Daily COVID deaths and new cases are down to pre-pandemic levels in America. Even the CDC says masks are no longer required for vaccinated people. Heck, even school teachers are returning to the classrooms – sans masks – now that their demands for more money and less work have been met.
Weirdly, however, many people are still wearing masks. In fact, I often see mask wearers driving around alone in their cars. What’s up with that?
A little historical context is necessary. Dr. Fauci originally told us that masks were not effective. It turned out that he never really believed that. He was lying in order to conserve the masks for people he thought deserved them.
Then when masks became plentiful, the good doctor said they are effective after all and so we should wear them. He himself took to wearing two at a time, both over his mouth. I rather wish he’d worn half a dozen.
Within about 9 months, vaccines were approved with an efficacy of 95%. You know, the vaccines that the media “journo-scientists” (could there be a more oxymoronic hyphenation?) predicted and prayed would take years if not forever and would have an efficacy of maybe 60%.
Most of America has now been vaccinated. The virus is nearly extinguished except in the fever swamps of redistributionist lefty so-called minds where revolutionary pandemics will live forever. It’s something like the way Karl Marx lives gloriously forever in their minds, god-like. Or the way Donald Trump lives ingloriously forever in their minds, rent-free and satanic.
Which brings us to the politicization of masks. Recognize that over the last year there have been two camps of extremists at work. In one camp are the COVID skeptics. They believed that COVID was a hoax ginned up by the likes of Bill Gates to implant microchips in us in order to monitor our thoughts. Because, never mind his billions, Bill Gates is very interested in what you and I are thinking from moment to moment.
Anyway, the COVID skeptics expressed their skepticism by refusing to wear masks because, they fervently believed, COVID didn’t actually exist or, if it did indeed exist, it wasn’t actually dangerous or, if it did indeed exist and was indeed dangerous, then, by God, they still would not give in to Bill Gates. These mask-refusing COVID skeptics got downright religious about it.
The COVID believers were equally clueless about the need for masks. By then, Dr. Fauci was advising them that his earlier advice was a lie but this time his advice was truthful – really! – that they should wear masks.
Besides, tribalists being tribal, the mask-wearers had to do the opposite of what the mask-refusers were doing. So, the mask-wearers got as religious in wearing them as the refusers were in refusing them.
Politicians, being despicable people who encourage tribalism because it keeps them employed and in receipt of, um, donations, made things worse. On one side, Donald Trump often didn’t wear a mask. And so, the mask-wearers felt even more obligation to wear them lest they be mistaken for Trump.
For example, a fully vaccinated leftist 21 year-old gun-taker (who naturally thinks he knows all about virology and disease transmission) posted on Twitter that he would continue to wear a mask out of fear that without one he would be mistaken for a conservative.
Think about that. A kid who purports to “follow the science” will run the opposite direction if necessary to avoid being mistaken for a science-follower who happens to be conservative. And I’m supposed to follow him? Does he bring similar analytical rigor to his gun-taking routine?
On the other side, Joe Biden wore a mask even on Zoom calls to a dozen mask-less world leaders (does Biden think the virus is small enough to hop a ride on a WiFi signal?) and so the mask-refusers had to be especially careful never to wear one lest they be mistaken for Biden.
OK, the political tribalism I’ve described so far is well known and indisputable. But here’s where it gets interesting and less known.
This past spring, the tables were turned. As vaccinations edged toward herd immunity levels, it became OK not to wear masks. The CDC and even the COVID czars like Dr. Fauci said you could toss the mask if you’re vaccinated. Most of us did exactly that.
But to toss the mask implies that one has complied with the condition imposed by the COVID czars – that you’re vaccinated. But the COVID doubters are as doubtful about the vaccine as they are about masks. They consequently feel pressure, for the first time, to don masks in order to signal to the world that they they’re not vaccinated (and are therefore impervious to Bill Gates’ prying and perverted eyes).
Conversely, the opposite tribe – vaccinated persons – are careful to do the opposite. They’ve dropped their masks in order to signal to the world that they are vaccinated.
It’s a little like the second half of a football game where the teams switch ends of the field. If you see a mask-less person today, he’s probably of the tribe that used to be masked. And if you see a masked person today, there’s a good chance that he’s of the tribe that was formerly mask-less.
Or maybe the masked person is just stupidly fearful of a virus that is nearly extinguished and is now less likely to kill him than lightning, or lightning bugs. Or a school teacher holding out for a little more money and a little less work. Or a politician owned by the teacher unions.
As for me, I’ve always worn a mask but only when the place I happened to be required me to. If it’s their property, they can make the rules for me coming onto it. Masks are not a political statement for me. For political statements, I have more important ones to make.
For the record, I was also a volunteer a year ago in the Pfizer vaccine clinical trials. I volunteered because I wanted to be vaccinated. Call me brave, call me altruistic or call me stupid. I call me pragmatic and maybe a little selfish. As with my politics, I save my religion for higher things.
Glenn K. Beaton, the Aspen beat. Subscribe HERE.