This has been a dry run of sorts, giving us a peek at how willingly we would be to allow tyrannical authoritarianism to govern us. In this time of mandated mask-wearing – I have discovered it has also been a time of an unprecedented unmasking. We have learned who among us are the likeliest to turn us into the Gestapo, as well as those willing to vote away our constitutional rights if their fears dictate it. We have seen the mask fall from the contempt many of our politicians and municipalities have for us – willing to ignore our constitutional rights at a moment’s notice, under the rubric that “emergency powers” are somehow unconstrained by the constitution, and therefore can be treated as de facto carte blanche authority.
The flaw here is the assumption that the primary role of government is protection – defined as an assuaging of our fears by keeping us safe . . . not realizing that protection defined this way allows the government to completely dictate the terms of how such protection is achieved. When in fact, the primary role of government, under our constitution, is to protect our rights — so this crisis has clearly unmasked what the government would much rather protect. Which brings me to another unmasking – the unmasking of how we’ve come to define leadership.
We’ve come to expect leaders to make pronouncements about what’s wrong and then mandate behavior, accordingly. So instead of leaders actually leading us by inspiring us to coalesce around a common cause, inviting us to join together as a community – we have chosen to empower bloodless bureaucrats to draw their line in the sand and then defy us to step across it. We’ve allowed them to pronounce who among us is essential and who is not – predicated on a criterion that is not only thoroughly unconstitutional but also ends up unmasking how capricious our politicians can be and how they would reorder society if ever given the chance.
We have also come to expect every expert in a given field of study, to speak for *all* experts in that field — as if that were the way that science actually worked . . . as if disagreement with then government’s (media’s) approved science, by dissenting expert voices, was nothing more than a display of deficient professional integrity and moral character, and shouldn’t be regarded as scientific. So the way we define “expert” has most certainly been unmasked. In this way, we have allowed the significance of our lives to be defined and measured by belief systems that we’ve never actually subscribed . . . and that should give you pause.
If there is a benefit to the government’s overreaction and overreach in this crisis, it has been that we can now see what has been metastasizing perniciously within the ethos of our culture. We have witnessed how prevalent phobic hysteria can become, and how many fascists, and fascist sympathizer live among us. But we have also witnessed the heroic and the courageous, those willing to place themselves in harm’s way — those willing to stand up to the challenges of this healthcare crisis, as well as those willing to stand up to the out of control authoritarians who have attempted to leverage this crisis for their own agenda.
So just look around you – all of the masks are coming off . . . you may not have an opportunity like this one again.
Featured Image by Annie Spratt