A Mask Off Moment for the Left

Ryan Zickgraf

May 13, 2022

Sun's out, mask's out.

The default position for a vocal portion of the liberal-left for two years running is that masking as a public health policy is an unambiguous good and taking yours off is a sign that you're selfish at best, at worst, a murderer.

It's a problem with plotting every single issue and policy on an imaginary graph that reads "Left" or "Right." Deciding that whatever Republicans think is terrible and that partisan Democrats are crouching in the safe middle and so good leftists should stubbornly stand on the opposite pole of Tucker Carlson or Donald Trump is a braindead philosophy that leads to bad political outcomes.

Consider that some among the Very Online Left are treating a visit to Unmasked Country in the South like it’s an alien planet. Or they’re dismissing any pushback against mask mandates as part of a right-wing conspiracy. A report published by Lever News, David Sirota's news outlet, describes anti-mask mandates efforts as a critical part of a Koch Brothers conspiracy to force kids to risk their health going to school and brainwash them.

"I really feel like we're on the precipice of a changed nation, and not in a good way," says a Florida school board candidate in a quote that the article closes with. "Everything we've worked for as a country to get to where we are right now for the last 70-ish years, we're literally going to lose it."

That bombastic claim sounds relatively mild compared to the World Socialist Website's International May Day rally in which writer Evan Blake warns that the ruling class's COVID-19 response—which includes an anti-masking reaction—was designed as a warm-up to Armageddon. "The brutality of the pandemic has psychologically prepared them to carry out a war that could lead to the very extermination of mankind," he said.

What America and the rest of the world need, argues Blake, is to become China.

"The effectiveness of China's Zero-COVID policy is empirical proof that elimination remains the only viable strategy to stop the pandemic," said Blake. The failure of everyone else to emulate China means that capitalist regimes are simply mass murdering the working classes.

Never mind that the scientific evidence for measures such as