118. Is A Mask Mandate Constitutional?

The era of COVID, we are being told constantly to wear a mask. In fact, some places have even made laws forcing individuals to wear them. But are mask mandates really constitutional?

Book:

Definitions:

  • Decentralization: When control is distributed or spread out among many people instead of just one group like the government. 
  • Centralization: When power and control is concentrated, or centered, in one organization or body, like our government. 

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Here’s a transcript of our conversation:

Connor: Hey, Brittany.

Brittany: Hey, Connor.

Connor: You know, over the last year, the world has become a very different place than it used to be. we’re in a new normal, apparently. And, you know, COVID-19 changed not only the way we live, forcing us inside, and lockdowns and social distancing, basically, like canceling all the fun events and traveling the people we’re gonna do even, you know, school and work. But one of the things I like the least is that it’s made us more scared of one another. Yeah. And, everyone seems like they’ve been on edge. And probably the biggest kind of dividing issue is that of wearing a mask. And, you know, a year ago seeing people out and about with masks on felt like something out of a dystopian novel. Right. We’ve talked about how dystopia is kind of the opposite of utopia, kind of this horrible world no one wants to live in. And, we would’ve been like, you know, why are people doing that? And at first, when COVID started, we were even told by the government that masks were not effective. you know, don’t go out and buy them unless you’re sick. You don’t need to wear one. And then all of a sudden they’re essential and mandated and, you know, local governments start coming in and punishing people, arresting them even if they’re not wearing masks. And, just how quickly things have turned and the people have become divided. Like we could discuss the science and the research, and we’re not gonna do that today because I think there’s valid arguments, frankly, on both sides. Yeah. Even though, the pro mask side does not really concede that there’s this other world out there where maybe, you know, mandatory masks is not the right way to pursue health. but, it’s sad to me how quickly society has become divided, as a result of these mask mandates.

Brittany: You know? And we’re, we’re big fans of private companies and, the free market. and so I do believe that private companies have every right to set their own rules and, you know, many mandated masks before the government told them to, and they’re allowed to do that. But what is scaring me, and I don’t know if you saw the video going around, is there was one, family with a small child who just wouldn’t wear a mask on an airplane. And, you know, you have small children, and I have lots of nieces and nephews. Trying to get a two-year-old to keep a mask on their face is difficult, if not impossible, good luck. But they were kicked off the airplane, not only kicked off the airplane but banned from flying with that airline forever because their two-year-old wouldn’t keep a mask on. And again, I believe private companies have the right to do this, but like you mentioned in the beginning, it’s this division, it’s causing us to all be scared of each other. And it’s just, it’s a little scary.

Connor: And private companies have the right to do it, but they’re definitely doing it kind of in coordination with the government. Yes. And they’re trying, it’s like when I go to the gym, right? I wear the mask when I go in because, you know, the county law or mandate now says, actually we have a state mandate in our state, says that you must, but I wear it in to check in at the gym. And the moment that I walk into the room full of other sweaty, heavily breathing people, you take it off.

Brittany: I do the same thing.

Connor: Well, and I think there’s, even in our state, an exemption for that, because you’re not gonna huff and puff and work out in a mask, but it kind of shows, or like restaurants, right? You walk in and then you sit down and then.

Brittany: It’s so silly.

Connor: Or, in an airplane, you’re like, you need to be socially distanced when you’re in the line to get on the airplane. But then we’re all gonna sit in this tiny metal too, very close proximity.

Brittany: Recycled air.

Connor: Recycled air, and, you know, people are eating half the time, so their masks are off. Like, but these companies, they want to appear, like they’re compliant. And so, you know, they don’t want people giving ’em negative reviews on Yelp. Oh, this place was unsafe. Like, and so they’re private companies have the right to do so, but they’ve kind of been bullied into doing this by the government because now they feel like if they don’t become the enforcement officers of the government’s mask mandate, then it’s the company that’s gonna suffer and get the complaints and the heat. And so, as I said like we’re not talking about the effectiveness of masks today, but this question of whether it’s okay for governments to mandate masks specifically for a moment, let’s talk about the federal government, and whether it’s constitutional, you know, here now we have President Joe Biden, and one of his biggest issues that he was advocating, leading up to the campaign trail was a national mask mandate. So Brittany, what are your thoughts on whether that’s an okay approach to go?

