Advocates of “selflessness” use the mask and COVID hysteria as an opportunity to preach their views. “Refusing to wear a mask is selfish,” they proclaim. Leave aside the lack of medical benefits of wearing a mask, in most cases. Leave aside the fact you can infect yourself with germs from wearing a mask all day long, a disgusting practice when you really stop to consider it.
The issue, to them, isn’t really medical. It’s ethical. In their world view, you should seek out every opportunity you get to be “selfless”. You should wear a mask precisely BECAUSE it’s unpleasant, uncomfortable, and creepy. And if the mask doesn’t protect you from an illness, or even increases your risk — why, that’s all the more reason to wear it! Be selfless, they preach — even as they impose THEIR OWN will upon everyone.
Most of us are taught from early childhood that selfishness is bad and wrong. Therefore, most of us are afraid to name this issue, much less challenge it. So most of us meekly go along with doing what we’re told. Is it really fines we fear? Can the police really arrest everyone if we all stop wearing masks? No. It’s shame that’s making most of us comply.
Ironically, the people who demand the most selflessness from you are the most “selfish” of all, by the conventional definition. Think about what they’re asking. Not asking, but demanding. They’re saying YOU must take responsibility for people who are too afraid to leave their house, but who leave their homes anyway. If they’re really so afraid, they’re free to stay at home. Why should YOU or I be responsible for the fearful person’s CHOICE to leave the house, even though that fearful person is petrified of doing so? Isn’t that “selfish”, in the usual sense, of the fearful person to demand that you lock down, give up your income, quarantine and wear masks indefinitely into the future for HIS or HER sake?
Nobody ever addresses this question because it’s never asked. It’s never asked because most people are more afraid to even be SEEN as selfish than the COVID hysterics are of catching the virus. And that’s a shame. Because that’s the whole reason the entire world is walking around wearing a mask now, when their elected leaders — too busy banishing police — would never be able to do anything about it if they rebelled.
SHAME and moralistic lectures are the things getting most of us to wear masks, even though it’s highly unpleasant and makes no sense. The reason we feel shame is because of faulty thinking about selfishness.
And once we’ve trained ourselves to wear masks for no reason, we’re programmed to do the next thing we’re commanded to do for no reason. You might think it’s an overstatement, but this is exactly how Hitler got otherwise reasonable Germans, back in the 1930s, to tolerate cattle cars and concentration camps. Hitler, by the way, preached selflessness too. Hitler was a socialist. That’s what “Nazi” stood for: National Socialist. Socialism means selflessness, for the sake of the state. Hitler was as proud of his socialism as he was of his anti-Jewish nationalism.
Socialists are wrong. Self-preservation and self-interest are NOT bad. You are not harming another by taking care of yourself. You are not harming a person who’s scared to leave home due to COVID (or any other reason, like car accidents). They don’t get to say, “I’m scared of a car accident. So everyone must stop driving.” For them to call YOU bad for doing so makes them guilty of the very thing they condemn.
In a free and rational society, COVID would, of course, be a concern. It would be concern — not a crisis. Just like the Swine flu and H1N1 were. We’d all be deciding what measures to take to avoid catching it. Some of us would just ignore it, exactly as many ignore it today. In a free market for medicine (we don’t have one), where competing profit-makers (hospital owners, etc.) would have made sure there were plenty of ventilators for the tiny minority who do get really sick, it would never have been a panic.
It would have been live and let live. We wouldn’t have turned into a sickly hybrid of Soviet Russia, Maoist China and the darkest moments of the French Revolution.
The reason all this happened is because of our faulty thinking. And the biggest example of faulty thinking is our moral condemnation of the very thing we all need for health, happiness and survival: self-preservation.
If someone tries to shame you for not wearing a mask or for doing anything else they label “selfish” and therefore bad … Tell them, proudly, they don’t own your life any more than you own theirs. Tell them, “My body, my choice.” And walk away.
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