America is often said to have taken a ‘holiday from history’ between the end of the Cold War in 1989 and the jihadist attacks on two symbols of American power—New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington—on 11 September 2001. President Clinton, who was the most powerful man in the world during most of this period, seemed to endorse this criticism when he regretted that he had never had to deal with a major crisis like the Second World War. He felt it would really have stretched him.
All the same, the ‘holiday’ charge is a misleading one, based on the misconception that history is a succession of climaxes with nothing much happening in between. In reality, it is during periods of apparent social stability that some of the most important social changes emerge. They then germinate slowly below the radar of politics, accumulate force gradually, and finally erupt in a disruptive climax, when they encounter resistance or otherwise attract our attention.
Henry Fairlie, a perceptive English journalist, observed that many of America’s social upheavals of the 1960s—feminism, gay rights, the sexual revolution—were foreshadowed by the popular spread of Freudian psychoanalysis in the 1950s. That suggested widespread social and personal discontent under the carapace of Eisenhower’s seemingly complacent conservatism. The ‘Sixties’ duly erupted in the mid-sixties. Similarly, the end of the Cold War opened the way for the removal of barriers to free trade and capital movements worldwide, the internet and communications revolution, the growing influence of post-national international agencies, and globalization generally. In due course, we got growing tensions with China; the jihadist attacks on 9/11; the Iraq, Ukraine, and Georgia conflicts; and the 2008 financial crisis. A lot happened in the fallow periods before these revolutions. What explains today’s American revolution?
What we have seen in America in recent days is mostly the result of the slow spread of radical progressive ideas, now broadly named ‘wokeism’ or ‘social justice’, through the educational, cultural, legal, and media institutions of the United States (and to a lesser extent of Britain) since the 1960s. Because these institutions trained the leadership classes or reinforced their training later through media and the arts, the fact that they were dominated increasingly by people of left progressivist opinions meant that graduates indoctrinated in their ideologies moved into high-status, high-paid positions across all institutions, including eventually such unlikely ones as the military and corporate capitalism. After decades of America’s own slow ‘march through the institutions’, all that was required for a revolution to burst forth was a shock to the system. That was duly delivered in two instalments.
The first was a shock to the woke themselves in the form of Donald Trump’s election. That was a check to—even a retreat from—the ‘transformation’ of America along progressive lines that Obama had promised and that they thought inevitable. Trump’s defeat of the feminist progressive, Hillary Clinton, seemed to them to be a reversal of nature like water running uphill, and it produced a correspondingly severe and excessive reaction. Woke progressives, while thinking themselves sophisticated analysts of politics and society, embraced the most absurd fantasies of themselves as resistance fighters against a dictatorial Trump who was both a Nazi and a puppet of Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and permanently on the edge of mounting a coup. The radicals radicalized themselves still more, to the point of publicly renouncing their previous commitments to such values as free speech and impartial journalism. They spent the Trump years misusing their positions inside and outside government by trying and failing to prove that these fantasies had roots in reality.
The second shock was the pandemic. There is an extensive literature—for instance, Nel and Righarts’s ‘Natural Disasters and the Risk of Violent Civil Conflict’1— on how natural disasters either cause or accelerate social and political conflict. That was certainly the effect of the sudden arrival of COVID-19 in American society. It both widened existing divisions (e.g., Republicans versus Democrats, libertarians versus health authoritarians) and introduced new topics (lockdowns, mask wearing, whether hydroxychloroquine might alleviate COVID) over which people promptly divided into new hostile camps. Both America’s mainstream media and Big Tech social media took sides in these COVID-related disputes, censoring some medical opinions and promoting others, largely it seemed, on the non-medical grounds of which approach would most damage Trump.
The 2020 presidential election was never going to quieten these various quarrels. Nor did they end on Election or Inauguration Day. President Biden’s victory meant that a government that had been (however unevenly) conservative was replaced by one dominated by partisan progressives. That raised the temperature on all questions, both those directly political and those drifting towards a political interpretation. Though all the specific anti-Trump charges of treason and conspiracy have today evaporated without trace (and their inventors ‘move on’ in embarrassment when they are mentioned), they still strive to keep the general impression of Trump as an ‘illegitimate president’ afloat. Hence their insistence on describing the events at the Capitol on 6 January 2021 as an ‘insurrection’ rather than the disorderly (and disgraceful) ‘riot’ it plainly was. Just as the Trump victory had radicalized the progressives, however, so the Biden victory instilled conservatives with the fear that his administration was ‘weaponizing’ the Capitol riot in order to de-legitimize conservatives of all stripes.
