A summer surge of COVID-19 has some wondering aloud if we should return to mask mandates. For now, the official line, despite the media effort to rekindle coronavirus hysteria, is that it’s unlikely. But we heard that before, in 2020, right before public health officials dropped their mask tyranny on us. If they do it again, we have an obligation to say no.
Are we calling for civil disobedience? Are we suggesting that Americans resist orders that are not laws but are instead decrees issued by despots? Absolutely, and without reservation.
Masks are dehumanizing. When we cover our faces, we no longer look like people. We look like monsters, freaks from bad science fiction movies. Half-blank faces stare back at us as our ability to communicate is skewed. A masked society is a hideous society.
When we wear masks because we are told to, we subjugate ourselves, surrender our agency to others. We symbolically kneel before abusive authorities that should have no authority over us. Are we free people or are we subordinates to politicians and an administrative structure that has accrued illegitimate power?
Masks project fear. Who wants to live in a world that is frightened, driven by panic, hiding behind a facade of protection? It was demoralizing to see the extremes that people went to to cover their faces during the pandemic. (Some of those in the video referenced here were clearly using caricatures to spoof the mandates, but we don’t need those again, either.)
Masks are vehicles for virtue signaling. Many wear them as demonstrations of their moral superiority – they care so much. Government officials find a perverse pleasure in decreeing mask mandates – because they care so much. Masked busybodies have accosted, sometimes violently, the unmasked, who simply want to exercise their liberty.
For all the fighting, some of it literal, as we just noted, over masking, there’s no evidence that mask mandates work.
First, in August 2021, more than a year into the COVID madness, former Director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics Jeffrey H. Anderson wrote in City Journal that “research suggests that Americans’ many months of mask-wearing has likely provided little to no health benefit and might even have been counterproductive in preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus.”
He based his conclusion on the results of more than a dozen pre-COVID randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that “tested the effectiveness of masks in reducing the transmission of respiratory viruses.” Those RCTs should have guided public policy decisions. Instead, COVID policy was corrupted by a toxic combination of fear, outright meanness, and a manifestation of authoritarian urges to control others.
Second, after the authors of a meta-analysis from the Cochrane Library looked at 78 RCTs of physical interventions intended “to interrupt or reduce the spread of acute respiratory viruses,” they were able to say only that “we are uncertain whether wearing masks or N95/P2 respirators helps to slow the spread of respiratory viruses based on the studies we assessed.”
“The pooled results of RCTs did not show a clear reduction in respiratory viral infection with the use of medical/surgical masks,” they said.
We understand that a small portion of the population is vulnerable to COVID-19 and other diseases that can be contracted in a similar way, and that proper face coverings can in some cases keep these people healthy. Anyone who needs to wear a mask, or simply prefers to, has every right to do so.
The rest of us, though, should refuse to be masked ever again. When government feels no resistance to its dictates, it knows it’s free to tighten the yoke another notch.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board