Security Theatre and Covering One’s Buttocks

by Joakim Book
The American Institute for Economic Research

The taxi driver pulls up to where I wait alongside my newly found acquaintances – like me, eager to split the exorbitant fare. He’s wearing an all-covering face mask, as well as one of those transparent visors that don’t do anything but put distance between you and others, physically and psychologically. In a place where almost nobody bothers with the masks anymore – partly because of low case counts and high vaccination rates, partly because of ire with how cumbersome they are – it’s odd that taxi drivers stubbornly wear them. When I entered the front seat, he insisted that I wear one too, even though he made no attempt to air out the very constricted space he had already filled up with his own exhalation in the minutes before arriving. Somebody consistently frightened by catching or spreading Covid-19 ought to, at a minimum, take the simplest and most effective precautions before insisting that others embrace actions of which the real-world efficacy is highly in doubt.

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