Masks and Their Moralities

For some, instructions to wear masks in public places have been an opportunity to chart new courses in fashion or have simply been a minor inconvenience in the effort to prevent the further spread of Covid-19. Alternatively, for others in more libertarian and sometimes conspiratorial groups, the face mask has become a symbol of the overreach of the state. I suspect for many of those reading this blog post the opposition to wearing masks seems deeply irrational and perplexing. Likewise, I have found these sentiments troubling and an affront to my own sense of community and ethics. For myself, wearing a mask has become a way of publicly presenting my commitment to stopping the spread of viruses and an acknowledgement of science and evidence as a guide to public health policy. So how has the face mask become a symbol of such divergent meanings?