bookmark_border“They don’t deserve their jobs back”

“1,400 people voluntarily quit their jobs rather than get vaccinated. They don’t deserve their jobs back. They chose not to do a very, very harmless thing that protects the rest of society. [Expletive] them. I don’t give a [expletive]. ‘This is unfair,’ [expletive] deal with it.”

These are the words of someone named Chris Baugh, an employee of the New York City mayor’s office, which were brought to light last month in a Project Veritas report.

It is disturbing and infuriating that anyone would think, let alone say, such things.

Yes, the 1,400 employees chose not to take an action that protects the rest of society.* So what? People are not morally obligated to protect the rest of society. People are obligated merely to abstain from actively harming people. There simply is no moral obligation to protect other people. I don’t understand why Baugh would react with such viciousness and nastiness towards people who did not harm anyone, but merely abstained from actively protecting others. These employees did nothing wrong.

Then there is the fact that getting a vaccine is not harmless, let alone “very, very” harmless. Getting the covid vaccine requires one’s skin to be penetrated with a needle. That is inherently harmful. Maybe not hugely so… but the magnitude of the harm does not matter. There is no moral obligation to make any sacrifice to protect other people, no matter how small. When you take into account the fact that covid vaccines frequently cause people to become sick for up to 48 hours (that’s a pretty long time to be sick in my book), plus the risk of serious side effects such as strokes and myocarditis, it becomes even more incorrect to call the vaccines harmless.

Contrary to Mr. Baugh’s assertion, the city employees who lost their jobs due to declining a medical intervention absolutely do deserve their jobs back. These employees did nothing wrong; therefore they did not deserve to be punished by having their employment terminated. Declining medical intervention is something that people have a fundamental right to do. Declining medical intervention is not wrong, and it is never acceptable to punish people for it in any way. This is a very, very important moral principle that I will continue to reiterate as long it is not universally agreed upon.

“[Expletive] them”? Really? No, [expletive] you, Mr. Baugh, for your cruelty, viciousness, and nastiness towards people who did absolutely nothing wrong.

How dare you ridicule people for claiming that vaccine mandates are unfair, when in reality, vaccine mandates are unfair, and therefore the people you are ridiculing are saying something that is completely true?

How dare you not “give a [expletive]” about the fact that people’s rights were violated?

And how dare you demand that people who unjustly lost their jobs “deal with it”?

Requiring someone to get a medical procedure as a condition of employment is morally wrong, is unfair, and violates the person’s rights. People should not be expected to “deal with” things that are morally wrong and unfair and that violate their rights. If something is morally wrong, unfair, and violates people’s rights, as is the case with vaccine mandates, then it should not be tolerated, accepted, or dealt with; it should be gotten rid of.

But apparently, Chris Baugh believes that morally wrong, unfair, and rights-violating situations are perfectly fine, and that the people who voice their opposition to them are the problem.

Fortunately, Baugh was fired on October 20, the day after his words were published. Someone who has demonstrated such appalling moral bankruptcy deserves neither a job nor, in my opinion, the right to breathe oxygen or exist on this earth.

*Although even that is debatable, because covid vaccines seem to have almost zero effect on the actual spread of covid, but only its severity.

bookmark_borderMy public comment on CDC/APIP Docket No. CDC-2022-0111

Below is a public comment that I submitted regarding the possibility of adding the Covid shot to the immunization schedule for kids, which the CDC will be meeting to discuss tomorrow. If you are so inclined, you can leave a comment yourself at this link. Please reference CDC/APIP Docket No. CDC-2022-0111.

To whom it may concern:

I am strongly opposed to the addition of any vaccines, particularly the Covid-19 shot, to the Vaccines for Children program. In my opinion, there are already too many shots, tests, and other medical procedures that children are made to routinely undergo, which negatively impacts their quality of life. The last thing our society should be doing is adding to the list of medical procedures that children are subjected to.

In my opinion, it is a particularly bad idea to add the Covid-19 shot to the list of vaccines administered through the Vaccines for Children program. Although there is some evidence that these shots reduce the severity of illness for people who get Covid-19, there is no evidence that the shots actually prevent people from catching Covid in the first place. This factor alone makes Covid shots significantly different from the other vaccines in the Vaccines for Children program, all of which prevent diseases as opposed to merely reducing their severity. I believe that every person has an absolute and fundamental human right to make his/her own medical decisions, and therefore I am philosophically opposed to making any medical procedure mandatory under any circumstances. However, I think that it would be particularly wrong to make the Covid shot mandatory because the justification of protecting the community by reducing disease transmission cannot really be used for shots that do not prevent transmission.

Another factor that weighs against routinely administering Covid shots to children is the fact that children are at very low risk for severe illness or death from Covid. Plus, from the data available so far, the risk of side effects from Covid shots appears to be quite high. It is very common for people to become sick for a day or two following getting these shots. Although this does not generally pose a threat to people’s long-term health, both the experience of receiving a shot and the resulting side effects have a negative impact on quality of life. This negative impact on quality of life should not be dismissed.

