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Introducing “Taking the Mask Off”

It’s far past time for the COVID regime to end.

In March 2020, our public health officials embarked on a major public relations effort. The novel coronavirus had arrived in the U.S. from China, and a fearful American public scrambled to stock up for the apocalypse: toilet paper, canned goods, bottled water, and face masks.

So U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams took to the media to get an urgent message out. “Americans get scared when they feel like they’ve lost control,” Adams said then on Fox & Friends, “There are things people can do to stay safe… [but] one of the things they shouldn’t be doing, the general public, is going out and buying masks. It actually does not help, and it has not been proven to be effective in preventing the spread of coronavirus amongst the general public.”

Times have changed.

Now, almost 18 months later, these face coverings have become ubiquitous. After a temporary reprieve over the summer months, when vaccine optimism reigned, mask mandates are back across the country. Children are starting another school year with faces covered. Younger grades may not know a time when seeing classmates’ smiles was allowed. The mask has superseded its [dubious] medical benefits, and is now a potent symbol of right-thinking.

Our public health “experts” seem determined to extend their power to vaccine mandates as well. With the FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine, Big Business—and the government of at least one of our major cities—has moved quickly to force employees and patrons to get the jab. “My body, my choice,” was always a cynical platitude. They never meant it.

We must remember that this was all a choice. No, not the arrival of a deadly disease from China, but the concerted effort to radically alter daily life in response. It’s a choice driven by fear, by a failure to come to terms with our own mortality. And all the while, the goal posts shift, from “15 days to stop the spread,” to “flatten the curve,” to vaccines, COVID-zero, and on and on and on.

Enough. It’s far past time for this insanity to end.

So I’m proud to introduce “Taking the Mask Off,” a new series from The American Conservative. We will call out the hypocrisy of our public health regime. We will highlight the toll lockdown measures and mask mandates have taken on our families and communities. We will urge Americans not to accept a “new normal”. And we will actually “follow the science”, offering alternatives for what a balanced public health policy might look like.

We will, quite literally, take the mask off the COVID regime.

COVID-19 is here to stay, joining the countless other maladies that affect our fallen human condition. The loss of life at the hands of this deadly disease is tragic. Far more tragic would be a society in which living is lost, in which we are unable to pursue that which makes life worthwhile.

We at TAC hope to play a small part in preventing this greater tragedy.

about the author

Emile Doak is the executive director of the American Ideas Institute, which publishes The American Conservative.  He is a graduate of Georgetown University, where he studied political philosophy and theology, and previously worked in education before returning to the field of his studies.  His writing has appeared in First Things, Front Porch Republic, Crisis Magazine, and elsewhere. A proud Virginian, Emile and his wife split their time between their hometown of Herndon and the Shenandoah Valley.

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