I don’t really agree with Tuccille’s claim that “Libertarians and others who haven’t turned life into a political package deal may need to serve as translators and peacemakers for countrymen who have lost the ability to talk to one another.” As a platonic ideal that may be true, but my experience has been that libertarians are just as divided into the left, right, and centrist camps as anyone else. And if you include the full range of anarchist/libertarian opinion, includes everything from “libertarian Alt-Rightists” to “libertarian Antifa.” I knew self-proclaimed anarchists and libertarians who voted for Trump, Clinton, Johnson, Stein, Castle, or (my choice) no one in 2016.
By J.D. Tuccille
Somehow, it became a sign of bedrock conservative principles to refuse to wear a face mask anytime, anyplace, in the middle of a pandemic. Likewise, it’s now a marker of devout progressivism to shriek like banshees at anybody who fails to don a mask even for a stroll along a deserted path. Forget health concerns—masks have become signifiers of tribal affiliation.
The politicization of face masks is stupid enough, but research suggests that polarization in the United States has permeated many seemingly unrelated issues, leaving little of life unpolluted by partisanship. Those few who remain outside the scrum may have to bear heavy burdens in the days to come.