July 2, 2020

Masked Tyranny

By Glenn

Governments protect and serve the people.  Laws protect us by keeping us from hurting each other.  Agencies serve us by performing essential tasks that are too expensive for anyone person to buy alone.  Over the course of the last hundred years government actions have improved our lives.

With every new idea, however, there was a backlash.  Corporations spent millions of dollars to incite public outcries of tyranny.  Each of those moments looks pretty foolish with hindsight.

Many of these debates center around product safety.  Over time consumers report the danger of everyday items.  No one likes to spend money on a faulty or deadly product. 

Companies on the other hand are reluctant to pull a product that sells well.   They create massive media campaigns to hide the danger and highlight the experiences of happy customers.

Cars are a great example.  They obviously transformed our lives in countless ways.  Unfortunately, the early cars were also deadly. 

When the government tried to mandate seat belts, and later air bags, car companies pushed back.  They successfully generated the fear that seatbelts killed.  When that eventually failed, they falsely claimed the safety features would make cares too expensive.

Too expensive?  What is a human life worth?

Another common product found in twentieth century America was cigarettes.  Millions of Americans experienced the pleasure of smoking this drug.  In 1964 the US Surgeon General Smoking documented the cancers associated with smoking. 

The tobacco industry fought back.  It spent millions hiring celebrities, and even doctors, to create doubt about government research.  It wasn’t until the 1990s that the tobacco executives admitted the smear campaigned.  

Since then we have slowly reduced both smoking and cancer related deaths.  One controversial move was to ban smoking in public places.   Bars and restaurants feared government action would drive away customers.   That fear never materialized. 

More than ever Americans love going to bars and restaurants.  Banning smoking not only made it a safer environment for workers and consumers, banning smoking also made these venues more pleasant than a smoke filled room.

The newest false claim of tyranny revolves around masks.  Cloth masks reduce the spread of Covid 19.  Many of us choose to voluntarily protect our neighbors.  Unfortunately, too few are.  If the government decides to mandate masks, it will not be for a wacky conspiracy.  Masks are based on evidence and science.  Wearing masks will save lives.

***update*** I write on Mondays. Three days later Governor Abbott comes around to issuing an order.

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