Why We Must Unmask

We often refer to lockdowns as a proxy for failed COVID interventions, but I contend that masks are a more prominent symbol. It’s frightening to think that American children born in the summer of 2020 and onward have seen very few unmasked faces other than immediate family members. I’m sure that if you run a small business under the boot of Corona fascism, you’d give anything to be able to open at full capacity with a “mask up” sign. Just realize that doing so is tantamount to surrendering to greater tyranny than the colonies faced under King George III.

As stay-at-home orders are lifted in “bluer” states like California and Illinois, let’s not fool ourselves into thinking these states are planning Woodstock-style free-for-alls within their borders. Businesses in such areas are still going to mandate some form of “face-coverings” as the pound of flesh needed to patronize such establishments, as has been the practice in even the “reddest” of states, even if both parties assert that the masked emperor is not wearing any clothes.

We should change our country’s name from the USA to the TSA. With a perpetual state of emergency for a virus with a 98 percent survival rate, the country is essentially a giant TSA checkpoint.

Over 80 percent of Americans covering their faces when leaving the home is a sign of submission to the one-party oligarchy that has replaced our constitutional republic. Masks are a symbol of fear, and a scared populace is more likely to obey mandates for the sake of safety. Masks are a sign that the American people will comply with a government violation of their personal liberty without proof of any personal or societal benefit. That last sentence is crucial. Throwing the masks away is not just an issue of political liberty, it needs to be done because masks don’t stop an airborne respiratory virus. 

It’s flat-out wrong to agree to Team Apocalypse’s premise that “masks work” or that they are a little thing we can do with no downside. There is no evidence for such assertions. 

Governors might as well mandate that every restaurant serve broccoli with all their meals. After all, we have an obesity problem. It’s just a little broccoli. What harm can it do? Just put it on your burger if you like. After all, you’re not just doing it for yourself. Obesity contributes to vulnerability to other illnesses, which could spread to other people. Do you want to get other people sick? Eat your broccoli.

All masking mandates and models are based on the assertion that masks work, we just need to decide how much masking is necessary. But, the antithesis is more accurate. The burden of proof is on the health authorities to show that mask-wearing decreases COVID-19 in some way beyond chance variation. Ironically, regardless of what can be simulated with mannequins in a lab, the evidence from public mask-wearing presents little evidence for testing the assumption of a net benefit for masks, as cases have grown many times over after the implementation of mask mandates with near-universal compliance.

While maskless NFL players crashing into each other and then returning to the sidelines to put on a face diaper makes for absurd comedy, a more serious concern is whether the masks will ever go away. We are now seeing calls for two masks. How about three? A few states are easing mandates by choice or through pressure, but masks are enforced through the practices of big business. 

Given the open-ended consent to masking up, it’s going to take a stronger effort than a lone rebel going bare-faced into a gas station convenience store to grab a few bags of beef jerky, as that is now the outlier. A display of unmasking needs strength in numbers. A group of 100 shoppers sans-masks entering a Walmart that is repeated and tweeted will have a greater influence on the culture’s confidence to push back on the farce. For the less rebellious, borrowing Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals tactic of ridicule is worth the effort. If you must mask, rather than a Gadsden flag, wear a mask that says “Placebo” or “Virtue Signal.” Speaking from experience, I’ve made some new acquaintances with that practice.

COVID-19 has been a great clarifier. A society that stays in and muzzles up until the government says it’s safe to come out is not as free as we thought it was. 

The narrative needs to change or we will start to see more fascism akin to the Parler debacle because those in power think that there will be very little civil disobedience. It’s imperative to be firm against the progressive narrative and not cede any ground. Lockdowns and masks are harmful. COVID is not a serious illness for most. Smiles matter. We got to this point by trying to compromise our values: Just 15 days, just a mask, just a vaccine. Soon it will be “it’s just a 30-round magazine.” Then, “it’s just a national gun registry.” Next, “we will pay you $500 to buyback each gun.” Before you know it, it will be, “show us your proof of immunity tattoo.”

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About Jason Fertig

Jason Fertig is an associate professor of management at the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville. His research interests involve effective management and leadership. He also has an interest in commenting on the state of higher education. He has written essays for the National Association of Scholars and the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal. He also advises the College Republicans at the University of Southern Indiana.

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