A reader writes:
You may have heard of Ian Miller, the guy who produces all the graphs on Twitter showing how masks don’t work, that mask mandates and cases/hospitalizations/deaths had no correlation, and recently wrote a book on mask failure.
He was a guest on a podcast that I listened to and the host asked about his day to day experience living in California (Orange County) under harsh mask mandates the past two years.
He said (32:35 – 33:45) something along the lines of the following: “Until two months ago, I wore the mask because I didn’t want to be rude to an employee doing his job. But in the past two months, I started wearing it on my chin only and if a store worker asked me to put up over my nose, I would either leave or comply depending on how important the item I was buying…didn’t want to cause a scene.”
From reading his tweets and based on him being in a relatively more conservative part of California, I expected more defiance from him.
2020 and beyond has been an eye-opening period for me. Many others have expressed to me that they feel the same way and for similar reasons. One of those reasons is this — Those who talked a big game proved themselves the biggest hypocrites.
I watched the loudest “an-cap” put on a mask when government said. I watched the toughest “minarchist” obediently and immediately comply on private property when told, as if conversation and negotiation was nowhere in his concept of how the world works. I watched the toughest guys with the biggest stash of guns do the equivalent of turn over their guns to the government — putting on a mask. In these and many other examples, all they needed was the right excuse to violate their most heavily touted values.
What a bunch of hypocrites.
And at the same time — what an eye-opening opportunity.
How little words actually mean coming from most people.
Red Herring Alert: What Do You Expect Them To Be? Perfect?
And is anyone perfect? No, but perfection is not needed. Such a question is a red herring. High standard, though, are needed. Some of the stories I have witnessed since the Ides of March 2020 from heroes has been a reminder of how low standard and unaccountable some tough talkers desire to be.
I have gone toe-to-toe with cops over my views. I have stood in court over my views. I have spoken softly, I have yelled, I have been mostly nice, and sometimes not so nice, but there has been a consistency in this all — that mask will not touch my face and my life will be as high standard of a life as one can live.
Ian Miller has intellectually been a hero with his Twitter graphs. J.P. Sears has heroically lambasted the narrative with his satire. These are powerful behaviors. I commend these men.
These men have also both played into the narrative and have refused to say “No!” to the mandates in their own lives. Until permission comes from on high, they will obey. At least that is how it looks from this fan of their work looking in. They will only go so far. And it is not just these two, of course. There are hundreds, even thousands who behave this same way. You know who they are. And if you were tougher with your questions, you would know even more of them.
I Would Like You To Demand Better
I would like YOU to demand better of these men. I would like you to demand better of anyone you support. I would like you to demand better of anyone you encounter. Your heroes need to be asked questions like these:
Do you ever wear a mask?
For any reason?
Just to get through the door?
Just to get into the store?
Just to get on a plane?
Just to see grandma?
Not even disobediently with your nose sticking out, or with it around your chin like a neck beard?
Just to visit your doctor?
Just to go to court?
Just to get your license renewed?
Just for a minute to go to the bank?
Just to go to jury duty?
The only correct answer is “No.” Otherwise, all their tough talk is for naught.
Preparing You As Cannon Fodder, Safely Watching From A Distance
Through their tough talk, they are pumping you up to be their cannon fodder. That is not okay. They need to be as ready to be cannon fodder as you are — even more so.
And if you do this — if you ask the hard questions of them, you will sway some of them. You will open their eyes — either through shame or encouragement. Not all of them will come around at first. Some. But eventually all the honorable ones will come around.
In this all, you have got to understand something: Your heroes need you just as much as you need them.
Your Heroes Need You Just As Much As You Need Them
Whether they be writing, whether they be speaking, whether they in any way find themselves in the role of public intellectual, that role is a symbiotic experience with the audience. Audience feedback means a great deal. How much I have grown in the past two years because of my audience holding me to a higher standard. How much I have grown in my lifetime because of that. Every person in a similar role needs that from you, otherwise he eventually turns into a disconnected, stuffed-shirt, hypocrite.
