In what will likely be remembered as a pivotal point of the resistance to medical tyranny, Sen. Rand Paul blasted Dr. Anthony Fauci for what Paul called “mask theater.” Now, governors are ending mandates in schools around the country as they belatedly come to the realization that masks aren’t doing much to keep anyone safe. At UnHerd, Geoff Shullenberger asks “Were masks a waste of time?” He writes:
The most disastrous failing of the experts has been their lack of curiosity about the actual results of the policies they have staked their reputations on. Mask mandates have been, in [Ian] Miller’s [author of Unmasked: The Global Failure of Covid Mask Mandates] phrase, “a population-wide experiment”, but few within the US scientific and medical establishment have seemed interested in parsing the resulting data, leaving that task to outsiders like Miller. Astonishingly, there have been just two randomised controlled trials on masking published since the pandemic began. One found no significant effect at all, while the other found a small effect of 11% for surgical masks and no significant effect for cloth ones. The first was largely ignored or dismissed, while the second was optimistically glossed as proving that masks work.
Moreover, even the most bullish case for the technical efficacy of at least some higher-quality masks does not constitute a case for mask mandates, a distinction that most commentary elides. The only way to measure the efficacy of mandates is to look at their actual track record. This is what Miller has done, and the result, he argues, is clear: “mask mandates have demonstrated very little impact, if any, on case curves throughout the United States and in many other international locations.”
Miller is justifiably derisive about the experts who have oversold dubious policies at every turn, but the ironic implication of his book is that much of the expert guidance from prior to 2020 has been vindicated. Before Covid appeared, scientists and officials advised time and again that masks would be ineffective at containing a pandemic respiratory virus, and the evidence Miller has compiled suggests they were correct.
Two years into the pandemic, the experts are now the last to acknowledge the accuracy of their earlier predictions. This raises the question of why they changed course and sacrificed their own credibility in the process. Miller confines himself to the data, and if there’s a limitation to his book, it’s that he does not offer any compelling explanation of why the expert class threw itself a policy it once regarded as worse than useless.
It is not difficult to see why mask mandates proved irresistible to politicians. Masks are the perfect form of hygiene theatre, conveying an intuitive sense of safety regardless of demonstrable efficacy at scale. They also offload responsibility for controlling the pandemic to ordinary people. The overcrowding of ICUs can be blamed on the bad behavior of “anti-maskers”, rather than on the allocation of resources by governments and hospital CEOs. When cases and deaths spike, it is the fault of the citizenry, not the leadership.
The scientific and medical establishment’s uncritical support of masks and other dubious policies is just the latest manifestation of its lack of independence from political imperatives. After several years of finding themselves at the receiving end of rhetorical assaults from rising Right-wing populists, the experts seized on the pandemic as an opportunity to reassert their own status and authority — and that of the liberal-technocratic politicians with whom they are largely aligned.
In the long run, however, the temporary political advantages they gained from this will be outweighed by the discrediting effect of their embrace of censorship, propaganda, and rule by decree. Making us all put masks on was the expert class’s mask-off moment — and what we can see now isn’t pretty.
Action Line: If your governor was one who clung to mask mandates (or in some cases is still clinging to them), it’s time for you to look for a better America. It’s time to achieve your dreams of moving to a free state, a Super State. It’s time to defeat the inertia holding you back, and bring your family somewhere your money and freedom are appreciated. If you can’t muster up the momentum to make it happen, I can help. Click here to sign up for my free monthly Survive & Thrive letter, and I’ll work with you each month to beat inertia and take the steps necessary to put your family on the path to freedom and success.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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