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In a world of poverty and injustice, mask-hating Facial Justice Warriors have finally found a cause worth fighting for

Andrew Dickens
Andrew Dickens

Andrew Dickens is an award-winning writer on culture, society, politics, health and travel for major titles such as the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Independent, the Daily Mail and Empire.

Andrew Dickens is an award-winning writer on culture, society, politics, health and travel for major titles such as the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Independent, the Daily Mail and Empire.

In a world of poverty and injustice, mask-hating Facial Justice Warriors have finally found a cause worth fighting for
With limited time and passion to give to causes, it’s crucial we choose ours well. So well done Facial Justice Warriors for ignoring other issues until a fight worth fighting came along – being asked to occasionally wear a mask

Bob Geldof once spoke of compassion fatigue: the notion that we have limited emotional resources when it comes to ‘doing our bit’ for a good cause. We can’t help everyone all the time, so it’s important to choose your battles wisely.

This is why I salute the Facial Justice Warriors (FJWs), a term I have coined for those people tirelessly and selflessly campaigning against rarely-enforced laws requiring them to wear a face mask for a few minutes if they happen to be, say, in a shop or on a bus, in an attempt to slow the spread of Covid-19. 

While others have spent their precious energy campaigning against things like poverty, crime and injustice, the FJWs have bided their time, waiting for a really serious issue to trigger their activism. And now they have it: an annoying dress code.

We’ve had anti-mask marches, we’ve had Bible-quoting mask truthers marching through supermarkets (warning: the truth may differ from truther to truther), we’ve had a wave of maskless selfies from brave FJWs risking the wrath of apathetic teenage shop assistants and, of course, we’ve had the FJW online battalions warning us of the #plandemic.

And what warriors they are.

These people will absolutely not be told to wear a mask for a small percentage of their week, even if there is a reasonable chance that doing so could prevent people from catching an unpleasant and potentially fatal virus because the FJWs’ civil liberties are far more important. 

They will not allow a minor inconvenience to interfere with their lives when instead they can protect us from sadistic governments who have finally found a way to control our behaviour having failed to do so for millennia with all those other laws. FJWs, I can only assume, also refuse to submit to such authoritarian liberty-destroying diktats such as having to drive on a designated side of the road or wear clothes in public places.

If only they’d been around in World War II. While all those sheeple were complying with blackout rules and rationing, the FJWs would have been having black market BBQs and laser shows in their back gardens, really telling Churchill and whoever the 1940s Bill Gates was (Einstein?) where to shove their science. Because did you know that statistically, the chances of you dying from a German bomb were less than those of you dying from tripping over a kerb in a pitch-black street or from not eating enough butter? True fact.

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These guys are sticking it to the Man for the greater good. They could have campaigned to end homelessness or improve mental health awareness. They could have taken on (actual) bullying or racism. They could have mentored vulnerable young people or worked to rehabilitate offenders. But no, they’ve found an even higher hill and they’re going to die on it, with their final breath unhindered by cloth. 

They will ignore the fact that, while you can dispute the infection and death rates, only the most dedicated conspiracy theorist doesn’t believe the coronavirus pandemic is real and that wearing a mask in the very limited situations where it’s required might just impede its effects. They will also ignore how limited those situations are. 

They will trot out evidence that they got off Twitter of masks actually killing people or increasing acne or something, which is why medical staff, factory workers and people in the Far East who wear them for hours a day in non-pandemic times are always keeling over in the street. 

They will point to conflicting data about the efficacy of masks and argue that it’s “inconclusive” but refuse to err on the side of caution when they can err on the side of doing whatever they want, consequences be damned.

They will ignore that fact that almost no-one likes wearing a mask and very few want to, but that most people don’t really see it as a big deal and realise that it’s a temporary nuisance. They will ignore that fact that governments clearly don’t want to make people wear masks because it’s not, and has never been, a vote-winning policy.

And, of course, they will ignore accusations of hypocrisy. I have every faith that if you had a Venn diagram that showed the cross over between FJWs flouting these laws and the people who are very much in favour of strict enforcement by the state of any rules they agree with, perhaps things like “getting tough” with other kinds of protesters, then you could call that diagram a “circle.”

Which is great because, when they go to the supermarket to take their rebellious selfie or save our souls from all the lies, they can get their cake and eat it – without anything getting in their way. 

They will do all this because, well, probably because they’re amazing, selfless people who simply want #justiceforfaces.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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