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Should You Trust the Local Left?

Summary:
Glenn Youngkin, Virginia’s new governor-elect plans to end the state-level mask mandate, but will not impose a mandate ban on localities: After his inaugural ceremony on Jan. 15, Youngkin said he will not mandate masks and vaccines but–unlike some Republican governors–he will not attempt to block localities from implementing their own requirements. “Localities are going to have to make decisions the way the law works and that is going to be up to individual decisions but, again, from the governor’s office, you won’t see mandates from me,” Youngkin clarified in a one-on-one interview over the weekend. However, Youngkin has also promised to end the teaching of Critical Race Theory throughout Virginia’s public schools. Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn

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Glenn Youngkin, Virginia’s new governor-elect plans to end the state-level mask mandate, but will not impose a mandate ban on localities:

After his inaugural ceremony on Jan. 15, Youngkin said he will not mandate masks and vaccines but–unlike some Republican governors–he will not attempt to block localities from implementing their own requirements.

“Localities are going to have to make decisions the way the law works and that is going to be up to individual decisions but, again, from the governor’s office, you won’t see mandates from me,” Youngkin clarified in a one-on-one interview over the weekend.

However, Youngkin has also promised to end the teaching of Critical Race Theory throughout Virginia’s public schools.

Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin said Saturday that if he is elected the commonwealth’s next governor he will “ban” the teaching of critical race theory on his first day in office.

In other words, he’s not leaving it up to localities.

Which raises a big question: Why trust local governments to make the right decisions on masks, but not the curriculum?

The obvious rationale for the CRT ban is that you don’t trust local governments to make the right choice because they’re somehow dominated by left-wing ideologues.  Either local leaders are themselves ideologues, or they’re so beholden to teachers’ unions that they might as well be.

But if that’s what you think, why on Earth would you trust localities to make the right choice on masks?  If local leaders are left-wing ideologues, or so beholden to teachers’ unions that they might as well be, then localities will mandate masks almost regardless of the objective risks.

The cynical explanation is that Virginia voters clearly oppose CRT in schools, but not masks in schools.  Which also fits with Youngkin’s support for long-standing vaccine mandates, but not a Covid vaccine mandate…

Bryan Caplan
Bryan Caplan is Professor of Economics at George Mason University and Senior Scholar at the Mercatus Center. He has published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the American Economic Review, the Economic Journal, the Journal of Law and Economics, and Intelligence, and has appeared on 20/20, FoxNews, and C-SPAN. Bryan Caplan blogs on EconLog.

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