Comfortable Compliant Conformity

Yesterday I bought petrol. I filled the car, it had used half a tank, and loaded a 25 litre jerrycan for the mowers. Yes, they will need that much, cutting it all means filling the mower tank at least eight times and that’s before I get the ride on mower going. The garden looks like harvest time.

This would not normally be worth mentioning but the last time I bought petrol was in early March. I could not go very far in this lockdown, and the car was out of action for over six weeks because of a broken transmission cable. It’s a dealer-only part and the dealers were all closed, so I got one on eBay from a dealer in United Arab Emirates. It arrived before the dealers reopened and, even with import duties and postage, worked out about £100 cheaper.

Anyway, during that time I could not go anywhere so could not get petrol for the mowers. This meant the grass grew unhindered in the North Scottish spring and summer with 20+ hours of daily light and incessant rain. A lot of it is now waist high. The parts I managed to cut (scythe, then rake, then mowed with the last of the petrol I had) are already growing back although the mower on high setting will bring them under control. The big lawn, however, is likely to take a couple of days of scythe work to get it into mower-ready shape. It has to be dry weather or the cut grass (now officially hay) will be hard to lift.

In some countries in Europe I would now be facing heavy penalties for failing to keep the grass trimmed even though I had no way to do it. Conformity is already a big thing and has been for a long time.

When I went to the local petrol station, the owner was wearing a mask. Around his neck. Technically he was ‘wearing a mask’, so was following the letter of the rules. Likewise, Local Shop has all the plastic barriers at the tills but nobody wears masks and they don’t have the ‘one way’ shit in the few aisles they have. Out here, nobody is giving a crap. Social distancing? We’ve been doing that all along.

Compliance is optional way out here in the countryside, but the cities are not like that. The cities are full of terrified drones who will enforce compliance and conformity, soon by pointing and screaming like Bodysnatchers. Actually it seems that is already happening. It’s even cleverer than the smoking ban, in which it’s the owner of the premises who gets fined, not the smoker. So the owners are unpaid enforcers of the law because if they don’t they will be punished.

The masks started out as ‘for your safety’ but that doesn’t work, so they turned it around. Now it’s ‘my mask protects you so it’s your duty to wear one to protect me’. This is bollocks of course, since the masks do nothing to stop any virus. Yet you now have an army of Witchfinders who will gladly snitch on, harass and hound anyone who does not comply. You don’t need to pay them, you don’t even need to threaten them with fines. This new Stasi are delighted to have gained this petty power over others, and the fear instilled in them reinforces their righteousness. If you don’t wear a mask you are selfish, a spreader of disease, and must be shunned.

Did you ever see a film called ‘The Mask’? Very funny film, very enjoyable. Put on the old wooden mask and you are transformed into the character the mask represents. It’s not entirely based on fiction – the old witchdoctors and other old religions believed that when you wore a mask, you became the mask’s character. So the witchdoctor believed he had magical powers when he wore a mask depicting a magical being. Wear any mask long enough and it becomes part of your character. You become the mask.

The character of Bane in Batman also wore a mask. As he said, ‘No one paid any attention to me until I put on the mask’. I might not have the quote exactly right but that was the gist of it. The modern mask does not protect you from anything at all. It changes you, it makes you part of the collective, it turns you against those who do not conform. Eventually, the mask is you and then you cannot take it off.

Couple of points though. I think the perspex barriers are a good idea. Never mind the current virus, there are all kinds of respiratory infections that could pass between a customer and a shop worker. Local shop has few employees. As far as I can tell, Local Petrol Station has two. They don’t see anywhere near as many customers as a town-centre Tesco, of course, but it would only take one infected customer to bring down the entire staff. Then the shop or garage is closed while they recover. They are not big businesses but if they closed, well, everyone around here faces a 30-mile round trip if they run out of milk or cheese or fuel. So protecting them is good for everyone.

The perspex barriers also mean it’s much harder, if not impossible, for a shop raider to reach over to the till. Not a big deal out here, of course, they are likely to get a shotgun or at least a hay fork poking them in the arse if they try. Those barriers are going to be a lot more useful in towns and cities and I think they should stay.

Then there’s the mask thing. So far it’s up to the shops. I carry a mask in my pocket but do not wear it, especially when driving. The restriction on breathing is uncomfortable, I can wear it in a shop for a short time but really dislike it. So, if a shop I need to enter insists on masks, I’ll wear it even though I know it is useless.

