Conspiracy types have an identity around not conforming. Coronavirus Task Force leader Anthony Fauci told them not to wear masks. Conspiracy theorists also don’t want to wear a mask, but they need a “fake because” to show how not wearing masks is still rebellion. Hence, the “mask of silence” meme and the idea that wearing a mask is symbolic of being silenced by medical authorities
“I’m not wearing a mask BECAUSE I don’t want to conform to authority!”
No, you just didn’t want to wear a mask, cause it would require a lifestyle change, and you’re lazy and unprepared, but doesn’t sound as good as “because I’m a free-thinker.”
The “because I don’t want to conform to authority” is a fake “because.” It’s a justification created to give a reason for something you already wanted to do that preserves your identity. More popularly, this is kind of “fake because” is known as cognitive dissonance.
This meme allows conspiracy theorists to rebel in an entirely meaningless way, because real rebellion – armed conflict, disobeying police, and removing the unelected bureaucracy enforcing and creating these measures – is unavailable to them or would require greater conflict than most are prepared for.
Allowing rebellion through purely symbolic street protests, posting on social media, and doing what medical authorities have already told them to do is one of the ways the system absorbs attacks against it. Even the most bizarre conspiracy theories do not threaten the system, because they ultimately lead to participation in the system.
The way to actually rebel against a system is to create a rival system.
I am working on something that could be considered a rival system. It takes time. Believe me, I wish I could present it now. If you’d like to receive a message when we launch, join my email list here, and you’ll get a message when it’s ready.