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Unmasking Irrationality

True story:

Late Friday afternoon I saw a man peddling a three-wheeled bicycle alongside the westbound lanes of Braddock Road (in Fairfax County, Virginia) at the intersection with I-495 (the DC Beltway). Although alone – no one other than occupants of passing automobiles was within a hundred feet of him – he was wearing a face mask.

I watched this gentleman steer his bike down the ramp onto the northbound lanes of I-495, presumably to peddle merrily along the shoulder of that major highway.

It’s distressing to reflect that many Americans likely share this man’s utter inability to assess risks rationally.


Note that this post is not meant as a commentary on the wisdom or civility these days of wearing face masks. Instead, it’s a commentary on the sad reality that many people’s attitudes toward risks, and on the necessary trade-offs that we humans must make in our imperfect vale, are so demonstrably irrational that suspicion of politically imposed restrictions is justified.


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