In his weekly column Dangerous rhetoric, Nancy Churchill discusses the relationship between influence and power, in this case when it comes to health officials
Is it possible to have both influence and power? Or, do authority figures dilute their influence when they attempt to use their authority inappropriately to assert their power over others? I would say that it is not possible to have both influence and power. When my kids became teenagers, it was important to make the transition from authority figure to influencer. At some point, it’s healthier to let young adults make their own choices rather than trying to force them to do something.
I see the same dynamic happening in the public and political arena today. People are not children. It is inappropriate to try to force people to do something like wear masks, especially something that has such a powerful impact on bodily autonomy and personal freedom. It is an abuse of authority and influence to attempt to seize power over others. Doing this destroys important community relationships that will take a long time to reestablish.
I recently attended my local health board meeting and presented research on why masks are both harmful and ineffective. A resource was from the CDC, published in May 2020, which showed 10 randomized controlled trials that found NO benefit of wearing the mask to control the spread of influenza. (https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/5/19-0994_article)
Another resource was a summary of information in a book by Jim Meehan, MD, titled Why wearing a mask makes healthy people sick, an evidence-based analysis of why masks are ineffective, unnecessary and harmful. (https://files.constantcontact.com/07d815b3801/c8f13200-ecb2-431f-89df-8285e2527151.pdf)
My last resource was Everything you always wanted to know about masks and the deadly lies that surround them, by James D. Agresti (https://www.justfacts.com/news_face_masks_deadly_falsehoods)
Based on the information provided, I have asked my board of health to change their recommendations on masks to “recommended but NOT MANDATE”. The information was not well received by some at the meeting. Statements have been made like “You are not on the front line. You have no medical experience. It’s true, I am not a medical professional and I do not claim to be.
However, the data provided has been extensively researched by medical professionals and other experts. I don’t pretend to do the research, but it is important that the board of health consider all available data – even information that is not endorsed by the governor, the president, or the mainstream media.
This research reveals a lot of solid data which indicates that masks are harmful and ineffective, especially for children. Why are we not allowed to publicly review and discuss this data? The scientific method demands that medical authorities examine ALL data, even data that calls into question their current understanding. Attacking and discrediting alternative views is part of the political playbook of the progressive left. When medical authorities refuse to consider all scientific data, they are undermining their own influence and authority.
Some people ask me: “What about you? Are you looking at all the data? Well, it’s hard to miss the “approved” data. The news cycle presents information that supports masks all day, every day. Unfortunately, medical “authorities” like Dr Anthony Fauci have lied and flip-flopped so often that the public has lost confidence in this information. Using his authority to achieve power over the public, Dr. Fauci destroyed his influence.
Some healthcare professionals claim that masks work because they use them at work every day. However, there are many factors that come into play in a medical environment, including excellent hygiene, frequent mask changes, and excellent environmental cleanliness. To demand that other members of the community, including children, do the same as a hard-working healthcare professional is an outrageous, dangerous and unhealthy abuse of power. The belief that “I do this, so you should do it too” is another example of a misunderstanding about the dynamics of influence and power.
It is time for our public health officials to resume their traditional role of wise influencers, rather than behaving like petty bullies. They must begin by respecting the concerns and points of view of the community and allow an open dialogue with our elected officials. To maintain their influence and regain public trust, the best approach for public health authorities would be to give solid, well-researched advice, and then allow others to make their own personal choices independently.
Believe me, the public wants to trust our health officials. We have questions that we think they should be able to answer. But health officials can be either respected influencers or power-hungry tyrants. They cannot be both because tyranny is never respected. I hope our public health officials rediscover the wisdom of influence and abandon their march towards medical tyranny. It is time to end mask warrants and health warrants of all kinds.
Nancy Churchill is a member of the Ferry County Republican Party State Committee. She can be contacted at DangerousRhetoric@pm.me. The opinions expressed in Dangerous Rhetoric are his own.