A reader writes:
“Virtually all mandatory policies related to health and ability need to have exemptions in order to not be discriminatory. That is federal law. (my emphasis)”
Allan, in your LRC post that includes the quotation, above, (https://www.lewrockwell.com/2022/01/allan-stevo/what-if-my-library-tells-me-to-wear-a-face-shield-what-do-i-do/) you continue to push string (https://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/push_on_a_string.asp), at the least. At worst, you persist in an assumption that, once the lawlessness of a policy is exposed and called out, the resister has a potential remedy. That assumption is flawed and — more often than not — without leverage.
In order to go forward with your noble (I mean that) crusade, you need to internalize this salient reality: all “authorities,” bureaucracies and organizations promulgating and enforcing “emergency”-based COVID-related policies are acting outside the law. They are all lawbreakers, acting lawlessly. Criminals, in a word. So far, mostly getting away with their crimes.
Ergo, invoking the law is a non-starter.
Moreover, researching the wording of policies is an exercise in time-wasting and futility, given the demonstrably-low ROI. (E.g.: tried flying commercially — bare-faced — lately?)
What the “law” or any “constitution” says does not matter to the evil COVIDian policy-makers and enforcers. Nor do court decisions that enjoin their agendae. Not yet, anyway.
There is a super-legal/constitutional solution: a critical mass of people who resist with utter commitment and consistency, simply say “No” and never comply. This takes no time or research; merely courage and willingness to take a risk of some degree. At the very least, such resistance incurs inevitable inconvenience from simply showing one’s “six” and walking away. “Critical mass” is the operative phrase.
Do “successful” — and exceptional —workarounds serve to reinforce the mandates matrix? I can’t help but wonder.
Please take my analysis and opinion as respectful to you. In this good fight, the good are the only ones in it together. Just noodle over how some things may work better than others. And how still other things might not work at all.
-A Heroic Reader
“Nobody ever complied their way out of totalitarianism.” (Robert F. Kennedy Jr.)
First of all, I want to say how much I appreciate you as a freedom fighter and how much good I believe you do in the world. I will keep your name private. I have high esteem for you, and I suspect many readers of this piece would, as well, if they knew the things I knew about you.
I know that my continued harping on the topic of exemptions frustrates you and I am grateful for this opportunity to address it a little more.
Exemptions Reinforce The Mandate Matrix
I agree with you that invoking an exemption reinforces the narrative. You state it well: “Do ‘successful’ — and exceptional —workarounds serve to reinforce the mandates matrix? I can’t help but wonder.”
It reinforces the mandate matrix. I do not believe reinforcing the narrative or the mandate matrix is a good thing. It is necessarily a downside of the exemption approach, and one that I have attempted to regularly point out. I even start the book Face Masks in One Lesson by saying how the exemption approach is not the ideal approach.
The Exemption Approach, Though, Has Been Good For Many
The entire goal of invoking the exemptions is to get people used to standing up for themselves in their own lives.
Ideally, it 1.) begins in the life of an individual by invoking an exemption, and some time later in the process 2.) it leads to that individual coming to a place in his life where he can just calmly, politely, and firmly say some variation of “No!” while living a wonderful and normal life, or perhaps even the life of a VIP.
Some People, Unfortunately, Languish In The Exemption Approach, Which Is Not Great, But Is Far Better Than The Alternative
I have encountered many examples of people growing in this way, as I had long hoped would happen. I have many other examples of people languishing in the exemptions stage of this process. They are stuck on the crutch of the exemption approach. They figured out something that worked for them to live life unmasked. Their maskless languishing, though, is better than anyone in a mask. This is important. It is vital for lions to get out of a mask, no matter what it takes to get out of a mask.
Many Lions, Once Awoken, Figure Out A Way Around The Masks
For some, that means quitting a job. For others that means a frank discussion with an employer (“I will not be wearing this mask at work anymore. What will the consequences of that behavior be?” or better yet to show that you are serious, a calmly delivered: “I will not be wearing this mask at work anymore. I understand if you have to fire me.”) For some that means choosing only friendly businesses to patronize, for others that means a frank discussion with non-friendly businesses (“I’m unable to wear the face mask safely.” or “I will not be putting on that face mask. What are the consequences of that?”). For some that means selecting different friends and family to be around. For others that means frank discussions with friends and family. (“A face mask does not work. It harms the wearer. It is stupid to comply with. I will not ever be wearing one again. I think less of you when I see you wearing one. I would like you to never wear a mask in front of me again.”)
