I have been very critical of the cult mentality surrounding masks, demanding people wear masks even when not required and not necessary. But Tucker Carlson reminded us last week that the issue of masks stirs up a cult mentality in those opposed to mask mandates.
Carlson urged people to confront those who are wearing masks outside, which is bad enough. Even if you do not think it is necessary – and we have had data for the last year showing that wearing masks outside is not necessary – it is an individual choice. There is no harm being done and the last thing we need is to confront someone for a personal choice. It does not harm you, so let it go.
But where Carlson went off the rails is when he suggested calling child protective services if children are wearing masks outside. In the context of opposing the nanny state, Carlson supported a much more intrusive and much more intense action by the nanny state. This is not just hypocritical, it is madness.
As I have said of the extremes of pro-mask folks, this is what a cult looks like. Calling the police if a child is wearing a face mask outside? Really? Does Carlson really think it is appropriate to send men with guns after parents who make a choice he would not personally make? Does he really think that children wearing masks is child abuse? Is this what opposing the nanny state looks like? The way to oppose the pro-mask cult is not to form your own cult and harass people who are wearing masks.
Everybody needs to calm down. This pandemic has been difficult for everyone, and ratcheting up tensions will make things worse, not better. Both the pro-mask cult and the anti-mask cult need to develop a sense of proportion. That is unlikely, because someone who has a sense of proportion will not be part of a cult. This means the rest of us – the vast majority of people – need to triple down on our determination to allow other people to make reasonable decisions regarding masks, even if we disagree.