23 July 2020

Forced Into the Mask

I find myself barraged by reasons that others wear a mask during this CoVid-19 hysteria. I will tell you why I can be seen wearing a mask. It is probably for different reasons than justify those around me.

Unlike so many others, I don't do wear the mask to protect the health of someone else or the health of myself. I firmly trust that as this virus moves throughout the population (sooner better than later), individuals will either build up an immunity to it or die. I believe that mask use, "social distancing", and curbs on commerce designed to "flatten the curve" only serve to destroy an otherwise healthy economy and empower evil people with copious amounts of time to devise nefarious ways to dominate others and destroy our sacred American liberties. I firmly hold that everyone will eventually be exposed and either survive their exposure or not and we should not allow any time for terrible people to find ways to capitalize on people's fears.

I see the mask as a symbol in our complicity to allow fear, deception, and duplicity to control us. Every reputable source available has reported on the ineffectiveness of the mask in blocking the virus, making the mask nothing more than some strange symbol of obedience to an either ignorant or pandering emergency authority. I reject such authority and the managed hysteria that drives it. For this reason, I detest the mask and only wear it because I am compelled to do so as follows.

The Threat of My Employment

It has been made very clear that I must wear a mask in the office as a new condition of my ongoing employment. I avoid this issue currently by working from home, but that situation is likely to change at some point. As a state-funded entity, my employer is just as compelled as I am to behave this way, though administrators may also cheer the state mandate individually. However, when you see me wear a mask in my work setting, it is because I am compelled to do so under threat of state-dictated employment termination.

The Threat of Citation or Detainment

As time has passed, suggested actions against the virus have been strengthened into mandates with real punishments. Although I have not seen anyone prosecuted for "mask mandates" in my town, I have seen such emergency orders used to accost citizens and prosecute them elsewhere. I have largely avoided this threat by choosing to remain in my home as much as possible. I do not do this because it is a recommended method to "flatten the curve" but to avoid entanglements with law enforcement and a larger circle of purtanical "snitches" that may lie in wait to report me.

The Priestly Ability to Serve

I also wear the mask when I perform my priestly duties and serve in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Though exception allows me to avoid the mask by staying away from church buildings, I would feel derelict in my duties to God and his children if I took such an exemption from service. In this case, I only wear the mask in church to attend the priestly service I perform under covenant with God.

The New World Religion of the Mask as a Replacement for American Exceptionalism

Over the last ten years, I have watched my country change into a place I can hardly recognize. The mask serves as a poignant symbol of the new government-established and compelled "public health" religion that has infused our land.

Liberty and a pluralistic society have not just disappeared, they are routinely belittled and punished in this time of ideological opportunism born of fear. Our national value of having different peoples living together in peace is simply no longer acceptable to agitating cultural squatters who seek to "divide and conquer" the United States and its founding principles.
Our Constitution that defended my liberal values of equal freedom from government coercion and equal justice and laws that pertain to all is flatly ignored in the perverse names of the newer demands of "social justice" and "public health". I have little allegiance to a system that officially separates people into groups and then showers such groups with either special privileges or cruel repressions, all praised by legislatures and stamped with an executive seal.

Recent weeks have seen urban centers terrorized by mobs and the reluctance by many "leaders" to re-establish order. Even elected officials join in the action to politically pander to "disgruntled" groups. Again, this is not the America of ten years ago and it is made much more like the squalid, corrupted, and enslaved parts of the world every passing day. Where will Central America's refugees go for real asylum in the future when our country is just as ruined as theirs?

Our independence has been buried and our revolution from foreign oppression is ultimately recorded as a loss. We have extinguished the "shining light on the hill" and watched as our families and communities are plunged into a repressive state darkness under the guise of a "saving" mask and other actions. The soul of The United States of America has simply died and this foundling tyranny that still bears its name is a cruel mockery of our founding. I would rather perish defending the principles of our liberty than die cowering in some corner, trusting to some purported salvation from schemers and a bit of fabric on my face.

19 July 2020

The Robustness Principle

"Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send"
Postel J., (1989) Request for Comment (RFC) 1122, Requirements for Internet Hosts -- Communication Layers, 1.2.2 - Robustness Principle.
There are very few people who have been so wise and productive that I choose to revere them. One of these is the computer scientist Jon Postel, whose list of accomplishments is long.

If you are reading this now, you have Jon and a handful of others to thank for the massive "network of networks" that each of us use everyday in our digital communications. Youtube, Netflix, Facebook, and everything else on the Internet owe a great debt of gratitude to Jon and his collegues who concieved, designed, and built the inter-network in the first place.

Most people consider computer science to be pretty esoteric, however I have found that in any field of endeavor, certain principles emerge that, not only explain reality, but guide us to better and wiser ways of being. One of these was identified by Jon Postel and is an underlying concept that makes the Internet work as well as it does - robustness. Used in our everday interactions with others, the principle of robustness would stamp out the forces of censorship and "cancel" culture and allow for more open and effective communication among all.

First off, the principle teaches to never reject a message, no matter how poorly constructed or transmitted. Always try to find some way to derive meaning from all attempts at communication and give a useful response. In computer science, even if a digital packet is mal-formed and doesn't follow standard protocol, the robust listener will attempt to process and act upon it regardless, even if the response can only be an error message. In wider communication, if someone shouts at you in a language and using terms that are not recognized, robust people don't just walk away from the attempt- you somehow signal to them that you don't understand at the very least. Much of effective communication has to do with negotiation upon what terms and methods each party can accept messages. As an example, the best "error messages" are those that attempt to see a sender's intent and offer a suggestion toward better communication - perhaps "I'm confused. Do you mean this?" This is at the heart of the axiom "Be liberal in what you accept..."

When responses are given, it is most useful to be "conservative", which is another way to say to fall back upon established communication standards and protocols. Computer science is loaded with standards (Jon Postel was a heavy promulgator and editor of the RFCs, or the library of internet standards, among so much else) and the most effective and useful communication between computers and devices over networks happens when standard protocols for message transfer are used. A successful "citizen" of the "community" is one who knows and uses the established "language" in standard ways that other citizens readily understand. When a person sends a well-formed message (we call that "conservative" in computer terms), that message is received, understood as widely as possible, and able to be acted up on as the sender intended. A "conservative" response allows communication to flow more freely, efficiently, effectively, and widely - the hallmarks of good interchange.

In the end, the winners are those who are the best communicators, whether that is in technology or more generally in life. We are living in an aberrant moment in time where screaming nonsense with fingers plugging ears seems to be making waves and getting attention. This cannot and will not last long as it is not robust and will not stand up to the tests of time. Those who see some success from disrupting interchange today will find themselves side-lined and practically ignored tomorrow as they lack the understanding of protocols and standards that make effective communication and bring results. What is true of digital network attacks is just as true of constantly shouted slurs - it may make its way into every corner of the globe, but there will be no real change made and you will see the dumping of such messages into what computer scientists call "the bit bucket", or something like the social version of a rubbish bin. Potential listeners will learn to filter or eliminate or ignore such noise and the creators of it as an established response and seek out others who work to establish communication.

Do you want to survive and thrive in any society, technological or social? Take a lesson from Jon Postel and learn how to be robust!