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You have “no constitutional right to walk around without a mask,” says the Republican governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan. You’ll invariably hear such declarative statements as a line of defense by those who support government mask mandates. The problem with such statements is that they are a response to the wrong question.
You see, the salient question is not about which individual rights have been so granted by the powers of government (the Founders were clear that God, not government, grants rights to citizens), but about how the powers of government are limited by the Constitution.
In short, the question is not “does an individual American have the right to walk around without wearing a mask?” The appropriate question is, “where in the Constitution is the power for the government to coerce Americans to wear masks explicitly defined?” When framed that way, it should be obvious to even the most dimwitted totalitarian that the truthful answers to both questions are inextricably linked.
Do Americans have the right to walk around without masks in public spaces? Without question, they do. How do we know that? Because the Constitution does not explicitly grant the government power to institute or enforce laws around masking in public. Nothing about this is rocket science, but nothing could be more vital to the principle of self-governance.
The federal government clearly has no power to enact or enforce mask mandates. That much seems clear even to Joe Biden. Whether state legislatures can craft laws around mask mandates is a bit more of an open question, I’ll admit. The Tenth Amendment suggests that states wield “powers not delegated to the United States” by the Constitution, while the incorporated “due process clause” of Fourteenth Amendment suggest that the states cannot “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” In the most conservative appraisal of this legal landscape, we can conclude that states may technically legislate mask mandates. However, as mask mandates, like lockdowns, deprive Americans of liberty and individual agency, they cannot be arbitrarily designed, implemented, or enforced.
To put it mildly, when you make dissenting arguments against that government mask mandate that your governor enacted via executive decree (because legislating such a mandate infringing upon your liberty would be too politically difficult to achieve), you couldn’t be on firmer legal ground.
Even at the state level, these mask mandates can often be proven unconstitutional. Gavin Newsom, for example, has been rebuked by a superior court for dozens of new executive orders issued earlier this month. The Court determined that Newsom “overstepped his authority” by engaging in an “unconstitutional exercise of legislative power.”
But, in case you haven’t noticed, any legal impediments to the government’s seizure of power don’t matter to the angry mask mavens who demand nothing less than your unconditional compliance.
For them, the masks are a matter of life and death. You’ve undoubtedly even witnessed some of them drawing and quartering some ridiculous straw man, as the aforementioned Governor Larry Hogan did, comparing my walking in a supermarket without a mask to someone pounding a fifth of Jack Daniels and getting behind the wheel of a car. You have “no constitutional right to drive drunk,” and thus, we have laws demanding that you don’t drive drunk, he argues. Why can’t we have laws demanding that you don’t walk around a grocery store without a rag covering your face?
It’s an utterly insane comparison.
First of all, contracting COVID and being struck by a drunk driver on the highway result in wildly different outcomes. Do we really need to be clarifying this in, ostensibly, the most educated America that has ever existed? If most Americans get COVID, they have a 99.98-percent chance of surviving the incident.
Second, there are mountains of evidence that drunkenness monumentally impairs motor skills and that drivers, so impaired, represent a high level of life-threatening danger to themselves and others. The evidence is so strong in favor of that contention, in fact, that there’s not a single convincing shred of dissent against it. On the other hand, to say the evidence for the efficacy of wearing cloth masks is scant is as much an understatement as saying the Mariana Trench has a bit of depth to it.
Americans were marvelously struck to find that a new Danish study all but proves that masking is useless. But the real marvel is that Americans managed to be struck by this. Until a few months ago, this fact was common knowledge among our countrymen, the inherited wisdom earned from a masking craze that took hold in the Spanish flu epidemic. Seemingly overnight, we’d forgotten what accepted scientific evidence had shown us for a century: that masks don’t do much to help slow or limit respiratory viral spread.
The evidence that this year’s reversal of scientific consensus is flawed exists all around us. Mask adherence is quite high in America and has been since at least the summer. Perhaps that’s why states with mask mandates do not fare any better than states without mask mandates. But beyond that correlation, the only other significant conclusion to be drawn, as positive tests explode around the country, is that all this masking hasn’t been the panacea we have all been promised by politicians and public health officials.
But what masks lack in practical efficacy, they make up for in political virtue. Not only do they serve as a constant public reminder that the deadliest plague in our lifetimes is among us (this is simply and provably untrue) and that your family and neighbors are the vectors, but they are a sign of your absolute submission to the technocratic status quo.
It is hard to see what has happened this year as anything other than a desperate scheme for control by totalitarian progressives. Consider how we’ve witnessed the dominoes fall.
When this year began, few Americans could have even imagined that their government could tell them that they couldn’t have customers in their stores, or that they couldn’t leave their homes, unless they’re doing either for “essential” purposes. After all, what business does your government have in determining that your restaurant or small business, which couldn’t be more “essential” for your family and those you employ, is insufficiently necessary in your community or for your own life and liberty?
But we accepted two weeks of lockdowns to flatten the curve. Then a few months. Then, if you’d just “wear the damn mask,” life could get back to normal. We did that, too. But life continues to be anything but normal. They’re still demanding lockdowns while also demanding masks and telling Americans how their holiday celebrations must be tailored to the commands of public health officials, local tyrants, and dictatorial governors.
Eighty-two percent of Americans believe they can individually assess and manage the risk of COVID, in spite of public health officials’ assurances that they can’t. It’s time we assert our liberty and abolish these unconstitutional and useless mask mandates. While we’re at it, we should also abolish the technocratic status quo that we’ve seen usurp levels of power never before seen in America.