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HUMANS NEED FACES: A lesson for the pro-mask zealots

Updated: Jul 10, 2023

Don't it always seem to go That you don't know what you got 'til it's gone?’

Things are there for a purpose. If something has been around for a long time, there is usually a good reason for its existence, and it would be folly to remove it without fully understanding the historical rationale for its genesis. This is the principle of ‘Chesterton’s fence’ – based on a quote from the writer, J.K. Chesterton in 1929 – where the moral of his story was: Do not remove a fence until you know why it was put up in the first place.

Human faces have been on show since the origin of our species, over half-a-million years ago, and have remained so – at least in liberal democracies – until the covid event. In the early summer of 2020, a pro-mask alliance of scientists, politicians and mainstream media clamoured for us all to cover our faces with strips of plastic or cloth. We can all recall the tropes to justify their unprecedented mandates:

It’s only a mask’

‘It’s not much to ask; a small inconvenience’

‘If it helps a little, it’s worth it’.

‘What harm can it do?’

We all now know the harms. Anyone with a brain and eyesight can recognise that humans need faces. If these mask zealots had only heeded the principle of Chesterton’s fence, we would have been spared the calamity of: dumb toddlers who fail to recognize the meaning of smiles and grimaces; a health service delivered by anonymous, robotic personnel, devoid of compassion and empathy; the cruel social exclusion of the millions of hard-of-hearing people; and the re-traumatising of many vulnerable individuals with histories of sexual and physical abuse.

In homo sapiens, faces are there for a fundamental reason: to convey the essence of being human. For extended periods during the covid event we lost our humanity:














Chesterton was right. We should be very cautious about discarding something that has been around for a very long time without first understanding the reasons for its being. And – ironically, given her subsequent promotion of the dominant covid narrative – Joni Mitchell’s lyrics from the song, ‘Big Yellow Taxi’, are salutary.

Don't it always seem to go That you don't know what you got 'til it's gone?’

Photo courtesy of Cordell Kingley at Unsplash

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Early 2020, I printed off a copy of Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘If’ and hung it in my kitchen. Later in 2020, two lines kept going through my head that were rhyming nonsense I couldn’t identify but had picked up in very early child-hood.

I eventually found they were from GK Chesterton’s ‘The Song of the Quoodle’: a dog’s view of the noselessness of Man. I also found his humorous poem ‘The Rolling English Road’, the attitude to aging and death in which I found delightful.

However, the attempted physical assaults on myself as a non mask wearer by the masked were no fun. If it hadn’t been for an unknown unmasked man stepping in at last second, one of those…


Alison Fletcher
Alison Fletcher
Jul 07, 2023

Such insight and yet really stating the obvious! And without even touching on the known health risks of masks.

I was so glad to see a woman in a local shop the other day without a mask on. Only because she had been wearing one for 3 years! That is how long it has taken her to take it off. Maybe she finally noticed she had a problem as nobody else wears one in public anymore. Perhaps she had finally managed to see a GP face to face who reassured her she wouldn't die of Covid 19 if she took it off. Miracles never cease!

Replying to

Since 2020 I’ve been saying how nice it is to see faces to people the first time I see them without a mask to try to encourage them to not revert. I think you may be correct that many followed the crowd, then noticed it had gone, some more quickly then others.


A Math
A Math
Jul 07, 2023

No amount of reasoning during the covid madness would convince people that a piece of cloth or paper over our nose and mouth would have little effect on the virus. I have hearing problems and the lack of understanding and empathy during this period was very difficult. Despite excellent hearing aids I was unable to see facial expressions or lip movement both of which I rely on when trying to hear and understand what is being said, I decided to be assertive and state I had hearing problems but this was mostly ignored, it was a very isolating time in my life. They tapped into and ramped up people's fear, what is more potent than an invisible virus that can…

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