As states are opening up left and right, even the boldest ones are still urging precautions among the people in order to limit the inevitable spread of the virus. As I’ve written before, this is largely theatrics as the lockdown hasn’t stopped the spread anyway. It’s hard to prevent the spread of a virus when you’re still having everyone gather at the same places in order to buy groceries or get other essential services, but I digress.
The theatrics are largely to make the general populace feel a little braver and fair enough. Wearing masks does indeed help to limit the spread of germs and viruses and for those who have more to lose than others, wearing a mask is a perfectly valid thing to do. However, not everyone is going to go along with the precautions and in a very short amount of time, I believe you’re going to see these precautions be thrown to the wind by a populace tired of being scared.
I base this theory off a few things. For one, I fell into cultural and political commentating because I love to watch the decisions of people, especially when they gather together en masse and collectively decide on a belief. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned about humans, it’s that it’s in our nature to collectively be exactly how Tommy Lee Jones’s “Agent J” described people in “Men in Black” as he was explaining to Will Smith’s character about human nature after he uncovered the existence of aliens.
Smith’s character insisted that “people are smart” and can handle the revelation that aliens exist. Jones’s character responded with a sad but accurate truth about humanity.
“A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it,” says Jones.
The line isn’t wrong. Fear and panic are contagious. If you walk into a room of ten people and nine of them are expressing overt fear and anxiety about something you know little about with only the one expressing doubt, you’re instinctually going to be more inclined to believe the nine and begin feeling the same anxieties and worries about the subject, even if you’re somewhat skeptical. Your best defense against this kind of thing is education and the willingness to break from the pack. Sadly, too few people are willing to do either.
You can see this demonstrated perfectly in the continued enthusiasm for lockdowns and the willingness of people to let authorities exert power over them to the point of unconstitutionality in order to feel safe. They even go so far as to lash out at those who protest in the streets to end the lockdowns with insults and even threats of violence.
Even now, a new study shows that 40 percent of Americans are thinking they will avoid the public, even after the pandemic ends according to the Daily Wire:
Some 40% of Americans plan to avoid public spaces unless “absolutely necessary,” even long after the coronavirus pandemic subsides, a new study commissioned by Vital Vio found.
The survey asked 1,000 U.S. adults how they see life after the coronavirus. More than four in five (82%) “said they are now more aware of, and concerned about, cleaning protocols in public areas,” StudyFinds reported. “Additionally, 58% are more suspicious about their friends’ and family’s hygiene habits. Next year’s Thanksgiving could get interesting.”
I don’t doubt that these people are serious about this belief. I also doubt that they’ll hold to it.
Eventually, fear subsides and is even forgotten about. The things that they were afraid of yesterday may become a topic they laugh about tomorrow, and this is because the same human nature that urged us to be afraid and cautious will urge people to become less afraid for several reasons. For one, people have nothing to really benefit from by making their lives more difficult with self-imposed lockdowns and precautions that will ultimately be useless. Moreover, they’ll also watch as most of their peers go out, have fun, and go about their daily lives with little worry. They will begin to question the extent they go to be careful and wish to join in with the rest of their friends and family. Some will hold out longer than others, but very few will hold out forever.
I can personally attest to the fact that this is already happening and will continue to grow. Not only can I see the mounting protests happening around the country, but you can also see it in my hometown of Galveston, Texas, where you’d never have known there was lockdown. The tourists have come back with gusto and the beaches were crowded during the weekend. This matches the fact that in California, the beaches there were also crowded, sometimes with the specific intention of showing the government that it can’t tell the people what to do.
If this pattern holds, then the worries about precautions won’t survive long. The politicians and their media can attempt to scare and threaten people all they want, but eventually, the people will shrug it all off.