In short, the atmosphere of American life as the Biden administration took office was one of competing hysterias. Invited to condemn McCarthyism in the 1950s, Peter Viereck replied, ‘I am against hysteria but I am also against hysteria about hysteria’. He would have had to emigrate to escape it in 2021.
Visiting America in this time of lockdown and controversy (I made three separate visits from January to August) was less like a holiday from history than an aversion therapy plunge into it: a monastic retreat much of the time, interrupted by out- patient visits to the psychiatric clinics of Washington and New York that specialize in mental ills of the civic-minded, and—mercifully—excursions into real life.
It began quietly enough—or as a worried sheriff says in Westerns, ‘too quietly’.
The airports at Budapest, Frankfurt, and Washington DC had all been sparsely populated on my long day’s journey to Alabama. DC’s Dulles Airport felt almost eerie as I dragged my suitcase from one deserted terminal to the next, past closed restaurants and empty gate areas. It was a lucky day to be a stand-by passenger. My fellow travellers and I never looked like filling the flight to Huntsville, Alabama, and the few planes in service were leaving on time or even early. All the same, the journey was gloomy as well as long. And I was not at my best when my sister-in- law, Susie, picked me up at the airport late on Saturday evening. I was hungry too.
‘Do you think we can find somewhere to eat?’ I asked. ‘Sure’, she said. ‘Let’s try Simp McGhee’s.’ Simp’s is one of my favourite restaurants in Decatur, Alabama. They serve delicious Cajun seafood and good cocktails. But would it be open in this plague year? It was open all right, and almost full. Waiters and the barman were masked, but the patrons were not. It was a typical Thursday night: lively, convivial, table-hopping. No one seemed to fear the puritan disapproval of the medical profession. On the other hand, like other restaurants, Simp’s was closing earlier than usual; staff were hard to get (‘it is hard to compete with the government paying people not to work because of COVID’); and more people than usual were staying home. Simp’s was Decatur in a nutshell. It was taking precautions against COVID, but not panicking, and still managing to enjoy itself.
Two weeks later I was in Washington DC, which outdoors seemed almost deserted. Fear of the virus was visible through its impact. In a city of bureaucrats, the government was encouraging people to work from home. They complied with seeming relief. Restaurants closed early when they were open at all. Taxis were hard to find, and not simply because of Uber. I had been warned in advance that it would be hard to persuade friends to go out to dinner. It was. In the end Chris de Muth— Reagan’s former deregulation czar, a pioneering think-tank intellectual, and an old friend—persuaded other old friends Jim and Karlyn Bowman (of the American Enterprise Institute and the Ethics and Public Policy Center respectively) to join us at the penthouse restaurant at the top of the Hay-Adams Hotel just across from the White House. We were at one of only four occupied tables in a restaurant that can easily accommodate more than a hundred people. It had an almost panoramic view of the city, a magical view that night but also an eerie one: the city streets were ablaze with lights but we could see almost no cars or people travelling along them. We had our usual enjoyable talkfest from politics to the movies, but the feeling of dining wickedly above an empty city made us (or at least me) slightly self-conscious.
New York, when I visited it a week later, had Washington’s neurosis, only more so; Fort Worth, Texas, had Decatur’s high spirits, only much more so. Large crowds of tourists, unmasked and forgetful of social distancing, roamed the old Stockyard district, eating, drinking, rubbernecking, and avidly reading its historical plaques. Did they perhaps find something encouraging in them? A plaque for the adjoining ‘Hell’s Half Acre’ part of town describes it as a ‘notorious Red Light district’ of restaurants, gambling joints, and bordellos where ‘famous gamblers like Luke Short, Bat Masterson, and Wyatt Earp, and outlaws Sam Bass, Eugene Bunch, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid are known to have stayed’. Not the usual civic boosterism, and a far cry from the deserted silent cities of the East Coast, but oddly evocative of an earlier America that did not stay home and shrink from risks.
