viruses by 10% or 20% or whatever? — but the real bottom line is that people who act as if masks will protect them from COVID-19 don’t really seem to believe masks work that way, or else they would be content to protect themselves and not worry about whether other people are also wearing masks. And we could say much the same thing about COVID-19 vaccine mandates: If you think the vaccine will protect you, why does it matter whether other people are also vaccinated?

The fact that the arguments for mandates are so easily exposed as illogical — the people in panic mode can’t really justify their panic — tells you that the real motivations are emotional in nature, reflecting a dictatorial mentality that seeks to impose conformity to rules on others.

On the one hand, I suppose, the explanation could be that there’s just a greater tendency toward hypochondria among liberals, irrational fear of disease being somehow correlated with belief in Keynesian economics or whatever. But on the other hand, I think the more likely explanation is that many liberals are control freaks who obtain sadistic pleasure by dictating rules that other people are required to follow. This is the true heart of contemporary liberalism, I would argue — they just like bossing other people around, and their weird enthusiasm for mask mandates and vaccine mandates are simply manifestations of that general tendency.

The backlash against Nate Silver — a credentialed progressive in good standing, last time I checked — reflects this mentality. Liberals expect everybody on “their” side (including everyone in the media) to sing in unison from the same hymn book, and any dissent must be shouted down. Do you see what I mean about the sadistic nature of this control-freak mindset, and the way that imposing conformity is fundamental to the appeal of liberal politics? Independent thought is anathema to them, and the idea of people just living their own lives without being forced to comply with rules (on masks, or vaccines, or pronouns) infuriates them.



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