A blonde girl wearing a blue face mask in front of her university quad.

Mask Mandates and ‘Living By Lies’

Joy Pullmann of the Federalist explains her top objection to COVID-19 mask mandates.

Throughout the last year, I’ve read a lot of masking arguments but none that broached my top objection: mask mandates force me to communicate what I believe are very dangerous lies.

Even if masks ultimately do provide some small reduction in coronavirus spread without imposing additional harms, a contentious claim, to me that is almost beside the point. The point is the security theater, which assumes that drastic government micromanagement of our lives and indefinite curtailment of our liberties are not only ever acceptable but in fact the moral thing to do.

I’m not talking about high-risk situations like nursing homes or hospitals or the homes of cancer patients, where I am willing to mask and sanitize and so forth for the chance it may indeed protect highly vulnerable people. I’m talking about in normal life, in public settings. Despite what people have been shanghaied into assuming, these are low-risk environments and should be treated as such.

Far above and beyond any health considerations, masking is a symbol. It is a talisman, a ritual, a communication of premises that I utterly reject. …

… Wearing a mask communicates that I accept the premise that everyone should wear a mask, even if vaccinated, even if possessing natural antibodies, even if a child to whom the flu is more dangerous, even if an adult who believes living with risk is part of human life and that attempting to eliminate risk is more dangerous than accepting it. It communicates that the entire world should look like a hospital, a fearful and sad place where people are desperately sick, even if they don’t know it.

It communicates that I believe harassing the living hell out of Americans is a justified response to a disease with a 99.5 percent survival rate or better for those younger than 65.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...