Now, you can argue that it is your right to not wear a mask. Fine, you’re correct. It is also any private business’s right to refuse entry to anyone for any reason. You’re not the only one with rights. Private businesses have had dress codes forever. I remember a nightclub in my student days where anyone wearing trainers was turned away. I routinely wore highly polished steel toecapped work boots so I was always allowed in. Until I was banned in absentia. Yeah, that’s another story for another day.

So I will wear a mask if the business I need to enter requires it. They have the right to demand it, I have the right to go somewhere else if I don’t like it.

You might have heard ‘the customer is always right’. It is bollocks. Most customers are idiots. Especially the ones who quote this. They think it is a law. It is not. It is the business model of Marks and Spencer and nobody else. Not a law, not even a suggestion. The business model of one company.

The customer is a customer only if they want to buy from you and only if they agree to your terms. You, as the business owner, are free to make those terms as free or as onerous as you choose. If you have a ‘no hoodies’ rule you can chuck out Warren Buffett if he turns up in one.

If you have a ‘must wear a mask’ rule you are entitled to turn away anyone not wearing one. Even though masks are demonstrably silly and in most cases, harmful. If that is your rule on your business premises you have the right to demand it.

I have the right to refuse to wear a mask, but you have the right to refuse me entry to your business without one. Too many people think rights work for them but not for others. I would call them idiots but really they are not. They have just been taught that way.

So far there are many types of mask out there, none of them effective at anything more than restricting your breathing. This will change. There will be ‘studies’ showing that one mask is better than another and then those with the wrong mask will be villified. Eventually the One True Mask will emerge and then we will have total compliance and absolute conformity.

‘Comfortable compliant conformity’ is one of the slogans in ‘Panoptica’. Watching current events have really helped with that story. I found it hard to get into the mindset of the character I was writing. He wasn’t a Winston Smith or a Montag. He was a fully compliant drone and happy in that life. He went to work, he went home, next day he did it again. No socialising, no family, no holidays, nothing. There are so very many people like that and watching their fury at the slightest deviation from how they think people should act has been most informative.

I didn’t think it would come true so fast. I thought, at times, I was going too far into the unbelievable. The brain chip, with wires deep into the brain, seemed a step too far but then it seems it wasn’t after all. Likewise the machine-gun-carrying flying drones. Those are now real too. The slogan from a story a couple of years back, ‘Be better’, is now spouted by the Righteous all the time.

Comfortable compliant conformity is coming. We’re going to have to get very good at pretending to fit in, or we’re going to have to get out of the cities and hide.

My father’s death in February broke my run at completing that book but it’s time to snap out of the doldrums and get back to it. I have to write the next page of the horrors to come.

Before they happen.

23 thoughts on “Comfortable Compliant Conformity

  1. If a shop I use wants me to wear a mask, then I am happy to oblige, as long as they supply the mask. Same with the government – if they want me to wear one, they can issue me with it.

    I disagree that its the right of the shop owner to demand wearing a mask. I have to do that at work, and after being bollocked by the ‘health and safety’ officer, who by the way is neither healthy nor safe, for pulling the mask down as I was walking to the smoking shelter, I asked him where these rules came from. He said the HSE, so when I got home I went to the HSE site and searched for ‘face coverings at work’.

    Turns out that the HSE don’t have any rules on this, instead they direct you to the site, and this is an extract of what I found on there:

    6.1 Face coverings
    “Wearing a face covering is required by law when traveling as a passenger on public transport in England. some people don’t have to wear a face covering including for health, age or equality reasons. Elsewhere in England it is OPTIONAL and is not required by law, INCLUDING IN THE WORKPLACE. If you CHOOSE to wear one, it is important to use face coverings properly and wash your hands before putting them on and before and after taking them off.

    Employers should support their workers in using face coverings safely IF THEY CHOOSE to wear one”

    Going on that same logic, in demanding face coverings to be worn on their premises, shop keepers are doing what the government has stopped short of so far, which is making masks mandatory. Therefore they are breaking the law.

    I’ve printed out a couple of copies of section 6.1, and there’s going to be a mini revolution at work on Monday.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. They tried to make that compulsory, where I work , 12 weeks into the confected crisis. The H&S man started wearing one , whilst one or 2 had their own previous. Come the Monday ,nobody was wearing a mask , it’s just ridiculous. Leggie is correct ,it’s all about getting you to conform. They can bollocks if I am.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Problem is James, at our works they will sack you for not complying with their ‘mask policy’. This means that on Monday I have to engage in a fight, and I expect to be alone in that. Don’t expect anyone to stand by you at work, they are all too scared. Its unlike anywhere I have ever worked before, a tyrannical management with hi-viz clad goons who have nothing to do all day but whip the workers with fake authority.

