Salvo 08.25.2020

Free the Face—Attack the Mask


The RNC must speak out loud and clear against the COVID coup.

“I would shut [the country] down. I would listen to the scientists.” This is Joe Biden’s Coronavirus policy. If the “experts” say we need another national lockdown, he will implement one by fiat, no questions asked.

This position spells abject ruin for the country. Now that Joe Biden has fashioned himself into the candidate of slavish piety toward “The Science,” no issue in American life is as important as the Coronavirus response. Biden is the candidate of lockdowns, virus hysteria, and always-on mask mandates. Trump must embrace the opposite. The Republican National Convention has an opportunity this week to strike a blow for freedom and limited government and against Joe Biden and his corporate backers.

Before it does anything else, the RNC must repudiate lockdowns and internal travel restrictions. Even more importantly, it must attack mask mandates. A second lockdown would be difficult to enforce and is, as a practical matter, unlikely at a national level even under total Democrat rule. Mask-wearing is different. It is already the rule in large swaths of America. Less and less a show of obeisance to any medical facts, it is, increasingly, a “virtue signal”—an outward sign of inward submission to mass media hysteria and draconian edict.

Therefore, our overlords, corporate and otherwise, want nothing less than universal adherence. Biden said as much in his nomination acceptance speech. For the obsessively compliant, wearing a mask at this point has nothing to do with scientific literacy. It is an entirely political act—designed to intimidate and habituate the people to smothering, dehumanizing regulations of the most intimate parts of their lives. To accept the mandatory mask is to accept alienation and the loss of one’s identity.

This is why every major corporation in America wants you to wear one. They want to turn the American people into faceless, nameless consumers—literally. The near-constant Public Service Announcements, commercials, and reminders from the junior members of the auxiliary Thought Police are everywhere.

Masking as a form of totalitarian control is not new. The Taliban, for instance, mandated total face coverings for women after coming to power in Afghanistan. As Associate Professor Elham Manea (author of Women and Sharia Law [2016]) explains, the burqa “is a sign of segregation” and “separation” that treats the subjected woman as a “sexualized object that has to be controlled.”

Masking, in the Islamic world, is a political act, not a religious requirement. The face-covering represents allegiance to a certain kind of Islamic regime. The medical mask, in our own country, now serves a similar purpose. The mask laws in America are issued under the guise of emergency powers. Such edicts and mandates represent a new kind of regime, rooted in the performance of public health by fiat control. As Angelo Codevilla points out, the Coronavirus response represents a coup d’etat against the older political order.

The COVID emergency government represents a gross violation of the separation of powers. The Republican National Convention is the perfect opportunity to resist this massive encroachment on individual liberty. President Trump and the other speakers at the RNC should lead by example—speaking without masks and refusing to mandate them for live audience members. (Yes, there should be a live audience.)

What’s more, the GOP should elevate the actual facts about mask wearing and point out that the research is far from conclusive. In a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in May, experimenters concluded, “no direct evidence indicates that public mask wearing protects either the wearer or others.”

A recent MedRxiv meta-analysis did find that Random Controlled Trials (RCTs) supported the idea that face masks were “slightly protective against primary infection from casual community contact, and modestly protective against household infections when both infected and uninfected members wear facemasks.” However, the same analysis noted that “RCTs often suffered from poor compliance and controls.”

Many such cases. In July, the CDC used a study of masking in the Massachusetts General Brigham hospital system to argue that there was a correlation between masking and lower infection rates among health care workers. That study, however, lacked a control. Correlation is not causation.

If one wants to look at a large-scale epidemiological study on face masks, look no further than Sweden. Sweden never locked down and did not implement a face mask law. Since July 19, Sweden has had daily Coronavirus deaths in the single digits. In total, 0.056% of the Swedish population died from Coronavirus. In America, where masking and lockdowns were both implemented on a massive scale, 0.054% of the population has died.

The Republican National Convention should hammer these statistics nightly. Republicans should also point out that science can only tell us facts: it cannot provide moral guidance. The dehumanizing effects of mandated mask wearing cannot be ignored. Treating citizens like plague carriers is an abomination. Donald Trump should say as much at the RNC. In doing so, the GOP will make the difference between itself and the Democrats as sharp as possible.

The American people are tired of the Left and their reign of fear. It is time for the Republicans to become the real resistance. This week is as good a time as any to start.

The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.

The American Mind is a publication of the Claremont Institute, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to restoring the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life. Interested in supporting our work? Gifts to the Claremont Institute are tax-deductible.

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