In conclusion, the drawbacks to administering Covid shots to children appear to be quite high, and the benefits quite low. Therefore, it is not clear that receiving these shots is, on the whole, beneficial to children. The moral principles of individual liberty, bodily autonomy, and medical freedom also weigh strongly against adding the Covid shot to the Vaccines for Children program. I feel strongly that children and their parents should have the freedom to weigh risks and benefits themselves and make their own decisions. I feel strongly that the Covid shot should be optional.

Sincerely,

Marissa B.

bookmark_borderThe incomprehensible hatred for “the anti-vaxers”

“I’m massively hostile to the anti-vaxers. Love the Singapore idea of making them pay for their hospital treatment. Or if that’s too strong the Greek idea of fining the elderly 85 pounds for every month they refuse the vaccine. Something must be done.”

So reads a tweet from last year, which has been making the rounds because its author (hypocritically) recently complained that his latest covid vaccine made him more sick than actually getting covid. 

There are numerous problems with this tweet.

First, the author equates “anti-vaxers” with people who choose not to get the Covid vaccine. This is erroneous, because choosing not to do something is not the same as being opposed to the thing. A person can fully support the fact that vaccines exist and are widely available, while themselves choosing not to get one. Apparently, the idea of people being able to make their own choices is a difficult concept for this tweeter to grasp. 

Second, I disagree with the implication that making vaccine-free people pay for “hospital treatment” is a harsher policy than fining them each month. In my opinion, fining people for the mere fact that they decline the vaccine is by far the harsher (and therefore much more unjust and morally wrong) of the two policies. Holding people financially responsible for medical services that they receive is, arguably, not a punishment at all, but merely the default. After all, for products and services in general, it is typical that when a person purchases a product or service, they are expected to pay for it. When it comes to medical services, it is common for either an insurance company or the government to pay, but holding the individual person financially responsible is not so much a punishment, as the withholding of a benefit. On the other hand, fining a person for declining a medical procedure is directly and indisputably punishing a person for their personal medical decision. It is, therefore, an egregious violation of fundamental human rights. This is much more severe than merely withholding a benefit. Plus, for vaccine-free people who do not ever end up requiring “hospital treatment” for Covid (most likely the vast majority!), the Singapore policy would not negatively affect them at all. That policy only has a negative financial effect on people who are unlucky enough to get a severe enough case of Covid that they go to a hospital. The Greek policy, on the other hand, directly punishes all old people who decline the vaccine, regardless of whether they end up getting severely sick from Covid, or even whether they end up getting Covid at all. This, again, is much more severe than a policy that only affects the few people who happen to get a very severe case of Covid.

Third, people do not “refuse the vaccine.” They choose not to get the vaccine. Semantics matter.

But most important of all is the fact that the overall sentiments expressed in this tweet are absolutely incomprehensible to me. How on earth could someone be “massively hostile” to people who are doing absolutely nothing wrong? To people who are simply going about their lives and minding their own business? How could someone be “massively hostile” towards people for declining a medical procedure? Declining medical procedures is something that people have a fundamental human right to do. How could someone feel hostility towards people for simply going without a particular medical intervention? I just don’t get it.

And why exactly must something be done about the fact that people have declined a medical procedure? People have a fundamental right to make their own medical decisions. People have a fundamental right to decline medical procedures. If a person doesn’t wish to get a medical procedure, then for them to decline the medical procedure is exactly what makes sense. It is exactly the way that things should be. Why would someone consider this a problem? I just don’t understand this way of thinking.

In short, I am “massively hostile” to people who engage in this intolerant, nasty, and authoritarian way of thinking. It is this way of thinking, not people who decline the vaccine, that something must be done about.

bookmark_borderMaking one’s own decisions is a right, not a burden

I recently read a New York Times article about the fact that “the onus has fallen on individual Americans to decide how much risk they and their neighbors face from the coronavirus — and what, if anything, to do about it.”

In my opinion, this is exactly the way it should be, and exactly the way it should have been all along, from the beginning of the pandemic.

The author of the article, Benjamin Mueller, characterizes calculating one’s covid risk as “a fraught exercise.” He writes that “many scientists said they also worried about this latest phase of the pandemic heaping too much of the burden on individuals to make choices about keeping themselves and others safe.”

“All of the layered protections we’ve been talking about for the entire pandemic, each of those is being stripped away,” public health professor Marney White says in the article. “It’s impossible to calculate risk in these situations.”

I completely disagree with the implication that being responsible for making one’s own covid-related choices is a bad thing. The onus should fall on individuals to make decisions about their own health and safety, because making one’s own decisions is a fundamental right. It is liberating, not burdensome, to have one’s freedom of choice respected. It is very much a good thing that people are no longer being forced to take safety measures that may not make sense to them given their wishes, needs, and preferences.