      Really, working there reminds me of an episode of South Park, where Cartman was made a prefect and given about 5 feet of corridor to control.

      I had a previous incident with this particular H&S goon before, when he came into my weld bay whilst I was welding and demanded I rip off all my gear – respirator, visor and hood, to see that I was wearing ear plugs. He reported me for telling him to go fuck himself and refusing to give my name. So when I was finally dragged into the office I made a counter grievance that a H&S ‘officer’ had entered my weld bay, whilst I was welding, with zero PPE. Result – both grievances swept under the carpet, no disciplinary for either me or him.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. (er… skuze me… er… Mr. Iron, Sir? Can I type here if I’m not wearing a mask, Sir?)

    I remember an old BBS board back in the very late early ’80s where the Board Master (that’s not quite right… they had a term for them though) was an Antismoker. He demanded that no one smoke while they visited his site, whether they were reading or writing. He’d get quite foamy about it too, throwing people off or blocking them or deleting their posts etc.

    Moving to more recent memories… At some point back in early March when the masking craze began I came up with joke that made people laugh:

    “Well, I was at the bank today and I had to call 911! I was standing at the tellers window and a man walked into the bank and went up to the window next to me and demanded money from “his” account… AND HE WASN’T WEARING A MASK! In a BANK! And he thought he could GET AWAY WITH IT! ::sigh:: Too bad we’re not in a concealed carry State. He wouldn’t have had a chance to pull THAT again!”

    Leg, I *do* however disagree with one thing, although you’re more of an expert in the field than I am: It *does* seem to make sense that the water droplets you can see spewing out of speakers’ mouths in the right light would carry viruses (I think I actually saw serious estimated counts for “average droplet size” somewhere somewhen.) and my droplets could very well be caught by the fibers on my mask and stick there as my continued breathing and speaking kept them moist and trapped. The dry virii in the air from you, on the other hand as your maskless droplets might rapidly in dry air, would stand a greater chance of wandering in through the comparatively wide-open gaps of my own intake mask breathing.

    Soooo… it DOES sort of make some sense.

    However, while I’m GLAD in terms of my belief it’s decreasing transmissions to see folks in masks, I think it’s horrendous socially and psychologically, AND a VERY scary thing to see in the area you talked about: the INCREDIBLE compliance with government control we’ve seen! What if the pubs had simply said, “Bollocks! No smoking and now NO DRINKING in our pubs? Haul me to jail if you can drag me out past my customers and if you have room in the jails filled with all the other pub-owners and their law-defying customers!”? I remember being horrified by the compliance that was shown by all but a few when the pub bans (there or here in the US) and I even designed leaflets that bar owners could have used to get themselves off the legal hook while still complying with the law… but they were all afraid. Very sad. And VERY scary in what it portended for the future. And now we’ve seen it with the masks: I might LIKE them… but I do NOT like how spinelessly obedient everyone is. When they come to haul out the Jews or the Irish or the Muslims someday, all they’ll have to say is “Go back in your homes folks. It’s a new law.” and everyone will nod and smile with the comfort of knowing that “Government Knows Best.” ::sigh::

    To close: you didn’t reference it specifically, so you may not have seen it: You said, “The cities are full of terrified drones who will enforce compliance and conformity, soon by pointing and screaming like Bodysnatchers. Actually it seems that is already happening.” Yes, there’ve been several tales out there of busybodies “shaming folks. **BUT**… it appears that there **ARE** at least **SOME** people willing to push back… and they end up being applauded for it!



    with the DOT suitably replaced, and check out the comments!

    Keep on fightin’ Leggy! Now get busy distributing that vaccine! I’ve heard they’re selling them 20 to 25 to a packet and, if my reading of the statistics are correct, they may be almost TWICE as effective as the annual flu vaccines they’re so frantic for us to get every year!

