This Masquerade

A fabulous perspective regarding the whole social compliance thing everyone is dealing with – despite the scientific evidence to the contrary.

This Masquerade

by Hardscrabble Farmer

For those of you who keep up with the stories about our life on the farm, you are probably aware of my stance on the events surrounding the Coronavirus and the reaction to its spread. My personal belief is that any pathogen – regardless of its classification – are naturally occurring organisms necessary to life as we know it. They play a role in a closed system and as such, the idea that they can be eradicated is a knee jerk response predicated on a misconception. For the vast majority of living organisms affected by viruses, they serve to strengthen the immune system, something that has been left out of the discussion for some reason or another. In other words, everything that has been done by government, media, and corporate entities that control the flow of information and influence behavior has been in error, either mistakenly or deliberately. The false hope of a vaccine, for example, allows for people to believe that at some point virologists will be able to immunize the world’s population more effectively than the very system we were born with, one that protects 99.7% of the human race at no cost as long as people behave in ways that reduce their own bodies ability to produce antigens. It is, in short, a panacea rather than a solution. The best protection against illness is and will always remain a healthy body and lifestyle. There is simply no means to eliminate risk from life, and in the words of some anonymous Internet genius I recently read, life is the major cause of death.

 

I belong to a fraternal organization and for the past year and a half have served as the top officer of our lodge. It is made up of mostly older gentlemen in the local community and we meet the last Thursday of each month for a dinner followed by a meeting. There are always friendly conversations- we do not allow sectarian or political discussion as a foundational principle- usually about family, weather, gardening, and other topics that we find to be of interest. A good portion of the men are retired and it allows them to keep up with those friends and associates that they would otherwise miss and those of us who are still working are from a wide cross-section of the community; attorneys and realtors, contractors and professors, business owners and farmers. The general work of the lodge is focused on providing for unmet needs within the community, directing money to scholarships, raising funds to support our local visiting nurse and hospice group, showing up at funerals for those with little or no friends and families locally. We set up a dunk tank in the warmer months at various fairs and festivals and host a Christmas auction that is open to the public in order to raise funds for our work. That’s about the sum total of our efforts and so we remain, after nearly two hundred years, a vital yet inoffensive means for men to come together to do something positive at no cost to the community. For my part, I appreciate the genuine respect and fondness that has grown between the members. When I was injured last year, the men would stop by to check up on me or drop off a pizza and a book or puzzle, and when one of the other members faced some need- like firewood in the middle of winter – we’d drop off a load and stack it in the garage for them. One hand washing the other.

Last night was our first meeting since April. As a general rule, we do not meet during the Summer except at the Hospital Fair, but with the restrictions imposed by both local government and the overall age of our membership, some of the longest-serving members had expressed concerns about both the meals as well as getting together. I should have taken a firmer stand and insisted on continuing with our meetings, but I deferred to concerns until this month when we called for our meeting to be held as required. One of my closest friends texted to remind me late in the afternoon and said to remember to bring a mask. I have not worn a mask since this episode began and I do not intend to for reasons of my own. My youngest children think that I ought to when meeting with people who are concerned about the virus, but as I explained to them it is not simply a political statement, but a matter of conscience. I know that the idea of wearing a filter mask to protect against a virus is absurd, that it is both a mechanism of control and a display of submission to authority that I cannot participate in no matter how much social pressure exists to do so. I am fortunate enough to live a lifestyle where I rarely need to leave the farm except to deal with the back door of the businesses we serve and no one has confronted me about my decision to date. I also feel that to indulge someone’s false sense of security only further erodes whatever good sense remains and that by walking through the world unmasked I send as powerful a message as the converse. Perhaps I am deluded about that, but it seems to me to be a duty and a responsibility I cannot sacrifice in order to fit in with the crowd. Too many times in my life I have submitted to the powerful influence of authority against my better judgment and I no longer care to do so with the remaining time I have left.

I spent the entire day making sausage first by myself, then with my neighbor’s teenage son who is now homeschooling and often drifts up when he is looking for something to get him out of the house for a few hours. He has become pretty good at working with the tools and techniques from slaughter to butchery and now that he understands the recipes for the various blends of spices we use, he can mix up a decent sausage without my guidance while I work on casing them. We talk about what he’s reading, or some math question, but mostly we just focus on the task at hand and I can see the confidence building as he masters each step of his process. His father loves to come up and work with me when he has the time and I send my youngest down to his house to help out so he gets the influence of another male role model without having the baggage of always working under my direction and both boys seem to enjoy the independence that comes with learning some new skill under the watchful eye of a trusted adult. We never require them to work a fixed amount of time, only to complete whatever it is that they were doing before wrapping it up and going back to being teenagers and it seems to be having the desired effect. They continue to come back and their skills continue to improve as they make their way towards independence.

