Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 23 Share on Twitter 2 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 11/20/20

Mask Mandates: COVID-19 and the Law of the Instrument

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   11 comments
Become a Premium Member Would you like to know how many people have read this article? Or how reputable the author is? Simply sign up for a Advocate premium membership and you'll automatically see this data on every article. Plus a lot more, too.
Author 76576
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Thomas Knapp

SARS-CoV-2 without background.
SARS-CoV-2 without background.
(Image by Wikipedia (commons.wikimedia.org), Author: Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM)
  Details   Source   DMCA

"One day after the state reported a record 92 COVID-19-related deaths," the Wisconsin State Journal's Mitchell Schmidt reports, "Gov. Tony Evers announced Wednesday he plans to extend the state's emergency declaration and accompanying mask mandate through mid-January. ... The current mask mandate was issued in July and extended by Evers in September."

The first two mask mandates didn't achieve the desired result! Something must be done! Hey, I've got an idea! How about another mask mandate?

At first blush this sounds like the old Alcoholics Anonymous definition of insanity: Repeating the same actions and expecting different results.

But there's more to it than that. Producing a particular result hardly ever explains or justifies a particular government policy very well. Mask mandates aren't about masks. They're about mandates.

Evers's obsession with issuing orders demonstrates Abraham Kaplan's Law of the Instrument: "Give a small boy a hammer, and he will find that everything he encounters needs pounding."

The voters of Wisconsin handed Tony Evers the hammer of political authority in 2018. Naturally, he's swinging that hammer repeatedly and with vigor. Whether he's hitting nails with it, or just smashing the thumbs of Wisconsin's people and businesses, is another question.

Keep in mind that the question of whether masks "work" is not the same as the question of whether mask mandates "work," if by "work" we mean "impede the spread of COVID-19."

Contrary to the claims of certain bureaucrats wearing lab coats, waving clipboards, and holding themselves out as the spokespersons for "science," the scientific jury remains very much out on the first question. And those bureaucrats change their stories based on political considerations. Take, for example, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Fauci on masks in May: "There's no reason to be walking around with a mask. When you're in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better, and it might even block a droplet. But it's not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is."

Fauci on mask mandates and other government orders in November: "Now is the time to do what you're told."

The moral of the story:

If it makes you feel better to wear a mask, wear a mask.

If wearing a mask seems justified by science, or just by common sense, wear a mask.

If a property owner requires masks and you want to use the property, wear a mask.

If the law requires a mask and you'd rather obey it than fight it, wear a mask.

But don't assume that Tony Evers or Anthony Fauci are neutrally "listening to the science." They're not. They're just enthusiastically swinging the hammers they've been given.

 

Must Read 3   Valuable 3   Well Said 2  
Rate It | View Ratings

Thomas Knapp Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.


Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

2020: I'm So Sick of Superlatives

America Doesn't Have Presidential Debates, But It Should

Hypocrisy Alert: Republicans Agreed with Ocasio-Cortez Until About One Minute Ago

Chickenhawk Donald: A Complete and Total Disgrace

Finally, Evidence of Russian Election Meddling ... Oh, Wait

The Nunes Memo Only Partially "Vindicates" Trump, But it Fully Indicts the FBI and the FISA Court

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: