Another week and another stream of lectures and name calling from self-appointed betters. From masks to vaccines to election reform to guns, you can count on the smug and superior sermons from the liberal opinion columnists on these pages.

Both Jim Shaw and Jack Zaleski pounded their desks for another round of mask mandates. Never shy about sharing their world view even if it requires connecting dots that are found nowhere but in their own imaginations. Active cases are increasing, so of course the cause is the dropping of the mask mandates, right? What’s the old saying? If all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail.


Shaw included the comment of Dr. Deborah Brix who said that Bismarck was the worst place in the country for wearing masks. Having spent a lot of time in Bismarck the past several months I agree that the percentage of people wearing masks is far lower than Fargo. So, the uptick in active cases must be coming from the Bismarck area, right? No, Cass County leads the increase in active cases in North Dakota.

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Michigan is the poster child for mask compliance and business shutdowns, but it is currently the worst state – by far – for active cases. Minnesota has had a mask mandate since last June and yet it has seen an increase in active cases. But, according to Shaw “If we just reinstate the mask mandate for two months, we can cross the goal line.” I am not sure what goal line he is talking about crossing, but you can bet that the “two months” will turn out to be another “15 days to flatten the curve.”

According to Shaw, “It’s a very simple concept. Masks work.” Hard to argue unless you know what he means by the word “work.” I agree that masks work at stoking fears, at isolating us from each other, at identifying the hated “anti-maskers,” at increasing anxiety and depression, at restricting oxygen. So, yes, masks do work. But if you are saying that wearing a mask protects you and others from an airborne virus, I am going to need a little more.

We are supposed to follow the science, right? Where is the study showing the use of masks offers protection from this, or any, virus? Quick answer, there isn’t one. Believe me, if there was a study – any study – that showed masks provide protection we would have seen it by now, it would have flooded the media.

There is, however, an article that reviews the scientific evidence on the safety and effectiveness of facemasks. The authors reviewed the available medical evidence, and that data shows both medical and non-medical face masks are ineffective at blocking human-to-human viral transmission.

Of course, we could focus our efforts on isolating and protecting those most vulnerable to COVID-19. We could focus our efforts on early treatment and proven preventatives like Hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin.

But this really isn’t about the virus anymore. It’s about compliance and submission and a mask is a lot easier than a tattoo.

Grande represented the 41st District in the N.D. Legislature from 1996 to 2014. She is CEO of the Roughrider Policy Center, an "innovation over regulation" think tank. She is a wife, mom, grandma, lover of life and Jesus. Opinions are solely her own.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.