It is risk, of course, that divides America today—though the fact that the policy- making classes inhabit the risk-averse half means that national policy on COVID emphasizes the medical necessity and moral obligation of masks, lockdowns, social distancing, and constant media scolding to enforce them. Those in the other half are repeatedly told to feel as uncomfortable as I was for sins like eating out in Washington. Yet, as Jeffrey H. Anderson, an ex-director of the Bureau of Statistics at the Department of Justice, points out in the Claremont Review,2 though there were major epidemics across America in 1918, 1957, and 1968, ‘there were no school closures, travel bans, or mask mandates’. Nor did US administrations order that enormous sums be added to what were then much smaller public health budgets or that entire workforces stay home. Maybe all the fear and paranoia available had already been spent on the Cold War’s balance of terror so that there was none left over for the actual epidemics sweeping the country. But whatever the reason, as one survivor of the Fifties and its childhood illnesses such as polio told historian Niall Ferguson: ‘We took the Asian flu [and much else] in our stride.’3
An obvious reason for the difference in attitudes then and now is that our lives have become increasingly protected and secure from impersonal evils, such as measles and traffic accidents. Even violent crimes, after rising from the 1960s onwards, were coming down again until two years ago. As our lives become safer, runs the paradox, so we become more alert to those dangers still remaining. Another reason, cited by Anderson, is the much greater prominence in today’s public debate of health officials who have a professional interest in painting the bleakest picture of what COVID might do. Their prestige has since been damaged by their failed predictions, but during my first trip this year, they still enjoyed godlike status. Until the good news of the vaccines arrived, it was largely employed to exaggerate risks and downplay benefits, feeding the public’s risk aversion still further.
America’s mainstream and social media then took a national mood of panic and hostility (‘fear and loathing’ as Hunter S. Thompson liked to say) and shaped it along partisan lines so that Democrat politicians, like New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo, became prudent stewards of public health, while Republicans, like Florida’s Governor Ron Sanchez, were depicted as little better than reckless mass murderers. In the pages of the very best newspapers, medical and economic disputes about how best to respond to the overall COVID crisis were forcibly, if implausibly, merged with partisan divisions between red and blue states to produce an artificial ideological narrative: conservatives were the party of death, progressives of life—which did not seem reflected in the crowds of Fort Worth or the silent streets of Washington.
Such a distorted narrative could not possibly survive reality, and indeed, it fell apart when Sanchez’s policies produced better results than Cuomo’s in the most newsworthy way. It was discovered that Cuomo’s decision to send COVID patients from hospitals to nursing homes had produced in New York the third highest death rate among US states. (Florida came twelfth in the ranking.) Cuomo was subsequently forced to resign, ostensibly in response to allegations of sexual harassment, but in reality because he had become an overall political liability to his party. While these partisan interpretations of COVID held sway, however, disputes over lockdowns, school closures, social distancing, and mask wearing grew increasingly angry, bitter, and vituperative. Accusations of murder were not uncommon against people not wearing masks or politicians opposing mask mandates.
Mask wearing is perhaps the most interesting of these disputes because the case for wearing a mask is the one least justified by scientific evidence. (Anderson goes into this in some detail if you wish to verify my assertion.) Yet it is the case most passionately asserted—and asserted on some grounds that ignore its possible usefulness against COVID transition. The Guardian’s Julia Carrie Wong interviewed Americans from different cities who positively enjoyed wearing a mask and hoped to continue doing so indefinitely. ‘It’s been such a relief to feel anonymous. It’s
like having a force field around me that says “don’t see me”,’ said ‘Francesca’, a New York professor who, already vaccinated, had less reason to wear one. An LA screenwriter, Aimee, savoured the emotional freedom that came from ‘taking away the male gaze’, while Bob, a male retiree from New Jersey, felt that a mask freed him from the need to ‘appear happy’.4 These are bizarre reflections and evidence of deep risk-aversion, even a toxic suspicion, in social and personal encounters. They are the opposite sentiment to the sociability exhibited by the tourists in Fort Worth or the crowds on Florida beaches. Yet The Guardian comments are not those of isolated neurotics either. It is evident from Twitter, multiple private encounters, public events, and even the writings of some senior doctors that they represent the opinions of an important section of American opinion.
