Spoiler: It was political liberals and MAGA folks, according to the Death Panel Podcast.
The liberal-conservative binary is related to the left-right binary bequeathed to the world in 1789. The categorical binary is a consequence of what side of the hall the anti-monarch revolutionaries and the elite aristocrats sat on when the French National Assembly drafted a new Constitution in 1789. The Partisans sat to the presiding officer's left, while the monarchist reactionaries sat to the right. This binary impacts how to differentiate between liberals and conservatives and if there are substantial differences in their politics, specifically concerning public health.
To be clear, I am talking about the politics of masking and the assumptions made about which political perspectives have influenced public opinion to stop masking in public.
Contrary to the assumptions that seem to be circulating online, in academia, and pushed by political pundits, MAGA supporters, conspiritualists, and the crusty-to-alt-right communities who deny COVID are not the only force influencing how we interpret the information and research about long COVID, masking, vaccines, and other public health issues.
The Death Panel podcast has been killing it since November 2018, before the ongoing global pandemic began. "The Death Panel is a twice-weekly podcast about the political economy of health co-hosted by Beatrice Adler-Bolton, Artie Vierkant, Phil Rocco, Jules Gill-Peterson, and Abby Cartus."
In a recent episode available to everyone, "How Liberals Killed Masking," the hosts take on one of the sacred cows of the liberal imaginary – that they (liberals) are not responsible for policies that ensure people will continue to get sick from COVID-19.
"We look back at how such a basic intervention as masking during a pandemic became increasingly scrutinized, undermined, and ultimately stigmatized in mainstream discourse over the last three years."
This episode highlights the impact that liberals, progressives, and other people that might identify with the Democratic Party have been a force behind the anti-mask masking politics in the United States. That might come as a surprise to some. Yet, for people who have to live with the consequences of COVID deniers and COVID downplayers, the Venn diagram that demonstrates liberals are closer to the MAGA cultists and COVID deniers than disability studies is not a surprise.
You can follow Death Panel on Instagram here.