COVID Rulebreakers: Masking for a Friend


Manage episode 301415205 series 2906059
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To mask, or not to mask, that is the question...

In this episode, Bronwen tries to understand the reasons why people refuse to follow preventative measures to contain the coronavirus. Desperate to understand, she channels her unconditional positive regard for the human condition and looks at the situation from the "other side's" point of view. This takes her into an exploration of "rules philosophy," allowing her to ask:
How do we choose which rules to follow?
Why do we choose to follow them? Break them?
What are we to do when there are two opposing figures of authority issuing different rules?
Bronwen approaches the mask and social distancing dilemma from as many perspectives as possible in a single episode -- human nature, social psychology, constitutional scholarship, moral philosophy, and integrated threat theory -- and comes to a surprising conclusion.
Key Points from this Episode:

  • What the most basic definition of a rule is and different reasons we follow them.
  • The two phases to using rules.
  • Why rules need to be flexible, but not too flexible.
  • The cultural influence of collectivism vs. individualism in following or not following mask mandates.
  • How perceiving the virus s a realistic or symbolic threat influences our willingness to follow public health guidelines.
  • Why social distancing hits us in our humanity.
  • The conditions upon which individual liberties are guaranteed by the US Constitution and why the First Amendment doesn’t offer protection from mask mandates.
  • The ruling in Jacobson v. Massachusetts and what four standards it set that must be met for governmental health measure to permissible restrict individual rights.
  • The instinct of psychological reactance and how it informs our reactions to criticism.
  • The fears dividing society any the risk too much fear poses to social cohesion.
  • How politics became the most important factor in predicting whether or not we follow the rules.
  • The commonalities of human nature and how our instinct to survive made us all react rationally to our perceived threats, regardless of science.
  • The charged subtext of mask enforcement.
  • What the “broken window theory is” and how its hypothesis is helpful in understanding why former rule followers are now becoming rule breakers.
  • Why we are seeing more American flags everywhere.
  • The difference between morality and ethics.
  • What “negative liberty” is and what role it plays in our federal government.
  • The definition of “rule consequentialism” and what flavor of this theory we see in America.
  • What the predominant theory of morality is and how both sides of the political divide are acting accordance with it, despite different perspectives.
  • How the Milgram Experiment can shed light on how Donald Trump became president of the USA.
  • The dangers of moral hypocrisy.
  • Realistic steps we can all take to mitigate the volatility in the mask debate.

Threat Perception Study from UNC

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