Evers’ mask mandates reflect the Law of the InstrumentEvers’ obsession with issuing orders demonstrates Abraham Kaplan’s Law of the Instrument: “Give a small boy a hammer, and he will find that everything he encounters needs pounding.” The voters of Wisconsin handed Tony Evers the hammer of political authority in 2018. Naturally, he’s swinging that hammer repeatedly and with vigor. Whether he’s hitting nails with it, or just smashing the thumbs of Wisconsin’s people and businesses, is another question.
Whether masks work or not needs more clarificationKeep in mind that the question of whether masks “work” is not the same as the question of whether mask mandates “work,” if by “work” we mean “impede the spread of COVID-19.” Contrary to the claims of certain bureaucrats wearing lab coats, waving clipboards, and holding themselves out as the spokespersons for “science,” the scientific jury remains very much out on the first question. And those bureaucrats change their stories based on political considerations. Take, for example, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Fauci on masks in May: “There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask. When you’re in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better, and it might even block a droplet. But it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is.” Fauci on mask mandates and other government orders in November: “Now is the time to do what you’re told.”
The moral of the story on masksThe moral of the story, if… …it makes you feel better to wear a mask, wear a mask. …wearing a mask seems justified by science, or just by common sense, wear a mask. …a property owner requires masks and you want to use the property, wear a mask. …the law requires a mask and you’d rather obey it than fight it, wear a mask. But don’t assume that Tony Evers or Anthony Fauci are neutrally “listening to the science.” They’re not. They’re just enthusiastically swinging the hammers they’ve been given. Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north-central Florida.
Thomas L. Knapp is the director and senior news analyst for the Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism. Knapp is a journalism veteran of over 35 years and a full-time libertarian writer, editor and publisher since 2000.