By Tom Woods - January 15, 2022
From the Tom Woods Letter:
There’s a push to get us all wearing what I call suffocation masks.
Naturally, I’m not doing it.
They tried this in Germany, and it didn’t do any good.
Even if these masks conferred a very marginal benefit, it is not unreasonable to prefer the clarity of communication that comes from unobstructed speech and visible facial expressions, or to find it dehumanizing to be confronted all day by masked faces. Children still learning how to communicate should not have their faces covered, and infants learning language and facial cues should not have to contend with a world in which they rarely see a human face.
I mention this because a parent sent me the following story from the University of Georgia.
Just some background. UGA is part of the University System of Georgia (USG), the state run public higher education system, so whatever policy the USG sets, all schools in that system must abide by. Last year they set policy that while schools could “strongly” encourage vaccination, masks, distancing, etc, they could not enforce it on any of the students or faculty. They could not unilaterally “go virtual.” As you can imagine, this enraged the more left leaning professors who feel they were literally putting their lives on the line to teach these students (UGA was home of the “die in” last where these sorts lay down all over the main campus to illustrate “what would happen” if “sensible” mandates weren’t put in place).
This parent’s story involves his son and a particular professor:
As my son entered the classroom, the professor (Richard Dien Winfield @WinfieldForUS, check out his Twitter feed for some eye-rolling enjoyment) handed out KN95 masks to any students not already wearing one. He stated in no uncertain terms that in his classroom cloth masks were verboten and all students were expected to wear his approved KN95. Taken off guard (until now none of his other professors had made such demands) he slipped it on.
The class was then subjected to a 30-minute diatribe about the importance of wearing the mask. The professor lectured them that they had no right to threaten his life since he was not threatening theirs: he is triple vaxed and not carrying a gun. He also claimed that 100 percent of the death and illness from COVID could be avoided if people used vaccines and masks. He described the government as immoral for not mandating vaccines and masks. The United States, he said further, was evil, backward, and antiquated because it was the only country with a constitution that didn’t guarantee the right to health care.
At the conclusion of the class my son spoke to the professor one on one to inquire as to what would be the consequences of not wearing a mask. “Oh, well, you’ll release particles in the air that can….” My son stopped him. “No, I understand that. I mean, what will happen to me if I refuse to wear the mask?” The professor was taken aback and condescendingly reiterated his reasons for wearing a mask and concluded that my son did not care about other people.
My son responded, “I never said the reason I won’t want to wear a mask is because I don’t care about other people.” At that point the professor responded that if he didn’t wear a mask he would not return to teach the class in person, and exited in a huff.
Oh, and the icing on the cake: this is the ethics class. I’d be curious to hear his take on the ethics of deploying power disparities to coerce behavior.
But it gets better. My son’s very next class was with this same professor! So he decided to test the waters.
In my son’s own words, “He passed out KN95s like he did in the first class, giving one to me, and the other students who had cloth masks. He then saw I was the only one without a KN95 and thought I didn’t get a mask, so he gave me another one, which I then did not put on. He then said, ‘C’mon, man, what’s the deal? Put it on,’ to which I said something to the effect of ‘No, I’m not going to.’
Continuing with my son’s words: “The professor then went on about how I would have to participate online. I said, ‘I’ll leave, if you kick me out.’ He said, ‘No I won’t kick you out,’ and went on to give the same speech from the previous class — but this time, when he spoke about the anti-science people who won’t wear masks or get vaxed, he made sure to include plenty of digs.
For instance, he said, staring directly at me in a class of 50-70 people, ‘Some people don’t care about the health and safety of their classmates, peers, or community of Athens, and are sitting there with a egotistical self-love against any sort of care/empathy for other people.’
He made many such digs. I tried to stay after the second class to talk to him again but he ran off surely afraid of me because I wasn’t wearing a mask.”
Now I’d like to think my son’s bravery in the face of such intimidation comes from his wonderful parents who raised him right. Even if that is true, we do have to share his conviction and backbone with the many great authors and thinkers he has read over the past 18 months. He has voraciously consumed books from Rand, Hoppe, Rothbard, and many more.
It is easy for these professors to bully students into submitting to their delusions, since most students will not have the intellectual foundation to recognize how those professors are abusing their positions of authority. It helped, too, that his mother spearheaded the movement last year to ensure that the USG Board of Regents would maintain a firm line on not mandating vaccines and masks. So he is well aware of alternative points of view, and less likely to act as if in the classroom the professor is God.
The upshot of this is that my son opted to drop those classes for now for fear of grade retaliation. One hopes the insanity will be over by Fall? Right? It must be.
But good for that student.