With several states beginning to completely eliminate COVID-19-related restrictions – which at this point is kind of like quitting a marathon with a quarter mile to go – the populist rallying cry equating masks with impingement on freedom has seen a vociferous revival. Never wanting to be short of facts on an issue, the Machine has crunched the data from millions of years of human history to settle once and for all whether masks have anything to do with freedom. A summary of findings thus far:
For Homo sapiens, freedom really began with the ability to become the dominant species on the planet. There are no indications that this occurred because other primates were wearing masks.
Civilization appears to have begun with the accidental discovery of alcohol, which can only be properly produced in mass quantities once one stops hunter-gathering and settles down in one spot. There are no artifacts suggesting it was further aided by shedding all the masks we were wearing as hunter-gatherers.
If you’re a believer in the stories of the Old Testament, there are no passages anywhere in Genesis or Exodus where Moses said “let my people stop wearing masks”. As a New Testament bonus, a thorough scouring of the Beatitudes revealed no line equivalent to “blessed are the unmasked, for they are truly free”.
Freedom didn’t come up much during the Dark Ages.
The Magna Carta makes no mention of masks.
When William Wallace painted himself up and gave that rousing speech about freedom, although he admittedly was not wearing a mask per se, he didn’t talk about masks either. Wait, that was just a movie?
A lot of oppressive actions over the course of multiple decades fueled the decision by the American colonies to declare their independence, for which Thomas Jefferson drew up a nice little summary document, which does not anywhere mention masks.
Taking a look back at the slew of posts from the Machine on the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the ratified Amendments, masks do not appear to be listed anywhere, either in my rantings or in the source material.
Surely all of the soldiers that have fought for America in wars across the world had one thing at the top of their minds: ensuring that no American will ever have to wear a mask. But amazingly neither fictional nor nonfictional accounts have delved into that at all.
In V for Vendetta, masks are the very symbol of freedom.
Every Halloween, while it would appear at first glance that we were all celebrating oppression by wearing masks (some of them from V for Vendetta), after interviewing a cross section of the participating demographics, it turns out we were just having fun.
Indeed, after exhaustive study, it would appear that only one freedom is in any way curtailed by wearing a mask in the middle of a pandemic: the freedom to put your fellow citizens at risk. Good for you, Texas.