Quote of the day—Rob Pincus

Not wearing a mask solely because the GOV says you should makes people look like petulant children and reinforces the idea (that many people have) that we NEED restrictions in place. Anyone preaching to not wear masks today that was advocating/defending masks at 2A Rallies a few months ago is revealing themselves as a contrarian, not an activist or objective advocate.

Rob Pincus
Facebook post on April 22, 2020
[I have nothing to add.—Joe]


9 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Rob Pincus

  1. “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence — it is force!” — apocryphally quoted of George Washington.

    Whether this quote is accurately attributed or not, the sentiment is true. Legislation and enforcement are what government does to those that are not persuaded, with almost no regard to whether the government’s laws and regulations are right or wrong.

    Government has limits, and those limits are sent is the various constitutions, and there is no ’emergency’ clause (at least, not if the drafters had any sense). Those limits apply in good times, but it is in the bad times that those limits are most important. Under stress, people will call out for a strongman to save them, and he might… but he’s likely not going to give up his powers afterwards.

    To the extent that small-l libertarians can live in a practical world, we must be open to the possibility that the minimal government we permit to exist may have something it needs to persuade us to do. A form of “We don’t have to authority to make anyone do this, but if you’d wear a facemask in public, it’d cut down on the disease progression. It’s not 100% effective, but we could really use the 50% effectiveness it does provide” persuasion. If we make persuasion achievable, but not trivial, we’ll incentivize actual persuasion. Of course, we need to make pure marketing/public affairs/propoganda efforts toxic, distinctly anti-persuasive.

    Anyone coming along with a “You’re going to wear a mask whether you like it or not, because I was elected!” attitude should dangle from a tree.

  2. In a world full of lies, with entire philosophies, doctrines, and whole political systems and economies built on foundations of lies, how many remain who would recognize objectivity if they saw it?

    Of those able to recognize truth, even for what it is, how many would rise up, band together and attempt to stamp it out, seeing it correctly as the existential threat to everything they’ve ever worked for?

    Surely some of those, the chiefs and captains among liars, who see the truth would recognize it as their enemy, and take appropriate action, even before most people have any inkling. Surely the best of liars have the most keen eye for the truth. They would seek out truth the way a soldier seeks out his enemy, or a predator its prey, targeting it for destruction by way of securing both his own survival and that of his kind.

    So when I see a quote like the one coming out of Pincus, having no empirical argument in it, or based on nothing recognizable as a principle but only accusations against persons and appeals to authority, I’m alerted to a political argument and not a scientific, objective, or a moral one.

    I’m given to wonder whether this COVID scare will go down in history as the Mass Insanity of the 21st Century, or The Final Straw in the Fall of Reason, or some such. Only time will tell, for there is much posturing and CYA-ing at the moment. Has it come to our having to wonder no more, but to conclude that the place you’re least likely to find truth is in the official narrative?

    If there are contrarians it is in part because of a long and rather constant stream of lies, and appeals to emotion over reason.

    So there are at least two populations of “contrarians”; a) those contrary to right principles and reason (authoritarians), and b) those contrary to the official narrative which exists solely and exclusively for the benefit and expansion of an authoritarian system (libertarians)

    So when I see someone pointing a finger of blame at those who refuse to do what they’re told purely because government told them to do it, I take it as strong evidence as to which camp I’m seeing in action.

    It’s something of a “Boy Who Cried Wolf” situation isn’t it? And so whose fault would that be; the Boy’s, or those who’ve given up on believing him? When “officials” in government lie like spoiled little children, and cheat and steal and manipulate, as hard and as often as they can get away with it, for over 100 years, they shouldn’t expect to be taken seriously ever again, except insofar as “taken seriously” means “taken as a serious threat to the well-being of society”.

    So now, as always in any authoritarian system, it comes down purely to intimidation, to the question of who can more effectively and consistently intimidate whom. And the quote is of that nature. Modern “science” is now often of that same nature, as we’re already seeing “scientists” threatening and intimidation other scientists with whom they disagree.

