Trump's Muddled Mask Message May Be His Best Attempt To Reconcile Irreconcilable Extremes

Both sides in the debate about face masks make claims that are not justified by the scientific evidence.


By now, President Donald Trump's position on face masks is clear. He wears one, except when he doesn't. And he thinks masks are useful in reducing transmission of the COVID-19 virus, except maybe they aren't.

Trump's persistently muddled message about masks, which he delivered once again during last night's presidential debate, may reflect his own dislike of wearing them or his attempt to seem responsible without alienating supporters who are leery of face coverings. But as was apparent during the debate, those tendencies are reinforced by the fact that, over the course of the pandemic, public health officials have switched from dismissing the value of general mask wearing to endorsing it as an essential precaution, sometimes in terms that are not justified by the scientific evidence.

"Are you questioning the efficacy of masks?" moderator Chris Wallace asked.

"No, I think masks are OK," Trump replied. "I have a mask right here. I put a mask on when I think I need it. Tonight, as an example, everybody's had a test and you've had social distancing and all of the things that you have to. But I wear masks when needed."

That seems like a reasonable position. Masks may be appropriate indoors when you are in close proximity to strangers but more trouble than they are worth in other contexts—say, when you are outdoors at a distance from other people. Yet when Joe Biden, Trump's Democratic opponent, asserted that "masks make a big difference," Trump could not resist contradicting him.

"His own head of the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] said…if everybody wore a mask and social distanced between now and January, we'd probably save up to 100,000 lives," Biden said. "It matters."

Alluding to the CDC's initial dismissal of face masks worn by the general public as a helpful strategy, Trump replied, "They've also said the opposite…Dr. Fauci said the opposite…He said very strongly, 'Masks are not good.' Then he changed his mind. He said, 'Masks are good.'"

Back in March, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, was indeed questioning the value of general mask wearing. "There's no reason to be walking around with a mask," he said during a March 8 interview with 60 Minutes. "When you're in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better, and it might even block a droplet. But it's not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is. And often, there are unintended consequences. People keep fiddling with the mask, and they keep touching their face…When you think 'masks,' you should think of health care providers needing them."

Today Fauci's position on masks, consistent with the CDC's turnaround on the question in April, is quite different. "There should be universal wearing of masks," he told ABC News in August. "If you look at the scientific data, the masks clearly work," he told CNN this month.

Fauci has defended his original position by claiming that his main concern was preserving the supply of masks for health care workers. But he did not merely say that health care workers should have priority. As illustrated by the 60 Minutes interview, he also questioned the effectiveness of general mask wearing, including the use of homemade masks, which would have no impact on the supply of personal protective equipment for people dealing directly with COVID-19 patients.

Fauci also says the usefulness of masks became clearer as scientists recognized the importance of asymptomatic virus transmission—a rationale also cited by the CDC. "We learned that a substantial proportion of the transmissions occur from an asymptomatic person to an uninfected person," he told CNN. Yet given COVID-19's incubation period, typically four or five days, and early reports that many people infected by the virus either never develop symptoms or have symptoms so mild that they do not realize they are carriers, that concern was relevant months before the CDC and Fauci changed their positions.

Finally, Fauci says he responded to accumulating scientific evidence that masks work. "Science accumulates," he told CNN. "When you're having an evolving situation, like COVID-19, which clearly is evolving in a very rapid way, you make a recommendation or you make a policy based on the information that you have at a particular time, such as early on in the outbreak in February and March. As you get further information, you have to be humble enough and flexible enough to make your statements and your policy and your recommendation based on the evidence that you now have, which may actually change some of the policy."

Fair enough. While it remains true that masks do not provide "perfect protection," they do seem to provide some protection, which is better than nothing. But public health officials now tend to err in the opposite direction, exaggerating what we know about the effectiveness of masks (cloth masks in particular) instead of saying the weight of the evidence indicates that wearing them is a good idea. In particular, the projection by CDC Director Robert Redfield that Biden cited implies more certainty than is possible given the available evidence, as did Redfield's suggestion that masks would prove to be more effective than vaccines in curtailing the epidemic. And politicians such as Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer have gone even further, citing pro-mask factoids with no scientific basis.

