On masks and a flying saucer


My position on masks:

Point one: People who are suffering from a cold or the flu or Covid should wear masks, to avoid getting sicker, and to protect other people from infection.

Point two: There are people who argue that the government should force healthy people (under threat of arrest or fines) to wear masks because some sick people do not wear masks. If everyone has to wear masks, so they argue, there is a greater chance that sick people will wear masks.

Point three: Some people (specifically on Twitter, in Taiwan) are grateful that the government is being strict, forcing people to wear masks. My opinion is that adults are not children – and the government is not their father or mother. Most adults are quite capable of deciding for themselves when it is necessary and reasonable for them to wear masks – and to instruct their children to do the same. A so-called strict government that wants to arrest healthy people or fine them for not wearing masks? Problematic, to say the least.


It’s Monday morning. Everyone receives a notification from the government on their phones. TV news and social media repeat the same message: There’s a giant flying saucer in the sky above the capital. “Don’t bother looking because it’s invisible,” people are told. “But believe us – it’s there!”

Citizens are commanded to leave their homes without delay with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Everyone should flee to the nearest forest or mountainous area and stay there for three to six weeks. The government, so they are assured, will throw food parcels out of planes.

“Come on everyone! Start running! Now!” the message comes again and again.

Would people believe it? Would they just leave everything as it is, grab the kids and maybe the dog and cat and flee to the nearest forest?

A small percentage of the population has such blind faith in their governments that they would immediately run down the street, screaming as they do. There is also a high probability that they would later, in the forest, around a small fire, claim that they have indeed seen the saucer.

Most people would stare at the sky for at least a few minutes, despite the announcement saying the saucer is invisible. A percentage of these people would argue that, although they could see with their own eyes nothing that looked like a craft from outer space, it was after all the government that had made the announcement. And later in the day the government brought in all sorts of people who looked very official and serious, and these people agreed that the saucer was indeed real, and that people who had not yet fled should do so as soon as possible. That’s enough for them, these people would say. “Let’s go!”

A smaller group would be sceptical from the start. These people would be accused of endangering everyone with their defiant and irresponsible attitude. “Whatever’s in the saucer is going to see you, and then we’re all in trouble!” they’ll shout from the edge of the forest. “Stop being so stubborn and think of other people, for once!”

Some of the people who fled on the first day would become restless within a few days or weeks. “Shouldn’t we be seeing the flying saucer by now?” they would start asking each other. People who took a little longer to initially believe the story would ask in hushed tones: “What if the government lied to us? Is there something sneaky going on here? Why did we believe the government if none of us had ever seen the flying saucer?”

My question: At what point would even the group that blindly believed from day one start drifting back to their now neglected homes? And how would the government handle this civil protest?