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Civil Disobedience Starts Here

As COVID-19 cases increase, the Los Angeles County public health director is threatening – yes, that’s the right word – another indoor mask mandate. It’s a hob-nailed boot on the neck. Angelenos need to resist, for themselves and the rest of the country.

“As COVID cases and other viruses continue to rise, the Southland is inching closer to a mask mandate,” the Los Angeles CBS affiliate reported Sunday. Barbara Ferrer, the county director of public health, who is not a physician, not a nurse, not even a paper shuffler at a doctor’s office, but a social welfarist, said last week that “masking” is one of several “commonsense mitigation strategies” that “remains a very sensible approach.”

Don’t mistake mask mandates as harmless cases of officials acting in an abundance of caution or just covering their backsides, as government always does. Mask mandates are open displays of outright meanness, a manifestation of authoritarian urges to control others. There is no data, no reputable research that tells us mask mandates works.

In fact, the data tells the opposite. Yet officials such as Ferrer and the Sacramento schools chamberlains are insisting that masks must go back on. It’s no coincidence that the madness is starting in a state where personal freedoms are routinely tread upon as if they’re gifts that can be handed down by the government rather than God-given.

As we seethe over yet another violation of liberty we are reminded that the lockdowns were dropped on us in a similarly unscientific way. Much of the blame goes to Anthony Fauci, the face of COVID-19 – which most of us are ready to forget – and the man who claimed he himself is science. Fauci became a lockdown believer after his deputy Clifford Lane came away “very impressed” in February 2020 with how China was handling the outbreak through isolation. Impressions should never be the basis for public policy, nor should data from Beijing, which Lane apparently trusted without reservation. Yet much of the world was told to stay home because a U.S. functionary allowed himself to be fooled by liars.

While Fauci never locked down anyone on his own, his opinion carried enough weight for panicky and control-hungry officials to support their lockstep stomp on liberty.

Maybe this is just the way “science” now works in the West. Ferrer has been accused of relying on a study which was co-authored by her daughter, who is also not a doctor and had no previous public health research experience, to hand down her mask orders.

This woman is not a noble civil servant, but a crusader, a fanatic. When recognized in May as one of a dozen “women of the year,” she said that “every so often, when the work seems particularly challenging, I’m reminded of something Dolores Huerta, phenomenal justice champion, shared when she asked us all to see every moment as an organizing opportunity, every person a potential activist, every minute a chance to change the world.”

People who think this way are dangerous.

Before mask madness spreads like an out-of-control virus to other states, the resistance has to start in California. Refuse to obey groundless rules. Defy the petty tyrants. Ignore their diktats. Send the message that their abuse of power will no longer be tolerated. Law enforcement departments should announce they will not enforce a coercive order from an unelected bureaucracy while liberty-minded lawyers wallop Los Angeles County with a lawsuit that hurts.

Questioning the authority of officials such as Ferrer to do as they please is not new, nor is it radical.

In Henry David Thoreau’s essay “Civil Disobedience,” first published in 1849, the philosopher asked if we “shall … transgress ” “at once” unjust laws, or should “we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded.” There are some instances in which transgressing “at once” is not only justified, it is necessary. Why? In the case of mask mandates they are profoundly unjust; they are decrees issued without legislative process, edicts handed down without factual basis to support them.

Simply put, “no evidence exists that generalized mask mandates are beneficial,” writes Dr. Joel Zinberg, a professor at Icahn Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. “A pre-pandemic systemic review by the highly regarded Cochrane Library found that medical/surgical mask-wearing made little or no difference to the outcome of influenza or influenza-like illnesses compared with not wearing a mask.”

But what about those N95 respirators recommended by Washington? What if everyone wore one of those? First, if we did, we would look like monsters from a cheesy apocalyptic science fiction movie and yet at the same time like a herd of faint-hearted cowards. But foremost, they don’t work, either.

“Researchers at Canada’s McMaster University … found no statistically significant difference in protection between” the cloth coverings that “offer ‘the least’ protection and N95 respirators,” Just the News reports.

More than two years of experience clearly indicate that “Masks Still Don’t Work,” says the headline of an article written by Jeffrey Anderson, former director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics at the U.S. Justice Department, posted in City Journal in August.

“The best scientific evidence continues to suggest that masks don’t work,” says Anderson. “Meantime, the public-health establishment continues to ignore that evidence. Public-health officials also remain almost completely blind to masks’ profoundly adverse effects on human interaction and quality of life.”

How can there be a grand American experiment in freedom, a future for widespread human liberty if freedoms can be suspended at whim, wrecking the trajectory toward a non-coercive society and taking progress back to another time?

Officials, elected and unelected, have to be reminded they work within limits. If it gets a little ugly, then so be it. Freedom has its enemies and they can’t be allowed to plow at will through our lives. Don’t put on the mask.

— 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.


  • I thought the article was very good. People who have no real qualified knowledge are making policy, not acceptable. We have to take back our authority over government!

  • Despite an Army-Wide Face Covering Order, US Soldiers, required to wear masks, still contracted the Spanish Influenza Virus (H1N1) in 1918-19 and DIED like flies!

    Surgeon General William Gorgas, issued his opinion regarding Face Coverings as follows:

    “While the donning of face coverings during this influenza crisis may appeal to many, its benefits in reducing the spread of infection is dubious.  The only benefit realized, is that it reduces the number of men who chew tobacco, from spitting on the streets.  Beyond that, the only other benefit realized, is that it makes our citizens constantly aware of the crisis at hand.”

  • It’s what happened to the “No Straw” law. Who wanted to fight about it beyond a California crackpot or two. Now they are by the drink dispenser or delivered with the drink as they should be.
    Same-O with masks. The last thing people will do is play mask Nazi with customers.

  • I live in NYS. Assuming Gov Botox will do something similar, and already spending the holiday in Fla. NY has been destroyed. The great chefs, gone. The great clubs, barely hanging on. And prices jacked to make up for the loss in volume. The freest people from both coasts are heading to Texas and Fla as fast as we can. I have a few more years for my pension, and God bless our great union jobs here for that, but I’m not spending my golden years in a gulag. My entire peer group spent the last nearly 3 years in speakeasies all over NYS. Great parties. No cameras allowed. There are so many of us, and so many of us have badges and guns. It runs the gamut sexually, economically, professionally. The one group who’ve been total good little bitches are the under 40 crowd. It’s really scary. You go to a huge party and no one under 40 is there. I see how Mao did it. Stupid kids.

  • Take your placebo, then sit down and shut up like good little robots! When I heard we might be masking again, I nearly blew my stack at work. How many years of evidence from around the world does it take?! How many scientific studies have to be done?! This is just more anti-science bs from our control freak overlords.

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