As I wrote last month, we were never going to have permanent masking. But we are going to have permanent health collectivist compulsion.
Out go the masks, in go the vaccine passports.
Oregon businesses that choose to offer mask-free shopping for people who are fully inoculated against COVID-19 will likely be required to inspect each customer’s vaccination card and check the dates of individual shots, a top state health official said Friday.
That’s the protocol the Oregon Health Authority is expected to adopt when it issues written guidance for businesses in the days ahead. Businesses that don’t want the hassle still will be allowed to require masks regardless of vaccination status.
Dr. Dean Sidelinger, the state health officer and epidemiologist, said verifying vaccinations will be key to ensuring the safety of customers and employees. But, he acknowledged, the shift in federal mask guidance marks a “radical change” and likely will lead to some headaches for local stores.
“Businesses have a choice about which system to implement,” he said, “and individuals have a choice.”
That’s not how ‘choice’ works.
This goes back to the use of public health measures as social science collectivism. The mask guidance has been driven not by medical guidance or ‘the science’, but by some larger agenda. First, we were told not to wear masks, not because of the ‘science’, but to reserve them for health care workers. Then we were told to wear them, not because they were especially effective, but as a prompt to maintain social distancing. Now the mask regime is being rapidly dismantled to prompt people to get vaccinated. This is, it goes without saying, the worst way to do it.
Public health measures are not meant to be a means to an end. When you repeatedly tell people to do things, not because they’re medically valid in and of themselves, but because you’re ‘nudging’ them to do what you really want, that’s a totalitarian scheme that destroys public trust.
This is the ‘nudge’ that Obama embraced.
Behavioral “nudges” can increase college enrollment by low-income students, boost health insurance take up, encourage federal workers to save for retirement, cut delinquencies on student loans, reduce vendor fraud, and save paper, according to the first annual report of the White House’s “nudge” unit.
President Obama established the unit—officially known as the Social and Behavioral Sciences Team (SBST)—to use insights from psychology, behavioral economics, and other decision sciences to improve federal programs and operations.
Obama created this nightmarish manipulation department through executive order. It’s not clear if Trump overrode that executive order. While the team no longer officially exists, it can be revived.
On Tuesday President Barack Obama issued an executive order formally establishing the White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team while also directing federal agencies to examine how they can use behavioral science to improve outcomes for citizens across the United States.
“Adopting the insights of behavioral science will help bring our government into the 21st century in a wide range of ways—from delivering services more efficiently and effectively to accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy; to helping workers find better jobs, gain access to educational opportunity, and lead longer, healthier lives,” Obama explained in a statement.
To mark Obama’s executive order, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy hosted an informational event at the White House which featured remarks from Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman, Harvard Professor and Nudge co-author Cass Sunstein, as well as a number of leaders of White House Policy Councils.
Since 2014, the Social and Behavioral Sciences Team, often referred to as the ‘US Nudge Unit,’ has been working quietly within the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
The ‘Nudge’ state is everywhere now.
Yesterday, the Social and Behavioral Sciences Team—led by Maya Shankar, a Senior Advisor at the Office of Science and Technology Policy—also issued its first annual report detailing findings from more than a dozen behavioral science initiatives it conducted over the past year.
Shankar now works for Google. Which seems only appropriate.