Anderson is not the only intellectual observer who finds this desire for anonymity in public to be a disturbing one. In ‘The Masking of America’,5 he pits The Guardian interviewees against such Western philosophers and scientists as Plato and Darwin who in different ways see the unmasked face not only as essential to private sociability and public trust, but as the mark of a distinctive Western civilization. Some contemporary social critics, usually those of a conservative disposition, feel even more strongly. He quotes Pierre Manent, debating the use of veils in Muslim communities in France, who drives the point home trenchantly: ‘To present visibly one’s refusal to be seen is an ongoing aggression against human coexistence. Europeans have never concealed the face, except the executioner’s.’6
Mask wearing for reasons unconnected with protection against COVID is something of a paradox: the mark of an identity that seeks to conceal its individual self within a comforting collective anonymity. It shows hostility, even aggression, towards those who insist on revealing the face on the grounds that they are selfish and indifferent to others’ welfare. And it is self-righteously happy to impose its tastes ‘permanently’ on everyone else. In short, masks are emblematic, literally so, of the politicization of everything, including identity itself, that is the left’s main instinctual drive today.
How to fight COVID is therefore not the only seemingly technical or scientific issue that has become thoroughly corrupted by ideological politics. Climate change is famously another—a controversy that has gone from being a bright idea among international bureaucrats (global economic governance!) to become in turn a political orthodoxy, a treaty obligation, a new religion (to question which is a mortal sin), and finally an etiquette that separates the godly elect from the sinful masses and makes shunning the latter a social obligation like handing cowards a white feather. Here, from my New York visit, is the kind of thing that results.
My hostess in Manhattan boarded a crowded bus in the middle of a downpour. Only two seats were available. She took one and another woman—by appearance
a well-to-do member of New York’s upper-middle class—took the other. As the bus made its slow way uptown through the rain, my friend’s neighbour opened a conversation with a remark about the weather: ‘This is what climate change does. We have to stop using fossil fuels right now. Whatever it costs us.’ My friend demurred politely, suggesting we might explore alternative policies before embarking on such an expensive course. At this the woman got up, moved away several feet, clutched a hanging strap, and stood swaying uneasily for the twenty minutes to her destination, all the while ostentatiously looking anywhere but at the empty seat and my friend. It was a performance that had everything in it, except the injunction ‘vanish!’. It is estimated that something like it occurs every ten seconds in liberal arts colleges across the United States.
Much worse things happen, to be sure, if the issue at hand is ‘social justice’ or critical race theory. If people dissent from the ruling doctrines of wokery, they get fired from their jobs in the media, Big Tech, socially conscious corporations, charitable foundations, or almost any university in those cases, increasingly rare, where they have been hired in the first place. These doctrines invert the previous virtues of social justice—race blindness, individual character before skin colour, equal opportunity rather than discrimination—so that the virtues then become race consciousness, ethnic proportionalism over individual merit, ‘equity’ (i.e., group quotas) over both individual merit and standards of excellence. Simple justice that remedies a particular injustice never appears anywhere in such discourse (reminding us of Hayek’s observation that the word ‘social’ in modern thought translates into the prefix, ‘in’ or ‘not’: social justice becoming injustice, etc.) because the actions it dictates usually require injustice to gain their ‘social’ objectives.
It was fascinating to be around as a revolution was going on and to realize that as the world is turned upside down, everyday life continues as normal. People carry on working, going out for meals, meeting for drinks or games, and trying not to notice that their familiar ideas and the institutions that shelter them are under fundamental attack. Admittedly, it was not a complete surprise. Earlier versions of these doctrines had been spreading quietly throughout US institutions and claiming occasional victims over recent decades. In one ominous incident, my old National Review colleague, Kevin Williamson, who had been hired by The Atlantic specifically as a high-octane conservative controversialist, was let go (I hope at great expense to The Atlantic) because some junior female staffers objected to pro- life columns he had written some years before.
Still, what changed in 2020 and 2021, was that such dismissals seemed to occur almost hourly, just as commissioned books were constantly being cancelled by publishers at the collective behest of young copy editors, conservative books that had escaped such censorship were hidden by idealistic bookstore clerks, and
guest lecturers were insulted, cancelled, and sometimes physically attacked by mobs of ‘social justice warriors’. It was a mania in a 24-hour news cycle. The woke revolution had its own Red Guards, and they were inspired by doctrines not dissimilar to those in Mao’s Little Red Book, namely, that America was not a fundamentally decent society that had to be reminded to reform from time to time but a ‘systemically racist’ country from the first, in which slavery and institutions of ‘white supremacy’ ruled all behind a democratic facade. That was first a vicious lie, second a carefully crafted ideological invention, and third an absurdity in a country that had twice elected Barack Obama.
