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Unmasking Statist, Socialist Propaganda About ‘Face Masks’
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Some clear thinking is required to counter incessant, statist propaganda against the use of N-95 filtering facepiece respirators, to protect against the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The message has been seconded at every turn by the Center for Disease Control, a cumbersome bureaucracy, which tightly controls both testing capacity and criteria. Such centralization is everywhere and always detrimental to the screening and segregating of the infected, and, ultimately, to disease containment.

The State and the agents of America’s highly centralized healthcare system categorically don’t want the citizen to purchase “face masks.” The surgeon general is already “warning Americans” to stop exercising their sovereignty as consumers and quit buying face masks.

Hence the incessant, near-neurotic discrediting of N-95 respirators, which, by previous CDC accounts, can be protective.

Before the outbreak of COVID-19, on its website, the CDC had asked and answered the following question:

“What makes N-95 respirators different from facemasks sometimes called surgical masks?:

“… N-95 respirators are tight-fitting respirators that filter out at least 95% of particles in the air, including large and small particles. … These respirators filter out at least 95% of very small (0.3 micron) particles . … including bacteria and viruses. … [thus reducing] the wearer’s exposure to airborne particles, from small particle aerosols to large droplets.”

By logical extension, properly made and fitted, the N-95 respirator is better than nothing and may certainly be protective. Here’s why:

While the coronavirus is indeed minuscule, smaller than 0.3 microns (likely between 0.1 and 0.2 microns), COVID-19 is delivered in a larger medium of bodily fluids or spray.

Certainly, some barrier to the spittle in which the coronavirus is dispersed is better than none.

No surprise then, that world health authorities can’t seem to get their story straight on masks. At times, they concede “that N-95 face masks are protective.” More frequently, they scratch the proverbial proboscis (ostensibly a sign of lying) and say “No, of course, they’re ineffective.” In other words, “they work for me, the healthcare worker, but not for thee.”

For honesty’s sake, the country’s health-care functionaries might appeal to consumers on the ground of dire shortages. But on the basis that no protection is better than some protection? Please!

In a free society in which the market for goods and services is free, the citizen, not a central planner, decides what purchase is in his best interest.

So, one must be especially stupid to allow a socialist like Bernie Sanders anywhere near the free market, in general, and that for surgical masks, respirators and other pandemic prophylactics, in particular.

Trust me: If the country’s health-care overlords could, they would prohibit people who want to wear N-95 respirators, during the COVID-19 pandemic, from purchasing these.

In their universe, masks are a zero-sum commodity. The more of them sovereign consumers purchase, the fewer remain for healthcare workers.

But that’s not how the glorious free market works.

Provided politicians, especially Sanders, stay out of it, here’s how the market for surgical face masks and respirators will work:

A rise in consumer demand for this product, reflected in empty shelves and relatively higher prices, will galvanize business to hire more workers and produce more of the coveted commodity.

Prices are crucial. They are the street signs of the economy. The thing the socialists will soon insist on controlling (“price-controls”) and suppressing are the vital signs of the economy.

In particular, scarcity and high prices are vital signals. Mask these natural market indices, and you kill off the knowledge needed by manufacturers and entrepreneurs to decide whether to rush into the production of surgical face masks and N-95 respirators.

Remove the precious profit motive from mask-making—and any other production process—and you kill off the incentive to produce.

Now you get why the socialist societies serenaded by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y, and Mr. Sanders suffer starvation-level shortages. The natural laws of economics cannot be suspended by man, not even by AOC and Mr. Sanders.

Rest assured that rising mask prices will make Bernie roar, as is his wont, about ruthless speculators and “profiteers” who are “causing a spike in prices.”

Bernie, AOC and their acolytes don’t quite comprehend that prices are determined by supply and demand.

Purchasing patterns drive prices up or down. Through their competitive bidding, consumers raise the price of a commodity. In this unhampered market, rising prices of face-masks, respirators, hand sanitizers and the like has signaled to established manufacturers and new entrepreneurs that there are profits to be made in these industries.

Only fools flout these signals. For without profits and prices there is no production.

The much–maligned price system works, moreover, not only to secure supply, but to conserve resources. The price system—rising mask prices, in this case—tells consumers to adjust their consumption and conserve their resources. Manufacturers may even deliver reusable respirators and face masks.

