Thank goodness the federal mask mandate on airplanes in America has been overturned.
Requiring everyone to wear face diapers / nappies at all times in the belief that it would reduce the spread of Covid always seemed pretty ridiculous. The idea that face masks would significantly impact the trajectory of the virus was seldom supported by substantive evidence.
Watching people at airports forced to wear face masks often made me think of the irrational way in which people responded to plagues in the distant past. Wearing face masks to try to stave off a disease ranks alongside wearing charms to try to ward off the evil eye. I always thought of it as a form of federally mandated voodoo.
Forcing folk to wear masks was never benign. It gave airliners and airport authorities additional reasons to boss passengers about, making flying an even more unpleasant experience.
What is interesting about the ending of the mask mandate is that it was a federal judge that took the decisive step. Despite all the evidence that mask mandates are both futile and now unnecessary, it was not the federal bureaucracy that acted.
A couple of weeks ago, we all saw some horrific scenes from China, where a total lock down is in place. People in Shanghai have been confined to their own homes. The police have attacked desperate people.
Why are the authorities acting so differently over there? Is it a different virus? Are masks more effective in China? Do the Chinese authorities know something we don’t?
No. The difference is that here in the United States we have the United States Constitution. This republic has a Bill of Rights and a judiciary prepared to interpret what the law actually says, not what the powerful want it to say.
From Australia to Britain to Peru, officials responded to Covid by imposing asinine – and at times outrageous – restrictions on society in the mistaken belief that they knew what was best for them. They didn’t. Closing schools or banning people from meeting members of their own families was idiotic, and some of us said so at the time.
The instinct of officials in America might have been to impose all sorts of idiocy on people too. And occasionally, especially on the East and West Coasts, they were able to. But thank goodness the American founders drafted a constitution that curbed the worst excesses of those with power.