Yet as Andrew Sullivan, the liberal conservative writer famous for his practical invention of gay marriage, pointed out, it was not the ravings of a small bohemian socialist pamphlet but a special project of The New York Times that went on to win a Pulitzer prize and to be distributed throughout the nation’s schools. How had this happened, asked Andrew, since whenever he expressed worry about critical race theory, he was assured that it was the preserve only of a handful of law and sociology departments in the better universities? How had it spread? A harsh answer is that it had been initially spread by the intelligentsia in the good universities which taught their students over decades, and from there it had spread in more simplified form by a lumpen intelligentsia in less good schools, the media, the HR and Government Relations departments of major corporations, cultural institutions, etc., etc. It is not hard to indoctrinate students if the doctrine forbids its own questioning, and if its teachers use grading and ‘ploughing’ as means of intellectual persuasion. By such methods, woke ideas spread through the academy to all aspects of American life via the minds of its students. America went progressive when the adults were out of the room.
That explains the mood at the Philadelphia Society meeting in Fort Worth, which was the reason for my visit there. Here were the people—talented and principled conservative academics—who had been the first victims and survivors of the spreading Marxist conflagration and who had shouted ‘fire’ but been told by everyone else to kindly leave the theatre. They had every reason to feel self-justification and anger at their and America’s plight. That was never going to be their mood, however, since the society from the first has had a high quota of wits and pessimists (who are sometimes the same people). Rather its mood was that of John Cleese as a series of disasters keeps him from his destination in the Michael Frayn comedy Clockwise: ‘It’s not the despair. I can stand the despair. It’s the hope I can’t take.’
The society held a series of lively debates in which the participants settled down mentally for the long haul to a new but also an old America, perhaps via the Catacombs, more likely through a slow rebuilding of an information technology network not under the control of the left in addition to building a parallel society of classical schools, colleges, and home schooling. They were under no illusion that they were anything other than a dissident minority, with no presence in the corridors of power or culture. And life itself was getting more oppressive within academia itself as Professor Rob Koons pointed out in a talk (to be republished in the next issue of Hungarian Conservative):
‘Recently, the University of Texas has jumped on another widespread trend in academia—that of adopting a new ‘equity and inclusion’ policy. This is a truly Orwellian name, since the intent of the policy is explicitly to exclude from future faculty hires anyone who has failed to demonstrate, through their public statements and political activism, sufficient commitment to the equity and inclusion agenda. The left is no longer content to silence its academic critics—like all good Maoists, they insist that everyone positively affirm the correctness of their doctrines. Silence is no longer a defence.’
More than that, however, they feared that the left and the Biden administration had them in its sights nationally. And not without reason. Both have been citing the riot on Capitol Hill to argue a wider case—that white nationalism and white supremacy are the biggest national security threats to the US. That is too silly a claim to need refutation. But since according to the woke ideology that the Biden administration fitfully promotes, even the most moderate conservative is a racist white radical, the absurdity of the charge is no guarantee that it will not be pressed. In addition, the fact that Capitol rioters were being held without bail for long periods and charged with offenses carrying long prison sentences whereas rioters in the nationwide disturbances of 2020 (in which thirty people died) were often released without bail or not even charged lent credence to conservative fears.
What added a touch of surrealist unreality to these competing paranoias was that they were emerging under the apparently placid presidential leadership of Joe Biden. He enjoyed popularity in part because he seemed to offer calm after the unpredictable hellzapoppin days of the Trump presidency. But this comforting presidential stability floated lightly above a very unstable political reality. Many of Biden’s policies were failing visibly, illustrated in particular by the chaos at America’s border, but these failures made little impact on Biden’s fatherly image. The unresisted progress of the woke revolution, was creating fear and anxiety in the paralysed middle class and resentful resistance among blue-collar workers. But Biden did not seem to notice these reactions as his administration pressed ahead with installing woke ideas. He just issued more executive orders.
And then some signs of weakness in Biden’s strategy of radicalism on the quiet began to appear—together with signs of resistance to it.