    – MJM, who’s been having quite the tussle over on Quora on this subject: their strict BNBR (Be Nice, Be Respectful) enforcement handicaps the Antis, but they seem to have targeted me with what they call a “downvote cabal” — a group of fanatics who follow my postings closely and downvote all of them — enough downvotes without balancing upvotes and you end up in the “Collapsed” bucket that needs extra clicks for reading. Still, largely managing to hold my own! :>

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael, I think the argument about masks at work is not so much about whether they work or not, but rather how beneficial they are, compared to their disadvantages. Doing a physically intense job for hours while wearing a face covering does more harm than good in terms of CO2 blood sats, for example. They are also grossly uncomfortable and if you wear spectacles they are constantly misted, which also leads to eye watering and discomfort.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I’m with Michael. It does make some kind of sense. The government in British Columbia has been terribly Canadian about the whole thing – ‘please wear a mask if you are able to’. It’s not mandatory. Why we have anti-mask protesters is beyond me, but we do.

      Most shops, on the other hand, require one, and I’m happy to comply for the few minutes I’m in one.

      We didn’t get hit badly here (yet) for which I’m grateful, and bizarrely, our last three minor outbreaks all happened in strip clubs. Not sure a mask rule would help there! But I see no reason to antagonise shopkeepers and other people who own small businesses.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have the right to go somewhere else if I don’t like it.

    This is the line I am taking. If they want to enforce this nonsense, I will deny them my business and take it to someone who will be more amenable. Sainsbury’s has already lost my custom for making people queue round the car park just to get in the store. I refuse. The CO-OP doesn’t make such demands, so I switched to them. Vote with your wallet. If enough of us do this, then the whole thing will collapse. That’s the theory, anyway. Unfortunately, too many people have been brainwashed by this bullshit.

    Liked by 5 people

    • “I have the right to go somewhere else if I don’t like it.”

      Fully agree on that approach, but also strongly believe in the right of the owners/managers to decide what rules to apply within their own establishments. Government has no right to enslave them as government enforcers of smoking/masking/dressing/dancing rules, but they themselves have the right to decide what to demand of their patrons.

      – MJM, looking to open a “no-dancing” mattress store…

      Liked by 1 person

    • I prefer to play games. If I’m told to wear a mask in a shop I will, but it will be on the chin, or the forehead, or on the back of the head. They can’t say anything because I’m wearing their stupid mask. Or go in wearing an underhelmet with only eye openings. I saw a video clip last week where some guy is at the till, and his mask consists of only the elastic around the ears and the cut out ‘frame’ of the mask. He also had a toilet roll hanging around his neck. Fair play to that guy I say.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. My cousin was an area manager in retail banking before taking early retirement to become a domestic gardener, for just one customer he gets to use the ride on mower, dunno if he’s expecting to use a scythe this time. Roundabout the word ‘hay'(field) was used as a place name element which now features in road names sometimes even making up new ones, perhaps in the future Charleshay.

    I live in a small city where only a very small minority wear masks, usually the elderly who should be shielding at home if they are that worried.
    I can think of only 3 recent examples of CDS
    The (unmasked) Middle England woman exiting my favourite farm shop cafe getting pulled hither and yon by her two labradors who lurched towards me criticising My social distancing skills.
    The obscenely obese girl elbowing her way out of a convenience store arms filled with crisps and sugary comfort treats bared her (unmasked) teeth and pointed her podgey little pinkey at me as though fending off the devil ( I don’t like to mock but allowed myself an audible snicker at that one).
    The cyclist in full lycra lout gear with added Corona Welding Visor (@45% lol) but without a crash hat.
    He seems to think gone away Covid is more dangerous to him than the very real threat coming from an encounter with a stone or a bus.

    I agree when you say ‘their shop their rules’ but if I get accosted for not complying I will leave after telling them why.

    If as seems likely face covering becomes compulsory I have practised in the bathroom mirror wearing a pair of underpants, looking out of one of the leg holes while the elasticated waist band drapes elegantly over my shoulder.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. o/t Sunny Summer Sunday. 30 minutes ago in an outlying village I can hear the bells ringing from the medieval church (post covid first). The tune is familiar but I can’t immediately put a name to it, not the CofE dirge of my childhood.
    ‘Abide With Me’. Perfect, one of my mums favourites, played at her funeral at her request.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Comfortable Compliant Conformity.
    I isolated for the week before Boris told everyone to stay home. Through my alcohol induced haze I was aware of the scary ambulance sirens day and night.
    Being designated a Key Worker I was subsequently out and about, often the only vehicle on the road until an ambulance appeared, in no great hurry, sirens wailing. Why ? There is no traffic to make yourself aware to.
    I would visit the hospital since all other public toilets were closed, no ambulances ? None at the main entrance, maternity, A&E not one over several loo calls.
    I concluded that they were being noisily driven around to induce fear in the lockdown population and posted about it here or @ Longrider.