Given all this, it would not be surprising if someone like Trump, who is not exactly known for his intellectual curiosity or scientific literacy, was honestly confused about the merits of masks. His bottom line seemed to be this: "I'm OK with masks. I'm not fighting masks."

That's a pretty tepid endorsement, especially when compared to Trump's suggestion in July that wearing a mask in public is "patriotic." Trump's message is certainly much weaker than the strong language used by Biden and by Trump's own scientific advisers. But some of those statements, especially assertions about how many lives can be saved by masks, go beyond what the evidence actually shows.

Overconfident statements on both sides of the debate about face masks help explain how this scientific issue became so divisive. In late February, Surgeon General Jerome Adams was insisting that masks "are NOT effective in preventing [the] general public from catching #Coronavirus." He was not simply saying the evidence at that point was insufficient to support general mask wearing; he was asserting that science had proven the practice is ineffective, which was simply not true. Many mask skeptics continue to push that line, while mask enthusiasts say masks are better than vaccines or make easily debunked claims about exactly how effective they are.

Those extremes seem to leave no room for common ground, nuance, or honest disagreement. Trump's ambivalent comments may be his best attempt to reconcile the irreconcilable.

NEXT: The Presidential Debate Over Health Care Is Exhausting and Unserious

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  1. Those extremes seem to leave no room for common ground, nuance, or honest disagreement. Trump's ambivalent comments may be his best attempt to reconcile the irreconcilable.

    Given everything we know and don't know, ambivalence seems like the most reasonable position to take at this point.

    1. I actually think Trump's statement was completely straight forward. In certain cases, Masks mitigate risk. In many other cases, they are unnecessary.

      His specific example was the debate- everyone had been tested, and they were practicing social distancing- no need for masks. This is *exactly* what the study said in the Lancet article that Sullum linked to. They say distancing is the most important thing. After that, masks *could* have a large impact- but they specifically site between N95 respirators as being important compared to cloth or surgical masks.

      I have seen numerous scientists point out that masks are being used by people INSTEAD of social distancing. That actually goes against the Lancet study, which specifically said the biggest contributor was being at least a meter apart, and then maybe N95 masks.

      So Trump's points are basically correct as far as I can tell.

      1. Not only correct but perfectly reasonable.

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      2. Masks provide some benefit to preventing the spread of the virus the mask wearer already has. Non-medical masks do not protect the wearer from catching the virus. It's not that complicated to understand the difference, but apparently it is because of narratives.

    2. And, when, you have a huge nation that is the federation of 50 states with their own governments, with countless county and city governments, you don’t need the national leader to take a position or to mandate anything. In fact, it’s better to let different locales try different rules.

    3. The most important question here is: is this the most orange Trump has ever been?

    4. Why no mention nor analysis of Biden's proposed outdoor mask mandate for everyone in the US?

      Trump understands the scientific and empirical evidence on mask mandates and business shutdowns far better than Biden, Democrat Governors and the anti-Trump left wing media.

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  2. they do seem to provide some protection, which is better than nothing.

    But is it really always better than nothing? The normal way to deal with a virus like this is to have it circulate among the population, most of whom never get sick, creating immunity that prevents severe outbreaks. I think the assumption that every possible transmission must be prevented if possible needs to be questioned. The way through this is to develop immunity. A vaccine might help, but it seems unlikely it will be more effective than flu vaccines usually are, which is not great.
    The question of what other effects prolonged mask wearing has on people is also rarely asked. There is a downside. At the very least it causes skin problems and lower blood oxygen levels.

    1. "The question of what other effects prolonged mask wearing has on people is also rarely asked. There is a downside. At the very least it causes skin problems and lower blood oxygen levels."

      Of course it's not asked. It's not the intention. Bad results come from bad intentions. Those pushing mask mandates have good intentions, so the results can only be good. Any problems must be caused by people with bad intentions, as in anyone who disagrees with mask mandates.