Dear reader, I agree with you about there being many shortcomings of invoking federal law, one of them is that you have to invoke some laws that have no place existing and which have done such harm. Invoking those laws, if it is a step toward getting you to more bravely walk through the world and navigate the mandates, is the right move for most. I know that you, like some readers, have had a hard time truly going maskless.
I know you can get to that point. I believe if you walked one hour through the day with a person who does not wear a mask, you would quickly see how easy that is to accomplish. My articles here at LRC and my videos to those who sign up at RealStevo.com are meant to be an aid in helping you get there and never wear a mask again.
A Flaw In The Critical Mass Argument
I do not like the critical mass argument. It generally comes from the left (though, often from well-intentioned people) and accordingly argues that I need my neighbor to stand up in order for me to be successful at standing up.
This is a flaw of collectivist reasoning. The left, sabotaged by some bad fringey thinkers, has widely come to believe groups matter, individuals do not. Or said another way — the individual only gets his validity from his participation in a group. Sometimes there are critical masses and they do change things and that is a good thing. However, my intent from the beginning has been different.
The Landscape I Had To Work With And Am Largely Still Working With
1.) I had to live life in one of the first cities to lockdown. I had to live life unmasked. I had to live life successfully enough to do all the things it takes to make sure a family has everything it needs, and to act with some consideration for others dependent on me.
2.) I had to figure out how others could do the same.
3.) I needed those ideas to have enough validity for me to be able to stand by them publicly.
4.) The lockdowns started March 17, 2020. The mask recommendations started April 3, 2020. Almost immediately, I started getting messages from people in despair about the face masks.
5.) I was asked to help people who had been asleep a long time, coaching them on how to go from sleepy-eyed to fully engaged. Understandably, it can help such a person to take smalls steps as they run the steep from their eyes.
That was the situation that I was in then, that I had to figure out a quick solution for. In many ways, it remains the situation I am in today. The news will tell you there are many maskless parts of the US. That is a total lie. Try to see a doctor in Topeka maskless. Try to go to jury duty in DeSantis’s “unmasked” Florida maskless. Try to, as you point out, get on a flight maskless. The whole country has mask mandates that are waiting in the wings, with public health officials just waiting to turn the vice at the right moment and make them a permanent part of daily life. Truly, little has changed. They are just tightening the vice and loosening the vice periodically, turning up the heat and turning down the heat periodically — the exact plan presented by global public health researchers in March 2020, a plan that has hardly ever been detracted from. The same underlying problems exist today that existed then.
Except for one thing — individuals in their own lives have figured out how to stand up. That is one of the only fundamental changes that has occurred.
And yes, by the way, there are people flying commercial unmasked — 100% of the time, from beginning to end. There are people going to the doctor unmasked. There are people going into courthouses unmasked. It may be inconvenient. You may not succeed every time. You may have to be ready to walk away. But it works, and the more you do it, the more confident and effective you get at it. Standing up for yourself makes you better at standing up for yourself.
Anyone Who Is Not Focussing On The Individual Is Missing The Point
My intent from the beginning has not been about critical mass, and my intent, in retrospect, has been correct. A decade and a half of studying Austrian economics prepared me for the Ides of March 2020. It made it possible for me to be able to say an important thing: the individual is the only actor in society. All action is individual. Critical mass is illusory. It still comes down to the action of individuals.
My intent had been this: How do I wake up one person and get him to stand up today? How do I figure out how to empower him? How do I encourage him to do what is liberating in his own life?
Perhaps that sets the stage for the critical mass, but I do not make critical mass the goal. The goal is to wake up sleeping lions. The goal is to give people the tools to begin standing up. The most important litmus test is to never be masked, ever, not for any reason.
“I am unable to wear a face mask safely,” remains a useful tool for that.
I pay significant sacrifices for that, and many others do as well. Fundamental is to not be masked. The mask is so much more than a mask. To resolve to live life unmasked changes you. To be unmasked 100%, at all times, is to have put yourself through a transformative process from compliant man to free man.