If Sanders becomes the sovereign, citizens will no longer be able to exercise their sovereignty and purchase surgical masks or N-95 respirators freely.

Under Bernie Sanders, facemasks, which every citizen has the right to purchase, if he so wishes, will be unavailable during a pandemic such as the coronavirus.

Here’s how Sanders will likely respond to the impatient call of the U.S. surgeon general for Americans to “stop buying masks.”

Bernie will likely use a declaration of emergency to commandeer the means of production, directing manufacturers to ship supplies exclusively to Atlanta, Georgia, home of the CDC, for the health-care politburo to “administer” in accordance with the “superior” knowledge and wisdom of command economists and apparatchiks.

And, Sanders will disrupt the magical market forces—the profit motive—that, in short order, will supply us all with the N-95 respirators and surgical masks we have a right to purchase, if we so wish.


Little do Sanders, AOC and their foot soldiers understand that prices are like a compass. Pegged to supply and demand, they ensure the correct allocation of resources. Without market prices, supply and demand cannot be brought into balance and, by extension, consumer need can’t be satisfied, especially in times of great need.

Masks and all others pandemic prophylactics are currently exorbitantly priced to reflect high demand and subsequent scarcity. These prices have already been taken by producers as a signal to accelerate productions.

Every bit as pernicious as COVID-19 is the central planner, who, exploiting his near monopoly over force, is capable of using a declared national emergency to seize the means of producing face masks and N-95 respirators. He would force an economic sector to respond, not to the sovereign consumer, but to command centers in Atlanta (CDC), Bethesda (NIH) and Geneva (WHO).


Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She’s the author of Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011) & The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016). She’s on Twitter, Facebook & Gab.

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  1. Svevlad says:

    Then how come basically every non-anglo nation can make it work? Even more centralized, yet idiotic ideas like that don’t happen?

    I’m starting to think they might just be autistic. The retarded legal system is certainly a giant red flag.

  2. Realist says:

    Yes, those in power always want to have total control of their subjects.

  3. Blubb says:

    Ok it IS idiotic to tell citizens that the masks are ineffective. Being honest and just saying you need them for the healthcare workers would be much better, more respectful and more effective, I think.

    On the other hand, to think that producers have the ability to suddenly deliver more of these masks in the short term – now – is equally stupid. There is a spike in demand now, but any producer would be idiotic in investing more in machinery just because of a short term spike. Until the machines could be delivered the demand would already have vanished again.

    Seriously. Think before you write.

  4. onebornfree says: • Website

    “Bernie, AOC and their acolytes don’t quite comprehend that prices are determined by supply and demand…….Only fools flout these signals. For without profits and prices there is no production.”

    Thanks, for writing this simple , clear explanation of how markets actually work in the real world when left alone, Ms Mercer.

    However , I would say that you wasted your time- such simple , clear explanations/illustrations fall on deaf ears here, where most article writers and readers are socialist, going on full commie. A veritable gang of idiots, in fact.

    After all, the standard hue and cry from the assorted know-it-all cretins here, to any perceived problem [such as high prices of certain goods/services] is invariably: ” Mo’gubmint, mo’gubmint, mo’ gubmint”, when almost invariably, those high prices were in the first place caused by “mo’ gubmint”.

    And so it goes….

    Regards, onebornfree

  5. What a junk article. And how sleazy it is to link Sanders to some inconsistent mutterings from a Government body that you despise a priori. Sleazy.
    “The natural laws of economics cannot be suspended by man,”
    The natural laws of economics. Jesus, i didnt believe there were still people so bogus as to spread such shit. Laws my arse.
    Oh, & Ilana, in a case such as face masks, which is (now) an economic /social outlier the rules change. Producers dont need “price” signals to know demand. (ie empty shelves) Nor does demand exist in a vaccum. Masks are now beyond mere expressions of consumer masturbation. You know, like in a war, certain items take on non- economic features. But hey, like youd give a shit. With a sleazy fanatic like you guiding things the US would have LOST WW II. But again, like you’d give a shit, you libertarian sleaze bag.

