Arguing With A Brick Wall

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing this bright and beautiful day? It’s that time of year where all of the doctor check ups/appointments seem to pop up together. Dad and I had the one with our PCP last week, he has one with a shoulder specialist this week, I have a dentist appointment that I’ve been putting off since the pandemic began next week, at the end of the month I see the pulmonologist, then early next month we both have at least one more appointment. Anyway, it has me thinking about masks and how people refuse to wear them. It’s annoying. It’s idiotic. It’s just people being assholes. And I’ve already ranted about it before, but I guess I’ll do it again.

I laughed.

Despite what people say, there’s no reason not to wear a mask. Other countries have been wearing face masks for years. In Japan, it started about 150 years ago as a way for miners to cut back on inhaling dust. In 1918 they became more popular to help stop the spread of influenza. And from there it’s just become a normal part of life. It’s common courtesy to wear a mask, especially when sick, so you don’t spread your germs. Yes, having to wear it every time you go somewhere can be annoying if you’re not used to it, but that’s no reason to flip out about it. So, why are Americans so opposed to the little piece of cloth? It’s ridiculous.

I even got bored enough that when a friend made a snide comment on another friend’s Facebook post, I engaged in a stupid argument that ended up being about how masks are bad for kids, physically and mentally. I asked for sources. He sent three articles and a YouTube video. I didn’t watch the video (I had stuff to do and I prefer to read), but I did go through the articles. The first one quoted a study, but the study they link to is for something completely different and doesn’t mention the quote at all. The second article made claims without research to back it up (the research papers it did reference weren’t horrible, but left a lot of questions open), didn’t mention that solutions have been found for many of the issues, and was obviously skewed in what it mentioned or neglected to mention. The third article wasn’t even relevant since the study it was based on has been formally retracted due to questionable methodology. It took me a few clicks and some light reading to see how many holes these articles were full of. I didn’t even have to Google anything. I just followed their own links. Why don’t other people do that? It’s not usually hard, unless the sources and effort put into the article are legitimate. If everything is legit, it’s much harder to find flaws. And yet people still insist on using this stuff as “facts.” Just stop.

Yeah, I know. It’s all a conspiracy by the Left to control people. Right? Just like pants and shirts and shoes and every other item of clothing. That’s all masks are. New clothing. Why don’t you run around naked if you’re so against a piece of clothing? It’d be more entertaining than hearing another rant about civil liberties. Or is it because you don’t believe in Covid? I guess people are just dropping dead for no reason. Seriously. I don’t understand people. And it’s like arguing with a brick wall. Non-maskers are fucking idiots and that’s all I’m going to say on the matter.

I’ll try not to go off on a rant next week. Feel free to share your thoughts or comments here or on my social media pages as usual, but I will be monitoring any arguments and intervene if things devolve too far into chaos.

The Great Mask Debate

Hello, hello! How is everyone doing? Last week, I had to go to the doctor’s office because I hadn’t seen her in over a year and I needed a prescription (she doesn’t do televisits). I wore a mask that Dad had custom-made to work with my ventilator, plus I wore a face guard for extra protection. I looked pretty stupid, but that’s better than getting Covid. Anyway, as many of you know, I’m in Texas. It’s a hotbed for the virus right now, but a good chunk of people are still making a fuss about wearing masks. So, I thought I would take the time to articulate my thoughts on some of the most common arguments against masks that I hear.

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At least my Cowboy Bebop shirt is cool.

1. “Being forced to wear a mask infringes on my civil liberties!”
Two questions: a) What are “civil liberties?” and b) Exactly which liberties do masks infringe upon? Let’s start with question a. Civil liberties are individual rights that protect us from tyranny and laws that are not created for the good of the community as a whole. In other words, your civil liberties are stuff like the freedom of speech, the right to a fair trial, freedom of the press, the right to vote, etc. Mask laws are for the good of the community as a whole and don’t stop people from saying whatever they want or anything else like that. So, question b is a trick question because masks don’t affect your civil liberties at all. That argument only makes you sound like an uneducated sheep who heard someone else say it and thought it sounded legit. It’s not.

2. “Young, healthy people aren’t killed by Covid, so they don’t need to wear masks.”
First off, that information is false. Young and healthy people are dying from it too. But the biggest issue with that statement is the fact that masks are not meant to protect the wearer. They’re more effective at keeping the wearer from unknowingly spreading the disease (any similarly transmitted disease, not just Covid). Basically, it’s a matter of protecting the people around you at the expense of your own comfort.

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3. “Masks are hot and uncomfortable, so I don’t wanna wear one.”
I’m sure a lot of people feel the same way about clothes, but we still have to wear those in public. But this selfish argument stems from the fact that America is an individual-centric society instead of a community-centric one. Many of us are raised to put our own needs and desires above everyone else’s. So, the thought process of “I’ll endure some mild discomfort to protect my fellow citizens” is literally a foreign concept to many Americans. It’s not an excuse, but apparently it’s a hard habit to break. Add it to the misinformation from the above argument and the selfishness just gets worse and worse.

4. “There’s so much conflicting data.”
Is there, though? I mean, are you actually approaching this topic from a research perspective or are you just looking for “studies” that confirm your bias? Are you looking at peer-reviewed articles and studies with appropriate sample sizes? Let’s say you’re writing a research paper and you require ten sources… are you sifting through (and ignoring) hundreds of studies that don’t support your hypothesis just to find ten that vaguely support your hypothesis? Have these studies been replicated with similar findings? Or are you just spouting “data” you saw on some Joe Schmoe’s website? The data in favor of masks is pretty overwhelming if you look at legitimate studies. Stop being willfully ignorant.

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5. “Covid is a hoax and masks are the Lefties newest way of trying to control us through the government!”
I see you want to go full conspiracy theorist on me. Challenge accepted. So, the government is using masks to control you? They give you your own personal identification number at birth and track it until the day you die. They make you register every major purchase you make (homes, vehicles, etc). They allow tech companies to install bugs in our homes and vehicles to track our every movement and purchase preferences (because every smart device we own is listening to us). But, yeah. Masks are how they’re controlling us! It has nothing to do with the fact that they want to keep us divided about every little thing to distract us from how inept all of them are at actually running a country. The conspiracy theorist in me wouldn’t be surprised at all if the conflicting reports on the effectiveness of masks were all funded by the government just to sow dissent among us. But instead of erring on the side of caution and wearing your masks while you take a good hard look at how poorly the government is actually handling everything, you’d rather throw hissy fits in Costco. Congrats on being a pawn of the government! /end conspiracy theorist mode

There are other arguments I could address, but writing this post gave me a headache, so I’m going to stop and do something happy for a bit. Feel free to share your thoughts and comments here or on my social media pages. Disclaimer: arguments based around facts are completely acceptable even if they get a little heated, but if it devolves into name calling and rudeness, I will intervene.