Brittany: Yeah, that terrifies me. And I don’t know what clause in the Constitution gives, gives the right to mandate, you know, what we can wear, but what’s really scary about this is not only that the federal government is trying to take more power because they always do. You know, we’ve talked about this countless times, but how quickly so many people have followed it. And I am not defending Trump by any means, but, if he had tried to mandate mass in the beginning of this, of this pandemic, he would’ve been called a tyrant. You know, he, would’ve been called out for forcing us to do this. But somehow Biden and, you know, vice President-elect Kamala Harris, or seen as heroes. And that makes me scared. Not only again, that we have this division on both sides, but how people are obeying this and how people seem to be okay with the government saying what you can do and what you can wear.

Connor: You know, it’s always dangerous to apply, anything to the Nazi Hitler era. Right?

Brittany: Like literally Hitler kind of thing.

Connor: Yeah. Like you can go to extremes, and you should be cautious in doing so. But what I find very interesting is, there’s a book by a gentleman named Milton Mayer, and he wrote a book called They Thought They Were Free, and it’s a book where he interviewed, I think 10 or a dozen Germans from all walks of life about their experience with kind of the Hitler era of German politics. And these interviews are so, so, so, enlightening. This book is phenomenally interesting. Milton Mayer himself was very interested because he was a Jewish journalist of German descent, but he was in America. So as a journalist, he’s really interested because, you know, he wants to understand what was going on in people’s minds. as a Jewish person, of course, he was, horrified by what was happening. And as someone of German descent, he felt this connection to everything going on. So he interviews all these people, and one of the big takeaways in there that you hear time and time again from people was expressed by this one gentleman in particular, where he said, look, we didn’t object to what they did at the beginning. And so then we didn’t object to the next thing they did, nor the next thing nor the next, because every action was built upon the previous one. Everything was just incremental. And because it was slow moving, no one really, you know, lashed out in surprise.

Brittany: It’s like the frog and boiling water thing.

Connor: Precisely. That’s exactly the point that he was making. He said, had you gone to the end when they started gassing people, exterminating people killing them, had they done that one week after, you know, telling people, you know, don’t support Jewish businesses, well, then everyone would’ve freaked out because, oh my gosh, like, what are you talking about? We don’t support this. But because they had been conditioned and slowly led going from one thing to the next, what he talks about was very interesting. He said, what? And I’m very much paraphrasing, but this is the gist of what he said is that, you know, because I didn’t object to A, you know, the first thing then when B came along, I felt like I restrained myself. Like I wanted to speak out against B or the next kind of thing that happened. But because I didn’t object to A, then when B came along, I convinced myself to stay quiet because like, well, hey, Connor, like you didn’t, you know, object to the first thing, so why would you now? And it created a situation in which people restrained themselves from speaking out, because the thought process was, well, I haven’t done it until now, so why would I start now? And so that’s how so many people were kind of led along with everything the Nazis did is because it was step by step. Now, of course, you know, America is not Nazi Germany. I’m not saying it’s a perfect comparison, but it does show the condition of the human mind as these things happen. And so we have to now ask ourselves when it comes to, excuse when it comes to something like a mask mandate, and then the government lockdowns and everything that comes in between and vaccines and all these types of things, I if we don’t see the kind of progression of problems and government, use of power, then I think we’re never going to object because, you know, we haven’t until now. And so again, you know, the private companies can do what they want, but when the government comes in and issues these mandates, they’re basically taking away the right of businesses to choose whether they want to allow people or not. They’re basically saying everyone has to do it and everyone has to comply. The businesses then feel like they have to enforce it cuz they’re worried about being punished or shut down by the government. We lose our right to choose. But when you have something at a federal level, it removes choice even more. It’s saying the whole country, even in the rural areas where no one has covid Yeah, you live up in the mountains, right? Population four and oh, sorry. It’s a national mask mandate. You have to wear a mask too, even though it doesn’t make sense. And that’s why personal choice is so important because we live in different circumstances and environments, we have different situations. And what makes sense in one place may not make sense in another, one size does not fit all. And this is why this term decentralization is important. So there’s centralization of power when it’s centralized or gathered into one place like Washington DC or an executive order of the President of the United States, that is centralizing power. When you decentralize it, you’re saying the states should be able to decide, cities, counties, individual families should be able to decide that is the most decentralized, and that is where freedom, I think lies.

