In a column for the Daily Beast, conservative columnist Matt Lewis bashed Donald Trump for his refusal to wear a mask to protect himself from the COVID-19 virus, while at the same time questioning whether they work.
As Matt Lewis, who left the Republican party due to the president, explained, "If you were holding out hope for 2020 to be any less horrible, consider that the donning of protective face masks in the midst of a pandemic has emerged as the symbolic dividing line in the culture war," before adding, "This is both stupid and sadly predictable. "
Noting that the editor of a conservative religious journal, backed up Trump's decision to avoid wearing a mask by tweeting that “mask culture [is] fear driven” and that “fear of infection” and “fear of causing infection” are both “species of cowardice,” Lewis wrote, "we might chalk this up to the fever-swamp rantings of one screwball. But the anti-mask narrative has been building for weeks now."
"So what is all this talk about fear and cowardice about… really?" he asked. "In my mind, the battle over masks is really about the way Donald Trump has redefined masculinity. Once upon a time, being a man involved being a 'protector.' It involved making sacrifices. Rather than making you a chump, this conduct was the source of respect and admiration. Wearing a hot, itchy mask is exactly the kind of sacrifice a protector might make (remember, [editor Rusty] Reno bizarrely claims that even a 'fear of causing infection' constitutes cowardice). "
"Instead of electing a traditional conservative who would restore these old-fashioned values, advocates of Common Good Conservatism backed a vulgarian who flouts the Christian ideal of servant leadership in favor of a Nietzschean will to power," he continued. " Trumpian manliness isn’t about inner strength or sacrifice, it’s about looking strong—about creating an aura of machismo—and selfishly reaping the spoils of the culture war."
"But as some of Trump’s defenders in Congress (who are up for re-election) are about to find out, there’s a steep price to be paid for retrofitting your politics to suit Trump’s short-term interests. Actually, though, the stakes are a lot higher in real life. What if people get sick as a result? What if Reno gets a vulnerable loved one sick? This is abominable!" he added, before warning, " To a small but important segment of conservatism, “freedom” now includes the freedom to kill off society’s weak. This is Trumpism. Unmasked."
You can read more here (subscription required).