There is a pretty obvious logical fallacy that’s appearing on an enormous scale and I’m sure you’ve encountered it several times as you browse social media or discus the current pandemic situation with friends.
It goes like this. There is a segment of the population who either by propaganda or by a simple lack of logic choose to blame any increase or prolonging of the pandemic on other people not taking the threat seriously enough.
This is often conveyed through messages such as “just wear your damn mask and we can have nice things again” or “when will people finally take this seriously”. What these statements really translate into is that everything is to blame on a manufactured straw man who is portrayed as an imaginary group of people who don’t take the threat of covid-19 seriously enough.
But why this is a fallacy is because first of all, it does indeed create a straw man. The straw man is an imaginary segment of the population that is prolonging the pandemic through their careless acts even though no proof of this monolithic group spreading the disease actually exists.
We’ve been issuing shutdowns, restrictions, and mask mandates for 10 months and yet according to the testing, cases are surging higher than when we had NONE of those things. So it stands to reason that no amount of behavioral changes, either voluntary or forced seems to have any impact on case numbers. Therefore, a more intelligent and logical response to rising cases would be that it’s possible no amount of careful behavior can truly stop an airborne virus.
But as I’m sure you’ve witnessed, the pandemic has now become the fault of this imaginary group of people who simply don’t take the threat seriously. Any action they take therefore becomes a super spreader event. If one person is caught on video not wearing a mask, suddenly they are responsible for the increasing cases.
Even experts like Dr. Fauci who often claim to only view the pandemic through the lens of a scientist promote this straw man argument. Just recently Fauci stated in an interview that people need to “do what they’re told”, once again suggesting an imaginary group of people who are spreading the virus despite no evidence such a group is responsible or even exists.
You can probably start to see the reason for this fallacy and why it’s being pushed by the media. It causes Americans to blame other Americans for a problem that originated in China and was made much worse by China’s complete lack of transparency in the early days of the outbreak.
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but there is absolutely no trace in the media of any blame for the pandemic being aimed at China. Despite China refusing to even acknowledge the outbreak or let international experts into the country to help slow the spread, they have now completely escaped any culpability in this global crisis that they created.
Instead, if you turn on the news here in America and elsewhere, all you hear is a non-stop barrage of stories about people not wearing masks or ignoring social distancing protocols. According to the media, those are the real culprits who deserve blame. If you don’t like the shutdowns, blame your neighbor, or so says the media. Any customer who argues with a store clerk about masks is suddenly a viral story and put on the front page of CNN. Once again the goal is to make it seem like these are the people who caused the pandemic, not China.
So after 10 months things should be clear to see for just about anyone. Why does the media continue to blame the straw man of people not taking the virus seriously enough when the very numbers they push daily prove that notion incorrect? The media loves to pump out the latest covid-19 case numbers, but all that does is show that with all the mask wearing and social distancing in the world, it doesn’t make any difference at all.
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