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Masks, “Fuck”shirts and Going Pantless

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When an ideological battle erupted over masks I was only slightly surprised. On the one hand, getting into a fight over wearing masks is analogous to getting over a fight over having vehicle lights—it is obviously foolish to fight over what is obviously a useful safety device for oneself and others. On the other hand, people can obviously fight over what is obviously foolish to fight over and the right has been working hard to undermine trust in reality, facts and science. So now we are in a situation in which schools are reopening and some people in positions of authority have embraced the anti-mask position (or the “pro-choice” position as some call it). This is problematic. To be fair, there are legitimate concerns connected to masks. To illustrate, there are concerns about having enough of them, about their impact on the ability of students to learn and teachers to teach, as well as on the development of critical language and social skills that require being able to see faces. These are all matters that are worthy of serious consideration and can provide reasons to forgo masks—provided proper precautions are taken. My concern is directed at the reasons given that seem to be ill-founded and inconsistent. Ironically, some people are borrowing from the abortion debate and taking the position of Jed Davis, who is the president of Parkview Christian’s school board. As Jed said, “We’re not trying to politicize masks by any means. Again, we’re not anti-mask, we’re pro-choice.” Along this vein, some people also make arguments based on liberty and Constitutional rights. In general terms, these arguments seem to distill down to this:   Premise 1: People have the right/freedom to choose what they wear. Premise 2: Some people choose not to wear a mask. Conclusion: These people have the right/freedom to not wear masks.   While the appeal to freedom/rights is certainly appealing, there is the matter of consistent application. This can be used to test if the. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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