    Today @ Toby leads with a Senior Surgeon blowing the whistle on several aspects of this ‘phoney pandemic’ including my observation about using ambulances for rear mongering.
    We now know that part of SAGEs initial advice was to make people feel personally threatened by the Virus From Hell, seems they succeeded only too well.


  8. Sorry had to go, resumes.
    The reason being given for perhaps making masks compulsory is that retail sales have not returned to normal because many people are afraid to go shopping and they need reassurance before coming out to get the economy going again.
    In other words, We have wear face panties because They are stupidly scared.


  9. Possibly a bit late, but the analogy explanation below may help some appreciate scale.
    “After over 25 years working with nanoparticles – here’s what happens with a cloth face mask when you cough or sneeze. The larger droplets are caught in the mesh of the mask – they are mainly water filled with 100’s of thousands of tiny virus particles (if you’re infected). To scale – imagine a football hitting the back of the net and sticking there. Now imagine the football as a water droplet filled with tiny plastic balls about 1000 times smaller than the holes in the net – the net holes are roughly 10 cm so say 10 microns or about 1/10 of a human hair across. Now put a large fan on the goal line and set it to blow through the water football i.e. simulate breathing through the mask. You will get a plume of water droplets roughly 10 times the size of the plastic balls they contain (or 100 times smaller than the holes in the net) sent through the net into the stands. Your mask is now acting as a reservoir for the virus to be spread more widely. To go back to the football analogy – it would be better to have no net and allow the football to settle and slowly evaporate at the base of the advertising hoardings.
    The only way this will help is if the mask is removed immediately after a cough or sneeze, disposed of (ideally contaminated waste burn bin), face and hands thoroughly cleaned and new mask fitted. Every cough or sneeze.”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “The masks started out as ‘for your safety’ but that doesn’t work, so they turned it around. Now it’s ‘my mask protects you so it’s your duty to wear one to protect me’.”

    Of course they did. The anti-smoking template raises its ugly head again – it really was only a matter of time. After all, it was only once they hit on the wizzo idea of “your smoke is harming other people and their cheeeeldren as well as yourself” that they were able to engender the necessary social outrage which ensured that a gullible and easily terrified general populace would effectively police itself. Prior to that, everyone had held the very British attitude that if smoking made you ill, but you wanted to do it anyway, then fine.

    You can bet your bottom dollar that, like mask-wearing, pretty much every restrictive practice of any kind from now onwards will be presented as “protecting others” just like the smoking ban was, because Tobacco Control has led the way and their various efforts over the years have shown that where the Brits are concerned, they’ll object like hell to being told that they have to “protect themselves” and take no notice if they can get away with it, because they see protecting oneself, quite correctly, as a decision that only the individual should be allowed to make, but the moment some form of the “innocent bystander” can be shoehorned in, they’ll react like crazed harpies towards anyone who doen’t take the necessary action to “protect others,” because they’re terrified that the bystander in question might be them. Never mind that there isn’t actually any risk to them – they only have to believe that there’s a risk and it’s job done. Don’t forget, after all, that at the start of this lockdown, it was imposed not to protect us lot from getting the virus, but was touted as “protecting the NHS.”

    The anti-smoking movement’s relentless demands are like an insidious, slow growing societal cancer. All the time it continues to exist and be supported by the PTB it never stops chucking out poisonous secondaries into other, unrelated areas. The anti-alcohol and anti-sugar and anti-salt and anti-meat and anti-car (and whatever else some people dislike) are working frantically to find “their” equivalent of Passive Smoking. At the moment, all that most of them have come up with which equates in any way is “cost to the NHS” but that’s so broad that it doesn’t really work as well as “ETS causes xxxx disease,” does it? But give them time …

    The ongoing outward ripples stemming from our leaders’ capitulation to Tobacco Control and its hate campaign against smokers, have had (and continue to have) dire and dangerous consequences in so many more areas of all of our lives than just smoking and smokers. At a fundamental level it is the greatest threat to our personal freedoms and our rights as a society in controlling what our State can and cannot do to us (or make us do or not do), as is indicated by this latest scare and the Government’s reaction to it. All measure pretty much taken word for word out of the anti-smokers’ copybook with just a few wording changes.

    It’s really quite frightening. And what’s more even more frightening is that so few people can make the connection or see the similarities. I wonder how many of them actually have an understanding of the concept of “setting a precedent” and really know what that means ….


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