Covid-19 Therapy Blog 3: Mask Mandates II #COVID19 #COVID19THERAPYBLOG #LIBERTARIANISM

This series of posts might serve as a bit of therapy for me and help me work stuff out.

Me, December 2021

Introduction to this series of posts
Link to all posts in this series

Introduction

In my first post on this Covid-19 Therapy Blog, I talked about my Libertarian instincts and why I think mask-wearing should be a personal choice, not something mandated by the State. Here I explore this a bit more (in this short* post).

For your own good?

We let people engage in all sorts of risky behaviour, even behaviour that can harm others. For example, we don’t enforce mask-wearing for those who have a cold or other sicknesses, nor in my opinion should we.

But okay, let’s say for argument’s sake that this virus is sufficiently lethal that we needed to be told to mask up at threat of criminal sanction, the question remains: for how long, and at what cost?

My daughter is three. She has never known a normal world. We used to laugh at the East Asian fetish for the mask. Let’s get sick, let’s build our immune system! That’s what we used to say. But yes, let’s look after our vulnerable so they are not at undue risk (by keeping them at home, for example). This is the way it always was: humane, free, but responsible.

We also used to scorn the niqab and other garments which veil a person’s face and take away their humanity. Yet now those who don’t mask up are seen as scum. Worse, they will be fined or arrested.

My daughter

What affect will it have on my daughter not growing up seeing people’s faces? This thing has gone on for two years. Two years is nothing. But for my daughter, two years is her whole world. I’m thirty-seven. It’s no exaggeration to say that her last two years are equal to my last thirty-six; it’s all she’s ever known. I fear for my beautiful girl and what this normalising of not seeing people’s faces, what this fetishisation for a lack of germs, is doing to her.

*My personal definition of “short” is less than 300 words, maximum; more than that, and a blog posts starts to feel like an essay.

**The Wikipedia page on Libertarianism which I linked you to says this: Libertarianism is a political philosophy that upholds liberty as a core principle. Libertarians seek to maximize autonomy and political freedom, emphasizing free association, freedom of choice, individualism and voluntary association.

© 2021-2022 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image taken from https://www.fsb.org.uk/static/351a084c-3d5f-4d75-8dfabfa5f0c5d993/COVID19-Header-Image.jpg

Covid-19 Therapy Blog 2: What Is “Libertarianism”? #Covid19 #Covid19TherapyBlog #Libertarianism

Introduction to this series of posts
Link to all posts in this series

In the first article in this Covid-19 Therapy Blog, I talked briefly about why wearing face masks can be good and why it can be bad. I also mentioned my instincts coming at things from a “libertarian” approach.

Yes, I am a “libertarian”, but what does that even mean? It’s becoming a much-maligned term, especially slandered by those on the left as uncaring fat cat capitalism, but also sometimes by those on the right as “libertinism”.

Given that my libertarian instincts inform most of my thoughts on this current Covid-19 situation, I thought it might be a good idea to attempt a brief definition of what Libertarianism actually is for my readers.

The Wikipedia article which I linked you to in the previous posts starts by summing it up pretty well:

Libertarianism is a political philosophy that upholds liberty as a core principle. Libertarians seek to maximize autonomy and political freedom, emphasizing free association, freedom of choice, individualism and voluntary association.

We believe that respecting individual rights in this way is the only moral way to live. Sadly, when there is a public panic, people often lose their minds, and many unfair and illiberal things become law… Surely, “my body, my choice” still holds, does it not?

© 2021 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image taken from https://www.fsb.org.uk/static/351a084c-3d5f-4d75-8dfabfa5f0c5d993/COVID19-Header-Image.jpg

Covid-19 Therapy Blog 1: Mask Mandates #Covid19 #MaskMandate

This series of posts might serve as a bit of therapy for me and help me work stuff out.

Introduction

I’m trying not to do too many political posts on this blog anymore, but I feel I want to record some of my thoughts here on a current issue which is vexing me greatly. This series of posts might serve as a bit of therapy for me and help me work stuff out. If it’s a good read for you, too, then all the better.

I will try to keep this series of posts short* and non-polemical. Let’s see if I can resist the urge to rant(!)

