reports from the trenches: massachusetts edition
the gentry seem quite put out that the commoners are out and about
i just got this missive from a friend (budding econ phd) in massachusetts.
“Massachusetts removed its mask mandate over the weekend. Almost nobody wears masks. The Red Sox (baseball) and the Bruins (hockey) had full-capacity games over the weekend and not a mask in sight. There are some folks still wearing masks, but they’re mostly in the elitist enclaves of Cambridge, Hyannis, Boston, and Newton. Everyone else is pretty much mask free.
Anecdotally, what I’ve noticed is the attitude about masks between the blue-collar left (majority) in Massachusetts versus the elite left (minority, but vocal) in Massachusetts. The blue-collar Dems have the attitude “yah, kid! We beat the virus! Masks off, ya townies! Wicked pissah! Pass me a Sam Adams and let’s get this pahty stahted” whereas the elitist are “Oh my goodness. Look at the rabble, going maskless. Do they not know they look like Republicans! Ho, my stars! I must clutch my pearls!” “
i present it because it’s such a perfect exemplar of so much of what has been going on in the US all year. the hyperconformist elites and their “experts” have been tutt-tutting and muttering things like:
“i say old chap, are you sure letting the proles go back to doing whatsoever they like is wise? they seem such a rash and rambunctious rabble, not at all suited to self governance. steady hand and strict rules are good for them i always say! shall we luncheon at french laundry? i believe gavin is having a party.”
but all along this has been the dichotomy. the costal “elites” and the allegedly educated have been all about conformity and listening to the charlatanry and performative science theater of “experts” and “government” all year whereas i have yet to meet a plumber that bought into this. the extraordinary variance in take has had such a powerful political dimension that it was never plausibly about science, and, frankly, the lockdown and mask prescription was such a complete reversal of all standing pandemic policy as to render such claims ridiculous.
this is and always was purely political.
politics drove policy and policy had no effect on outcome. like it or no, that’s the science.
this was not about science. it was about control.
i don’t mean this in the “the left/elites tried to take over the world” sense (though to be sure some of that went on). i mean this in the deeper sense.
why do people become left or right? why are they “progressive” or “conservative” or even one of those disreputable “libertarians” that are always trying to oppress us by protecting our rights and leaving us alone?
people opt for paternalistic bossypants social welfare/moral welfare authoritarian states for two reasons:
they are nervous, frightened, and lack independence so they seek structure and authority. note that such people also tend to fear or dislike independence in others as well.
they think that they will be the ones wearing the bossypants and running the show and advocate for the system that puts them in charge.
both issues are about control. some want it imposed upon them, others would like to do the imposing, but both think “it’s for your own good.”
the left tends to gravitate toward notions of “the perfectibility of man” by imposing the “right” system and rules upon them. sowell speaks eloquently to this in “vision of the anointed.” the left tends to seek to change humans and their behavior with government. this makes it an attractor for the fearful and the oppressive alike.
it’s not a coincidence that the more leftward one leans, the more likely it is one has been diagnosed with a mental health issue. this does not mean all leftists are crazy, but it does at very least mean many are worried about it and more likely to seek aid and authority figures to tell you what to think. i also suspect considerable under-diagnosis of megalomania and narcissistic personality disorder among “elites”…
ask yourself: how much of this have you seen all year? the right get called “fascists” for wanting to be left alone while the left seek to impose sanction and stricture upon all but their own leaders.
somehow nancy can get her hair done in a closed salon, gavin can have a shindig at french laundry, and cuomo can run a riot of terrible policy, flat out illegal coverups, and harass the ladies and it just goes away.
if you take off your mask in a supermarket, it’s treason but they can see video of fauci walking around the senate without one then putting it on right before the cameras turn on and it does not even register.
they want the theater. they want to be fooled and comfortable. tony can say he flat out lied about masks (for your own good) and they say “ooh, how brave! how noble!” it’s just adulation and fanclub fanfare.
the rules are not for the rulers and those ruled would never seek to demand that they be applied that way.
that, amigos, is control. it’s an aristocracy and a multitude of serfs who are willfully subjugated to them.
of course they get furious at others proles who refuse to bend the knee. how could they not? either it’s nobles that see you as a rabble in need of authoritarian governance or worse, it’s serfs jealous and furious about some farmers and tradesmen being free from the domination they have voted upon themselves.
it reveals it as a choice, not a need. it makes them feel weak because humans adjudge their welfare in relative, not absolute terms.
your freedom literally does oppress them. it makes them feel worse off and they dislike you for it.
worse, they feel like the solution is not to get free, but to be sure you get more subjugation. take another look at that mental health chart. this is not the mental state of a healthy, happy person.
and we’re REALLY starting to break down into this now. as the threat fades and panic pushing eases up, rationality returns and new light is cast upon old policy.
fear deprives a person or a people of their reason.
it’s going to crumble rapidly now because a rational society chooses very different policies and polestars than a terrified one.
but not everyone is happy about this.
it’s also going to go tribal. those who got used to ruling or used the comfy wubbie of authoritarianism and the soothing balm of “no one else getting to go out either so i don’t have to compete with them” are in for a rough ride. one the one hand, i’m tempted to have some sympathy for their plight, but on balance, i really do not.
my freedom does not end where the neuroses of others begin.
the ride they took us on by force and against our wills was one of the most harmful in peacetime human history.
the costs were savage and will be with us for years to come. the benefits were epidemiologically non-existent.
all the benefits went to shouty leaders, authoritarian agendas, crony capitalists and bureaucrats, and the fearfully anti-social who never wanted to go out (or to let you do so) anyhow.
so, enough is enough. go live your life. it’s safe. it always was. go back to ignoring the karenocrats who would take your liberty to assuage their anxiety.
the time for that nonsense is long past over.
government by crybully is no way to live.