Carlson, for his part, is training his fans to think of outdoor mask-wearing as a form of aggression against which they must lash out. And the reason is that the sight causes him psychological distress. What they should tell people when demanding they remove their masks, he instructs, is, “Your mask is making me uncomfortable.” In both cases, it’s not about their freedom. It is — by their own account — about their feelings. And it’s especially strange that they should be experiencing these feelings as normal life is beginning to return. The pandemic was first a hoax by deep-state authorities to undermine Donald Trump’s reelection, and then it became an excuse to impose purposeless public-health restrictions. Throughout these two (mutually exclusive) phases of denial, disbelieving the medical threat was a way to order their social identities. At some level, they cannot stand to see the conflict end.