You Need To Live Life Unmasked, That Is A Key Challenge That This Moment Offers
If you cannot manage that basic, you need to get there at all cost. You need to get there before worse comes at us. Though vaccines are all most people talk about these days, I suspect the vaccine mandates will one day be seen as a comparatively minor inconvenience that the brave were forced to put up with on the torturous path to rebuilding a new America.
However, if we do not win at this juncture, the masks may be with us forever.
I have a solution for both. I know this to be true: He who can say “No!” to a mask, can say “No!” to a shot and can say “No!” to much worse. He who will wear a mask, for any reason, will say yes to the shot, he just has not heard the right reason yet.
More Trouble With The Critical Mass Approach, Dealt With By Thinkers From Yesteryear
There are additional problems with critical mass, problems which I believe are well dealt with by Albert Jay Nock in his essay from the 1930s “Isaiah’s Job.” Sometimes critical mass does not come. Then what? Well, that does not matter, because that is not what the goal of the truth teller is, Knock writes, the goal of the truth teller is to speak into the lives of the individual members of the Remnant.
I recommend everyone read “Isaiah’s Job.” It only takes ten or fifteen minutes. It is very good and written for this moment. If you have read it, now is a great time to re-read it. It is amazing to imagine that it was first published in The Atlantic, just as it is amazing to imagine that free market economist Henry Hazlitt, author of the brilliant, simple, clear Economics in One Lesson was once an editor at The New York Times.
How far America has declined that our great publications and institutions are today so censorious and contemptuously hateful of most Americans.
Nock and Hazlitt are men of a very different era, but they are men who speak truth to our era. Economics in One Lesson takes perhaps two hours to read. I recommend it to everyone seeking to round out their economics study with solid ideas, or even for those who are starting out. No rudimentary economic education is complete without first contending with the ideas Hazlitt presents in that book. I so appreciate Hazlitt’s simple ability to speak truth that my book Face Masks In One Lesson is modeled after Hazlitt’s simple approach to a seemingly complex topic: present a general framework, then give myriad examples of that framework applied.
Though Nock and Hazlitt are from a different time, they have a prescription for our time: focus on the individual.
The Importance Of Placing Focus On The Individual
All western culture is built upon him. In the first book of “the Book,” in the first chapter, we see God makes man in his image. The individual is made in God’s image. The idea of the individual is a powerful one, that has taken millennia to develop. Now is no time to backslide.
What Percent Is Critical Mass?
There are many numbers given for critical mass. 3% of society, 15%, 33%, and “50 plus one” are among them.
I do not know if 3% of Americans will March on DC. I do not know if 15% of Americans will become politically involved. I do not know if 1/3 of society will bring about change. I do not know if 50 plus one % of voters will vote the bums out.
I know this. I do not wear a face mask. I stand up to tyranny in my life. This has changed me.
That is how refusing mask wearing has changed the life of one individual. To point to another — I know a friend of mine does not wear a mask, not for any reason. That has changed him. It has changed his child, it has changed his family for the better, unless somehow more bravery is not a change for the better.
There are relatively few people like he and I. Many like to talk tough about how they do not wear a mask (which is basically a lie), but then wear one when faced with the slightest resistance. The numbers of people who resolve to never again wear a mask is growing and wonderful because it is buiding muscles in those individuals that have long gone neglected.
Guns Can Mean So Little When Carried By A Coward
Mark Twain wrote that one brave man can shout down a lynch mob of 10,000.
You mention your “six.” Dear reader, I am with you on the importance of guns. But give me 10,000 mask-wearing, fully armed NRA, GOA, or 3per types (you can find salacious lies published here, here, and here) and I will trade them for one man who can look an authority figure in the eye and say “I’m not wearing that mask.”
I will trade one unarmed brave man who has navigated the mask mandate for 10,000 fully armed men who comply.
I am not waiting for critical mass. I am not depending on critical mass. I am not even expecting critical mass. I am doing the only thing that matters. I am focusing on edifying the individual.
I do not care what the culture of psychopaths around me do. I am one set apart. I have always been part of a chosen subculture set apart and I am happy to be that. There will be a new America whether or not the psychopaths stop their psychopathy. I do not need critical mass to occur for me to have such a free and wonderful existence.
I Do Not Hold Anything Against Armies, As Long As They Are Made Of The Right Thing
Now give me 10,000 men who do not wear a mask and who are also fully armed and we are getting somewhere. That is likely the critical mass you speak of.