masquerade - This Masquerade

By the end of the day, I was done. If I could have skipped the meeting I would have and my daughter implored me to stay home. She knew I was tired, but I told her I had a responsibility and so I took my shower, shaved and dressed, then left the house with just enough time to get to the meeting. On the way, the only thing I could think of was how the men would react to me not wearing the mask. I admit to feeling the pressure of going along with the crowd as much as anyone else, but as I have told my children repeatedly over the years, my duty is to my conscience. I had all kinds of snarky lines prepared for the inevitability of someone confronting me, none of which I have had the chance to use, but these are designed for strangers, not men I respect and admire so I focused on that single line- I have a duty to my conscience- as the one I would employ should someone insist. I was also prepared to leave the meeting if it was an issue, not as a protest, but out of deference to my elders and I would have had it become an issue. I arrived 3 minutes late for the official start of the meeting and was the last man to walk into the hall. When I entered the room, everyone was seated in a circle, something we’ve never done before and every man was masked up. One of the men let out a low whoooah when he saw me, followed by a comment about Richard Gere. For those of you who know me I have worn hair in a military cut since I enlisted in the Army over forty years ago. Because of the restrictions that arose in April requiring masks for a haircut I simply gave that up and let it grow and it is now shoulder length and looks like a silver lion’s mane. I took my place behind the podium and gaveled the meeting to order smiling at the large turnout. Our recording secretary was absent so I appointed someone to take his place and commenced with the proceedings.

And then a strange thing happened. As I looked up I noticed that one by one the men began to remove their masks. Before we brought in the flag for the Pledge of Allegiance everyone in the room was uncovered and smiling.

The rest of the meeting was perfunctory and we discussed a few things we had coming up including a memorial service for one of our brothers who died in a fall down the stairs in mid-January, a sad end to a well-loved member of our community who, fortunately, due to his advanced age missed out on the plague year. At the end, we all said our goodbyes and there were even handshakes before we headed off to our homes. When I got back my youngest son asked if I had decided to wear the mask and I told him what happened which led to a discussion about the Milgram Experiment. I pulled up a short YouTube video of the actual footage and after that, we talked for a while about how important it is to follow your conscience as opposed to submitting to authority. He told me how difficult it was for him at his age to go against the crowd even though he felt the same way about the masks and then he asked me if I had ever followed along when I knew something was wrong and I admitted that I had, many times and that I understood his position quite well. I followed it up by telling him that I thought he had much better instincts about such things than I had at his age and that he was developing the kind of character that I admired and always incline towards his own best instincts. We worked on a puzzle until we were too tired to go on.

Anyone who fails to recognize how the majority of Americans if not the entire Western world has been manipulated and gaslit by the elites will follow right along to the end, like the teachers in Milgram’s experiment. There aren’t a lot of people in this media-saturated age who can withstand the pressure brought to bear to enforce compliance and as we’ve seen lately those who do resist are now being dealt with by force and violence even in the face of the ridiculous nature of those demands. But resist we must if we are able, not for ourselves alone, but for those who may not have the maturity or knowledge to stand up on their own. I have no plans to violently resist wearing a mask, that is not a hill I wish to die upon, but I will not wear one. Someone may at some point demand that I do, but they will have to put it on me themselves without my help as a means of demonstrating that not every knee shall bow. I hope that it never comes to that but it is looking far more likely than anyone could have guessed at only a few months ago. I am sure that most people still expect that we will return to normal at some point, but that seems very unlikely. Masks are the progressive niqab and they are here to stay, like social distancing and the continued move to atomization and isolation. Much like the four pillars of Stockholm Syndrome we have been separated, placed in a constant state of fear, promised safety if we comply, and told that we are all in this together by the people responsible for our predicament. Is it possible that this is an accident or an unforeseen coincidence that just happens to coincide with long-planned efforts to modify our society for the advantage of a small set of people who behave however they like while we comply with their demands? Who knows, but more importantly, who cares at this point? The motives mean little when the outcomes are as dystopian as the ones we are currently experiencing. Like the abuser who laments that it’s for our own good as he piles on the perversions, it is we who suffer regardless.

I don’t have any answers to our current dilemma, I’m still trying to figure this world out at the age of sixty. I do know that we are being manipulated and abused by people who do not have our best interests at heart and it becomes more and more undeniable as each day passes. How we respond to that is a personal decision and I do not fault anyone for doing what they have to to get by in times like these. For those who are comfortable with the new reality or who believe that the masks offer some sort of protection, I respect their decision, but everyone ought to be able to rely on their own best judgment rather than be compelled by the directives of others. But never forget that we can do even the simplest of things in order to show that we are still free; to smile at each other when we pass, to extend a hand in greeting or to hug each other in times of grief, to show up at a funeral or a bedside and offer what little we may to boost the spirits of others or offer consolation in times of loss. Teach those when you have something to offer, learn from others who know more than you do whenever you can, and always remember that whatever divides us we share a common humanity that offers us far more than we could have ever earned on our own.

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