  6. @animalogic

    Well said! “Natural laws” indeed. Greedy men devise ways of fleecing their fellowman and invent a great truckload of BS to explain how natural it is to be thieving dirtbags. `

  7. So Miss Mercer, tell us , how long does it take to get new production up to speed in order to meet demand for these face masks?
    Do you know how many masks are made in the US each year?

    How do you respond to the owner of Prestige Ameritech , who during the swine flu panic a few years ago did move into a larger factory and hired 150 new workers, only to nearly lose his business and have to fire 100 people when the pandemic was over and there was a glut of masks? During that panic there were 2 to 3 year back orders for new masks.

    The same producer said that running his machines round the clock could increase his production from 600,000 masks a day to 1 million masks a day.

    Do you know how many masks are made in the US each year? How many masks that health care workers would need to deal with a pandemic? We produce roughly 1.5 billion masks a year in the US. Estimates say that just the health care system would need 1.7 to 3 billion masks to deal with a pandemic.

    Tell us Miss Mercer, are you going to invest in the new production to triple the number of masks being output by US factories?

  8. Quebecer says:

    You seem enamoured of the word ‘sleaze’, using it no less than 4 times in your post.

    It was already obvious that you did not agree with the author, your point was clearly made. No need for that kind of insult.

    • Replies: @animalogic
  9. Funny how Free Market Mercer can’t bring herself to even mention how the US’s greatest actual socialist “sovereign” – herr trumpf – just got off pushing debt-financed tax subsidies for wealthy folk and corporations and now seeks to short-circuit “price discovery/clearing” in his beloved stock market via a moronic trash-talk campaign against the Fed. He’s a big enough moron to actually believe that the Fed controls the stock market.

    That’s the definition of socialism. As for his “trade deal” with China, that too is the exact opposite of free – it’s one big quota imposed from the top.

    Guess Mercer gives Trump a pass because Trump is an Israel-firster who doesn’t like blacks – while Bernie and AOC are not.

  10. “Highly centralized health care system.” 🙂 Hahahahahahahahahaha.

    American anything is “socialist.” :-)) Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

    This woman is delusional.

  11. @animalogic

    You are wonderful. Calling a sleaze-bag a sleaze-bag. Right on the money.

    Btw, the shelves are empty of life-saving devices, not just because of “capitalism,” or “free market” whatever they are.

    They are empty of life-saving devices because of “just-in-time production.” Which is a hare-brained scheme that supposedly comes out of the efficiencies of the “free market.” hardeharharhar. Good job, “Free Market.” Kudos.

  12. Binyamin says:

    It is not clear why Seattle is now the epicentre of coronavirus in America. Since Mercer lives somewhere around Seattle one can understand her anxiety. Unfortunately, anxiety can make one paranoid and this can lead to belief in conspiracy theories. Mercer is part of, albeit a small one, of internet based hard right people for whom believing in conspiracy theories is almost a rite of passage. The proper thing when face with a previously unknown pandemic is to listen to medical experts specialising in epidemics who are qualified to pronounce on minimising the danger of coronavirus. If they are saying that face masks are ineffective, then you do not use it. Where does ‘free market’ or socialism come in regarding the issues caused by the spread of a pandemic? Why drag the name of Bernie Sanders? What has he got to do with coronavirus? If we should be worried about any politician, it is Trump. He is clueless and unlike the British government, Trump has no plan in place if the situation gets to the next phase. He is laid back, lethargic and is effectively saying that everyone is overreacting and that the situation is exaggerated. Thank God Trump has not embarrassed decent Americans by pronouncing that coronavirus is fake news although I would not be surprised if in private he is saying that coronavirus is a fake news generated in China. No doubt some of the more fanatical of his followers probably believe that the pandemic is developed and spread by the Chinese!
    If any of you enjoy reading fake news, the proper advice is, leave the fiction to the authentic writers of fiction. Go and read a decent novel or short story.

  13. jonswift says:

    I for one hope the Corona Virus infects every human being on the earth including me, and kills at the highest rate its god wants it– hoping for at least a 90% kill rate, but will settle for the measly 3.4% as it is currently–looking forward to the survival of the fittest and to see a much better world.

  14. @Blubb

    Seriously. Think before you write.

    Asking a bit too much from a libertarian, aren’t you?