      1. "Deborah Birx, the physician and diplomat helping to lead the administration’s coronavirus response, expressed concern that Americans might take a mask advisory to mean they could go about business as normal thanks to the mask’s protection. Mask wearing is a precaution to be taken in addition to — not instead of — existing social distancing and handwashing guidelines."

        So wearing a mask actually makes things worse if it means you no longer keep your distance from other people.

        1. "Let me just pull this non-reusable mask out of the back pocket of my sweaty pants that I have been wearing for a week straight and loop it around my face, but only for the few minutes I am inside the coffee shop and on top of the person ordering a latte in front of me. And, you know what? It is pretty muggy in here, so let me just slip it down so that I can breathe through my nose."

          Masks are useless.

          1. Sorry, but that doesn't follow. The way the person in your example used the mask is useless or harmful. Masks can and are used in a thousand+ other ways that are useful.

          2. I know someone who keeps it in her bra and makes a big show of pulling it out only when someone confronts her on wearing it.

    2. Basically this. You are asking consumers to buy and utilize a project that at best has "some" protection. And the protection itself is in generally against something that isn't worry, at most a common cold. This is for 70% of Americans. So no, it isn't better than nothing as you are forcing people to buy a product, wear a product most dislike, etc.

      Likewise there are as many studies showing negative effects of mask usage from decreased 02 rates, increased acne, emotional development delays from children due to lack of facial expressions, etc.

      The benefit does not exceed the costs in many people's view.

      1. The negative effects of mass mask wearing are subliminal too, and i think these are the most significant.
        You're at once signifying submission to centralized top down instruction through compliance, encouraging the general public to see all other individuals in their community as inherently threatening, inculcating irrational fear of this and any virus, and tacitly endorsing the totalitarian measures and millions of lives destroyed in response.
        The whole fiasco has been a massive crime against humanity.

        1. No shirt, no shoes, no service? Those totalitarians are making us wear shoes!

          1. Wearing a mask in a public indoor space is a matter of common courtesy and basic hygiene at this point.

            1. How is it a matter of basic hygiene?

              Within a few minutes, the average person exhales enough particulates and moisture into their mask so as to render it effectively useless in filtering out any viral particles. Not to mention most people shove their masks in and out of their pockets, jackets, etc.

              Sitting around with a soggy mask covering your nose and mouth is one of the most unhygienic things a person can do. This is especially the case if you are not actually sick. And, if you are sick, you may as well be sucking on a paper towel.

              None of this is "basic hygiene."

            2. Wrong and wrong.

          2. Ignorant comment given the difference between public and private: Government mandate vs. private business. But you probably know that and just thought you'd be snarky anyway.

    3. Well the argument *has* been put forward that masks limit the amount of viral load, which actually encourages exactly the herd immunity you speak of. That is, more people are getting a smaller amount of the virus, which leads to a much less severe sickness. This makes sense, but because of data problems, I don't see how we can prove one way or another. There have been attempts to say that the declining fatality rate is partially due to pervasive mask wearing, but there are just too many confounding varriables.

      But it is clear that people are using masks as a substitute for proven countermeasures. We know that staying at least 3 feet apart protects you quite a bit. But I see kids at school essentially sitting next to each other, and that is ok because they wear a mask all day. We know that kids being outside are heavily protected, but people are still making them wear a mask as they run around outside, threatening to drop dead from exhaustion.

      1. And for that reason I could probably be persuaded that wearing masks is a helpful thing when there are lots of sick people around, when there is a real outbreak going on. But wearing masks when there are a few cases per 100,000 population, and almost no serious illness and death as is the case in most states now, just seems absurd, whatever the effectiveness of masks.

    4. there are a few things to understand. first and foremost, there seems to be some confusion on what the goal is here. yes, the final end to this mess will be when there is enough distributed immunity to not be as big of a problem....... the question is what the path to that looks like. if we get there too quickly, our hospitals are overwhelmed, and people die when the resources for treaing severe cases get scarce. that is why we want to do something to slow the spread...... not because less people will end up catching the virus, but because less people will die as we get distributed immunity.

      the second consideration is what are you willing to do on your own to prevent the government from having an excuse to shut down our economy and violate our freedoms again? if masks are enough to keep the case load below our healthcare capacity, we take control back. if people don't do it, and cases spike again, they will start back with the unconstitutional shut downs and interference in our lives. go to work, go to the movies, go to church, go shopping...... just wear a mask, or risk the state infringing on that all again.

