A Lesson from Texas

My wife and I recently spent a week in the hill country of Texas. What a contrast from life in our California hometown! In Texas, at least in that part of Texas, people mostly didn’t wear masks. In fact, virtually no one did, except for employees serving the public who were required to wear them—waiters, store clerks, and the like.

When we talked with Texans about their decision not to mask up, the replies were much the same. The term “sheep” was often used. The idea was that the American people were being conditioned to get used to and to accept tyrannical rule.

I think the hill country Texans have it about right. 

My wife and I live in the California Soviet—which means a kid riding his bike to the beach will be wearing a mask as he pedals his way down a mostly empty street, and the occasional driver going by will also be wearing a mask. Around here, they take this mask business very seriously. It seems like only yesterday when failing to remember to bring your reusable shopping bag to the grocery store elicited the same level of disapproval that going out without a mask does today. The obsession with reusable shopping bags disappeared and quickly was replaced with the mask obsession. Carrying a reusable bag once meant that because you were toeing the line, you were an acceptable person, just as mask-wearing does today.

This strange new attitude of many American citizens has been developing for some time now. The 9/11 horror was used by government officials to oppress citizens just as the Chinese flu has been, and Americans knuckled under with little real pushback.

The only thing as strange as everyone wearing masks are the ridiculous “security” measures imposed on Americans at airports. 

When America was attacked by jihadis, the response of the government was to harass travelers. Soon after 9/11, I watched in amazement as TSA agents conducted themselves very carefully so as to avoid being charged with profiling. A group of obviously Middle Eastern young men who weren’t speaking English among themselves—that is, a group of men who perfectly fit the terrorist profile—were waved through while the agents, as I recall, searched for weapons on an elderly woman in a wheelchair and a middle-aged man who looked like a rancher. After 9/11, instead of profiling potential bad guys, the government imposed what has rightly been called “security theater” on American citizens exercising their unalienable right to travel in America. Everyone knows that what goes on at airports in the name of security is a fraud and a huge waste of taxpayer money, but it now seems Americans by and large accept it without question.

The arrival of the Chinese flu has given those who think of themselves as our rulers a new opportunity to exert control over the rest of us who are simply going about our daily lives. Rule-makers are running wild, giving wonderful opportunities to the kind of people who crave the power over others that “public service” provides them and also to the kind of people who, although they are not government employees, are keen to associate themselves with those who make and enforce the rules. 

Those rules lately have included imposing house arrests on American citizens who have done nothing wrong, who are simply living in America, and forcing those who dare to venture out to wear masks. People in the media, the elites who get to make the rules, and Americans who are eager to make sure their neighbors comply,  don’t seem to mind that the proliferation of rules has been wrecking the economy and destroying people’s lives. 

Of course, you already know that the “news” media are in lockstep on the Democratic panic—I mean the pandemic—and that people who challenge the pandemic narrative are being censored on social media. All this seems very un-American, and more like the way people in China behaved during the Cultural Revolution. It wasn’t safe to deviate from the party line in China back then, or for that matter, in China, and increasingly in America, today.

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