He eventually turns into no better than the system of corona communism we seek to overturn. That is what inevitably happens to the disconnected.
This period of rigor, is the training ground that proves people like that are ready to lead. You do them no favors with your compliant silence.
Censorship Ultimately Destroys The Would-Be Recipient Of Criticism
When I see the sad behaviors of shadow-banning and social media censorship, I realize that the feedback loop has been disconnected in the mainstream. Censorship ultimately weakens the establishment, rather than making the establishment more robust. It is always, and everywhere it appears, a sign of weakness and often a death knell. In such a regime of censorship, criticism does not have an easy way to travel to the establishment’s public intellectuals. It makes them unaccountable to the real fact-checkers: their audience.
I should like the death knell this era of censorship portends for the mainstream, but I am not an accelerationist. I see the valuable role played by a stable mainstream. I know the pain that sudden societal breakdown causes innocents. Censorship in the mainstream spells the death of the mainstream. It is how society has always worked.
Does This Mean Popularity Is The Ultimate Good?
Am I saying that true fact checking comes through a measure of how popular one is among one’s audience? No, of course not. What I am saying is that one’s audience is so invested in a public intellectual that the earnest and caring audience member can play the role of fact-checker in a way virtually no one else in society can.
The audience member is invested. The audience member censored is a missed opportunity, and it weakens the one who would otherwise benefit from the feedback, no matter how cold and harsh the feedback may seem. Censorship feels like a useful short term shortcut for seizing power, but it is only that — a short term shortcut for seizing power. It quickly promises to undo the person who would most benefit from the feedback.
The Evil You Commit Through Voluntary Censorship
You, dear reader, are engaged in an activity much more sinister when you let societal pressure to be inoffensively nice to others take primary position over your calling to speak truthfully to those who you care about most.
Your voluntary silence in the face of your heroes duplicates that harm done by censorship. Your voluntary silence toward the misbehavior or weaknesses of your heroes duplicates the soft undermining of a person that censorship brings. You may not be able to stop societal censorship single-handedly, but you can single-handedly stop your voluntary self-censorship.
But Won’t This Hurt Their Feelings?
“But won’t this hurt their feelings?” you may ask. That is exactly what this twisted era wants you concerned with, but that is not your job to ask such a thing. Your feelings are your responsibility, someone else’s feelings are that person’s own responsibility.
If high standards from a fan hurts another person’s feelings, that person has far bigger problems in life than your well-intentioned words. You need to be the most authentic, sincere, no-nonsense version of you that you can be. That is what you have to be focused on. That is what this period in time demands of you. Once you are busy worrying about how someone else feels toward your high standards, you have already lost.
This Period Needs You To Hold Your Heroes To A Higher Standard
Dear reader, dear listener, dear audience member, this period needs you to hold your heroes to a higher standard.
Me included. People write me that my grammar is off, that I show bias, that my delivery needs work, that my baseline is skewed, that I am not tough enough, that I need to hold myself to a higher standard, that my standards are too high and all manner of other comments. And I read it all. Some of it I shrug off. But the day I stop reading that feedback, is the day that I lose one of my most important allies.
Do not just replace one Fauci with another Fauci. Do not replace one gutless hyena with another gutless hyena. Nothing changes that way.
Replace the hyena with a bold, courageous lion, the kind of man who will lead his army into battle instead of giving a pep talk and then watching his army go to battle — the kind of man who inspires with his words, but who also inspires through his behavior even more than his words could ever do.
That is the man you want leading you — that is the kind of men you want around you, that is the kind of man you demand to be.
Be brave. Be bold. Step out. If you still wear masks for any reason, now is the time to stop. For more on how to navigate life maskless, read the bestselling “Face Masks in One Lesson.”
For more on why that is so important to do, read “Face Masks Hurt Kids.”
And for hard hitting emails on this and more, sign up for Allan’s emails at RealStevo.com.
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