The thing that’s frightened me about the COVID restrictions from the very beginning was a lack of the idea that the mental suffering from social restrictions was something worth balancing with the intended effects. Not that it necessarily does outward the benefit, just that it was at least worth considering. Instead you either got people totally dismissive of the danger of the virus, or people saying “how could you think about [need for human contact phrased to sound as frivolous as possible] when people are dying because it of it?!”

But the thing is, everyone not only accepts some level of risk for themselves, but also accepts some level of risk for other people. That amount isn’t ever zero. In 2019, I had contact with a lot of people that could have potentially spread influenza. I got my flu shot as always, I washed my hands the normal amount, but I did not become a hermit. Now you could argue that my selfish desire to see multiple friends in my apartment at the same time was increasing the possibility of other vulnerable people catching the flu. Didn’t I think about how as much as these people mattered to me I should be putting the needs of others first? But I didn’t, and in that situation no one expected me to.

We are not in that situation now. The magnitude of that risk is radically higher and that’s why I’ve continued to live a radically altered life. But I plan to someday inch back towards the old thing, and we’re all going to have to figure out how much and when. It’s going to be more complicated than treating “your actions affect other people” as a trump card that justifies any and all restrictions.

My lingering, probably paranoid fear since last spring has been: if people around me accept the precedents that anything that puts other people at any increased risk is something you shouldn’t be able to do, and that wanting to be in the same room with people you like is something trivial that no one is willing to stand up for, then what? That sounds like a system of social norms where you let scrupulousity-brain write the rules. So if people don’t actually believe those two ideas (and I don’t think many do) I’d appreciate it if more were willing to say it out loud.

And the point is that I don’t know what an acceptable level of risk to put other people in is, I don’t have numbers, and I get why no one wants to have this conversation because admitting you accept risk to be higher than zero makes you sounds like a horrible person. But we have to acknowledge it some time, or I’m afraid we’ll end up in a situation where you’re expected to feel low-level guilty about any people you interact with the way you’re supposed to about unethical consumption under capitalism or not being sufficiently critical of the problematic media you enjoy. (Which is to say, people whose brains work a certain way will feel low-level guilty about it all the time and others will let it run off their backs and appear to have no comprehension of what the other group feels when they bring it up.)

…what does *the value of other people* have to do with anything? Anti-plague measures are taken for one’s *own* sake, directly and/or to protect [people such that it would suck for you if they got hurt].

The thing that horrifies me about people going “but social interaction” isn’t their self-centredness. I’m self-centred too! But I did the egoist moral calculations and came to the conclusion that the value of in-person social interaction outside my bubble was negligible next to the risk of catching COVID-19, and if other people’s calculations are coming out differently, that means they’re either very bad at moral calculus or (more likely) have very different values. Both of those things are scary! Who knows what these people will come up with next?!

(I guess maybe the main thing that makes this whole discourse feel weird to me is: I have never once been coerced into taking anti-plague measures I thought were overkill. I *have* *frequently* been coerced into taking *fewer* anti-plague measures than I wanted to.)

>>But I plan to someday inch back towards the old thing, and we’re all going to have to figure out how much and when.

This is my plan:

When everyone in my household has been vaccinated: cease wearing a respirator. Wear a cloth mask in indoor public spaces if official (read: presumably underestimated) local caseload is above 1/200k/day, to reduce the chances of becoming a carrier and reduce the chances of spreading it if I already am (spreading disease to people who aren’t lucky enough to be vaccinated yet is bad for the society in which I live (people can generally be assumed to be doing something useful, even if indirectly), and also sets a bad precedent (I expect to live through other plagues in the future, and quite likely I will be lower in the vaccine triage list for the next plague than I am now: someday it’ll be *me* who hasn’t been vaccinated yet, and I wish to do my part to encourage a norm I would one day benefit from)). Do not *offer* private social gatherings to unvaccinated people, but seriously consider accepting unvaccinated people’s social offers. Freely offer and accept social-gathering offers with vaccinated people: to us COVID-19 is somewhat less dangerous than a cold, and only baseline anti-cold measures [link] apply.


#reply via reblog #covid19 #illness tw #discourse cw? #is the blue I see the same as the blue you see

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