Mask Mandates

We can all understand the logic of wearing masks. It more-or-less stops a virus spreading in much the same way that wearing a rubber johnny stops one getting pregnant or getting an STD; it’s not perfect, and it depends on how well you use it, but it is essentially effective.

On the downside, we don’t get exposure to sicknesses which we need to in order to build and maintain a strong immune system. This is an especially big deal for young kids, and being the father of a young child, this is something I am constantly aware of.

Conclusion

As a libertarian**, my feeling is that the wearing of masks should be entirely up to the individual in public spaces and up to businesses / landlords in privately-owned spaces such as shops. A virus that has a low percentage of killing you — and I absolutely do not belittle the many millions of awful deaths that we have suffered, but the fact remains that the percentage is fairly low*** compared to, say, the Black Death**** — I feel should leave the mask-wearing up to us.

My daughter is three. She has never known a world where she can see people’s faces. God knows what psychological effect that will have on her in the long run.

Notes:

*My personal definition of “short” is less than 300 words, maximum; more than that, and a blog posts starts to feel like an essay.

**The Wikipedia page on Libertarianism which I linked you to says this: Libertarianism is a political philosophy that upholds liberty as a core principle. Libertarians seek to maximize autonomy and political freedom, emphasizing free association, freedom of choice, individualism and voluntary association.

***About 2%; see here.

****30-75%; see here.

© 2021 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image taken from https://www.fsb.org.uk/static/351a084c-3d5f-4d75-8dfabfa5f0c5d993/COVID19-Header-Image.jpg

“But Brexit ISN’T ‘The Will of the People’!” #Brexit #BRINO #WillOfThePeople @Anna_Soubry @StevenEdginton @WestmonsterUK

Anna Soubry, the Conservative MP who stood for election on a 2017 Manifesto which committed to delivering Brexit and who herself in 2017 said “you can’t vote for a Referendum & then renege on delivering the result because you don’t like the result”, has famously reneged. She has done nothing in the last year but attempt to overturn the decision to leave the European Union, most recently voting against her own Government’s position on the recent Customs and Trade Bills by trying to tie the UK into a Customs Union with the EU.

How times change…

But by now, all politics junkies know she’s unprincipled (although I’m not sure to what extent the general public is aware of the extent of her unprincipledness). What has piqued my interest, however, is that now she’s talking absolute rubbish on Twitter, again. Specifically, she’s parroting the oft-repeated, in-vogue line that, actually, the vote to leave the EU wasn’t the will of the people after all! Why? Because whilst it is true that more than half of those who voted did indeed vote to Leave, many people did not vote at all. Some 27.79% of the eligible electorate didn’t bother to vote, in fact. This means that, of the total electorate eligible to vote in the EU Referendum, 34.74% voted for Remain, and only 37.47% voted for Leave — considerably less than 50%!!

Soubry fails logic

However, this is a completely bogus argument. There is always a huge percentage of the electorate who don’t vote. Indeed, as one Twitter user (@AlastairJT) has helpfully pointed out to Ms. Soubry, she herself was elected in 2017 on less than 50% of the electorate; the turn out in her constituency of Broxtowe was 75.0%, of which she achieved 46.8%, giving her a grand total of 35.1% of the electorate — a lower percentage than voted for Brexit.

But actually, the issue is even larger than that. More people voted for Brexit (17.4 million) than for anything else in British history. Moreover, and this is the master stroke I feel, you have to go back to the General Election of 1959 to see the winning party earn a higher percentage of the total electorate than the 37.5% who voted for Brexit. 1959! When Britain was a virtual two party state. And indeed, you have to go back to the 1931 General Election before a party achieved a higher percentage of the turn out than Leave achieved — and that was because the Liberal Party had imploded and split four ways.

If the vote to leave the EU wasn’t “the will of the people”, then nothing is…

As they say in football, “you can only beat the teams that are put in front of you”. That more than a quarter of the population stayed at home does in no way invalidate the result of the EU referendum. If the benchmark for a vote to qualify as the “will of the people” and be so enacted is more than half of the total electorate voting one way, then no General Election since 1959 has been “the will of the people”, and nor was the election of Anna Soubry herself. If the vote to leave the EU wasn’t “the will of the people”, then nothing is.

© 2018 Bryan A. J. Parry