      1. You will be made to officially submit if you don't voluntarily submit...

        The only thing capitulation to terrorists accomplishes is encouraging more terrorism.

      2. We are well past the point where overwhelming hospitals was a worry. It might have been worth doing in March. It hasn't been since early May, probably. The pandemic is over. Now it's just a virus we have to live with. We will not see horror shows like we did in Italy, Spain, NYC, etc. again with this virus. They may try to scare us with numbers of cases, but unless the death and ICU numbers are also there, it's bullshit.

    5. this is exactly how California ends up with giant forest fires. they try to stop every small fire as soon as they can, until the whole freaking forest is primed and ready to burn.

      nip every new virus in the bud, and stop people from mixing germs, and the population becomes sitting ducks to the next serious outbreak, like New Zealand

      1. See anti bacterial resistant strains.

  3. The mask mandates were, by and large, a reactive measure based upon the deeply unscientific belief that otherwise healthy and asymptomatic individuals were capable of infecting everyone that happened to pass within six feet of them just by breathing, or speaking.

    If that is the underlying assumption, then I think we can safely conclude that wearing a mask, for the overwhelming majority of people, was a completely pointless exercise in public health theater.

    1. I actually think there was something else there. At a certain point, everyone had gotten the public so worked up about this that many powers that be realized that they would never get the weeping millenials out of their basements. Masks were pushed as a cure-all just like Dumbo's magic feather to get them to accept going back into the real world again.

      1. I agree.

        The notion that the "science" on masks abruptly reached a novel apex, and thereby invalidated everything we already knew about the scant effectiveness of masks in the past, is absurd.

      2. I keep pointing this out. They already admit they lied to you once about masks, why on earth would you think they wouldn't lie to you about them when they need your behavior to change?

        "Masks" got more people back into "normal" life than Trump sounding the all-clear ever could have.

        1. I had this discussion with a colleague recently. He believed the government then. He believes the government now. He believed that Trump was a panicked fool whose overreactions to the virus would destroy the economy. He believes now that Trump sat on his hands and did not sufficiently react to the virus, thus destroying the economy.

          There is an emptiness in his eyes that terrifies me.

    2. Don't you realize that we are all walking around with a cloud of Corona around us like the little dusty dude on Charlie Brown?

  4. The real evidence will be if seasonal flu infections drop. If people are wearing masks that should happen. I suspect we will find out that in fact the numbers will remain unchanged. What is keeping infection rates down is staying away from each other. The masks people are using are not the kind of masks that offer much protection. But whatever the left believes its important so naturally we all must believe in it. Inshallah right?

    1. The CDC's most recent guidance suggests that wearing masks make absolutely no difference in preventing the spread of the virus if one is in close physical proximity (less than 6 feet) to someone infected -- even if the infected person is also wearing a mask.

      In short, all those masked people waiting on long lines in supermarkets, stores, and restaurants (or, taking buses and subways) are not protected at all.

      At this point, it is evident that the masks are nothing more than a psychological crutch and social signaling mechanism. I think most people understand that the masks do absolutely nothing, or next to nothing, but cannot bring themselves to buck the social trend.

      1. I agree with a lot of what you are saying. But I still think you are making the perfection argument fallacy with your example.

        Yes, if I am waiting in a long line at the supermarket next to someone, the masks aren't doing a lot for me and that person, but they are doing something for people passing by or further away from us.

        1. Yeah, true. But masks are annoying and uncomfortable and socially it's really fucking weird to have everyone's face hidden. When the odds of encountering someone who is actively infectious are as low as they are in most places at this point, it seems ridiculous to have it be a social expectation, let alone a legal requirement. The risk is extremely small, much smaller than risks we routinely expose ourselves and others to without a second thought.

        2. They do nothing.

        3. "Yes, if I am waiting in a long line at the supermarket next to someone, the masks aren’t doing a lot for me and that person, but they are doing something for people passing by or further away from us."

