As Covid-19 continues to mutate and claim more victims, debates over what the government
should mandate, if anything, continue as well. Many say they’re not really opposed to testing, masks, or
vaccines. Rather they believe people should be free to choose these—or not. Their position may be
debatable. But on one point there should be no debate at all: It is immoral to deny anyone who wants a
vaccine or a Covid-19 test the opportunity to get one.
Many reasons have been given for refusing to take the jabs:
- Vaccines cause autism
- Vaccines contain microchips by which Bill Gates or George Soros can keep track of us
- Vaccines are being pushed simply to maximize the profits of Big Pharma
- Vaccines don’t work
- Etc, Etc, etc
Most of the anti-vaccine reasons are nonsense—the product of the minds of the paranoid, the
delusional, the just plain whacky. How anyone can take these arguments, or those who make them,
seriously in incomprehensible.
It’s easy to draw the line against these arguments, but not so easy against the one anti-vaccine
argument which really makes some sense and should be taken seriously: Vaccination mandated by
government at any level can lead to excessive government intervention in personal lives and should
therefore be resisted.
Those who make this point argue (correctly) that all governments acquire, in times of
emergency, powers they did not previously possess. And no government, having acquired emergency
powers, ever voluntarily relinquishes them once the emergency passes. Therefore, one must be very
careful in extending more power to government, no matter how rational the reason for doing so or how
temporary the extension may be intended. Tests, masks, and vaccinations should remain matters of
personal choice, not government mandates. To grant the government the power to mandate these
measures is to start down the slippery slope of surrendering more and more freedom to government up
to the point where nobody has any freedom left. Freedom given up may become freedom lost forever.
There’s much to question here. I’ve argued in the past that adults should be able to live
their own lives free from government mandates or regulations as long as they hurt nobody. But what of
someone who unintentionally allows himself to get sick by refusing a test, or a mask, or a vaccine?
Those who take the jabs are less likely to get ill with breakthrough cases, less likely to require
hospitalization even if they get breakthrough cases anyway, and less likely to infect others. On the other
hand, those who refuse to avail themselves of the anti-Covid measures developed so far are more likely
to become more severely ill themselves, to divert more medical resources—including scarce hospital
beds—away from others, and to infect others as well. At what point does the right to choose one’s own
medical courses of action become outweighed by the right of others to live in good health in a healthy
society? When does the need to keep government limited yield to the need for the government to
promote sound public health? Where does one draw the line?
But one line that can be drawn—and heighted with signal flares, bright neon lights, anything
that makes the line as bright as the noonday sun—is the line against actually preventing someone who
wants a vaccine from getting it, or at least a test to see if one has Covid-19. Two abominable cases last
week offer examples of utterly immoral and unacceptable misconduct.
In one instance, a mob of anti-vaxxers disrupted an attempt by health care workers to offer
vaccinations to those who wanted them. You can read about it here: Anti-vaxxers swarmed a Georgia
mobile vaccination site, forcing it to shut down – The Washington Post. The violence itself is revolting.
Also revolting is the utter hypocrisy of the mob: It’s members not only want the right to determine for
themselves whether or not to be vaccinated; they also want to take away the same right from those
who disagree with them.
In a second instance, noted conservative commentator Candace Owens was refused a Covid-19
test because the owner of the testing company objected to Owens’s previous anti-vaccination
commentaries. You can read about it here: https://thehill.com/homenews/media/570613-candace-
owens-says-covid-19-testing-lab-denied-her-service. It may be tempting to say Candace Owens is
getting hoisted by her own petard, being given a dose of her own medicine, having her words come back
to haunt her, etc., etc., etc. But no matter how much pro-vaxxers dislike anti-vaxxers, the former should
at least want to help the latter stay healthy. Pro-vaxxers, by definition, want to stop the pandemic as
soon as possible and believe testing, masks, and vaccines are the right tools. They should therefore
welcome any opportunity to encourage everyone to adopt these measures—even, and especially, those
who’ve opposed them in the past. Besides, the pro-vaxxers can have far more fun describing how
they’re making converts of anti-vaxxers than by denying medical assistance even if or when the anti-
vaxxers begin to “see the light.”
The pandemic has gone on far too long, taken too many lives, and done too much damage to
our society, our politics, and our economy already. Knowing we can’t make everyone avail themselves
of the medical treatments available, and being wary of according too much power to government, we
must nonetheless permit no barrier to stand in the way of those seeking medical treatment, and we
must deny no medical treatment to anyone, no matter how much we dislike his politics. To deny
treatment to those seeking it, whoever they are and for whatever reason, will only make a bad situation