I’ve always been sceptical about COVID mask diktats because adherence to face coverings has inexplicably landed squarely in absolutist territory. Veiled criticism doesn’t feature when it comes to masks (chortle). Donning a vizard of whatever type is good. Not wearing a mask of any type is bad. And that wasn’t the case a few months ago. Now, we can debate the usefulness of masks until we are blue in the face, or at least that purple tint you get after wearing one indoors for more than 5 minutes.
Incorrigible loonies from both camps abound; foaming, frothing, for-and-against hate merchants who are taking a busman’s holiday from the last most vitriolic debate that polarised the nation, whether that was Brexit, BLM, or trans rights. If there is a convenient bandwagon for rage or self-aggrandising virtue-signalling, those schmucks will be on it.
But the whole diametric is flawed. It is a false dilemma fallacy that ignores that fact that the available options are not mutually exclusive. Surely the sensible positions are to be pro-masks-that-work or to be anti-any-old-mask.
We just need some objective evaluation of available solutions, which after all remains a prerequisite for considered consumption in any free society. However, for that endeavour facts are indispensable, and lamentably, these are no longer at a premium.
Without delving too deeply into the microbiological deets during these most Orwellian of times, some masks are more equal than others. In the place of specific guidance on which ones do and do not cut the mustard, we have over-dressed word salad as a flaccid side order to accompany the entrée of inhospitable repression.
It’s Johnson and his technicolor scheme float.
Stage right, left, and centre, we are collectively, relentlessly, but hardly adroitly bombarded with vacuous, bot-belched shizzle that verb-spews a discourse of mask primacy through ‘science’.
This debate is however anything but scientific. This is all about a logic that we are obliged to accept but not permitted to question. If science is the systematic ordering of knowledge, then there should be a discernible thread of justification that runs through each and every component of a scientific theory culminating in a provable hypothesis. I’ll have a cursory stab at it:
Masks made of x material complying with y and x standards will provide you with n degree of protection against COVID.
However we phrase it, any explanatory or educational proposition will always be destined to garner buy-in in a way that punitive reactionary force will not. And we do now rather need willing co-operation more than ever. In spite of that morsel of common sense, all policy from this current Government adheres to Johnson’s Law of Autocratic Bastardy, which decrees that ‘any decreasing availability of cogent facts is directly related to a corresponding increase in undemocratically restrictive measures.
But back to the unfolding real – or surreal – world, depending on how far round the twist this gibbering junket has driven you. However finely attuned your scientific bent, you can hazard a guess-a-roony that re-modelled underpants and bras are not going to make the grade as the final frontier against a viral tsunami.
Chuck on a piece of old cloth held on by string and be a model citizen. Question the Immeasurable lunacy of the charade and be compelled to wing two hundred notes into a black hole of crippling national debt that will reflect no light for a generation or more.
If science backed a certain type of mask – and somebody took the time to specify it into laws and guidance – we would end up with voluntary compliance and a thumping victory over the bug. Now, wouldn’t that be something? Instead, we get this ‘any mask will do’ nonsense from the COVID King Canute, who seems to think that becoming Prime Minister equated to job done.
The dominant fallacy that continues to shine through this whole catastrofuck is the politician’s syllogism: ‘We must do something; this is something; therefore, we must do this.’ That is the common denominator in the fight against COVID, and indeed every other incident of atrocious governmental reverse alchemy. The wing-it wonders likely superforecast that if they fire enough tactical blunderbuss shot at it, they may eventually hit the barn door.
Our prosperity hinges on how lucky they get, and to date, it is not looking too promising.
Even the packaging on those green surgical masks that the supermarket monoliths are banging out specifies that they are not effective in preventing the spread of any virus. But by wearing one you will satisfy the requirements of draconian laws that are enforced in order to prevent the virus spreading. Pick the logical bones out of that.
Sorry – there aren’t any.
If you do want to get under the skin of this woebegone folly – or indeed any other policy that these lurid turds trot out – don’t waste your breath chasing facts. That is of course if you can still catch any after an afternoon on the tube, breathing through your soulmate’s erstwhile gruds. Just follow the money. Ask who is benefitting from producing and importing the piles of pseudo-PPE, and somewhere in the murkiest depths of a deviously structured and layered corporate web, you will happen upon a lurking, shady limited company with an even more limited trading history. And whoever it is will be filling their proverbial boots and will be incestuously enmeshed within the crony coterie.
Face coverings are merely one of the many wheezes, tropes, and ploys that pad out the narrative in lieu of a cogent plan of action.
Just close your eyes, draw back the curtain. To see for certain.
Any scheme will do.