Social Importance of Dissent

By C. Jay Engel

I made my weekly trek to Whole Foods for groceries for my family of six; just this week they had plastered the posts and walls outside with announcements that the store now wanted everyone in masks. Most people brought their own. For those who didn’t, there was a tray from which we were to grab our own medical gag, compliments of the shady Jeff Bezos.

I politely—it’s always important to have manners and eloquence in such actions— informed the greeter lady that I was not interested in wearing a mask, thank you very much. She was visibly upset and did not hide her incredulity. She used the phrase “irresponsible behavior.” I replied calmly that I was not comfortable participating, or was it a store mandate? If it was an actual policy, well, I’d probably have to shop elsewhere. She asked if I wanted to talk to the manager. I wasn’t sure why, unless the manager wanted to talk to me for some reason— I’m happy to meet new people. It’s just that, if it’s not a store rule, and it is therefore a suggestion of sorts, I should be able to shop— I asked her to correct me if I was wrong, I’ve been wrong before.

She finally huffed and let me in whispering, “unbelievable.” Obviously, it had never crossed her mind that it was possible to hold a conviction outside the extraordinarily narrow boundary of permissible opinion on this issue. How is it even possible that this young man would reject the opportunity to be made safe?! People were staring.

But the awkwardness of standing firm paid off. For looking behind me in the long line, two individuals who came in after me also decided to reject the mask. How could the door attendant possibly argue with them? One of them walked straight up to me once inside and thanked me; he opined that the entire state of affairs was bizarre, but he didn’t even think it was possible to say no. He didn’t want to get in trouble.

I hope he plays my part the next time he visits a store— people need someone to take the first step to give them courage to fight. We have the responsibility to dissent with dignity and courage.


The Best of C. Jay Engel

C. Jay Engel is an investment advisor at The Sullivan Group, an independent, Austrian-School oriented, wealth management firm in northern California. He is especially interested in wealth preservation in lieu of our era of rogue Central Banking. He is an avid reader of the Austro-libertarian literature and a dedicated proponent of private property and sound money. Feel free to email C. Jay, visit his blog, and follow him on Twitter.
Copyright © C. Jay Engel

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