A friend of mine’s tearing rage over masks continues. And he has more than a little justice to his rage. Wearing masks causes him significant health problems and others in his family have also experienced significant (trust me on this although I’m not going to go into detail here–not my story to tell) hardship because of the “wear a mask” mandates. So far, I’m with it. Really. However, he then declares that anyone who cooperates with these mask orders either believes that they actually help and is thus “an idiot” or knows better but bows to authority anyway, which he declares makes them “a pussy.” Now, readers of my blog should know by now what I think of the routine wearing of masks, nevertheless I wear one to avoid the aggravation of dealing with some store security guard or being kicked out of one of the only venues I go to for getting out of the house for some decent exercise (see my various “Ice Follies” posts for that.)
My protest is a little more low-key. I wear a mask, but it’s a costume piece (picture at the top of this (and if you like it, you can buy it here) that makes no pretension of any medical value. Nobody has questioned it. Ever. Thus demonstrating that the whole thing is theater.
So, to him, I guess, I’m a “pussy” because I can’t deal with the aggravation of fighting the mask edicts with anything other than words and the low key “type of mask” at the moment. Too many things on my plate and not enough spoons (to stretch a metaphor). This has, however, given me food for thought.
My friend is also something of a firebrand on the liberty front…makes me look like a moderate (and, again, readers of this blog should be able to calibrate that). One of the things he has talked about is the idea of an armed revolt to overthrow a government that has strayed, and continues to stray farther from the ideals of liberty set forth in the Constitution and restore actual liberty to the US.
The thing is, if there ever is a “pro freedom” armed revolt in this country I do not think the person who sets it off will be one of the firebrands like my friend. Those kind of folk have their place as do (so I believe) folk like me who engage in more reasoned (or so I tell myself) argument. Firing the opening shots that sets off a revolution is generally not that role. It’s too easy for the “establishment” to paint someone like my friend (or me) as a nutjob who of course went violent.
No, if such an armed revolt starts it will be because some quiet, ordinary individual gets pushed too far. And a lot of other quiet, ordinary guys will find themselves in sympathy with him, triggering a preference cascade and suddenly a whole bunch of people are up in arms.
Only when the ordinary folk who just want to live their lives in peace find themselves pushed beyond patience and driven to say “enough”, would folk like my friend, or me, possibly find ourselves as commanders or leaders in the events quickly following the cascade. (Well, almost certainly not me because much too “small fish” and not any kind of “expert” in the necessary areas–I recognize my own lack of qualifications.)
Before then, the role of the outspoken–again folk like my friend and me–is to try to set ideas in folks minds, laying the groundwork for that eventual preference cascade. As Samuel Adams once said, “It does not take a majority to prevail, only a tireless minority eager to set brushfires of freedom in men’s minds.” He missed, I think, that by doing so you create a majority…but that comes later. It’s that “setting brushfires of freedom” where the public outcry is most valuable at the moment.
For setting those brushfires, I try to present reasoned arguments. My friend’s approach is bombast. He’s usually got considerable in the way of facts and reason on his side, but his method of presenting those is bombast.
As much as I find the “bombast” approach grating, I have to admit that it has its place. Some people whose eyes glass over when you try reason will respond to bombast. It’s a tool, not an end in itself.
A quote I’ve used is that “in order for you to insult me, I would first have to value your opinion.” Unfortunately, it seems that a friend, and someone who’s opinion I generally do value (and, thus, someone actually able to insult me), considers me a “pussy” because I don’t follow his particular approach for dealing with the mask nonsense.
I guess I’ll just have to live with it.