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Byron Shire
February 9, 2023

Editorial: Real men don’t harm others

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Standing at a public urinal in Mullumbimby last week, I found myself face-to-face with a small poster stuck to the wall: ‘Real men don’t wear masks’.

Maybe the message was intended to elicit a wry chuckle, and its stupidity was actually ironic. But it was neatly printed and who spends money on promoting their sense of irony?

No, alas, this was a genuine communication from the bottom of the rabbit hole. For the last few months The Echo has been earnestly publishing factual articles about COVID-19 in an effort to counter the fictional ones that swarm around social media.

Still guided by the European Enlightenment of over two hundred years ago, which discovered that science is better than superstition, we have assumed that the false will not survive exposure to the true. People can be misinformed if they have no opportunity to correct their misinformation, but if the truth is available, who would cling to falsehood?

It turns out that quite a lot of people would. Naïve rationalists think that an incontrovertible argument wins them the case. But an incontrovertible argument merely puts you in a particular camp, the one that your antagonists have marked as their enemy. They have a different set of ‘facts’ and their camp is not defined by rationalism.

The ‘real man’ who stuck his poster at eye-level on the toilet wall is not going to be persuaded by epidemiology.

His belief is not scientific, although he may try to defend it with pseudo-scientific ideas.

It is a statement of identity: he belongs to the group that asserts the value of personal freedom above the value of public health. Not wearing a mask tells you what side he is on.

That side is actually quite diverse; it consists, among others, of anti-vaxxers, science contrarians, sovereign citizens, conspiracy theorists, and people who believe in the healing blood of Christ.

Politically speaking, this side is most comfortable on the far right, and to see where that leads it is only necessary to look at the United States: COVID-19 cases and deaths are now approaching last year’s levels, but this time it is mainly Fox News viewers, Trump voters and Christian fundamentalists who are affected.

These right-wingers in Republican states are ‘owning the Liberals’ by refusing to get vaccinated. And by dying.

One may feel a sneaking glee at such people removing themselves from the gene pool, but in our neighbourhood they don’t just damage themselves.

Until the federal government organises a competent vaccine roll-out and most of the population is protected, flouting the COVID-19 lockdown rules is not a philosophical protest, it is simply an act of malevolence.

Real men don’t harm others.

David Lovejoy, Echo co-founder

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  1. True libertarians don’t let anybody tell THEM how to be a real man is?

    And pardon me but I thought we had moved on from notions of real men and real women. I thought personal freedom lovers cherished the idea of take me how I am.

    It was surely ironic, David?

    • I agree in full with the title of this editorial by Hans Lovejoy. But I have a question for Hans. The European Medicines Agency have reported more than 20.00 death and more 2 million adverse events, half of which are serious and required hospitalisation, attributed to the vaccine. How did real men commit such a crime? To find answers, he could do well to download a copy of:
      The Rape of the Mind by A. M. Meerloo, M.D. .pdf The Rape of the Mind explores the Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing. Published in 1956 and written by Joost A. M. Meerloo, M.D., Instructor in Psychiatry, Columbia University Lecturer in Social Psychology, New School for Social Research, Former Chief, Psychological Department, Netherlands Armed Forces. Follow the science Hans!

  2. Premised on – the urinal poster was not planted to discredit, science can never be corrupt and an obsolete belief in left and right * 2+2=3
    Real men don’t play divide and rule!

  3. Excellent editorial! Until more real men like you state this truth publicly, little (or big) messages like this will be adopted, believed and spread by others. I’m sharing this editorial to my Facebook page, and I thank you for your public statement!

  4. there must be no real men in this society Hans because it is a society with a lot of hurt people in it.
    we are told that science is the answer to everything but maybe its the cause of everything, over 15000 people die and over 50,000 are left disabled each year as a result of medical malpractice in Australia alone, our environment is choked and polluted with the science of corporations, our modern world with its advance tech is born from the of mass murder and incarceration’s of millions and the environmental destruction of this planet, but yes Hans keep worshiping science one day we might have a nuclear powerplant on the north coast for you to celebrate the pinnacle of the modern world while our vaccinated drones bomb the homeless & unclean i think we have more to worry about than a coof and a poster on a toilet wall.

  5. It may fall on deaf ears but the essence of man is strength. It is not just in the doing of heavy work or or physically protecting or achieving gains, but also in having the strength to be able to do the right thing and use that strength to protect and serve others

  6. Wonderful piece of commentary David. Good on the Echo for fighting the good fight, when so much of Mullum seems subsumed by anti-mask propaganda.

  7. Great editorial too bad siva misses the point. It like the 4wd in Bunnings the other week “ real men don’t use airbags/ seat belts”. These people miss the point.

  8. Great editorial, David. I’m pleased to see other readers agreeing with your view. And yes, it is a pity that Siva misses the point.

  9. Nirav the advice on masks not settled ?, then why are they worn in medical procedures, one of the first lines of infection control? And you obviously didn’t do theoretical maths at tertiary level to know your assumptions are wrong. I suggest get off Facebook/ Twitter and do some real research.

    • Masks were designed for bacteria and are worn to prevent bacteria passing from the mouths of medical staff into open surgical wounds .
      Bacteria, however, are 100 times the size of a virus and there is little supporting evidence that maaks help in preventing viral spread
      There is also little supporting evidence that corona spreads in a normal outdoors setting that is not a packed stadium or concert with a lot of people shouting and coughing on each other.

  10. Ahhh signs of intelligent life again. Having removed all social media to escape the lunacy of my fellow border residents, this well timed email in my inbox has reminded me that the sane still walk among us.

  11. Real anti vaxxers don’t accept ventilators! I trust that all those putting the elderly and vulnerable at risk by refusing to wear masks or get a COVID vaccination will follow their convictions all the way. When ICU staff are forced to make the decision on who lives and gets the remaining ventilators, their decision will be much easier if patient charts identify those who refused to take precautions to protect themselves and others.

  12. Real men care about their community, by following the public health guidelines, including wearing a mask. They are called ‘public health’ for a reason.

  13. Disagree with much of what you say, David. This particular culture/political war is só unneccessary.
    There are two bottom lines here and I can argue them both whether I am a vaxer or a non vaxer.
    The first is the principal that no medication should be either forced or coerced.
    The second is that there is more than one way to kill a crow – there are non vax solutions to covid as well and to dismiss one point of view as right wing or left wing is immediately detrimental to science and reason.
    Personally I have little time for either the Q’Anon theorists or the pro vax shamers and lynch mobs .

  14. I suspect in Australia the neat categorisation of covid deniers into the far right may not fit.
    Personally in the Shire most I know are self described far left.
    As a hypothesis I would suggest perhaps its in the extremes that emotion trumps science ( like the pun? )


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