Time for Modern Masking Madness to Be Cast into the Dustbin of History

Since last spring, many people, including dear friends, have been insisting that masks had suddenly become vital talismans that stop respiratory viral spread.

I’ve consistently argued the opposite throughout. (Here, here, here.)  And though I would constantly ask for evidence from anyone suggesting that masks work, rarely was it ever forthcoming.  Most often, I was told that there isn’t a lot of evidence suggesting that masks don’t work and that wearing a mask was better than nothing at all, so we should all just do it

Early in the pandemic, mask mavens suggested that the lack of real-world evidence showing masks’ efficacy was due to not enough people wearing them.  In the rare event that real-world evidence was offered, it usually took the form of suggestions that places like Japan escaped the ravages of the pandemic because of their stalwart adherence to masking in public.

Well, as Ian Miller points out on his extremely illuminating Twitter feed, even the few real-world examples that once suggested the effectiveness of masking have fallen apart.  Using Japan as an example:

He also presents similar charts which point to the fact that America, while maybe a bit slow to adopt masks last spring, fell in line like good little drones pretty quickly, and by the summer, roughly 9-in-10 Americans were consistently wearing masks.  All that masking did little to prevent surges in cases, hospitalizations, or deaths.

There’s still remarkably little or no real-world evidence that masks work, though such evidence has now had ample time to present itself.  As such, there are some impulses urging me to immediately go to all of those people who insisted that masks must repel coronaviruses like crosses repel vampires, and tell them “I told you so.”

But that would be an unjust act of vanity on my part.  I wasn’t right.  Science had been right, for a hundred-plus years.  I was simply able to recognize that the 100 years of scientific consensus (which accounts for much of the lifespan for modern germ theory, it should be noted) was very unlikely to have magically inverted in the months between Dr. Fauci telling us that masks do little or nothing to stop or slow the spread of a virus like COVID-19 and his later telling us that we should probably wear two masks as a matter of “common sense,” even if you’re vaccinated. 

Long before Fauci’s ridiculous reversal from consensus toward the limits of absurdity, uncountable numbers of American scientists correctly concluded, having the benefit of decades of data mounting for over a century, that wearing a mask for the benefit of feeling safe from viral spread was useless.

As John M. Barry writes in The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, there were attempts to normalize mask wearing back in 1918, with masks “positioned at stores alongside everyday things” like “tobacco” and “mustache grooming” supplies.  But “the grim truth persisted,” he concludes, which is that “the masks worn by millions were useless as designed and could not prevent influenza,” because “only preventing exposure to the virus” could do that.

While we might be seeing new developments today that didn’t exist during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, such as a corporate, technocratic oligarchy working hand-in-hand with politburos to suppress any information contrary to what are deemed the politically acceptable “scientific” conclusions, much of what we’re witnessing is just a bit of history repeating. 

Consider, for example, a comparison between the death rates in Stockton, California, and Boston, Massachusetts, during the Spanish flu epidemic.  For one month, Stockton made masking compulsory.  When set alongside Boston, which did not make masking compulsory, it becomes clear that Boston not only showed a similar trend in that month for deaths, but actually fared better than Stockton:

As Ian Miller’s graphs handily show, what was true then is true now.  Consider this comparison of Texas and California:

If anything, the fact that the same outcomes are observed with nearly universal masking today only strengthens science’s 100-year-old contention.  There is no shortage of such evidence, only a shortage of voices expressing it on platforms loud enough for people to see or hear it over the fear-mongering, unscientific cacophony to be found on mainstream media. 

And yet, our devotion to the idea of masks saving lives has turned our reality into absurdist satire.  Someone wearing a mask while jogging or driving alone in a car is not only useless, but it is unimaginably stupid.  Seeing someone wearing multiple masks with a face shield, or pulling down one’s mask to insert a peanut and replace the mask as one chews are visuals that seem better suited to a vintage Monty Python sketch than real life.  But in the “real life” of 2021 not only has the leading health “expert” in the country suggested that wearing multiple masks “just makes common sense,” but airlines are kicking people off of airplanes for not quickly replacing their mask after inserting a Twizzler into their mouths.

To believe that any of this nonsense is justifiable requires a total disavowal of the principles of even rudimentary thought.  It is a devotion to a ridiculous fantasy where that dirty piece of cloth that you grabbed out of your glove compartment and haven’t washed for a week will act as some sort of magical trinket to keep you safe from harm.

I’ll concede that there are many fine and smart people who bought into the masking craze that took hold in 2020.  This would not have been much of a problem, perhaps, if it weren’t for the most crazed among that ilk also being the most culturally and politically powerful, demanding that masking edicts be followed without question, and that the extent of those edicts be taken beyond the point of absurdity.

In time, the truth will emerge, and, as the data and evidence have shown for the past century, I am quite confident that the data and evidence around masking in 2020 and 2021 will again show that the dirty cloth rags that hundreds of millions of Americans wore over their faces were “useless as designed and could not stop” respiratory viral spread.  It will take time, though, because those currently in power are those who advocated this reversal of scientific consensus.  Telling the truth today would be a direct admission of erroneous policy, and such an admission would further dismantle Americans’ already diminished faith in our politicians and government health officials.

But this dishonest bunch won’t be in power forever, and the truth is relentless.  With any luck, America’s masking madness will not become a seasonal feature of life, as Dr. Fauci suggests, but it will soon be relegated to the ash heap of bad ideas, and won’t emerge again for at least another 100 years.

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