    The truth then is not merely ignored, nor forgotten. It is a primary focus, a high-value target, to be rooted out and destroyed by our best and most elite forces.

  3. The sensible question: is there some reason to believe that doing X is beneficial. If yes, do it.
    Whether the government mandates X, or outlaws X, is not a relevant consideration. (If the government’s position comes with a rational argument for or against, that’s different — in that case it is the argument that carries weight, not the fact it comes from the government.)
    Doing useful thing X because the government says to do X is ok. Rejecting X that you know is useful as an anti-authority gesture is just plain stupid.
    A friend of mine used to do this sort of thing — he’d take off his seat belt when driving into MA because they are mandatory there, but would wear it in NH which has no such law. I pointed out to him that endangering your life as an anti-authority gesture is not a sensible thing to do.

  4. This is a false equivalency. The two topics have absolutely nothing to do with one another.

    The 2nd Amendment argument is a political argument based on differing interpretations of Rights.

    The mask argument is an exercise in mass hysteria and population control. Six weeks ago, they were telling us not to bother with masks; the virus was not airborne and masks did nothing. Then four weeks ago, they said not to wear masks because it would cause a shortage for healthcare workers. Wait, if they do no good, then why do healthcare workers even need them? Two weeks ago, they said masks were a good idea. Now some places are mandating them, under threat of fines.

    I realize that information changes, and we change our behavior based on new information, but I’ll use my failing home state of Illinois as an example:
    Chicago is bucking the mask mandate because Mayor Lightfoot claims it’s racist to demand masks of poor people who can’t afford them. So Gov Pritzger declared that masks WILL BE mandated, but not till May 1st.

    Ok, sorry, but this is where I call bullshit. Either the masks are critical for slowing the spread, and we need to be wearing them now, or not. The virus isn’t going to hang out for a week until we get our crap together.

    This sums up my resistance and refusal to wear a mask. It is theater. It is what we do instead of something. The donkeys in charge of government are ignorant assholes pulling at strings and seeing how much population control they can get away with. I will not comply.

    • They show droplet motion in an enclosed and tightly controlled space. Then they show images that imply similar airflow patterns in unconfined outdoor locations. This seems implausible to the point of dishonesty. I see no evidence that this kind of transmission could occur at more than a few inches outdoors.

      • IIRC, Mythbusters did an episode on coughing and sneezing, set in a large indoor area, maybe a warehouse. Paper rolled out on the floor to catch droplets. Surprising distances were seen in a still air situation.

        BTW, it’s been my observation that cars on the road are not necessarily a safe environment. I patrolled freeways during commute hours, and the smell of tobacco and grass from vehicles that were several spots ahead of me was obvious.

        Unless there is a noticeable crosswind, and no soundwalls lining the roadway, anything entering the air pretty much stays in place for you to drive into. With soundwalls, the air will actually develop a component of the velocity of the vehicles during heavy traffic, so contaminants move with traffic, just slower. Stand on the shoulder, and you can feel the breeze, and see objects, like the contents of a lost wallet, tumble along the ground.

  5. In case no one else has noticed this, please consider the following:

    Our government is encouraging its population to act out the symptoms of several anxiety disorders. Right now, in real time, as we speak. Agoraphobia, social anxiety, germaphobia–just to name a few of the more obvious ones. It rewards and encourages people to do this, and ostracizes and ridicules people who fail to do this.

    I am enough of a “behaviorist” [please note: I am not trained as a psychologist/psychiatrist!] to believe that this is very dangerous. The general population may well be “giving itself” such anxiety disorders by plying along, as well as being “trained” for conformity and reliance on the government. Something like a large-scale Skinner box?

    This goes above and beyond the usual concerns about civil liberties.

    In such an environment, I think it is very important for as many people as possible to buck the trend and to be vocal about doing so. Contrarianism is more important now than ever.

  6. Many places that mandate masks also have statutes outlawing the wearing of masks. This is the perfect solution to making law enforcement completely discretionary and allowing its weaponization against whomever the authorities dislike.

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