Issues & Insights

Mask Mandates: A Product Of The Cancel Culture

Another “progressive” politician has ordered the people she believes are her subjects to wear masks indoors. For safety’s sake? Let’s not fool ourselves.

As if following the Petty Tyrants chapter from the Democratic Party playbook, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced Tuesday that Oregonians, vaccinated or not, will again have to cover their faces in all indoor public spaces. Because she’s smarter and just more sensible than those living under her rule.

The mask mandates (and lockdowns) are a direct outcome of the spread of our cancel culture. People aren’t “canceled” in an effort to civilize our society and de-coarsen language. They are canceled because it gives the “cancelers” power. It’s their perverted way of telling others “we can control what you say.” It allows them to feel important and powerful, to advertise their moral superiority, to pump their egos. They want others to fear them, and take a twisted pleasure in seeing their victims grovel and beg to be accepted back into their good graces. That this behavior is now widely accepted is deeply alarming.

Mask mandates are driven by a similar need to exercise authority over others, and to draw in the rarified air only the most brilliant and discerning among us are allowed to breathe. Those handing down the mandates, as well as the pundits, assorted nags, and tight-haired school marms who are demanding them, are convinced, and nothing will persuade them otherwise, that they are the master class, deserving of their place at the top.

The thinking behind lockdowns comes from the same place. The only reason we haven’t been sent into another round of detention is the fear some politicians have of an electorate fed up with rules limiting their movement.

For instance, were California Gov. Gavin Newsom, his self-granted pandemic emergency powers still in effect, not facing a recall election next month, he surely would have been reissuing diktats over the last four weeks. (And at the same being more surreptitious about breaking his own rules than he was last fall, when he was caught at Napa Valley’s French Laundry restaurant attending a crony’s barefaced birthday party indoors.)

The connection between the cancel culture and mask mandates and lockdowns was exposed last year, when Democratic Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti declared, as government officials were panicking over the second wave of the coronavirus, that “it’s time to cancel everything.”

Could be his word choice was a mere coincidence. It doesn’t take a cynic, though, to believe it was a Freudian slip. Suppression was on his mind.

Our dreary experience over the last 17 months reminds us of the genius of C.S. Lewis, who said:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

We take one exception to Lewis’ observation in regard to the pandemic rules: Sincerity has not been a factor in mask mandates and lockdowns. In the minds of leftist and progressive elected and unelected officials, the pandemic has become an ongoing crisis that they can’t let go to waste. It’s not in their makeup to pass up an opportunity to torment the people they’re supposed to serve.  

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.

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