Government-issued face mask mandates are a “symbol of tyranny” and of an “authoritarian state,” the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus said Tuesday.
In an interview with The Western Journal at a Students for Trump event in Phoenix, Republican Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona contended that such mandates take away residents’ ability to make their own choices.
Last week, the Board of Supervisors in Maricopa County, which Biggs represents parts of, adopted a resolution that requires most residents to wear masks “while inside the enclosed area of any Place of Public Accommodation.”
The resolution came after Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, gave local governments the ability to mandate mask use in public amid a statewide surge in confirmed COVID-19 cases.
But according to Biggs, government mask mandates are antithetical to the concept of self-determination.
“[Mask mandates] are very symbolic of a kind of authoritarian state,” he told The Western Journal.
“Instead of saying, ‘Look, you know what, folks, we trust you, you’re free, you make the choice, if you don’t want to go someplace because you think there’s a risk, don’t go to that place,’ what they’re saying is, ‘We’re going to impose these on you and everyone.’
“And I think that’s problematic,” Biggs said.
And just like this sort of mandate is a symbol of authoritarianism, Biggs said he believes “it’s a symbol of tyranny” as well.
“CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission,” the CDC says on its website.
“Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.”
But according to Biggs, the issue isn’t whether or not Americans should be wearing masks — it’s that he believes it’s not the government’s place to force them to do so.
“A free society might handle this differently,” the Arizona Republican wrote in an Op-Ed for the Washington Examinerlast week. “The easiest case is to allow private businesses and landowners to determine the measures they think most appropriate for public health and safety. We used to do that, prior to the outbreak of COVID-19.
“Further, those who are uneasy about the safety programs of the business would, as a responsible person, determine whether they wanted to patronize that business. Some businesses would see the need to be stricter in enforcement of health and safety measures, some less so.
Biggs emphasized that the “key” is for people to be able to decide for themselves what they want to do.
“The key is that each free person would be able to make their choice,” he wrote.