The bacon cheeseburger is case #1 for American exceptionalism.

First served on the first day after re-opening at Hunters’ Inn.

That was one juicy burger. The fries are standard, but not bad. I shouldn’t have eaten them, considering my diet, but I did. Iced tea, too. What a treat.

But note the mask on the table. Wearing a mask into a restaurant only to take it off at table is insane, of course. Crazy — so dumb that lockdowners should hang their heads in eternal shame. But that is the effin’ rule. And lockdowners maintain their unwarranted pride.

I did not plan to break my fast in this way. I went to the nearby village hardware store in search of a doorknob assembly for an outer door. The choice was easy, binary: yes/no — for there was only one. And I step out and the restaurant next door flashed an OPEN sign!

I love dining in restaurants. It’s one of my several vices of commission (the other major one is collecting books, the vice consisting in buying more than I read). And so after a few months expelled from this form of commerce, I entered the restaurant, ordered, at and was satisfied.

Now, I have been purchasing to-go meals these last few months of the closing of public gatherings. The local store makes a few really good sandwiches. I picked up a great meal from my favorite eatery in Astoria, Oregon, a few weeks ago. And yesterday I ordered a pizza, on a whim. Which occasioned some thoughts while waiting:

Ask the Next Question? Or just ruminate on a pizza order?

The willingness of Americans to put up with lockdowns and mask mandates is a sign of decadence. Cowardice and mental flabbiness, at least. Or maybe it is a sign that most Americans have accepted the socialistic/progressivist premise: to “save” one group of disadvantaged or at-risk people, the freedom of all must be sacrificed. This is borne of a general Christian idea, that all must be saved . . . or at least aided. But the notion that what we call God’s work must be, necessarily, man’s commanded work and in a political context, forcibly to be shared as a burden by all — this is a grave error, no matter what you believe about the gods. For one thing, what is God’s work rests, in the end, on God, who famously works in mysterious ways. A state aid program, or some other government policy, is not so mysterious, for it works via red tape, forced compliance, redistribution of wealth, and a touch of transparency. Not mystery. We all know how government works.

But the problem is obvious . . . when you look behind the obvious machinations of states. When God’s work becomes the State’s work, no element of life proves exempt from compulsion, and the opportunity for corruption on all those doing the State’s work is immense, for power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. And universal power corrupts universally. With the pandemic, Americans and the world have abandoned all sense of limitations and limits. The State must — must, we shout, must! — protect . . . everybody!

And everybody must be compelled to aid the State in this cause. Which means requirements vast and small, the cessation of social activity and no end to harassment. In the cause of saving everybody, the extremities of requirements become anti-social.

Of course, everybody cannot be protected, for there are costs to policies, and there are limitations to our powers and acuity. Shutting down half of commerce has meant attacking small businesses around the country, and hurt the working poor and the entrepreneurial classes most (and the poor in foreign countries most of all: but who really cares about them?). It’s been fine for retirees and government employees and those who can work at home. And those people seem easy to get on board the insane regulations concocted as “mitigation strategies.” But they do not work.

That is what we are learning — how very not-in-control we are. The “virus gonna virus.” But government has worked mightily to lie to us about the stats, to string us along in our subjugation, and to keep from normal consciousness this fact: that most deaths are of the old and sick already, and COVID is said to be a co-factor, not the sole cause, of most of these deaths. The extent of this will be tested in how many excess deaths can be demonstrated in 2020 mortality stats.

And then I keep hearing reports of medical investigators who cannot verify tested-positive COVID cases. The tests are not reliable, over-report, and — this is just rumor, as I regard even government reports these days as hardly better than rumor — are often mis-identifying two forms of flu as COVID. I am uncertain of the veracity of these rumors, of course.

After all, what do I know? Little. I read a report and then forget most of it. This is not my area of expertise. But what is my area of expertise is how propaganda works. And we have been propagandized to give up freedom for [insert cause]. Because people are fearful, distracted creatures without moral compass and almost no understanding why liberty must be the central, organizing principle of justice, they fall for all sorts of buncombe, like “weapons of mass destruction” and “exponential growth!”

Which leaves me somewhat depressed. It is easy to fool smart people. For smart people want to fool themselves, first of all.

Which makes the smarties fools.

Which I can understand, personally — eating burgers and pizza at my age!