Talk about bad junk mail. President Joe Biden’s administration is considering delivering masks to all Americans — in the name of countering coronavirus, of course. The United States government’s distribution of these unneeded masks would be both a waste of money and a significant step in advancing the mask mandate tyranny in America.
Interviewed Thursday remotely by host Lester Holt at NBC Nightly News, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said, in muffled words spoken through a mask while he stood alone in front of the White House, the Biden administration wants to get “back on track” on a plan to send masks to every American — a plan that Donald Trump, the previous president, had rejected. Continuing, Klain said, “I hope in the next few days, or next week, we may be able to announce some progress on this.”
Just what nobody needs — more masks that have not been established to provide protection from coronavirus infection but are known to cause health problems when regularly worn, more masks that are mandated to be worn in violation of Americans’ rights and in denial of their humanity.
It is not like throughout the month after month of mask mandates imposed by state and local governments, as well as by businesses, people have not been covering their mouths and noses as required by the authoritarians who have sprung up in many city councils, governors’ mansions, and company headquarters. While less wealthy people may not spring for the designer face coverings color coordinated with their outfits sported by President Joe Biden’s wife and other people relentlessly pushing the “wear a mask” message, dollar stores are full of people wearing masks. Some stores hand out masks to customers for free. (Even stores that enforce the mask requirements don’t want to miss out on too many sales for doing so.) Beggars at road intersections are wearing masks.
If people have already possessed and worn face coverings month after month, what is the motivation for creating a new government program to send people government-issue masks?
Most people can be expected to throw away the government-issue masks they receive. Even regular mask wearers will throw them out, tending not to be satisfied with the color, fit, or other attributes of the “Biden masks.”
One reason for distributing the masks is that people will profit. There always seems to be room for another government boondoggle.
Additionally, the distribution of government-issue masks to Americans will aid mask mandate tyranny escalation — government, beyond just mandating people cover their mouths and noses, mandating that people cover their mouths and noses in a very particular way. Government thrives on bossing people around, and the more the better
It should not be a surprise that initially general mask mandates lead to detailed regulations on the attributes required for masks to be acceptable as well as on when and how they must be worn. Governments tend to work hard to expand their power over the people. Why would it be different in regard to mask mandates?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) took a big step in advancing the US government’s imposition of nit-picking mask and mask wearing standards on January 29 when it issued an 11-page order requiring people to wear masks in many circumstances related to public transportation and even when just in a taxi or ride share vehicle. The CDC order followed an executive order dealing with masks and travel that Biden signed on January 21, his second day in office.
The CDC order is very particular about what constitutes an “acceptable” mask and how such a mask is to be worn. The order defines a mask as “a material covering the nose and mouth of the wearer, excluding face shields.” A footnote at the end of the definition points to this additional text:
A properly worn mask completely covers the nose and mouth of the wearer. A mask should be secured to the head, including with ties or ear loops. A mask should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face. Masks do not include face shields. Masks can be either manufactured or homemade and should be a solid piece of material without slits, exhalation valves, or punctures. Medical mask and N-95 respirators fulfill the requirements of this Order. CDC guidance for attributes of acceptable masks in the context of this Order is available at: https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/masks/mask-travel-guidance.html
At the web page linked from the footnote text, the CDC dictates yet more details about masks and how to wear them. The web page even states that the CDC can update the details “as needed.” Such ever-changing standards should be familiar to people who have long suffered under the coronavirus crackdowns of local and state governments.
Here are a couple of the additional mask mandate details contained on that web page: “Cloth masks should be made with two or more layers of a breathable fabric that is tightly woven (i.e., fabrics that do not let light pass through when held up to a light source)” and “Scarves, ski masks, balaclavas, or bandannas” do not “fulfill the requirements of the Order.”
Here we have a new indignity of life in America — mask inspections.
In addition to plenty of other items listed at the web page, there is this sentence at the end: “Additional guidance on the use of masks to slow the spread of COVID-19 is available on CDC’s website.”
The rules go on and on. Companies will need to retain mask compliance specialists to figure out the intricate rules the companies are charged with enforcing upon their customers and employees.
Note the occasional use of the word “should” by the CDC. Anything involving “should” is properly interpreted as advice that can be freely rejected. That understanding, though, becomes fuzzy here because the CDC order refers to “CDC guidance” including “should” language as part of what defines the “attributes of acceptable masks in the context of” the order. Many companies subject to the CDC order will just follow what they consider the safe course as far as compliance is concerned by imposing company policies that treat “should” provisions as mandatory. The government bureaucrats know companies will often do this. In fact, bureaucrats rely on such actions by companies to expand the impact of government orders beyond what it seems likely courts would find it legal for the government to outright mandate. It also provides an opportunity for blame shifting.
Sadly, many transportation-related companies, before the CDC order came out, already enforced similar rules even if not pressured to do so by state and local government mandates. Most others will fall in line. Few companies will take the risk of standing up to tyranny.
When one of these companies kicks out a customer or fires an employee for noncompliance with company mask rules, the company can shift the blame to the government and its mask order. But, if the customer or employee should sue the government, the government can say “Hey, that part was just a recommendation; your beef is with the company.” The company will however likely be impervious to lawsuit. It will be seen as just enforcing its private “safety policy” informed by “the science” embodied in CDC recommendations. Are you against free enterprise, science, and safety, buddy?
Even people who understand provisions of the CDC order as violating the US Constitution or as merely advisory and wish not to follow them will nonetheless often submit. Why? One reason is that they expect companies will act devoutly in enforcing the order, including advisory parts, by putting it all, and likely more as well, in harsh company policies. Another reason is that they do not want to wind up confronted by a cop trying to enforce whatever he considers to be the mask law. They may believe they understand the law better than does the cop. But, they also likely will be unwilling to risk being tasered and jailed for standing up for their rights.
At the foundation, courts should view Biden’s executive order and the CDC order as unconstitutional. The US Constitution grants limited, enumerated powers to the national government. Requiring Americans to wear masks is not among them. Further, the orders concern many travel-related circumstances and courts have recognized people in America have a right to travel. Even if a court were to take the leap to view such mandates as within the US government’s constitutional authority, it should recognize that that such mandates cannot be properly imposed unilaterally by the executive branch. Instead, the mandates would require approval by Congress through the legislative process the Constitution prescribes for creating laws.
But, will courts stand up for people’s rights in this situation, and will they do so consistently and soon? I wouldn’t bet on it. Over the two centuries plus since the Constitution was adopted, courts have let slide so many government breaches of constitutional restraints that the US government powers exercised today have only a hazy, at best, resemblance to the limited powers the Constitution defines.
It is no longer just the obnoxious hectoring of “wear a mask” that Americans have been subjected to for months on end. Now, with the aid of the new mandates from the Biden administration, Americans are increasingly being pushed to wear a very particular kind of mask in the exact manner ordered, with all the detailed requirements subject to change at whim. And that pressure is backed by the power of the US government and a plethora of companies’ mask mandates.
The delivery of government-issued masks portends even more heightening of mask mandate tyranny, along with increasing pressuring on people to shut up and accept it. “You have nothing to complain about,” the mandate enforcers — governmental and private — will say, “just wear the mask the government gave you.”