Since April, my Facebook feed has been alive with posts of the form “I did X while social distancing.” These are from people who live in places where social distancing is required by law. Some examples:
- Got to have an (outdoor, socially distanced) visit with my grandma today! (from someone who considers herself an independent thinker)
- Today I attended a socially distanced picnic with the faculty at CAP DU…
- Lovely day for socially-distanced apple-picking (above pictures of masked apple pickers)
- Made it out for a socially distanced, masked, and peaceful demonstration re: the future livelihood of the Pt Reyes Tule Elk….
- Socially distanced at the beach. (above pictures of children at a beach)
- … was able to have a socially distanced dinner with him outside at a restaurant last night. (above pictures of mother and adult son, right next to each other with no masks)
- It was a great weekend of socially distanced outdoor time…
We don’t see this in other domains where a person’s failure to comply with the law could have a statistical chance of killing others. Prior to coronapanic, people didn’t post the following, for example:
- how do you like my new haircut? obeyed speed limit to/from the barber shop
- cooked lasagna for friends; washed hands prior to cooking to prevent transmission of norovirus and other potentially lethal pathogens
- wonderful meal with my cousins (served tofu and broccoli because I don’t want them to die from complications of type 2 diabetes)
- enjoyed walk around neighborhood; held kids’ hands when crossing street so they didn’t get run over
- nice flight to Martha’s Vineyard; made sure to fuel airplane prior to departure and ran checklists
I don’t think we can say that these folks are posting their mask and social distance virtue in order to influence others. They’ve already defriended anyone who dares to say that the W.H.O.’s advice through early June 2020 (masks for the general public won’t help) was correct. So the only people who are likely to be reading these posts are (a) living in states where masks and social distancing are required by law and disobedience is punishable via arrests, imprisonment, and fines, and (b) already in agreement with the idea of salvation through social distancing and masks.
Nearly 3 million Americans die in a typical year from various causes. Why is it only COVID-19 that motivates people to declare their virtuous attempts to reduce deaths via some sort of action?