          I am not sure that is the case. The odds of contracting the virus simply by walking past somebody on the street (even if they are unmasked and infected) are almost zero. Prolonged proximity is the real issue and, in any event, if you are so close to someone that there is a real risk of contracting the virus, the masks do not really mitigate the risk in any appreciable way.

          Chances are good that if you are contagious and masked, you will likely infect somebody standing nearby -- even if they are masked. However, if you are contagious and unmasked, the risk of infecting somebody that is unmasked and, for example, at the other end of the parking lot, is almost zero.

          Proximity = masks do not work
          Distance = masks do not matter

          So, I think the entire mask thing is really just a social convention at this point. The fact that in some cities you can be arrested for walking alone without a mask, but be left alone to sit on a crowded bus -- provided you wear a mask -- is completely absurd.

    2. Seasonal flu has pretty wild fluctuations dependent on other parameters like the correct guess of the strain the vaccine will work on. So the drop would have to be very significant to separate from the noise, and even then would take a few years of proof of it working.

    3. the masks people are wearing are mostly ineffective, and people don't change them frequently, and don't wear them properly, and touch them or adjust them and put themselves at higher risk

  5. I wear a mask when commenting on Reason, because I feel so close to you delicate little princesses.

    1. Thaaaank you. We are all in this together, tovarisch.

      1. Solidarity forever, for the union makes us strong
        When the union's inspiration, through the workers' blood shall run
        There can be no power greater, anywhere beneath the sun
        Yet what force on earth is weaker, than the feeble strength of one?
        But the union makes us strong

        1. "Solidarity Forever" has got to be one of the creepiest songs I've ever heard. I don't understand how anyone finds it inspiring... people are strange.

          1. That's how I feel about Lennon's "Imagine" too.

    2. That's not the kind of mask we are talking about!

  6. Only leftists and pussies wear masks, but I repeat myself! TRUMP 2020!

    1. So you've gone full Jeff? Is that what you're saying here?

      1. At least you know when you're the brunt of a joke.

      2. jeff is one of the few libertarians left on this board.

        Just admit it. You're hostile to liberty and to libertarians. You're just another conservative who only differs from leftists in what aspects of our lives you want to control.

        “Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.”

        ― Robert A. Heinlein

        You would not make a comfortable neighbor.

        1. Mask mandates are libertarian?

          1. Hurrr durrr that's what I said... how long till we get to the zoo?

            1. How are mask mandates libertarian?

        2. jeff is one of the few libertarians left on this board.

          LOL! OK, now that is good form. The Heinlein quote is also spot on.

          Climb up on that bridge and be the troll we know you can be!

          1. My comment about jeff wasn't in jest, sadly.

            And yeah, that Heinlein quote is one of my favorites.

            Along with this one, which describes American politics perfectly.

            "Citizens! In all times, two political systems have been in existence, and each may be maintained by good reasons. According to one of them, Government ought to do much, but then it ought to take much. According to the other, this two-fold activity ought to be little felt. We have to choose between these two systems. But as regards the third system, which partakes of both the others, and which consists in exacting everything from Government, without giving it anything, it is chimerical, absurd, childish, contradictory, and dangerous. Those who parade it, for the sake of the pleasure of accusing all governments of weakness, and thus exposing them to your attacks, are only flattering and deceiving you, while they are deceiving themselves."

            Increase spending and cut taxes! Woo hoo! Everything is free!

            1. I'm surprised I didn't get any personal attacks for this post. Too close to home? Because it's fucking true. This country has adopted that third system with a vengeance. Democrats pretend like they want to pay for stuff, and Republicans just borrow and borrow and borrow. Free shit for everyone! Let's criticize the government that gives us free shit on the tab of future taxpayers! Of course that's a joke too. Nobody will every pay the debt.

              1. Are you soliciting personal attacks? That seems weird.

              2. Some of us aren't drunk at home to the point of white knighting jeff as the one true libertarian.

        3. Lol. Good one hitting the bottle hard. Jeff is a sophist disguised as a libertarian who really emotes with the left. Sorry youre too dumb to see it. His positions are often unlibertarian like when he threatened mask laws if people didn't volunteer for masks. He doesn't think his position past a facial examination, probably why you agree with him often.

