New video circulating on social media appears to show an African American Trump supporter kicked off of a Southwest Airlines flight for taking down his mask ‘while eating’. The suggestion is that he’s really being kicked off for being a Trump supporter while following the rules. However as both One Mile at a Time and Live and Let’s Fly point out, the video seems selectively edited and passengers offering supportive commentary around him may actually be travel companions ‘in on it’ trying to make a stink about mask wearing on board.
What gives it away for me is the lack of sympathy from the rest of passengers – as the man deplanes, one can be heard saying “please leave so we can leave” and a supporter in the video declaring being kicked off a plane for not wearing a mask to “what they said in Germany…just comply.”
It’s possible to believe both that,
- This is a put up job by people trying to manufacture a video for social media, and
- It was easy to bait crew into believing the passenger was intentionally violating airline policy because of the visible political gear, especially after the man singing “Trump Trump Trump” as he’s escorted off a plane for refusing to wear a mask, and after the black conservative activist posted from a plane encouraging Trump supporters to fake mask compliance.
Here are the videos, see for yourself:
— Grant AZ 🇺🇸 (@Grant503) October 13, 2020
Here is the last 45 seconds of the video where the Trump supporter is escorted off the flight. pic.twitter.com/VEAl08umXB
— Grant AZ 🇺🇸 (@Grant503) October 13, 2020
The important point here is that – no – this is nothing like the German government exterminating six million Jews. And mask protests on planes are not conservative.
Conservatives used to believe that government was a threat to liberty, that businesses could make rules for themselves and enforce those rules. Indeed, by allowing businesses to set rules you’d have competition and choice. Unlike United and American, for instance, Delta will allow customers with a medical reason not to wear a mask after a consult with their physician, and won’t require two year olds to wear masks.
Masks are a conservative alternative to lock downs. Targeted approaches to controlling the virus like limits on large indoor gatherings and requiring customers to wear masks are far less intrusive than the big government policies pursued at the beginning of the pandemic. These limited encroachments allow businesses to re-open and allow people to go about their lives in the face of the global pandemic.
I’ve argued against government mask mandates even though I am ‘pro-mask’. Someone who is ostensibly ‘conservative’ should favor businesses and business owners voluntarily exercising their freedom to have mask wearing requirements for their customers.
Arguments against masks are fair to deploy to convince a business to change its policy. Unfortunately – and I’ve asked readers who oppose masks over and over – I have yet to hear one.
- Yes, government officials lied and claimed masks weren’t a good idea at the start of the pandemic. Anthony Fauci admits it was a lie, and that he lied, because he wanted to buy time for hosptials and governments to buy good masks without competition from the government. But that just means masks were a better idea than we were told, not that businesses insisting on masks is bad.
- Yes, some people don’t know how to wear them. But that’s an argument for mask education. Maybe airlines should be adding mask instruction to their inflight entertainment, whether it’s seat back or streaming.
- Yes, masks could be treated as a panacea and encourage risky behavior. (Although this study out of Italy finds that masks encourage more conservative behavior: seeing the masks reminds us to take greater care rather than .
In either case it’s not a relevant factor once people are already on a plane. It is better for those people to wear masks than not wear masks (mask wearing won’t convince someone already traveling to travel, for instance). I suppose the Straussian argument would be that if people weren’t allowed to wear masks they would be too afraid to travel and that’s better, but I don’t find that especially persuasive (and people arguing against masks also usually argue that the virus is less dangerous, not that no one should be traveling).
- Yes the public should have access to better masks and it is a huge failure that this far into the pandemic N95 masks or their equivalent cannot be found in convenience stores the way they are in South Korea. There’s an argument for mask standards (airlines not allowing neck gaiters for instance), not an argument against masks generally.
British researchers found that everyone wearing 50% effective masks is enough to slow the spread of the virus (homemade masks are probably more than 50% effective). Indeed another study suggests even 50% effective masks can reduce viral load exposure 10-fold. A German study found masks reduce the growth rate of infections by 40%. And use of quality masks by half the population does the same thing.
If you do not like to wear masks it’s unfortunate that no significant U.S. airline is catering to your preferences (I have long had complaints about the industry being to homogenous and not offering the products I’d like to buy). But that’s their right – a right conservatives have traditionally defended.