Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Just Another Setback

The hostility of the right toward expertise continues apace, most recently reflected in the toppling of the mask mandate by Federalist Society hack Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, toward expertise.

Also, "The physics establishment still has not grappled w the damage it's done to its reputation by failing to respect the fact that members of the public have different ideas on how to walk off buildings and bridges, or to place any value on the individual freedom of amateur ideas..." 

And "The firefighters establishment still has not grappled with the damage it's done to its reputation by failing to respect the fact that members of the public have different ideas about how to fight forest fires, or to place any value on the individual freedom of amateur ideas..."

The New York Times reports

For flight attendants, pilots and others in the business, the mask mandate had become a source of frustration even as they acknowledged that it protected them during their extensive exposure to strangers. Flight crews had to enforce proper face coverings — a dangerous job in polarizing times. Some passengers refused to comply and became belligerent; in extreme cases, they even punched, kicked and bloodied flight attendants.

“They don’t like being policemen on airplanes,” said David Neeleman, the founder of JetBlue Airways and now chief executive of a new company, Breeze Airways. “It’s not something that they signed up for, and I think it creates more agitation with customers"....

However, if we're tempted to believe they're welcoming the change for largely altruistic or humanistic reasons

Airlines, which spent months calling for an end to the mask requirement, were quick to jettison enforcement of the rule on Monday — some crews even announced during flights that passengers were free to take off their masks. The industry is clearly hoping that the change will benefit it by allowing it to focus more again on selling customers premium services.

They'll be making more money and that's the bottom line, as it invariably is.  With resumption of alcohol sales by American Airlines, all airlines now have removed the prohibition, suspended early in the pandemic, because, well, fights are merely the cost of doing business.

However, the most ridiculous aspect of the court order overturning the airline mask mandate is that it took effect immediately. A great many people had purchased tickets on the premise that masks would be required. Children, immunocompromised individuals, and elderly patrons already in flight were treated to the announcement that masks could be discarded. There are a lot of people who deserve refunds or other significant considerations but won't get them.

The cost of doing business in this country has been increased death. There could have been greater use of vaccine requirements- slimed as "vaccine passports"- on airlines and elsewhere, but no. The public officials (called "Democrats") uneasy with death were long ago intimidated by the smearing of vaccination measures by popularization of the term "passport." Republicans, aided as they often are by the "liberal media," gained the clear and decisive upper hand in messaging, and that has driven the direction of public health policy.

Vaccination would have been most helpful for schools, in which guidelines have fluctuated from period to period, state to state, town to town. It could have been added to the five shots against disease mandated in at least 44 states for kindergartners. Though not a cinch to enforce, it would have been much easier than the "masks required if not vaccinated" nonsense. There, individuals sufficiently cavalier not to be vaccinated are admonished to wear masks which most obviously won't wear.

With considerable validity, people have said that luck is more important than talent. And sometimes, luck is more important than common sense and so at some point, the pandemic will end, leaving in its wake death both unavoidable and avoidable.


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