“You realize,” a sage friend observed to me over the weekend, “that masks are going to become the left’s equivalent of a MAGA hat.” Sounds plausible, though I prefer my paraphrase of George Wallace in the headline for this item.
To the question, when will the Biden government move to returning us to normal life, the clear answer is never—at least if you pay attention to the left.
First, the administrative state loves the additional control and power COVID enables, notwithstanding the setbacks in court. The climatistas have been displaying clear COVID-control envy since the pandemic began.
The bigger problem, second, is leftist ideology. Following Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin’s executive order eliminating the public school mask mandate, the ladies on “The View” (which I’ve never viewed and never will) reacted in horror and said that masks should become part of life forever, like airport security after 9/11. (Or of you like the quiz version: Tell me you’re a Biden voter without telling me you’re a Biden voter. Answer: You wear a mask all by yourself in your Prius. Reminds me of the definition of a loser in 1961: a pregnant nun driving an Edsel with a Nixon sticker on the bumper.)
Behind this is a serious problem for Biden and the Democrats. The leftist mania for mask and vaccine mandates is rooted ultimately in the paternalistic zero-risk mentality the left has been promoting relentlessly for 50 years or more, on everything from nuclear power to food additives. These kind of people will accept nothing less than a zero-risk policy from the government, which means masks and mandates forever. This means the Biden Administration can’t risk declaring COVID to be over enough to return to normal life—they would risk angering a large portion of the Democratic Party base.
I’ve long argued that one difference between liberals and conservatives is a greater (more realistic) risk tolerance among conservatives. That’s why the ranks of entrepreneurs come more from conservatives than liberals. Then I caught this Morning Consult poll today, which, while not scored by ideology, does explain why the ranks of the unvaccinated are less paranoid about a virus that has a more than 99% survival rate, whereas boosted liberals (we can safely presume) remained fearful and stupid.
P.S. Another bit of evidence that the left loves COVID and doesn’t want the panic to end: