“How Far Will You Lower Yourself?”

Yesterday’s reckoning about mask-wearing drew a heavy — and spirited — reader response.

The bulk of it denounced us viciously. We are with the devil, readers insisted.

For we are dispensing falsehoods — and possibly condemning the witless dupes who heed our evil counsel to early, needless graves.

And if not condemning our witless dupes to early, needless graves… possibly condemning their elder and compromised relations to early, needless graves.

Reader Greg D., for example, catalogues our trespasses in grim detail.

1) Every doctor and medical professional wears (masks). I would hazard to say there has been a few studies confirming the needs for masks for the last 80 or so years with a modern understanding of infectious transmission. Great to see you are feeding the already biased and ignorant who will never read to the bottom of the article.

2) The primary purpose of wearing a mask is to not infect others. Even back in March the effectiveness of protecting yourself with a mask was in question. Loop back to point #1 and medical professionals not making a sick patient worse.

3) Social distancing is the primary and best control. Ah! But we have rights to run our business and kill the weak and the old.

“Entirely Bogus”

Reader Jas. M believes we are perpetuating fraudulent science. It is “entirely bogus,” he claims:

Alas, the supposedly scientific article that you have used as the basis of your thesis is entirely bogus. I, too, am always skeptical and almost always try to track information back to its source.

My suspicions were instantly roused because everything that Denis Rancourt (the expert whose work we cited) has to say is contrary to science in which I am reasonably well versed. Secondly, all the many reproductions of the article via the internet are on platforms with little or no grounding in the genuine scientific community.

Just so. And perhaps Jas is correct. Yet we would add that scientific fact is not written in stone. It is rather etched in water.

That is, today’s reigning scientific fact is often tomorrow’s junked scientific fiction.

And those who initiate the junking are routinely denounced by the scientific establishment of the day. They are labelled frauds. Quacks. Charlatans. Zanies.

Yet time validates their heresies.

Do we have a Galileo on our hands in Dr. Rancourt? We do not claim to. We merely raise a point.

“How Far Will You Lower Yourself to Promote a False Premise?”

Another reader — Len A. — says we debase ourself by hawking a false premise:

How far will you lower yourself to promote a false premise?

Masks are not worn to protect YOU, they protect OTHERS from your aerosol particles – NOT the germs themselves.

In response to Len’s question, we are pleased to report:

We rather enjoy life down here in the gutter. It gives us a fresh — if somewhat foul — perspective on events.

Yet the good Dr. Rancourt disagrees with Len:

There is no evidence that masks are of any utility either preventing the aerosol particles from coming out or from going in. You’re not helping the people around you by wearing a mask, and you’re not helping yourself preventing the disease by wearing a mask.

What About Medical Masks?

But “if wearing masks are worthless,” asks Jim H., “then why do medical professionals all wear them when treating Covid patients?”

Rancourt allows that masks limit the spread of virus-soaked droplets. Yet he argues that these droplets are not the primary means of transmission.

Transmission results primarily from the aerosol particles that pass through masks… as minnows pass through shark nets.

But what about those custom N95 masks? Do they not seal the netting?

Not especially, argues our heretic. They may even damage the wearer:

In one of the randomized control trials, a big one that compared masks and N95 respirators among health care workers, the only statistically significant outcome they discovered and reported on was that the health care workers who wore the N95 respirators were much more likely to suffer from headaches.

Not All Feedback Was Negative

Again, we claim no medical expertise. And the consensus view may be the correct view.

Mask-wearing may indeed meet its advertising.

Yet we are given to jabbing holes in consensus views… and probing for weaknesses within the citadel walls.

Perhaps we have located one. Perhaps not.

Not all reader mail was critical, we must note. Take, for example, Grant A.:

As a Ph.D. research scientist in biomedical engineering, all I can say is: bravo! You (and Dr. Rancourt) are a breath of fresh air, standing against the propaganda/outright lies that fuel the draconian measures taken against us poor serfs. Masks do little (if anything) against viruses. Period. The powers that be don’t like this “inconvenient truth,” but the scientific literature is clear. History bears witness to it. Our current “pandemic” bears witness to it… Keep up the good fight. Keep waking people up.

Sometimes Right, Sometimes Wrong, Always in Doubt

Some days we are haunted by the fear that we are sending people to sleep… rather than waking them up.

And we claim no special enlightenment to do the waking. As writes our co-founder Bill Bonner:

Sometimes right, sometimes wrong, always in doubt – we try on ideas like a grown man trying on a pair of shorts. We want to see how they look before we buy them. We leave it to you to decide for yourself which of the following ideas look most ridiculous.

As we wrote last December:

For 20 years The Daily Reckoning has stood athwart, watching the scenery roll by. From Y2K to bitcoin…

From the 2000–2001 dot-com derangement to the 2008 near-nightmare to the 2020 nightmare…

From United States presidents 42–45…

From Federal Reserve chairmen 13–16…

The Daily Reckoning has suffered through them all.

Yet it has endured them with a wry, smirking detachment — even a tinge of sympathy for the cads, rogues, grifters, chiselers, scoundrels and rascals who hagride and afflict us.

Who Will Cast the First Stone?

This world may be hopelessly and incurably botched. It may be sinful that it is this way. It may be against God that it is this way.

Yet it is this way. And let the sinless one heave the first stone.

This publication holds out no solutions to the sorrows of this world.

As H.L. Mencken styled it, we are entirely devoid of messianic passion. We hear no voice from the burning bush.

And what we write one day is dead the next.

We simply attempt to make sense of it all.

If we can help you profit along the way, so much the better. That is our central mission, in fact.

Do we often fail? Yes, we do.

We often chase phantoms… and barrel down alleyways leading to ends that are dead.

A Man Enthroned

But what spectacle it all provides, what theater, what circus — what comedy.

And we have the best kind of time looking on from the front row.

Well and truly, a man in our seat is a man enthroned.

Sometimes right, sometimes wrong, always in doubt…

We would not climb out of it for all the teas of China… or all the perfumes of Arabia…


Brian Maher

Brian Maher
Managing Editor, The Daily Reckoning

The Daily Reckoning