On the importance of words.

But we are not having a rational discussion about the tools and the investments that we need to reopen the economy. Instead, the people protesting to reopen the economy are also protesting against the use of a key tool to reopen the economy, masks! Welcome to crazy town.

So writes Alex Tabarrok in “Save Grandma, Save the Economy,” Marginal Revolution, May 7.

I think Alex doesn’t get the importance of the word “the” when he writes about “the people protesting to reopen the economy.” If he had said “some of the,” he might have had a point.

I can speak only about the demonstration in Monterey against California Governor Newsom’s lockdown. My local libertarian activist friend Lawrence Samuels and I organized it. I was disappointed that only about half of the protestors wore masks, although about half of this half did seem to be doing reasonable social distancing. But the protest was all about the lockdown. There were, by my count, about 130 people there at the peak. There were probably about 60 or 70 homemade signs protesting the lockdown. I was there from 12:45 p.m., 15 minutes before it began, to 2:10 p.m., 10 minutes after it ended. I walked back and forth checking the signs.

A large number of people, and many of the ones I talked to, wanted desperately to be allowed to go back to work. One hairdresser I talked to by phone afterwards is quite willing to do the masks and all the rest if she can just open her business again.

How many signs did I see protesting masks? Zero.

See here for pics from a local newspaper and here for a video by a local news channel.