The white-coated federal bureaucrat who has come to embody the face of medical terrorism said the other day he finds it “inexplicable” that people objected to wearing what are styled “masks.”
“When you tell people they need to mask in an indoor congregate setting when you’re in a zone that has a high dynamic of infection — that is looked upon by a lot of people, not everybody, as an encroachment on your freedom.”
Such is the banality of evil, as the writer Hannah Arendt described another mild-mannered bureaucrat, in another time and another place. It is the same in every place, every time.
Yes, looked upon. As if no big deal. As if without reason. Purely defiant and contrarian, for their own sakes. Why – how – could anyone object? It’s “just a mask,” after all. Of course, it was – it is – so much more than just that.
Symbols are important, especially when worn – for the wearing is a form of expression.
In a religious context – in a voluntarily religious context – there is nothing wrong with belief. Indeed, such belief can be positively powerful, as for example when it comes to dealing with the existential problem – of evil. Of reconciling belief in good – a benevolent creation – given the fact of evil’s existence. Such belief – in a higher purpose currently beyond our ken but in keeping with the plan of a benevolent deity – helps many to maintain hope that, ultimately, it will all balance out.
But belief becomes something else when it is mandated. Exactly the right word – both literally and figuratively – with regard to this “mask” wearing business. “Mask” mandates imposed belief upon people who did not believe.
On people who knew.
It is not a “small ask,” as the believers in “masks” often put it, to force another human being to publicly affirm a belief he does not believe in. To pretend he does not know that the belief insisted upon is both wrong and evil. Nothing strikes deeper at the heart of what it means to be a human being than to be told you must play along with something you know to be absurd and – far worse – evil.
The term of abuse – Face Diaper – excellently conveys the rightful contempt those who know better feel for the sick devices styled “masks” that the banality of evil insists everyone ought to believe in. It conveys the intended degradation meant by the things who insist upon their wearing.
They represent an enforced return to infantile incontinence. The mass-visual of adult babies crapping their pants in fear – with “parents” such as the banal little bureaucrat imposing time-outs for misbehavior defined as insufficient belief.
But it is the surrender of truth to the banality of evil that constitutes the fundamental evil of the “masks” – and the banal little man who insists upon the wearing. He wanted – and still wants – everyone to show they believe in what is demonstrably, objectively untrue – by wearing a device in defiance of the facts. He wants, in other words, for people – for everyone – to give over to him and other evil people the authority to proclaim what is truthful and real. To not question. To believe.
Whatever they say.
You aren’t sick. You haven’t gotten anyone sick. But you might be sick. Everyone might be sick. You must therefore regard everyone as a threat – and threaten those among them who question this sick belief. Exclude them, cast them out. Destroy them.
You must believe in the say-so of banal little bureaucrats more so than the people you know, even those you have known intimately, for years. Spouses, friends; the people of everyday life. All of them suspect, if they do not believe. If they do not show they believe.
Then they are bad. In need of correction.
Place the “masks” on the faces of children and tell them they must believe, too. At an age when they are too young to know better; at an age when they look to parents to tell them what is true and what is not. What is wrong – and right. By “masking” them all, they can no longer tell. They know their parents do not know – or do not value the knowing enough to resist being made to pretend they believe otherwise.
Having established the facade of general belief in that which many knew to be untrue – but which they had been coerced into pretending they believed to be true – it was easier to insist upon more and worse beliefs, such as the need to “vaccinate” everyone. Another seemingly innocuous thing that has proved to be an immensely evil thing. That being not merely the all-but-bayonet-pointing of these injections into the unwilling – styled “hesitant” by the cloyingly evil banalities – and the harm, both physical and psychological it has visited upon millions – but also the setting-down of the incandescently evil precedent that will be used to impose submission to more and worse of the same in the future.
Thus, the world is turn’d upside down.
Nothing could be less true. Or more dangerous.
The banality of evil knows it, too. He rues that the belief he tried to impose did not take to the degree he had hoped. He regrets that the government he somehow became the face of did not impose “much, much more stringent restrictions.”
No doubt other evil banalities – such as the little man Arendt wrote about, once upon a time, also regretted not having done the same.
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