Monday, August 02, 2021


At The Atlantic, Brooke Harrington, a professor of sociology at Dartmouth, notes that the people who shout a lot about being oppressed by pandemic public health measures are perceived by some as the oppressors.
Something very strange has been happening in Missouri: A hospital in the state, Ozarks Healthcare, had to create a “private setting” for patients afraid of being seen getting vaccinated against COVID-19. In a video produced by the hospital, the physician Priscilla Frase says, “Several people come in to get vaccinated who have tried to sort of disguise their appearance and even went so far as to say, ‘Please, please, please don’t let anybody know that I got this vaccine.’” Although they want to protect themselves from the coronavirus and its variants, these patients are desperate to ensure that their vaccine-skeptical friends and family never find out what they have done.
Harrington explains this:
Shifting from an individual to a relational perspective helps us understand why people are seeking vaccination in disguise. They want to save face within the very specific set of social ties that sociologists call “reference groups”—the neighborhoods, churches, workplaces, and friendship networks that help people obtain the income, information, companionship, mutual aid, and other resources they need to live. The price of access to those resources is conformity to group norms. That’s why nobody strives for the good opinion of everyone; most people primarily seek the approval of people in their own reference groups.
Right-wingers want us to believe that everyone in America is forced to conform to a set of values dictated by coastal left-leaning elites. They'd like us to think that no media message reaches the mass public unless it has been vetted by the left-wing information Politburo.

But in much of the country, the dominant political value system is conservative, not liberal. In much of America, Fox News, right-wing talk radio, and religious radio are the mainstream media. They're what you'll see if you walk into a public place with a TV on, and all you'll hear if you turn on the radio in your car. "Political correctness" and "cancel culture" as the right defines them are meaningless terms. In these parts of the country -- which cover enough territory to get you very close to 270 electoral votes -- "forbidden" right-wing speech and ideas are readily available. If anything, it's liberalism that's canceled.

If we're silencing these people, how did Donald Trump amass a $100 million war chest in the months after his banishment from social media platforms? Apparently he's found a way to communicate with his followers. The allegedly totalitarian left isn't doing a very good job of being totalitarian.

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