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We Stop for Stop Signs July 1, 2020

Posted by Peter Varhol in Uncategorized.
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Well, of course we do.  We obey stop signs and other traffic signals without even thinking about them.  Even if no other cars are in sight, we stop at stop signs and look both ways before continuing.  Even in the middle of the night, the vast majority of drivers stop at a red light until the light turns green.

Yet a very vocal minority of people remain up in arms, in some cases literally, over wearing a face mask in public.  We’ve had armed resistance and even brutal killings of innocent people in the name of a purported Constitutional right not to wear a mask.

The principle between face masks and stop signs is the same.  It’s clearly not in our individual interest to stop at a stop sign.  We can watch traffic for ourselves, and don’t need a red sign or silly light to tell us to do so.  Should we want, we can even claim it as a Constitutional right not to stop.  We are being told what to do, which clearly rubs some people the wrong way.  And we are being told to yield our right to keep our foot off the brake should be worth fighting for to the same group of people.

So what is the fundamental difference here?  I honestly don’t know.  It’s rather akin to a portion of the population deciding to run through every stop sign they encounter.

Further, stop signs and traffic signals will always be with us (even if the day comes when we are all riding in autonomous vehicles).  Any use of masks will out of necessity have an expiration date, probably in the fairly near term.

Public health is just what it says.  The purpose of public health rules and recommendations is to help ensure a healthy society, and especially to help prevent illness or death among a vulnerable population.  Rules surrounding that are situational, and will expire after the pandemic is defeated (which despite our political leadership’s absurd claims, is nowhere close).

It’s beyond selfish that some of us don’t.  It demonstrates a lack of any consideration for society.  It’s a textbook case of the Tragedy of the Commons, in which a common resource is destroyed by mass me-first attitudes rather than shared equably.

It’s not macho to be without a mask, and it’s not an expression of individual liberty.  Like stop signs, we all make accommodations for the freedoms we have.  For the sake of all of society, and because we are all dependent on civilized society, wear your mask.

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[…] We Stop for Stop Signs Written by: Peter Varhol […]


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