COVID, the tyrant's portal
COVID was when it all started falling apart. It was the rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouching towards Bethlehem to be born. It was when the left came into its own and began to assert what may well become full and irrevocable tyranny. You can't have a thoughtful, rational discussion about what happened with people who believe you were participating in murder if you didn't stay home, wear a mask, and stand six feet apart from everyone else on the planet. Happy recollections of traveling elicit condemnation when everyone else was cowering in front of his Zoom cameras. People were damaged by what happened but not in the way they imagine.
A teacher was one of the first to put on a mask and insist that everyone who came to visit do the same. In her mind, it was a life-saving gesture, one that any rational person would take. She got comfortable with the idea of staying home. She could teach without taking off her pajamas. She thought it was too much of a risk to be among other people. She was out in a crowd yesterday, safe because she has been vaccinated four times. She considers anyone unvaccinated to be a danger to humanity. "COVID is still out there," she says, completely disregarding evidence that the vaccine doesn't actually keep you from getting sick.
She may believe that the unvaccinated are the reason for the continuing spread, the perfect excuse to round them all up and force compliance. It was the ones who refused to get vaccinated who murdered the ones who are now dead. How do you sway a mind so set in the groove, resting as it does so unwaveringly upon an authoritarian narrative, brimming with so much drama? It is pointless to argue if you want to keep peace with your neighbor.
Image: Sad woman in mask by Rawpixel.
The counterargument winds up being ideological. You have to see the world the way it is and understand truth as something absolute, not something that shifts with any preference. The guy with an esteemed degree and heavy political pull helped shape public policy with the assistance of crisis propaganda. Science bereft of method made it all work. The same political technology makes climate science absolute and immune to the simplest, most commonsense questions. The science of virology was made to appear incontrovertible and the conclusions irrefutable — not because of adherence to the scientific method, but because a source deemed authoritative by politicians said so. Research continued, and facts began to fit theories, then voilà! The entire world found itself isolated and alone, perfectly placed to be driven insane by propagandists who endlessly dispense dark fantasies based on lies.
It's hard to say anything at all when others are looking for someone to blame. People can be dangerous in a crowd. It is risky to speak of certain things here in the north. You bide your time and wait for the right moment to say something that once seemed amiable. It seemed a reasonable contribution to the conversation about enjoying the crowded street on a warm autumn day in the city, but the response is intense and immediate. "People were dying!" There is no reason at all for anyone to fondly recall teeming humanity in the south two years ago when everyone up north was hunkered down and following directives. The crisis has passed with assumptions about the vaccine's effectiveness. Everyone in the south who could no longer stand being isolated is deemed to have murdered even more people than would have died otherwise! The teacher's message is clear. The memory should be shamefully buried and never spoken of again. Silencing achieved, the day continues.
The more time spent with Democrats in the family, the more you feel less a part of the family. It's hard to resolve so many conflicting emotions. The ideological battle is so much easier to wage in the public square, even if the square is getting smaller by the minute. Republicans are mean, by the logic of Democrats. Their arguments are harmful and their motives sociopathic. You hide behind a Libertarian façade (right-leaning libertarians are more palatable, for some reason), but your voter registration card says Republican, and you have no intention of changing it. It is the anti-authoritarian aspect of Republicanism that is attractive if it even exists at the moment here in the real world. It's the lure of rebellion experienced by anyone at odds with the adoption of chains.
And yet, here you are, chained to silence by an irrational ex-wife and three irrational daughters. Peace is easier to maintain in the home. There are places to which one can escape. Shows to be watched. Books to be read. It is no doubt a form of cowardice but worth the stain for the inner peace required to appreciate the absurdity of it all. Outsiders get a sense of superiority that insiders can only dream of.
The number of people still wearing masks is surprising. The deadly carbon exhalations escaping from one's mouth, the ones destroying the world, are perfectly fine when returning to the lungs from which they were dispensed, apparently. You wonder how much brain damage occurred from continually breathing expended air without the filter of surrounding space to mitigate the toxins.