A reader who wishes to remain anonymous has sent us this – an account of how they’ve been inspired by my no-more-mask declaration to follow suit.
I applaud Toby’s decision to stop wearing a mask from June 21st. Having made the same decision, I thought I would jot down some reflections on the wearing and the non-wearing of masks in these irksome times.
Perhaps more than anything else over the past 15 months, it has been the masks that have disheartened and dismayed me. The sight of hordes of mask-wearing covid zombies shuffling around the high street on a bright sunny day is a scene of bleak dystopian misery and I can only hope that future generations will regard evidence of this phenomenon with a combination of bewilderment and hilarity. Sceptics will be familiar with the arguments against masks – they don’t work; they are chiefly a psychological tool to remind us that “there’s a pandemic on”; they are a superstitious comfort blanket for the terrified and a symbolic totem for the zealous virtue signallers. I suppose at this stage in the game you either get it or you don’t, so I’m not going to dwell on the case for the prosecution.
But here’s the thing – despite hating the fetid and otiose rags with every fibre of my being, up to now I too have been wearing a mask when required! I know full well that many people have refused to wear one from the outset, and I admire their integrity. But I myself have been an abject coward. I have worn a mask in shops; on the train; when picking my son up from school. Yes, I have indulged in mild acts of subversion – the occasional baring of the nostrils; the chin dangle on the train while drinking a bottle of water that I made last for an hour. But deep down I knew that these petty acts of defiance, like a truculent schoolboy slouching around with his shirt untucked, were pathetic and ineffective.
So why did I comply? I justified it by believing that I had no choice but to obey the law. However unjust we might find any given statute, I lectured myself pompously, those of us who believe in the rule of law and the social contract that underpins our democratic society are duty bound to follow the law of the land. Otherwise the whole system will founder.