[ExI] enough time has passed...

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Sun Jan 23 09:17:10 UTC 2022

On Sun, Jan 23, 2022 at 2:02 AM Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com>

>> And don't get me started on masks, these dehumanizing, humiliating pieces
>> of medically useless trash.
> OK, so your objection is a practical one, not a moral one. If masks were
> effective, say reducing R0 from 1.1 with voluntary use to 0.9 with mandated
> use and thereby potentially ending the epidemic, you would be OK with
> mandating them, right?

 ### Let's continue exploring the misogynistic virus counterfactual: Let's
now posit that women can be vaccinated and fully protected from harm. Do
men still have an obligation to be vaccinated? No, since everybody who
needs protection can obtain protection at low cost to herself and there is
no justification to impose on the lives of men. The changed premise of
vaccination availability for women changes the calculus of what constitutes
efficient action, and equitable apportionment of burdens among members of
society, and therefore it changes the type of action that is justified.

Let's now look at your example. Obviously, an intervention that reduces R0
below 1 in a population is only effective in ending an epidemic if there
are no reservoirs of the pathogen capable of re-introducing it into the
population (such reservoirs may be other human populations not affected by
the intervention or they may be animals). If there are significant
reservoirs, e.g when the infectious agent is endemic, such as Covid, the
intervention that only slightly affects R0 will fail, and therefore is not
justified under almost any circumstances. Full-blown epidemics usually end
when the population dies out or reaches herd immunity by infection or
vaccination, not through measures that only slow the spread of the disease.

Sure, in a counterfactual world where mask wearing eliminates epidemics I
would in certain situations endorse mask wearing despite their dehumanizing
nature but in the real world masks provide absolutely no long-term benefit
and should be vigorously opposed. It's easy to construct counterfactuals to
justify just about anything (like my misogynistic virus world that
justifies vaccine mandates) but so what?

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