The pro-mask sense of entitlement is telling.
Cards on the table: I do not want my children forced to wear masks in school. Apart from discomfort and health (including mental health), masks unarguably impede the ability to understand what people are saying and almost obliterate the ability to read facial expressions, which is absolutely critical to education, especially for younger children. Furthermore, mandating still-experimental vaccines for minors must simply be off the table.
That said, the ideal public policy would allow communities to accommodate as many people as possible. Whether it’s by school district, by school building, by floor, by classroom… or whatever… the lower down decisions are made, the more plausible it is for all of us to live together and contribute to our shared society.
That perspective is why I find the attitudes expressed in an Alexa Gagosz article in the Boston Globe simultaneously puzzling and telling. Here are the headline and lede:
Masks for k-12 students in Rhode Island? Parents, teachers, health experts, politicians urge McKee to mandate them this fall
“How come anti-mask parents’ concerns are being heard and [they] are being given a choice, when I am not?” one parent asks.
The second line is a bit misleading, inasmuch as the parent who spoke it, who is also a teacher in Central Falls, is actually arguing for state requirement or funding of “a remote learning option,” not a mask mandate. Still the injection of her statement into an article about pro-mask advocates points to a particular approach to politics.
Fundamentally, the only actual compromise would be that children can wear masks if their parents want them to, but they don’t have to if their parents prefer that approach. Those looking for top-down declarations straight from the governor believe it is unjust when they don’t get their way (which is a total and universal mandate), so they go up the chain of power until they do.
That is representative of a lot of pro-government advocacy and helps drive the inevitable growth of centralized government. It’s not compromise or live-and-let-live. It’s a determination to find some way to force actions on others.
Moreover, the imbalance is obvious. In this game of legislative, executive, or administrative leapfrog, those who want some mandatory thing only have to win once. At each tier of authority, it’s more difficult to get the next person up the line to overrule a mandate than it is to get that same person to impose a mandate.
That’s especially true when the news media seems monolithically to have a pro-regulation bias.