Sunday, 26 July 2020

What Would Junius Do?

This morning I woke up with the name 'Junius' lodged in my brain, a residue from some kind of dream. Awake or sleeping, I had little idea of who 'Junius' was, but associated him vaguely with 18th-century political pamphleteering. This was roughly correct: the Letters of Junius were a pseudonymous series printed in the Public Advertiser between 1769 and 1772 with the aim of informing the English people of their historical and constitutional rights and liberties, and pointing out the various ways in which the government had infringed those rights. Useful work indeed – and bound to get the author into trouble, hence the pseudonym, which successfully concealed Junius's identity.
  Junius's style, it seems, does not lend itself to short quotation. However, one of his maxims adorns (or did adorn? Any Canadians out there?) the masthead of Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper: 'The subject who is truly loyal to the Chief Magistrate will neither advise nor submit to arbitrary measures.'
  In the light of these wise words, I have decided not to submit to this government's latest arbitrary measure – mandatory face masks in all shops. This is an initiative that might have been useful, and would certainly have been justifiable, back in March or April – when our old friends The Science advised firmly against it. Since then, not only has no good evidence of beneficial effect been found, but the level of Covid infection has fallen to the point where it doesn't even qualify statistically as an epidemic. To make mask wearing mandatory now is purely arbitrary. If the justification is to give those reduced to abject terror by the state the confidence to go forth into the world, then it is surely not within the legitimate powers of any government to use one section of the population to modify the behaviour of another. Virtually every measure taken by this supposedly conservative government has failed the Three Ts test – Timely, Targeted and Time-limited – and none more so that this latest initiative. It radically changes the nature of our society – one which was until now based on face-to-face, unmasked communication – for no good reason and with no indication of when, if ever, we shall be allowed to show our faces again. If that ain't arbitrary, I don't know what is.


  1. Well done. Let us know how you get on? In Sainsbury’s today (in East Dorset) every single customer was wearing a mask and I wasn’t brave enough to make a stand. I suffered though, both from the mask and from shame at my cowardice.

  2. Thanks Karen. So far, so good. I've armed myself with an exemption card in case of challenge, but haven't had so much as a hostile glare. There were a few other refuseniks in my Sainsbos today – where the staff, needless to say, have almost all been maskless throughout all this. I suspect the mandate might end up being rather patchily observed, as it is on the trains.

  3. I'm disappointed Nige - an exemption card! I've decided not to fight the libertarian battle on this one. I'll wait for something clearer to come along like obligatory taking the knee. This seems pretty harmless if silly and part of the general muddle rather than a test of Libertarian credentials. I've been wondering recently if there is a certain kind of libertarian (heard someone refer to these as 'libertarian nutjobs'!) who is actually guilty of left-style virtue-signalling - the virtue of courage.

  4. Well courage certainly isn't involved Guy – it takes none of that precious quality to do what I'm doing, especially if armed with an exemption card, just in case! I'm just appalled at the thought that this might well be the future – a society of atomised, anonymised clones. However, there are already reassuring signs that observance will be patchy – and getting patchier the more they introduce these disproportionately stringent measures at this late stage (e.g. the all-Spain quarantine).

  5. Let's hope that irrepressible nature will rush back in eventually. I think we begin to see it in young people.

  6. شركة نقل عفش
    اهم شركات مكافحة حشرات بالخبر كذلك معرض اهم شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام والخبر والجبيل والخبر والاحساء والقطيف كذلك شركة رش حشرات بالدمام ومكافحة الحشرات بالخبر
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بجدة الجوهرة من افضل شركات تنظيف الخزانات بجدة حيث ان تنظيف خزانات بجدة يحتاج الى مهارة فى كيفية غسيل وتنظيف الخزانات الكبيرة والصغيرة بجدة على ايدى متخصصين فى تنظيف الخزانات بجدة
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بجدة
    شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالدمام
    شركة نقل عفش واثاث

  7. I think arbitrary doesn't mean what you think it means.