The Practical Difficulty of ‘Do Not Comply’ Response to Covid Restrictions | National Review

The Practical Difficulty of ‘Do Not Comply’ Response to Covid Restrictions | National Review

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks about the COVID vaccine at the National Institutes of Health, in Bethesda, Md., December 22, 2020. (Patrick Semansky/Reuters)

When news breaks of some sort of crazy new Covid policy being implemented, it’s common for some conservatives on Twitter to respond with the phrase “Do Not Comply.” While I do admire the instinct to fight absurd government policies, there are some day-to-day practical difficulties presented by a blanket policy of non-compliance.

In my own case, I have chosen to be vaccinated and receive a booster, because I believe the shots are perfectly safe and there is ample evidence that they reduce the risk of getting severely ill. I am perfectly comfortable with that being the extent of the precautions I take against Covid. So I struggle with how to respond to mask mandates that I deem to be oppressive and unnecessary. I don’t really care if some people are “used to” masks. I hate wearing them, they fog up my glasses, and they are an added inconvenience in daily life. We have blown past so many off-ramps to this policy and some are trying to turn it into a permanent fixture of public life.

I have, at various times, embraced the “Do Not Comply” approach. But in practice, what it means is that if I have a limited amount of time to run errands, I have to budget extra time to deal with protesting masks in an area where I know I will be the only one raising a fuss. That has involved: arguing with people in stores about mask wearing; being told to leave stores for not wearing a mask; and going to multiple stores for the same product until I find a retailer that doesn’t enforce the mask mandate. So at a certain point, I have found that jumping through so many hoops becomes more of a burden than simply slapping on the mask.

For those with kids in mask-obsessed areas, it is even more difficult. There is a subset of Twitter that accuses people who mask their children of being child abusers. But what if they live in areas in which that is the only way they can attend school? What is the choice then? Suddenly becoming a homeschool parent when you have not built your life around the idea of becoming a home school parent is not feasible.

Some people would argue that the solution is simply to move to an area that’s less Covid crazy. My friend Karol Markowicz, who agonized for a year about leaving her beloved New York, has finally decided she’s had enough and is moving her family to Florida. While I admire her decision, it is not an easy one. People have family, work, religious, and many other attachments to the communities where they live. If you uproot all that and move to a place you wouldn’t otherwise live as result of irrational Covid policies, then that’s also letting Covid disrupt your life.

Also, even if you move, it does not fully free you of the Covid regime. If you want to fly on an airplane or take a train anywhere, you are going to have to put on a mask. So yes, you could decide that you won’t comply, and that you are going to drive everywhere from now on, but that once again costs you a lot of time and would not be the preferred way you would normally travel.

Put another way, you can let Anthony Fauci run your life by slapping on a mask when you go grocery shopping. Or you can let him alter your life by having to take extra time to do errands, to keep your kids home from school, to live in a place you wouldn’t have otherwise wanted to live, or budget time for long road trips to avoid airplane travel.

“Do Not Comply,” thus, is not going to be an effective long-term strategy. Instead, we need to persuade more people to move beyond the Covid-obsessed mindset, and then elect better leaders who will return public health officials to their proper role.

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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.