          Youre a joke. You're full jeff.

        4. False take. The former are are the surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But yes, the latter are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort. Typically, they're not looking at your stuff and thinking up devious ways to take it from you like the former always are.

      3. I implored him in the daily links to get off the meds. This version of sarcasmic is dreadful.

        1. You liked me when I mocked the other team. Now that I mock your team not so much. My team? I don't have one.

          1. You liked me when I mocked the other team.

            I can appreciate it if you mock both teams, even if it is lopsided. Criticizing poor and empty arguments makes people propose stronger arguments and cuts down on appeals to authority. But mocking only one side is the same as stumping for the other.

            Baby jeffy is not a libertarian. He thinks he can side with socialists and Marxists to bring down the police state and 2-party system. In his ignorance, he fails to acknowledge that socialists have been playing the long game in the US for going on 100 years now. Yes, they are intent on taking out Trump (jeffy's boogey-man), but anyone who thinks they are not stumping for ever more control is a fool.

            1. I mock the team that is in power. So yeah, it's lopsided against whichever bunch of assholes is puling the strings.

              1. it’s lopsided against whichever bunch of assholes is puling the strings.

                Democrats and their socialist and Marxist allies lack power. Got it.

                Biden/Harris 2020! GND! MFA! BLM! Give the little guy a win this year!

                1. I said "in power." idjit

                  1. Yeah. BLM and anti racists have no power.. thats a winning argument.

              2. You mock the team in power solely because you find it difficult to articulate a plan or policy that would work outside of an ideal state.

        2. I don't think this is the real sarcasmic. One of the leftist trolls hacked his account and name. The real sarcasmic doesn't seem to come here anymore, which is a shame. This is just Jeff or Palin's Buttplug or whoever runs the other sock puppets. You can tell by the language and the complete dishonesty.

          1. No dude, it's me. I remember when you were man enough to apologize for being a dick. Long time ago.

            Your accusing everyone who disagrees with you of being a liar has gotten really old and tiresome, and has resulted in me losing all the respect you earned over the years.

            Fuck off John. I hope the stress of the election bursts a blood vessel in your brain.

          2. You have a point. Anyone proclaiming that Baby jeffy is 'one of the few libertarians' is either a troll or jeffy.

            1. Or maybe a libertarian who doesn't get offended when someone criticizes their team.

              1. When has jeffy ever not gotten offended? The guy blows a gasket at any hint you might be allowed to leave your house with or without a mask.

                Public Safety uber alles! Derp herpes derp!

                1. I missed that.

                  1. Because “jeffy” does no such thing. The “jeffy” in their minds says a lot of things the real “jeffy” hasn’t ever said.

                    I should know. I’ve heard all about the things I have supposedly said, and my supposed leftist allegiance.

                    1. OK, jeffy. Because chemjeff has most definitely voiced that exact opinion in multiple threads. Specifically he claimed that going outside in this pandemic is a violation of the NAP. You can't gaslight the knowledgeable.

                      If chemjeff and JFree are not the same person, it is nearly impossible to tell the difference. Their particular style of fallacy is nearly identical as well as the 'DeRp' tic they exhibit and a fondness for the expression 'thought experiment'. I caught him last year posting as chemjeff and then JFree posted in support of cj within minutes on a dead thread. It could be a coincidence, but there is adequate evidence.

                      Just like SQRLSY and Killallrednecks have the same 'magic underwear' tic, propensity for CAPS and are bug-fuck crazy. If I imagine them to be the same person, it is only because the thought that there are two of them is too scary.

                    2. Link to where chemjeff has said “claimed that going outside in this pandemic is a violation of the NAP”. I highly doubt he said that.

                  2. You miss anything that makes your point idiotic. At this time it appears intentional.

                2. Other examples sarcasmic missed.

                  Jeff argued paternalism in the form of welfsre and benefits was not a firm of control over people. He will only condemn the forced transfer of wealth for welfare when backed into a corner, he implores it at all other times.

