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Lose mask mandates and other commentary

Libertarian: Lose Mask Mandates

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President Biden “has no clear idea of when” to nix mask mandates for good, huffs Jacob Sullum at Reason. The right time is now: “Americans, including those who are especially vulnerable to COVID-19, have the tools to protect themselves regardless of whether everyone else is required to wear a mask.” Kids’ safety is a “red herring”: “Children are extremely unlikely to suffer life-threatening COVID-19 symptoms even if they are not vaccinated.” Thanks to “vaccines, effective treatments, and high-quality masks,” the case for protecting only the vulnerable, with no broad mandates, is “more persuasive than ever.”

Pandemic journal: America’s Cruelty to Kids

“Europeans are shocked by cruel US child masking rules,” reports the Washington Examiner’s Tiana Lowe. England, Sweden and Norway never made elementary-school students wear masks, exempting under-12s. Yet tots “not yet potty trained or capable of speaking English continue to be legally required to wear masks in California and some other US states.” It’s “completely unjustified.” A German study found most kids forced to mask up “reported irritability, headaches and an inability to concentrate. Nearly two in five reported impaired learning or drowsiness.” And “mask madness has done little to prevent community transmission.” Bottom line: America’s “continued regulation of the population least at risk from the coronavirus is cruel and unusual by world standards.”

Culture critic: Why ‘Happiness’ Is Overrated

“The U.S. won’t be in the top 10” of the coming World Happiness Report, notes Virginia Postrel at Bloomberg — because it only measures “contentment and complacency” while “penaliz[ing] imagination, opportunity and ambition.” In the survey, “what kind of life you consider ‘possible’ determines how you rank the life you have,” so “a country . . . with modest opportunities will score higher than one with great ones.” In reality, “Opportunity breeds discontent,” which “leads to competition, and competition leads to disappointment: It’s the story of our time.” The “discontent . . . woven into the fabric of the nation” is “intertwined with ambition.” So: “If you’ve never felt like a failure, you aren’t ambitious enough. Or you live in a society that limits your potential — and its own.”

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From the right: Spying on the President

Special Counsel John Durham’s latest filing suggests a tech executive “was spying on the president of the United States with the aim of harming his ability to govern the country,” thunder National Review’s editors. The prosecutor says “the tech executive, who has been identified as Rodney Joffe, was monitoring then-President Trump, trying to portray him as Putin’s mole” in an op that began during the 2016 campaign. “Durham has now disclosed that he intends to prove that [Clinton lawyer Michael] Sussmann delivered the skewed data to another intelligence agency . . . in February 2017” in a bid “to nudge the government’s intelligence and law-enforcement apparatus to spy on the sitting president.” Durham plainly thinks “the government, particularly the FBI, was duped by such Clinton operatives.”

Climate beat: Africa Can’t Afford To Go Green

“Misguided policies meant to accelerate the transition to green energy” threaten to make Third World poverty permanent, lament Joel Kotkin & Hügo Krüger at UnHerd. African leaders warn that the West’s climate policies could lead to an Africa-wide crisis. “Without more reliable energy supplies, the continent will remain mired in poverty — and civil strife” will follow. The choice is between a “regime based on expensive solar and wind power” and one relying on “cheap” fossil fuels. But the “imperatives of Greta Thunberg won’t be adopted by people in the slums of Africa’s cities or rural Chinese” seeking prosperity. Fact is, the energy crisis is already here, and “sacrificing poor countries” won’t make it disappear.

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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