Brittany: Exactly. And you know, like we said, nobody’s arguing that you shouldn’t wear a mask if that’s what you wanna do. But I think the freedom to choose is important. And I also think we’ve already seen what happens in national emergencies when the federal government takes more power than it’s allowed to have when it ignores checks and balances. And that we never get those freedoms back. You know, in wartime, I think it was f FDR even took private companies over if he believed their manufacturing products would’ve been essential to the war. And of course, I think the most applicable example is nine 11 when we saw all our freedoms, for the most part, all the freedoms we were used to of civil liberties and getting on an airplane without having to be violated. These were taken away from us and they were never given back. And so that is what concerns me. And you know, Biden isn’t even in office yet, so we don’t know what’s going to happen, but that was something he ran on, and a lot of politicians and governors that that’s something they’ve pushed. But what really gets me is you have Gavin Newsom, right? The governor of California who we could rail on all day, but we’ve seen him be really strict on the mask mandate, and the social distancing. I think they even had a surfer arrested for being the only one on the beach at the height of the pandemic. But he was seen having a get-together with people like 12 people, which I think breaks their rule of 10 people, right? And he was at a restaurant without wearing a mask, without social distancing. And then you have Nancy Pelosi from the same state. She was caught on video and she demanded a salon open up just for her, and she’s not wearing a mask while getting her hair done. And so it’s very hypocritical that politicians, you know, want to mandate these things for us, but then they think they’re exempt because they have power. And so that makes me personally ask, is this about health and safety, or is this just about control?

Connor: I think that part is very important. I’ll add a little producer’s note here that we’re recording this before Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are officially becoming president, but our listeners are, unfortunately in a world where we now do in fact have a president, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, in charge of the federal government, which is a scary thought and, brace for impact. but you’re right, Brittany, I think this is ultimately about control. And, you know, we’ve looked at this time, and again, I’ll give a little bit of a teaser here, that our next Tuttletwin’s children’s book is gonna be about this topic, not about masks, not about covid, but about how during times of crisis, the government wants to increase its power and increase its control because people get scared and then they say, government, please save us. And the government says, okay, surrender your freedoms. Then everyone says, okay, here you go. And, as you point out with nine 11, I mean, you can’t go through an airport now without being groped or having your body kind of, be, you know, scanned and irradiated and have your belongings searched. And, you know, there’s all these, kind of the new normal, right? The covid is not the first time we’ve had to adjust to a new normal because of something that happened and people getting scared. The government, the state wants power. politicians want power. They want to enforce their designs. And during scary times, like this is when they can do it again. Look, masks may be critical. Maybe, they are essential, but that does not mean that the government should mandate them. It does not mean that people should be criminalized. It does not mean that our society should be turned into a bunch of, you know, like a civil war almost, of people shaming one another and harping on one another. And because the government has stepped in and mandating it, people feel like they have license now to, you know, consider people as being immoral or evil or, you know, lawbreakers. We all break the law. Everyone breaks laws all the time. I mean, I tell people like, when was the last time you didn’t speed ever? Like, there’s always laws that people are breaking. And so when the government comes in with these mandates, it just gives an excuse for people who are kind of on a power trip or want to control other people, to continue to do so. And I think that’s a problem. So you can be concerned about the health issues with COVID. You can wear a mask, you can try and persuade everyone and want others to wear a mask. and that’s all well and good. But when we have this one size fits all top-down, centrally planned policy, when Joe Biden comes in and says, everyone in the country has to wear a mask, or I’m gonna use the power of the federal government to force you to, or I’m gonna tell states, we’re not gonna give you money unless you have a mask mandate. Like the Constitution doesn’t say any of this. It’s not the role of government. We need to know better. We need to do better. And it starts with education. It starts with talking with our kids about, you know, the true powers of government and personal freedom and why it’s so important. So you guys are already on a good step. You’re on the path, you’re learning about this stuff, we’re here to help. Thanks as always, for being subscribed. And until next time, Brittany, we’ll talk to you later.

Brittany: Talk to you later.

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