I was taking my daily trot along Highway A1A in Florida the other day when I ran into a walking instance of the utter insanity that has overtaken pandemic-ridden America since the winter of 2020. I passed a guy with a full beard wearing the CDC-approved N95 mask. Adolph Hitler had many well-documented faults as a human being, but he understood the value of having a tight seal on a gas mask. That is why he got rid of the full mustache that he wore when he joined the German Army during World War I and adopted the Charlie Chaplin style that he wore for the rest of his life. He got gassed anyway when he was caught in a surprise attack, but he at least grasped the concept. The Florida nitwit apparently believes that the mask itself deters the little COVID viruses from infiltrating through his beard. He probably fully believes that he is following the science.
For the past couple of years, following the science has wreaked much-unneeded havoc on the world’s economy and has caused a general loss of respect for governmental authority through the sheer wrongheadedness of many of the recommendations made by bureaucrats in lab coats who claimed to know what they were doing. Let’s walk down memory lane:
Let us face it. Science didn’t know what it didn’t know. Dr. Anthony Fauci and the directors of the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health are bureaucrats. As such, they will err on the side of caution when making recommendations. But most of the above recommendations became government policy at either the national, state, or local level at some point. Most were in the form of mandates. Quite frankly, the only thing Fauci has gotten completely right is his recent admission that we will all probably get a variant of COVID whether vaccinated or not. And yet, he is still pushing masks and we have the humiliating spectacle of an American president and his entire cabinet masked up for major events after Biden declared victory over the virus — again following the science — nearly a year ago.
If anything good has come out of the pandemic, it is probably that many people — including some former progressives — have lost their faith in the ability of big government to solve all their problems. As imperfect as the vaccines may be, they were developed by the private industry and real scientists rather than by bureaucrats at government agencies. The incentive was as much profit as it was humanitarianism, although, in this case, the two went together.
One must wonder if there would be less anti-vax and anti-masking activism if governments had issued recommended guidance and let individuals make their own decisions. The original shutdowns were understandable in March 2020 when we simply did not know what we were dealing with, but the continuation of mandates after the vaccines were developed probably did more to destroy public confidence in big government than any event in the last century.
Big government is beginning to realize that it overreached in most Western democracies except for the People’s Republic of Canada. The United Kingdom lifted restrictions recently. Even the deep blue states of New York and California have relented, except that both governors have threatened to crack down again if their residents don’t behave.
Truth in advertising here: I got both shots and the booster. If recommended, I will get the second booster. After over three decades in the military, I have been injected full of so much stuff that a few more inoculations probably won’t hurt, but I can understand why many people have totally lost faith in the veracity of government advice and mandates. Some of my friends and family who are fully vaccinated got COVID, but the effect has ranged from mild cold to flu symptoms. I’ll still wear a mask if required to get on an airplane or visit someone in the hospital, but I am hoping to avoid both activities. Otherwise, I may not really love the COVID, but I’ve learned to live with it no matter what the frightened old, masked man in the White House says.
Gary Anderson lectures on Alternative Analysis at the graduate level.
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