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Selfishness: The Pandemic We Can’t Develop a Vaccine Against

“You’re going to love this, trust me. What you’re seeing now is my normal state. This is a super-spreader. And this… This is what is known as a super-spreader that has ascended above a super-spreader. Or, you could just call this a super-spreader two. AND THIS. AND THIS IS TO GO EVEN FURTHER BEYOND!!”

2021 convention attendees

This weekend, two conventions took place thousands of miles apart related to communities I’m heavily involved in: Megaplex, a furry convention in Kissimmee, FL, and DEFCON, a computer hacking convention in Las Vegas, NV.

Despite being fully vaccinated since April (and having a Giga Sponsor registration for Megaplex rolled over from a previous year), I didn’t attend either convention.

My decision to not attend is actually a little more nuanced than that shitpost, though. I have no doubt that the vaccine will protect me from hospitalization or any of the long-term effects of COVID-19. The vaccines work.

However, I have friends who, for medical reasons, cannot get the vaccine. And until the pandemic finally ends, even if it’s safe for me to attend a convention, why would I contribute to them feeling like they’re missing out on all the fun? If you think lockdown was hard for you, try putting yourself in their shoes.

Naturally, my choices are my own to make, and I’m not about to harshly judge everyone who chose to attend these conventions, provided they were fully vaccinated and wore masks indoors.

Unfortunately, this is the kind of first-hand account we’re hearing online:

To be clear: I don’t blame the Megaplex staff for this absurd fuck up of a situation. They have to comply with Florida laws, and Gov. Ron DeSantis is a detestable dipshit who banned businesses and schools from enforcing measures to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

If it weren’t for DeSantis and his flagrant stupidity, it probably would’ve been handled like this:

Although DEFCON had a strict vaccine proof requirement to attend, there was a lot of whispers about people making fake vaccine cards to attend.

If there was ever a crowd of people predisposed to fake documents, even if for no other reason than to prove they could, and capable of doing so convincingly, it’d probably consist entirely of DEFCON attendees.

So although I don’t condemn people for their choices I will say this:

Anyone who attends a 2021 convention loses their privilege to lecture others about threat modelling and risk management for the foreseeable future.

Art by Embyr.

This problem isn’t limited to furries or hackers. The IETF also has its own batshit insane conspiracy theorists. Facebook is an unvaccinated cesspool.

The more you look at the world, the more delusional, self-serving bullshit stares back at you, and it becomes increasingly clear that there are actually two pandemics unfolding at once: One caused by a virus, and the other caused by ego.

The Selfishness Pandemic

Rampant selfishness isn’t a new phenomenon.

The Kayla Chadwich essay, I Don’t Know How To Explain To You That You Should Care About Other People, is more than four years old.

A lot of people think capitalism is breeding narcissism. They’re right, but I don’t think that’s the only factor at play.

America has a lot of deeply religious ticks it just can’t seem to get over. One of the worst cultural crimes we see committed on a daily basis is a deep fascination with the Christian brand of “forgiveness”.

You can even see people express their selfishness when they invoke this meme. “Jesus will forgive me” is a common refrain heard right before someone does something violent or despicable.

In spite of this trope, the same people are more than happy to condemn others for making mistakes or exercising poor judgment in their youth. “Zero tolerance”, “three strikes”, “tough on crime”, etc.

Selfishness and the psychotic malice it breeds is so widespread that I often give pause to whether it’s merely part of the human condition.

But it isn’t!

The toxic kind of selfishness we see in American society is a learned behavior. It’s certainly not uniquely American (England has most of the same symptoms), but it’s also not universal: Most of my closest friends live in the United States, and there are no Corona Karens among them.

Any learned behavior can be unlearned, if anyone is willing to put forth the effort.

Ultimately, deprogramming people who were in a cult (see also: the Trump supporters that attacked the US capital) is a taxing, laborious, and thankless process that requires far more time and emotional bandwidth than I have to spare.

If anyone wants to take up that mantle, more power to you. As for me, I just want no part in other people’s stupidity any more.

Reverse-Quarantine for Selfish Assholes

If you’re a furry, hacker, cryptographer, network engineer, or whatever–and refuse to get a vaccine without a real justification (n.b. medical condition)–I don’t want you in my communities.

Hell, I don’t want you in society. You’re a danger to yourself and others.

I’m not going to be polite about it anymore. I don’t care that it won’t change your mind; being nice didn’t stop you from being a plague rat.

Art by Sophie.

If you won’t get with the program (get vaccinated, wear masks consistently, only gather outdoors or in well-ventilated areas), you don’t deserve to enjoy the benefits of the program.

If you went to Megaplex this year and weren’t fully vaccinated, you suck.

You’re putting yourself and everyone else at risk of a deadly disease and lifelong erectile dysfunction… for what? A chance to get fucked in your murrsuit by a stranger once or twice, for one weekend? Was that really a gamble worth taking?

If you went to DEFCON and used a fake vaccination card instead of getting the actual vaccine, please identify yourself so we can contact-trace all the people you put at risk and, more importantly, so I can avoid you like the plague forevermore.

If you’re planning on attending any conventions for the rest of the year and aren’t taking every precaution available to you, you deserve to be shunned and excluded from everything you love.

And if any you selfish assholes actually die of COVID-19, while we probably won’t celebrate your death, many of us will certainly be breathing a big fucking sigh of relief that you can’t continue to actively harm people anymore.

Do Better. Be Better.

Y’know how earlier I talked about how America is infected with the deeply Christian brand of selfishness?

The Christian brand of Forgiveness, combined with a theology that emphasizes Correct Faith over Good Actions in order to get a divine reward after we die, directly feeds the ego. It makes us worse people.

There’s an alternative interpretation of Forgiveness that doesn’t get much consideration in the States, and it’s high time we corrected that:

It’s no coincidence that Buddhism is diametrically opposed to narcissism.

We’re different people throughout our lives. Instead of feeling entitled to being forgiven for something, work on being a better person–better than the one who made the mistake. When you cease to be the person you once were, why would you need to be forgiven?

When change happens, furries sometimes make a new fursona when they no longer feel attached to their old one. Neuroplasticity is an amazing thing, if you use it.

So with that in mind, if anyone reading this feels guilty about their own selfish behavior during a global pandemic, don’t come crying to me asking to be forgiven. You already know my answer.

Do better. Be better. Or get the fuck out of the furry fandom before you get someone killed, you selfish dick.

By Soatok

Security engineer with a fursona. Ask me about dholes or Diffie-Hellman!