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Mask mandates and group think

By Mary WebsterSeptember 9, 2021

I am outing myself today. I was first in line as I waited for a prescription this past week.

The women behind me were “social distancing.” I didn’t notice that the next woman behind me was not wearing a mask until the third woman in line told her that she was supposed to wear a mask.

The woman who wasn’t wearing a mask, after several demands that she put on a mask, replied, “You don’t know my issues. You take care of you and I’ll take care of me.”

Of course, that didn’t silence the mask promoter. (After all, the brilliant scientist and doctor, Governor Kate Brown had said that we all should wear masks!)

I can think of many reasons why a person wouldn’t want to wear a mask, including the most important, they can give a person a false sense of security. (I find that without a mask,

I can easily keep my hands away from my face, something that is impossible when putting a mask on, taking it off, or adjusting it.)

I hate masks.

I have trouble with facial identification and masks make it nearly impossible. Politically,

I hate masks because the government has no authority to mandate clothing and I can’t help thinking about the “slippery slope,” which is even scarier as we watch the news from Afghanistan.

Currently, it is politically correct to wear masks.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the courage to speak up for the maskless woman.

I was in high school when I learned that even the most logical arguments couldn’t break through the barriers of group think and political correctness.

I gave up even trying.

Although studying The Federalist Papers has helped me to become a bit more secure and vocal about my opinions, I still tend to only offer my opinion to people who have asked me for it.

I’ve wondered why I hesitate, even when I am confident that my opinion is well informed.

For many years I was a member of an organization that has a very specific mission statement.

Occasionally one of the other members would propose an action that went against our mission statement.

However, that particular member was mean and a bully. I rarely had the strength to speak up.

I knew about group think and knew I was being influenced by it. But I didn’t have the courage—like my experience in the pharmacy last week.

Of course, the authors of The Federalist Papers didn’t use the term “group think.” But they described the effects.

“. . .The federal elections clause also has an advantage that could not have been as effectively gotten in any other way.

I’m talking about a uniform time for the election of federal Representatives. This uniformity may prove important to the public welfare. It can be a security against continuing an unhealthy spirit in the body and a cure for the diseases of faction. [e.g. cure for group think/political correctness]

“If each State could choose its own time for elections, there could be as many different times as there are months in the year. Currently, States hold elections at different times between March and November. If the House elections are held at different times, it would never be totally dissolved and remade. If an improper spirit took over the House of Representatives, as new members joined, they would probably be infected by the improper spirit. The mass would be likely hold onto the improper spirit and gradually assimilate new members into itself. The older members will have an influence that few new members would have enough willpower to resist.

“The entire House of Representatives will be dissolved every two years. This means there will be less danger to liberty than a shorter term with gradual changes.”
#61[4]

Political conservatives tend not to be bullies, which is good. But we need to feel confident enough to live our beliefs. Including me.

. . .The federal elections clause also has an advantage that could not have been as effectively gotten in any other way. I’m talking about a uniform time for the election of federal Representatives. This uniformity may prove important to the public welfare. It can be a security against continuing an unhealthy spirit in the body and a cure for the diseases of faction. [e.g. cure for group think/political correctness] “If each State could choose its own time for elections, there could be as many different times as there are months in the year. Currently, States hold elections at different times between March and November. If the House elections are held at different times, it would never be totally dissolved and remade. If an improper spirit took over the House of Representatives, as new members joined, they would probably be infected by the improper spirit. The mass would be likely hold onto the improper spirit and gradually assimilate new members into itself. The older members will have an influence that few new members would have enough willpower to resist. “The entire House of Representatives will be dissolved every two years. This means there will be less danger to liberty than a shorter term with gradual changes.””

—Federalist Paper 61, paragraph 4 Tweet

Political conservatives tend not to be bullies, which is good. But we need to feel confident enough to live our beliefs. Including me.

*Quotes are from the book shown on the sidebar Buy it on Amazon

The Federalist Papers
Modern English Edition Two

Buy on Amazon

About the author

Mary E Webster is a graduate of St. Paul College and the University of Iowa.

Her previous easier-to-read edition of The Federalist Papers—Federalist Papers: In Modern Language—has been praised as making the Papers accessible to people who don’t consider themselves “scholars.”

This second edition is a bit clearer. Webster has a deep love of the United States Constitution and was thrilled to learn that she is related to the Websters who were so important to the country’s early history and is a descendant of several signers of The Mayflower Compact.