In yesterday's post, I speculated about the possible lengths covid rule-followers would be willing to go, if instructed by their governments.
I went through a hypothetical timeline of increasingly draconian lockdown measures, continually asking, "Would this be too far?"
And I want to address the main objection that many people may have, which basically amounts to, "Come on, the government would never push us that far anyway."
Or, "Even if they did, nobody would go along with it."
Or, "That's just crazy. That could never happen."
Specifically, I'd like to address Stage #6 - the mandatory shutting of windows in residences.
If you recall, it looked like this:
This is probably the point where most people say, "OK, that's too far."
But are you really sure?
Remember: It seems too far... now... because you haven't yet gone through Stages 1 through 5. A few countries and provinces are in Stage 1, but most places haven't even gotten that far yet. So of course Stage 6 looks like the "line in the sand," right now.
But how would you respond to it if you'd already been through the first 5, and accepted the first 5?
You can't judge your future responses based on your current situation. You have to factor in the fact that once you arrive at that point, you won't be in the same situation you're in now. Plenty of preparation and psychological grooming will have been done by that point.
By the time Stage 6 - restriction of open home windows - is formally announced, the public will not be debating whether to accept this, but rather "how much of it" to accept. The debate will not be "whether" we should restrict open windows, but rather "what portion of the day" is an appropriate amount of time to restrict them. It will, at this point, be a given that the whole idea of publicly debating the amount of air that citizens should be allowed to have is a perfectly legitimate debate to be having. Most people around you - and everyone on TV - will believe that restricting the opening of windows is a perfectly legitimate tool in any government's pandemic response toolbox, and the only question will be where, when, and how long to restrict them. The idea of having no restrictions on it at all will not be considered an acceptable mainstream idea. It will be treated as the domain of conspiracy theorists.
The Overton Window - the range of debate acceptability, or mainstreamness...
...will range all the way from "lax" measures on one hand, like allowing windows open throughout the daylight hours - a position "conservatives" and "civil libertarians" will take...
...to a "mainstream middle" of basically trusting the government to only restrict window opening to the extent that's Scientifically necessary, and basically assuming that any time the government says it's necessary, it's necessary - as long as it's not 24 hours a day...
...all the way to, on the other end, "doctors" and "scientists" saying, with straight faces, that it's actually irresponsible to allow any fresh air exchange at all, and governments should really get tough on window-openers. There will be articles in prominent newspapers exploring the possibility of welding peoples windows shut by force.
Of course, such an extreme policy of welding windows shut won't actually be used, except in a few places. That's not the point. The point is the Overton Window. The extremeness of this one policy, even though recognized as extreme, will nevertheless position the range of acceptable debate such that restrictions on window-opening will be seen as "normal and mainstream" - the "new normal." And most importantly, the idea of not restricting air-exchange at all will be seen as "fringe", "right-wing," "neanderthal," and "something dumb anti-Science rednecks believe."
And if you believe in having no restrictions, you'll be labelled an anti-Scientific conspiracy nutjob. And worse, if you put your crazy theories into action, and flaunt the rules, and open your windows when you're not supposed to, you'll be labelled a "dangerous person" who "doesn't care about others." And a criminal too. Maybe a bioterrorist.
For opening your windows.
You think it sounds crazy, but everything you're already doing now would have sounded crazy to you only a year ago.
If you're following the covid rules, you've already broken the crazy barrier. You've already allowed a set of authoritatively authoritative authority figures to talk you into doing completely insane things, at detriment to your own health and the stability of your society, in total contravention of common sense, simply because of how authoritatively authoritative they are. You already failed the Milgram test. And the Stanford prison experiment test too. You've cooperated with turning your society into a giant prison. You've already done that.
If you're following the current set of covid rules, you'll be following the next set too. And the next. And the next.
Unless you prove otherwise.
And how do you prove otherwise? You can prove that you won't follow the next set, later - by stopping following the current set, now.
That's really the only way.
Prove that you won't let them cross the next line in the sand by pushing them back across the previous line that you previously promised yourself you wouldn't let them cross.
You never thought you'd let someone tell you when you can and can't go outside. Stop letting them. Tell them no. Break their curfews.
You never thought you'd let someone force you to wear a mask over your face every time you appear in public. That's what child abductors do. They cover faces by force.
You never thought it would become illegal for you to show your face in public. Yet here we are. Take off the mask. Tell them NO.
If you want me to believe you'd say No to the rules at Stage 6 and beyond, you have to say No to them NOW.
Because remember: If it gets to Stage 6, it probably won't stop there. They'll push you all the way to Stage 9, and beyond, if you let them. They could turn you into one of the people you read about from the 1930's. One of the people whose actions were so heinous, you've wondered your whole life "how anyone could have possibly gone along with that."
Well, hopefully, now you know.
Turn back before you get that far.