I found listening to him think out loud utterly maddening in a way that listening to out-and-out left-wingers wasn’t. He’s soft-spoken. He’s practical. He’s liberal, but not a leftist. Fundamentally, he believes in markets and our Constitution, and his belief is reassured by how often these things work against Republicans. He thinks the media has a bias against Democrats, holding them to higher standards than Republicans. Sometimes leftist positions make him really uncomfortable, but if going against them in any sustained way would make him look like a conservative, well he just sort of . . . doesn’t, because he doesn’t think of himself as one of those gross people. He’s sane and, if you hadn’t noticed, he’s going places.
“What would David Leonhardt say and do in public?” is now my barometer for how American institutions are likely to think and act. So when Leonhardt came out and said this week that maybe we can stop wearing masks outdoors, it seemed like evidence that our institutions might be beginning to talk about the science and confront the superstition that the most cautious, risk-averse approach is the one that aligns with the science.
Astute readers (and David Leonhardt) have known that outdoor transmission of the coronavirus was rare, and that outdoor spaces were thus pretty safe, since last May. But it wasn’t safe to say so too loudly, because that meant giving aid and comfort to crazies such as Ron DeSantis and those disgusting Florida beachgoers. Eventually, the winter surge turned outdoor mask-wearing into the norm in urban centers, and the evidence was ignored altogether. Now, finally, a year late, it’s becoming safe to point out that wearing masks outside may not be justified by the science.
Maybe in another year, we’ll be ready to admit many other things that
are obvious but impolite to say...............read more here.