                  He believes medical insurance is a right and refuses to acknowledge it as both a limited resource requiring labor of others.

                  He supports the IC investigation of political opponents and defends their attacks on both Page and Flynn. This despite actual known lies in information used to obtain warrants.

                  He supports legislative writing of laws through EOs such as the positive rights put in for DACA.

                  He isnt a libertarian. He is an open border leftist.

                  1. Your recountings of what others have said are notoriously inaccurate.

              2. What is libertarian about critical race theory and it's belief in systemic racism?

                1. What is un-libertarian about it? As long as you don't call for government force in response, you can believe all kinds of wrong shit and still be a libertarian. Being libertarian is no guarantee of being correct about factual reality. Libertarianism isn't an all-encompassing philosophy. It addresses certain areas of human interaction. Outside of those narrow areas, a libertarian can believe that systemic racism exists, lizard people from the planet Zigadore own all the banks or that the Albanians run Hollywood and still be a libertarian.

                  1. Now I wanna read some Zeb fan-fiction based on the life of jeffy.

                    1. That's really about all the effort I'm willing to put in on that one.

                  2. CRT and anti racism advocate for a shit ton of government action..

                    What is this make believe world you live in?

                    1. Seems to me it is possible to believe that those theories are a reasonable description of the world yet not advocate for government action to address them.

  7. The only thing my mask is effective at preventing is 'getting harassed by some Karen at the grocery store'.

  8. Masks are just more security theater like after 911.

    1. And will go away just as quickly.

  9. <i."Are you questioning the efficacy of masks?" moderator Chris Wallace asked.

    A much better question is , why isn't Chris Wallace or the rest of the 4th estate questioning the efficacy of masks? Talk about a stupid fucking question...

  10. Czar Fauci doesn't even know the fucking truth.

    1. Comrade Redfield has scientifically demonstrated by fiat that masks are doubleplusgood. If only you proles would submit nobody need die again ever!

  11. While it remains true that masks do not provide "perfect protection," they do seem to provide some protection

    The science has shown that even N95 and surgical masks don't reduce infection, but may have some effect on transmission, i.e. they protect others, not yourself. So the guy I saw just 15 minutes ago at the bank with the mask with the exhalation valve in it was doing what exactly?

    It's all theater. Keep repeating it folks. I know Sullum knows it, we just need him to admit it.

    1. So the guy I saw just 15 minutes ago at the bank with the mask with the exhalation valve in it was doing what exactly?
      Bingo. We have a winner.

    2. "masks don’t reduce infection, but may have some effect on transmission, i.e. they protect others, not yourself. "
      ding ding ding ding ding
      this guy gets it

      1. My favorite is when the Science!-educated spout off with something like, "if masks don't work, then why do doctors wear them?" Which of course ignores the fact that surgical patients have open wounds and surgeons are concerned about bacteria, not viruses. I have never once visited a physician even for a cold or the flu and had them put on a mask before an examination. Until now...

      2. How could a mask with an exhaust valve protect others?

    3. Or the masks that are actually see-through that seem to be some kind of fashion accessory now. Barf.

  12. Sullum writes, "Trump's persistently muddled message about masks, which he delivered once again during last night's presidential debate . . . "

    Trump said at the debate, "I think masks are OK. I have a mask right here. I put a mask on when I think I need it."

    I didn't find Trump's message muddled. He uses a face mask when it's necessary. I wish that was the norm.

  13. Masks save lives, the evidence is indisputable. So far masks have saved over 330 million lives just in the United States alone.

    1. It’s like witnessing a miracle!

  14. Joe Biden keeps saying that as president, he will have a national mask mandate.

    The federal government can't do that. The federal government can't mandate speed limits or a national seat belt law. It can only force states to do that by withholding federal road funds.

    Even with Common Core, the feds can't set things like all-day kindergarten, daily P.E., or the age when students can drop out.

    So, how can Washington mandate that every American wear a mask in public? It can mandate masks in areas under fedetal control or regulation (federal buildings, Amtrak trains, commercial aircraft, etc.), but not at the grocery store, during a high school sporting event, or at a wedding ceremony in a back yard.

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