The Sad Cult of Masking

Brownstone Institute
Published on February 1, 2024

Late Saturday afternoon, I entered a small and empty specialty shop. A friend was behind the counter. As I approached, he put on a mask, which puzzled me so I asked. He said that many diseases are floating around and he doesn’t want them. As far as I know, I don’t have one so it was puzzling to me why he would assume that I’m a carrier.

That’s the thing about the mask cult. It presumes that others are disease vectors and that everyone is unclean. It’s weird, anti-social, even insulting. But there it is. That’s the hidden message behind the practice. Its underlying theory is that everyone is dirty and everyone must protect himself against other human beings.

It’s a great message for any dictator to broadcast. It means that in-person social networks cannot form to operate as an alternative source of influence or resistance to managerial elites. It means no meetings, no travel, no normal human functioning. Going around with the presumption that others are biologically dangerous is a truly wicked way to live.

But even now, many people have absorbed this message. Millions really.

It’s not just a practice. It’s a philosophy of life.

I’m very aware that in many countries, people wear masks routinely at various intervals when the air quality declines. I get it. I’ve been there and done that. In that case, the mask works as a bit of a filter to smog. Fine.

That’s not what I’m referring to here. The generalized disease-avoidance practice of masking presumes that all of humanity is constantly infected and that a simple mask can protect you against the smallest pathogen, neither of which is true. But that doesn’t matter to these people. Masks these days are ritualistic, a superstitious practice and also serve to broadcast political loyalties.

For the strangest reasons, germophobia on this level together with face covering has come to be identified with the political left. This would have astonished the left from 50 or 100 years ago. They saw their worldview as connected to an emancipatory ambition for the human family. How that got transmogrified into a bundled-up safety culture is a story of its own.

Back to my friend. I asked why the mask. He explained that he has the latest booster. I did not ask how many he has had, but it could be up to six or even seven shots in three years. But, he added, the current mutation is not covered by the latest shot. That’s why he has to mask up.

Here’s another strange feature. The people most vaccinated are also the most masked up. Wouldn’t you think it would be the opposite? If the vaccination is truly protective, wouldn’t one be less and not more inclined to be afraid of a respiratory pathogen? One might suppose so.

But it seems that the word is out that these vaccines don’t work like they are supposed to. But in that case, why do people keep getting the shots? Have they not heard that repeated immunizations with the more-or-less same potion introduces a danger of its own, namely Antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE)?

No, of course not, and here is where we must place blame on public-health messaging. It has been atrocious for nearly four years now. Major big shots in government and corporate media have made a long series of false claims. They have shot their credibility among many people but there are still holdouts in the population who believe every word.

Nor have any of these people corrected the record. They deceive masses of the people and cannot bring themselves to admit it. As a result, many people are still wandering around carrying with them a huge load of mental tomfoolery, and they don’t know it. It’s rather heartbreaking.

More than that, it’s a threat.

Let me draw your attention to an alarming article that appeared in the New York Post over the weekend. It is by Donald G. McNeil, formerly of the New York Times. It was he who was first to gin up wild population alarm about COVID, on Feb. 27, 2020 in a NYT podcast. He followed up the next day with an article demanding that we “go medieval” on the virus.

In his newest piece, he demands a Pentagon for diseases. It should be nonpolitical and have massive powers over the whole population. He claims that “China, using harsh methods, contained COVID for three years.”

Some choice quotes:

“We need laws that kick in during crises.”

“We must control travel. In early 2020, residents fleeing New York and Seattle spread COVID nationwide.”

“I believe we must even be empowered to draft doctors, as we did during the Korean War.”

“Our scattered health bureaucracies must cooperate as our military services do under the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”

“And we must have ways to stop and even imprison doctors who prescribe false cures.”

“We should not tolerate quacks who lethally betray their fellow citizens for money.” (By that he doesn’t mean Fauci; he means the doctors who had success with HCQ and IVR.)

Again, this is not just some random editorial guy. He was the top virus reporter for the NYT at the very beginning of this whole fiasco. He was the man tagged by the deep state to contradict 100 years or public health wisdom and prepare the population for shock and awe. It’s a safe assumption that he is very well connected.

How serious is the threat of totalitarianism in the name of disease control? This week, the World Economic Forum is hosting a conference on what they call “Disease X,” which is the supposedly grave threat of some new pandemic. Never mind that pandemics have been decreasing in frequency for 150 years at least. There is zero evidence that the threat of a new one is more pronounced now than in the past.

It’s just the opposite. Generally speaking, humanity has never possessed a more robust immune system (in 2019 at least). Exposure from all over the world starting with the age of travel in the late 19th century made us all vastly stronger and more resistant to disease outbreaks. The big threat to humanity today is not viruses but poor health from our own habits. It’s chronic disease, not infectious disease, that’s the real problem.

In addition, even if we are threatened by some ghastly outbreak, there is no evidence that totalitarian controls are the best way to deal with it. Surely we know that by now. The problem is that there are many in government, media, tech, and corporate life generally who benefited from the lockdowns and shots last time around.

They are itching for a repeat. Not only that: these people want revenge against those who resisted the last imposition of global virus control measures. They want us ground into the dust and silenced. No question about that.

This threat is very real, and you should take it very seriously. If these people get their way, the Constitution will be toast, and liberty and rights along with it.

Back to masking. My friend who masked up in my presence did me no real harm. But the ethos of the practice itself plays into a dangerous agenda out there. They will be reliable foot soldiers for the ruling class the next time this comes around. That’s what worries me more than anything.

So, yes, the masking cult is sad. Much sadder and scarier is what it says about humanity’s ability to resist genuine disinformation and the threat of tyrannical control.


Jeffrey A. Tucker is Founder and President of the Brownstone Institute and the author of many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press and ten books in 5 languages, most recently Liberty or Lockdown.

Jeffrey A.Tucker’s interview with David Leis on Leaders on the Frontier can be seen here.

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