The worst of the pandemic is behind us. Let’s rejoice. Some parts of the world, we’re told, are slowly returning to normal.
Although we can debate the meaning of the word ‘normal,’ for the sake of this piece, let’s define it as the time before COVID-19 brought the world to a screeching halt.
Rather worryingly, though, millions of people simply don’t want to give up the idea of mandatory masking and compulsory vaccinations. In fact, it seems many want us to wear masks forever. The question, though, is why? Why would anyone want to live in such an environment, especially if there’s absolutely no need to live this way?
In the United Kingdom, according to the most recent Ipsos MORI poll, a “strong majority” (64 percent) of people would like to see face masks “continue to be compulsory in shops and on public transport” until COVID-19 “is under control worldwide.” Meanwhile, 40 percent are in favor of face masks “being worn in shops and on public transport permanently, regardless of the virus itself.”
More than one-third (35 percent) of respondents are in favor of permanent 10-day quarantines. Almost half (46 percent) of those polled are in support of vaccine passports “becoming a permanent necessity.” A worrying 34 percent support mandatory social distancing measures for life. A staggering 56 percent support the use of contact tracing apps until the virus is under control worldwide, while 36 percent are in favor of permanent contact tracing. A quarter of those polled are in favor of closing nightclubs, pubs, and casinos for good. One in five support a mandatory curfew of 10 p.m.—again, for life.
It’s important to note that Ipsos MORI “interviewed a representative sample of 1,025 British adults aged 16 to 75.” Such subsets tend to accurately reflect the characteristics of a larger group—in this case, the British people.
The findings are both alarming and perplexing. Why are so many British people prepared to live in such a way? More importantly, why do they want others to live in such a manner?
The “until the virus is under control worldwide” point is an interesting one, not to mention a deceptive one. The virus might never go away, meaning there’s a high chance that it will never be “under control,” whatever “under control” actually means. The pursuit of ‘zero COVID,’ as we have seen in Australia and New Zealand, is a fool’s game, not to mention a dangerous one.
Across the pond in the United States, plenty of alarmists can also be found. Earlier this year, in a piece for New York magazine, Eve Peyser interviewed a number of “forever maskers.” These people, as you can probably tell, believe not just in the efficacy of masking up, but in the necessity of masking up for life. To live without a mask, they argue, is to flirt with death. Throughout the article, the neuroticism is palpable. According to the author, a “common thread among these forever maskers” is “genuine worry” about infecting other people.
Although those interviewed appear to have full faith in their convictions, a number of studies have questioned the efficacy of both surgical and cloth masks. When it comes to preventing the spread of harmful viruses, including COVID-19, they appear to be of little use. In April of last year, the World Health Organization released a statement that discouraged healthy people from wearing masks. Unsupported “by current evidence,” wearing masks “carries uncertainties and critical risks,” the statement reads.
In the New York magazine piece, Lina Perl, a licensed clinical psychologist, said the pandemic has resulted in a sort of widespread “anxiety disorder.” Although wearing masks is no longer a medical necessity, this “safety behavior” has become an integral part of many Americans’ lives. This is very dangerous. In Perl’s own words, one “can get disconnected from the actual danger” very quickly. She’s right.
Like masochism, where people derive joy from painful or tedious activities, we are witnessing a new type of “–ism.” I call it “maskochism.” Today, millions of people around the world derive a sort of perverse pleasure from wearing masks, even if there’s absolutely no need to wear them, and even if they do more harm than good.
In the UK and the United States, people’s desire to mask up indefinitely, I contend, is symptomatic of a deeper pathology. We are very much products of our culture. The cultural milieu in which we find ourselves dictates our mindset. As I have discussed before, a culture of fear now dominates. Because of this, many are afraid to embrace freedom. In the words of the author Heather Marsh, “we are in a prison of our own minds holding our own chains around us. We create our oligarchs and fight for their right to oppress us.”
A submissive culture is a dangerous one.
According to a very recent Axios-Ipsos survey, 10 percent of Americans believe our lives will never return to normal. Now, imagine for a second that this 10 percent is representative of the American population at large. That’s a lot of people. A sizable number of these people probably occupy positions of importance and influence, including teaching and politics. Perhaps they’re involved in policy decisions. They probably have kids. Are these kids being raised in an environment where irrational fears reign supreme? How will this affect their development?
Rather disturbingly, far too many people refuse to accept the fact that things are improving. Progressophobia is very real; it’s also very dangerous.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.