Face-masks: do they violate our rights or save lives?

Do face masks violate our rights or help save lives?

Many right-wingers are up in arms about the use of face-masks. Their argument goes something like this:

Making face masks compulsory in shops, banks, takeaways, stations and airports they will extinguish the hope of economic revival. Somehow, our useless leaders have convinced themselves they will increase consumer confidence. But in reality it will make people more afraid to venture out. This will speed up the death of our high streets and physical shops. The internet giants will clean up as a result. Not only that but donning one proves we have become more obedient and subservient.

No more debate

The problem is, the mask debate is now over. In a recent poll, 86% of the public agreed it was critical to wear a mask. A vast majority for the UK, a democratic country where 52% is a mandate for willingly leaving Europe. And wearing a mask is an act of social trust. Even if they doesn’t protect you [they do], they protects others, and people wearing masks protect you.

Plus covering up is a sign of shared endeavor. This is a significant part of getting through the crisis. What we have to studiously avoid is genuinely wanting to punish everyone who doesn’t wear one. This will only help to reinforce what has become yet another front in the culture war. The media has lumped masks in with other activities such as:

  • taking the knee,
  • heartily applauding the NHS, and
  • gender debates.

Left and Right used to typically argue over the equitable distribution of wealth and public ownership. In the present climate the discussion seems to have become about putting small piece of cloth over your mouth when you pick up your groceries.

Photo by Paulo Silva on Unsplash

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Robert Thompson

Robert Thompson

Big ideas and important articles. Writing to help you make sense of the world. And cope with being human.

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