But the truth is this. Many men are cowards. They talk but do not do. I write for the doer. I write for the Remnant. I write for the lion. In their actions they show themselves.
Masked, they are just another member of some group.
Let’s Talk About The Leftists
As much as I LOVE Robert Kennedy and consider him one of the great American heroes, it bugs me to no end when he talks collectivism like “critical mass.” What can I expect. He is a proud lockstep Democrat in many ways. He is one of the best though.
Next to Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi, and a few others, history (and your author) will remember him as one of the great leftists of this era.
As much as I appreciate J.P. Sears and consider him a hero of this era, it bugs me when he appears in clubs that demand mask compliance. See this.
The individual matters so much. When you act to pervert, degrade, and demoralize the individual, you do great harm to society. “Wear a mask for me just this one time,” is a tremendous perversion when the listener trusts the one making the request. “Wear a mask for me just to get into this show,” “Wear a mask for me just to not be sent home in front of your wife in disgrace and lose your $200 worth of tickets to add insult to injury.”
When my town, in left coast lockdown land needed a pick me up by a man like J.P. Sears, right after the vaccine mandates were announced, he gave a show in a club that had brownshirts outside and demanded masks be worn inside. That was a hard one to stomach. The club enforced the mandate over and above the requirements of the county. That is where J.P. Sears chose to host his event. Once an avid fan, I have a hard time watching his videos now, after seeing that club’s policy and how he allowed his fans to be treated.
Some men who focus on critical mass, or who talk a big game, may say and do some admirable things, but it is often built upon shaky footing.
What is needed is to figure out how to go unmasked in your own life. That is what is needed. Critical mass is not needed.
One Step At A Time Is How We Grow
In the absence of the individualized approach I describe, the achievement of critical mass among lions can be very difficult.
This is not the lockstep left you are dealing with. The left has the organizational “advantage” of being filled with NPCs. This is not the cowed and effeminized Europe you are dealing with. You are waking up lions, some of whom still remember what it is like to walk in their own. Many lions will not be organized. Many lions will have their own view of how freedom should look in life. And if you ask me, that is the true advantage in organizing. You are building something very hard to tear down when you wake up lions.
To go straight from awake to critical mass with a lion is an enormous challenge. You cannot expect someone to run 20 miles per hour without training. You cannot expect someone to scale a ladder in one leap, that is what the rungs are for. You cannot expect someone to build Rome in a day. All of those can be accomplished, but it takes steps to accomplish them.
Achieving critical mass among individuals, while ignoring the individual is an impossibility from where I stand. Awaken the individual, build the individual, walk alongside the individual, and especially if he is a lion, amazing things are going to take place.
Looking Into The Home Of The Hypocrite Who Wants To Govern You
How many leftist homes I have been in with the bed still unmade at 3 p.m. and the dishes piled 2 feet high in the sink. Can they pretend to solve the problems of the world when they cannot steward their own home, let alone pastor that home?
And I do not mean to belittle those with a messy home. That is your right. I do, however, seek to belittle those with a messy home who have a desire to govern others and control others. That is hypocritical. Unsurprisingly, leftist homes are often messy.
Home life is generally kept private. It is generally hard to look at a person and to see his home life with certainty.
The mask is a public indication of “home life.” It is a public indication of how fastidious one is in his personal ethical practices. It is a public indication of how principled one is. It is a public indication of how worthy of leadership one is. It is a public indication that one can look another in the eye. It is a public indication that one can be trusted with a gun.
But It Is Not Just The Leftists — Face Masks Say So Much
But it is not just leftists. Every NRA guy in a mask just has not heard the right reason yet to hand over his guns. The mask tells me everything I need to know about him: Ask the right way and he will accede to all manner of unprincipled evil.
Our era wants us looking everywhere except where it matters.
If we can be made to do that, we can be defeated yet again.
The only place that matters is into the hearts of individuals.
The mask is a gift, because it puts that heart so mightily and publicly to the test.
Far from pushing string, getting individuals unmasked in the face of mandates, and introducing into their lives the powerful change that brings upon the individual, is some of the most important work than can currently be done.
The salvation of the individual matters. So much else is illusory.
If you still wear a mask and don’t want to be wearing a mask, you need this book, these articles, and these videos shared with anyone on this list. If you think face masks are safe for anyone to wear, you need this book — “Face Masks Hurt Kids”, which talks about how face masks harm everyone.