Should we wear masks?

The question of whether masks should be worn has become a widely debated topic. A division has occurred between the people seeing them as the key to returning back to normal, and those considering them an authoritarian attempt to invoke fear and separate people from each other.

The question that truly needs to be answered is how much we are willing to sacrifice for safety. Philosopher, Matthew Crawford presents the term “safetyism” as a belief most us carry, consciously or not, that determines that any choice that can be perceived as creating more safety is always the morally superior one.

It has likely been this belief that has been responsible for much of the ethical debate and even shaming that is taking place regarding the usage of masks. There seems to be a sense of moral superiority in being for mask-usage, lending a self-righteousness to people making them feel justified in shaming people for not wearing masks, and even reporting them to law-enforcement.

This seems to be based on a scientism that doesn’t take eye for the nuance in the evidence of mask-wearing, which is generally considered weak, as stated e. g. by the Chief of Covid-19 in Sweden, Anders Tegnell. Thereby, it can be argued that the wearing of masks serves more as a symbol of compliance than a measure of safety, the purpose of which is to send a signal of being part of the in-group, -of being a good person. This is inherently a toxic way of behaving, that in practice leads only to shaming, persecution, and tribalism, as we in order to deem ourselves good, must condemn our opposition as being “bad”.

It is especially problematic when people feel fear to such a degree that accepting mandatory mask-wearing is not only accepted but defended by them, without the willingness of questioning the legitimacy of the action.

We saw safetyism at play after 9/11, where the US created the Patriot Act, and thereby expanded its capacity of surveillance of all citizens. This was 20 years ago and yet the surveillance was never dismantled, we simply got used to it. Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and others are still being persecuted for revealing the severity of the situation and have since their whistleblowing become examples of how dissidents will be treated.

The current narrative echoes the previous one; “We can’t allow this event to happen again, so we must mandate masks, lockdowns, etc. as regular procedures”. As corporate media and corporate-owned governments seek to spread as much fear as possible, people become increasingly prone to any proposed remedies without regard for the consequences thereof.

There is a framing of the opinion that the economy should remain open, as if this opinion is only held by oligarchs seeking to continue their financial gain, and while there is certainly truth to this, it is cruel to ignore the fact that millions of people will not be able to pay for food or housing. Our economic activity certainly needs to shift into sustainability yet cutting people off from their livelihood and only sparingly compensating them is inhumane. Furthermore, there is a disregard for the increase in domestic violence that has occurred during the lockdowns, as families with abusive caretakers and their children are now pressed into a situation of economic distress and constant contact.

The same disregard can be said to have taken place when it comes to the elderly, for whom we somehow decided that mere survival was worth more than their actual quality of life. It may seem cold to point out that elderly people are likely to die soon, due to Covid or not, yet what is truly cold is allowing these people to die alone. In this case our denial and fear of death has led us to assume it is better for an elderly person to gain of a slightly longer life, than it is to die with dignity and the comfort of other people.

All this being said, most people have little issue with wearing a mask in situations that demand sterility, yet to think that we are going to somehow achieve long term health by wearing masks in public or by staying indoors, is merely a hubris in our current disconnection from nature. The current setting of industry and consumption is pushing the earth to the brink of ecological collapse, especially due to air-pollution and use of glyphosate in agriculture.

Researchers have found that the areas of the world with the highest rates of mortality and infection from Covid, have been the exact same areas in the world that have the most air pollution and usage of glyphosate/roundup. The Hubei-province, where the virus originated, has the highest level in the world of glyphosate and roundup being sprayed onto their agriculture, as well as the highest use of antibiotic usage in their production of pork. Furthermore, the region is polluted by the emissions coming from Beijing, and of these emissions it was found that coronavirus and influenza binds itself to the small carbon particulate, making it easier for the virus to travel airborne and harder for the immune system to handle it.

The point here is to say that viruses have been around as long as we have, and that it is really our own misalignment with nature that is causing them to hurt us. Currently, this misalignment manifests itself as our consumption of huge amounts of animal products and processed foods, that have all been created with the use of toxic chemicals. This consumption has put chronic diseases of every kind on the rise, and even disabilities such as autism are on the rise, as shown by Dr. Zach Bush MD, who is a foremost expert on the gut micro-biome.

All this being said the usage of masks does intuitively make sense, regardless of its efficiency, in that we might better sustain sterility in certain settings/areas. This is obviously why surgeons wear them during surgery, and most people agree with the usage in such situations. The more problematic and divisive aspect of this is the mandate of using masks in public spaces and outdoors in general.

It can be argued that we should wear masks in public until the infection rate of Covid has reached a low enough number, but this in itself is highly problematic in a myriad of ways. We have seen how estimations of infections have been drastically higher than what actually occurred, and how much inaccuracy there has been in even determining the actual rate of both infection and mortality. Especially when it comes to mortality we have seen numerous cases of deaths being blamed on Covid solely based on the virus presence in the body, regardless of any other causalities for the death. Either way corporate media seems only capable of framing information around Covid so as to maximise fear in the population.

As argued by oxford epidemiologist Tom Jefferson argues, there is a lack of tolerance of uncertainty, which motivates usage of weak scientific evidence for masks etc. As argued earlier, fear can make us more susceptible to any message or person who provides the promise of safety. This is further supported by colleague, Professor Carl Heneghan:

By all means people can wear masks but they can’t say it’s an evidence-based decision… there is a real separation between an evidence-based decision and the opaque term that ‘we are being led by the science’, which isn’t the evidence”.

Even the strategy of suppressing the virus remains disputed by above mentioned scientists and many others, as they argue that we need to learn to live alongside the virus, since attempting to lock down countries until the disease

Wearing masks, lockdowns, vaccines are the policies that have been deemed as the right ones by governments and by the pharmaceutical industry, yet these are at best short term solutions to our global problems. That is unless we want to sit inside or wear a mask for the rest of our lives while vaccinating ourselves against every possible set of viruses that we will see in the future. Furthermore, they seem to be the very policies that create the most fear in the population, making it easier to subdue and control.

When we as people accept the narratives as they are presented by the media and government, we need to understand that we are being manipulated into accepting a specific agenda that maximises our dependency and compliance with the state and the large corporations which own it. Consent is being manufactured.

Instead we need to take the opportunity that this virus brings with it to realise how our current societal structure is actually not beneficial for us, but simply serves to centralise wealth and power in the hands of oligarchs.

This is not a time for blind obedience, but a time for questioning everything we’re being told, especially by those who benefit from keeping people in a state of fear.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store