The FBI let it be known it had concluded that the Capitol Hill disturbances were not an insurrection but a riot, contradicting one of the main Democrat talking points.Judges overturned several of Biden’s executive orders, in one case restoring a deal between Trump and the Mexican president to control immigration while the migrants were still in Mexico. But the most alarming development for the White House was that, as the summer wound down and the return to school loomed, a spontaneous parental rebellion across America rose in protest at what their children were being taught on everything from the Founding Fathers to gender theory. Videos of angry parents amazed at what they had discovered when watching lessons over the internet from teachers in lockdown were shared from school district to school district. It was a forest fire of opposition by ordinary Americans to the woke pedagogy endorsed by the White House and the Democrats, and they had no idea how to extinguish it.
It is uncertain how much these domestic setbacks might have obstructed the Biden agenda, but that is now moot, because in the last days of summer they were overwhelmed by much more damaging events: namely, the bungled withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan that left both Americans and their Afghan allies in the hands of the Taliban.
Its strategic consequences are dire. Even those Americans who favoured a retreat from Afghanistan acknowledge that the US has received a massive blow to its prestige and power at a time when the nation is confronted by a rising and aggressive China and the entrenched hostility of other serious powers such as Russia. It has also created a hostage crisis likely to drag on throughout the Biden administration as well as handing over Afghan allies to the Taliban.
Biden was responsible for the chaotic departure and the betrayal of allies. But in explanations to the American people, he sought to blame everyone but himself: Donald Trump of course, but also the Afghan Army he abandoned when US forces left Baghram airport overnight without even informing its Afghan commander. His description of what he did was tough and necessary realism that will be justified by history. If the Afghans cannot live up to our expectations of them, he suggested, then the hell with them.
Biden’s people are already minimizing the consequences of this strategic defeat and appeasing the Taliban. That is to be expected given that America’s internal crisis of cultural masochism complicates both any US recovery and the crafting of a realistic foreign policy. How can a divided nation in which half of the people regard their country as a haven of white supremacy pursue a policy to protect its interests and advance its values? It will falter at every step.
It looks as if the American people share this pessimistic analysis. A sharp fall in Biden’s approval ratings followed his presidential speeches, which suggests that they take a different view to him on what strategic realism and moral generosity both require.
Americans do not like to be the Bad Guy, and they do not want to be losers. Biden is positioning them to be both with a policy that could be described as ‘America First—And the Rest Nowhere’ with no indication of how the first half of the slogan might be achieved.
Americans are a divided nation, unusually partisan by historical standards on a wide range of political topics that in the last year has expanded to include masks, vaccine mandates, lockdowns, and social distancing. But how divided? Pundits often depict the US as a 51/49 nation on the basis of recent close national election results. It might be more accurate to see the US as a 40–40–20 nation in which the 20 per cent are weak and uncertain in their loyalties and shift, sometimes in landslides, against a party that seems to be taking extreme or morally distasteful policies. Some such reaction helped Trump to lose among white suburbanites in 2020; since 6 January 2021, Democrats have been trying to pin extremism on the GOP as the party of insurrection; and as we have seen above, there are clear signs, such as the parental resistance to critical race theory in high schools, that Middle America is increasingly worried about the ongoing woke revolution and the Democrats’ apparent sympathy for it.
That nervousness has not damaged the Democrats as yet, because Joe Biden’s reputation for moderation and decency masked the reality of his party’s growing willingness to appease its own woke left wing and impose a soft but oppressive totalitarianism on American life. After Afghanistan, however, the mask is off.
1 Philip Nel and Marjolein Righarts, ‘Natural Disasters and the Risk of Violent Civil Conflict’,International Studies Quarterly, 52 (2008), 159–192, https://bit.ly/2VpEwn3.
2 Jeffrey H. Anderson, ‘The Masking of America: Faceless People Make Compliant Subjects, Not Good Citizens’, Claremont Review of Books (15 July 2021), https://claremontreviewofbooks.com/ digital/table-of-contents-summer-2021/.
3 Niall Ferguson, ‘How a More Resilient America Beat a Mid-Century Pandemic’, The Wall Street Journal (30 April 2021), https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-a-more-resilient-america-beat-a- midcentury-pandemic-11619794711.
4 Julia Carry Wong, ‘The People Who Want to Keep Masking: It’s Like an Invisibility Cloak’, The Guardian (10 May 2021), https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/may/10/the-people-who- want-to-keep-masking-its-like-an-invisibility-cloak.
5 Jeffrey H. Anderson, ‘The Masking of America’.
6 Quoted in Jeffrey H. Anderson, ‘The Masking of America’.