Issues & Insights
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We Won’t Be Masked Again 

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

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I & I Editorial Board

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


  • The Sheep will bleat. Lots of political theatre will be preformed… then everyone will roll over and do as they are told.

    You’ll notice that at shearing or slaughter time sheep farmers don’t pay any attention to the bleating.

  • As a 75 year-old healthy man, I will be wearing a mask for my flights to remote Alaska and back, rather than risk short or long Covid. My boosters are up to date, and I will be getting the new vaccines when they become available. If the government were to mandate masks, I would be even more likely to do so.

    • As a 75 year-old man you are at significantly higher risk from Covid than most of the population, and I am glad you don’t have comorbidities. Understandable concern, however, does not make talismanic masking more effective or justify mandates.

  • I will not wear it on my face.
    I will not wear it anyplace.
    I will not wear it to get in.
    I will not wear it on my chin.
    I will not wear it on my ear.
    I will not wear it out of fear.
    I will not wear your stupid mask.
    I will not wear it.

  • You’ll wear a mask on someone else’s private property, or you’ll be promptly arrested for trespassing. You can scream “MUH TYRANNY!!!!” as the cops cuff and stuff you, if you’d like. No one cares.

  • I agree with your views on masking but please cite your sources for the “media effort to rekindle the coronavirus hysteria”. I see little evidence of that on CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC or NBC.

  • “…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….”

    Of course they have a right to do so, but the only instances of “proper face coverings” are those custom fit professinally to a person’s face and worn correctly — once. This is done only in very selective settings in hospitals and even then they are only modestly successful. What the Cochrane report showed was that the manner in which the public use masks renders them, well, the technical term would be “a joke”. What’s worse is that the cost and effort to produce masks universally according to the prescription of proper masking actually undermines health by directing money to feel-good efforts.

    By the way, one thing I learned during universal masking is that the lower part of most people’s faces are not especially attractive. With a mask on there was always the potential that they’d be as attractive as their eyes suggested they might be. This potential evaporated when the mask fell away.

  • Neither masked, nor jabbed.

    Both are deadly killers. Neither work as they had been guaranteed to do.

  • All fake, total hoax. Nothing but the regular cold. No one else is my problem or my concern.

  • Anyone who needs to wear a mask (there is no such person), or simply prefers to, has every right to do so.

    Yes, they have every right to do so, and they should be laughed at by everyone who passes them on the street just as if they were wearing clown makeup.

  • Masks designed to stop particles measured in microns can not stop aerosolized viruses measured in nanometers. Judging by the way people actually wore their face diapers, we are lucky they didn’t trap the intended pathogen. Properly trained people in clinical settings, with a lot of other protections in place may get some slight advantage from Masks, people who hang them from their ears, rear view mirror or stuff them in their pocket before or after use are wasting their time.

  • If you like masking, by all means wear one. If your mask is working, it should make no difference whether I wear one or not. That being said, there are costs associated with every decision. I have made the choice not to use flight for travel with masks being one of the reasons to stay out of airports.

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