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Horowitz: Beware the fine print on the ending of mask mandates

Op-ed

Listen carefully. Mandates are not being fully lifted

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"I apologize for ever imposing such an illogical, illegal, and inhumane mandate on the public. We now recognize that there is zero correlation between mask-wearing and reduced spread and that criminalizing human breathing is beyond the scope of governmental power anyway. We are therefore going to follow the law and the science henceforth and bar all schools and establishments from discriminating against people who choose to breathe freely."

That is the speech you have not and will not hear from even the better Republican governors pretending to lift their mask mandates.

A tyrannical edict that was never law to begin with, but that was deeply embedded into society through vociferous shame will not dissipate once the edict is lifted – even if categorically rescinded. After all, it is just as much the law of the land now as it was before. However, if you listen carefully, these governors are not even fully lifting the mandates.

When you read between the lines of some of these orders, it becomes clear that these governors still believe they have the right to regulate a human being's breathing, that the rising and falling of cases somehow depends upon these ritualistic sacraments rather than natural phenomena, and that they reserve the right to reinstitute mask mandates in the future. As such, don't be surprised if a number of more liberal localities and school superintendents continue to mandate it on our children. I'm receiving a lot of complaints from my podcast listeners in Texas that their school districts continue to obdurately stand behind the forcible masking of children.

For example, the Frisco Independent School District, which is just north of Dallas, announced "that the District will continue to require face coverings for students, staff and visitors, as has been the case all school year." I suspect this will happen all over the state and country.

It's even worse in Mississippi.

"Today, I signed what I expect will be one of my last executive orders regarding COVID-19," said Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves on Tuesday. "Our hospitalizations have plummeted, and our case numbers have fallen dramatically as well. In fact, our case numbers have fallen to the point where no county meets the original criteria for a mask mandate."

Thus, he still buys into the myth that masks help against the spread; he merely concedes that they are not necessary at this point. As the Associated Press reports, "Reeves said he is encouraging people to wear face coverings in public, but is not requiring it." That, in conjunction with the fact that the order still recommends business follow CDC guidance, makes it clear that the culture in the private sector will very much be influenced by the mask cult.

Worst of all, Reeves is still requiring masks for schoolchildren! These are the first people who should be exempted from a mask mandate, even if masks worked. Children are not in danger from the virus, and reams of data from school reopenings have proven that schools are not extra vectors of spread in the community. To exempt an adult from wearing a mask in a store for 20 minutes, but require children to wear masks and somehow learn and properly interact with each other for seven hours per day is insane. Heck, maybe Biden is right about Reeves being a Neanderthal; he just didn't realize it.

The reality is that most of these governors simply saw the writing on the wall — that the legislatures were about to clip their wings and the peasants were getting antsy. This is why they are not ceding any legal or intellectual point, and most of them are continuing the mask mandate in some form.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey joined most GOP governors in removing restrictions on businesses, but he is not flinching from the mask mandate one iota. Ditto for Wyoming's Mark Gordon. West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, even while easing some restrictions, contended that some other governors need to "be a little more prudent." They are acclimating us to tyranny to the point that we now think a little reprieve is a magnanimous act rather than one of tyranny. This is occurring in some of the reddest states.

Conservatives must push state legislatures to permanently ban governors from making such edicts ever again. Time is short, as many state legislatures will adjourn in a matter of weeks. The best time to fight tyranny is when it's on the run and on defense. If we've learned anything these past 12 months, it's that liberty cannot be taken for granted.
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