  15. @Quebecer

    “No need for that kind of insult.”
    Perhaps. But, i found this article extremely wrong. I found the auther’s arbitrary linkage of Sanders with the rights/wrongs of government response to corona to be absolutely vile. The lowest kind of journalism.
    So, yes, it was insulting, but, i think deserved.
    (what makes it all worse, is the beginning of the article where the author debates the uses etc of facemasks to be rational & useful. However, by the article’s end, one could be forgiven for thinking that the article beginning was a sneaky way of validating the WHOLE point of the article: ie to smear Sanders. I stand by the use of “sleazy”. I was tempted to use the word “dreck”….

  16. I can’t say I agree completely with you on the need to wear face masks to begin with, Miss Mercer, as I think this whole corona virus thing has been overblown. My family has been trying to hunker down just a tad, but that’s pretty easy when you’re not particularly pillars of the community and you live with some space around you, a real blessing we have (and are throwing away) in this country, vs., China. With my job, I can’t go around wearing a face mask for … how long? Months??

    Regarding a case of Corona, the Peak Stupidity blog notes WHO Cares. According to WHO, the discharging of copious amounts of yellow phlegm and explosive diarrhea are the price we must pay in order to avoid stigmatization. Don’t stigmatize me, bro!

    However, Ilana, your common-sense discussion of shortages, prices, and functioning of a free market really hit the spot. Thank you for that. It’s amazing that even intelligent commenters on the unz threads cannot learn, if not from a basic understanding of prices as information and supply/demand, at least from 100 years of examples of central control ruination of economies. These people have no ability to grasp human nature and at the same time, are extremely ignorant of history. It’s all in books, I mean, the examples are abundant over the last century.

    Instead, we’ve got people on here who sound like Stalin or Mao, ready to draw up the next 5-year plan that THE PEOPLE will have to sweat, suffer and die for to make the numbers “pencil out”, except, wait, Comrade, The People’s pencil factory is behind on their quota due to, shhhh …uh, supply shortages of The People’s market. I guess it will have to “blood out” rather than “pencil out”.

    Five Year Plans and New Deals, wrapped in golden chains …

    From the best voice ever in Rock & Roll, CCR said it best. “Who’ll Stop the Rain?”:

  17. Trump should learn about free markets – so much better for actual taxpayers than his preferred mafiosi real estate shyster markets which always demand something-for-nothing handouts and subsidies.

    A true parasite…….

  18. jo blo says:

    A demand spike will cause consumers to take an interest in stocking up for the next need, and entrepreneurs to answer the question “how can I be ready to capitalize on the next spike” .

    I’ve been researching a bit, the filter paper needs to be a non-woven type – woven fabrics have holes at each crosspoint that are too large- non-woven are made of tiny fibers with millions of tiny holes. According to wiki: hepa rated vaccuum bags are equivalent to p100 mask filters ( better than n95 – the numbers are % of particles stopped, the p means indefinitely reusable). I was too late buying face masks, but got 45 vac bags that could be easily made into masks. I also got a couple of “3m 6300 series reusable dust masks”, that take long lasting p100 filters . Another idea for filter paper might be those blue paper towels they sell for shop use – they are tough and non woven, could be hot melt glued into a shaped mask, or used as replaceable filters for a cloth mask which uses a pad of replaceable filter paper – patterns for making your own are at pinterest.

    So there’s an example of the real world difference between a free market vs a socialist approach to a problem. Unhappy with what the market provided, I found ways around the shortage. I’m not likely to set up a manufacturing capability, but I’ll be considering it further. Somebody with an assembly line making ?mittens, or some such would be partway there and more likely to add dust mask capability in case of another demand spike.
    @Blubb waits for the govt to provide, good luck with that.

  19. My question always is “How does the mask tell who’s wearing it, so that it knows whether to work or not?”

  20. “Prices are like a compass. Pegged to supply and demand, they ensure the correct allocation of resources. Without market prices, supply and demand cannot be brought into balance and, by extension, consumer need can’t be satisfied, especially in times of great need.”

    This woman is proof positive of the contention that women are stupid. She actually believes crap like this.

    • Replies: @Quebecer
  21. Quebecer says:

    What a silly generalization.
    Maybe ‘this man’ could show us just how smart he is by actually making his point instead of insulting people like a petulant schoolboy

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