Quite frankly, for many of the “layered protections” that White mentions, it is a good thing that they are being taken away. Measures such as stay at home orders, vaccine mandates, and required testing violate people’s rights and therefore should never have been instituted in the first place. Being able to live without one’s fundamental rights being violated is an essential part of a life worth living. This is the opposite of a burden.

It may very well be true that it is impossible to calculate risk with a high degree of certainty. But freedom of choice is a fundamental right, no matter how much or how little information about risk is available. I disagree with the implication that it is somehow preferable to have one’s freedom of choice taken away than to make choices in a situation with incomplete information. 

It is up to each individual person to make choices according to his or her own preferences, values, and risk tolerance. It is up to each individual person to decide how much or how little research to do, and how much or how little information to obtain during the decision-making process. Sometimes very clear and precise information is available, and sometimes it is not. Regardless, making choices for oneself is a fundamental right that everyone needs and deserves.

A couple of other notes:

The article states that two thirds of people “have not received the critical security of a booster shot.” But the security provided by a booster shot is not critical, as people have a fundamental right to make their own decision about whether or not to get a booster shot (or an initial vaccine, for that matter).

Also, one mathematics professor who is quoted in the article makes a very wrong comparison. The professor, Cameron Byerley, explains that she told her mother-in-law that having a 10% risk of dying from a covid infection (as was the case early in the pandemic) is the same as being told you are going to die one out of every 10 times you use the bathroom. But this is a faulty comparison. Every person goes to the bathroom at least once per day (a conservative estimate). If you are told that you will die one out of every 10 times you use the bathroom, that means that death from going to the bathroom is inevitable. Most people, in fact, will die within a week. Getting covid, on the other hand, happens much less frequently than going to the bathroom! Unlike with going to the bathroom, it is unusual for someone to get covid more than once within a year. So no, dying one out of every 10 times you use the bathroom is not like dying one out of every 10 times you get covid. A 10% chance of dying for something that you do every day is very different from a 10% chance of dying for something that happens at most a handful of times in a lifetime. 

bookmark_borderYou don’t need to understand people’s decisions in order to respect them

One of the moral principles that I strongly believe in, and that I frequently write about on this blog, is the idea that people have the right to do anything they want, as long as it does not violate the rights of anyone else. (This idea is known as the non-aggression principle.)

Unfortunately, many people have the idea that unless they personally understand and agree with another person’s actions and decisions, those actions and decisions are not legitimate. I strongly disagree with this way of thinking. As long as someone’s actions are not directly harming you, they are not required to justify those actions to you, or to anyone else. People have a right to do whatever they believe is best for them. It doesn’t matter if their reasoning does not make sense to you, because their reasoning is none of your business.

Second Amendment rights provide a great example of this. More times than I can count, I have heard the claim, “No one needs an AR-15” (as well as an almost infinite number of variations of this claim with regard to different types of weapons, ammunition, etc.). People who make this claim are completely disregarding the non-aggression principle. One doesn’t need to prove a need for something in order to be allowed to have it. The only thing that matters is the fact that having an AR-15 does not, in itself, harm anyone. Therefore, people have the right to own and carry AR-15s for any reason, or for no reason at all. 

This meme from the National Association for Gun Rights sums it up perfectly:

Another decision that people are frequently expected to justify is the decision not to receive the Covid vaccine. Once I was arguing with someone on Twitter who claimed that if a person chooses not to follow the advice of public health experts, then of course it makes sense that the person would not be allowed to just wander around in public. This line of reasoning took my breath away, not just because of its blatant and unabashed authoritarianism, but more subtly because of its disturbing presumption that people are required to justify their medical decisions. This person seemed to be presuming that people are obligated to provide some sort of medical justification for disobeying the advice of medical experts, and if they fail to do so, then it is okay for them to be punished by having their freedoms taken away. In other words, it is one thing if someone has medical contraindications to getting the vaccine, but absent that, everyone should get the vaccine. Consistent with this way of thinking, the person then proceeded to interrogate me about what reasons a person could possibly have for declining the vaccine. But this way of thinking is wrong, and this line of questioning completely misses the point. Other people’s medical decisions, and the reasons for them, are none of his business and none of my business, either. The right to decline medical procedures is fundamental, and no one is required to provide medical justification, or any justification at all, for exercising it. “I don’t want to” is a perfectly good and complete reason for declining the vaccine.

Analogous situations frequently arise in everyday life as well. Society often expects people to provide a reason if they say no to an invitation, or leave a social event before it is over. These expectations are problematic for me, because I don’t particularly enjoy socializing, and I’m not able to tolerate it for as large amounts of time as most people are. Once when I told a friend that I was having a busy week and therefore wouldn’t be able to go to a particular event with her, she insisted that I explain exactly what I was doing and why that made it impossible for me to attend the event. I have been advised, when a social event is lasting longer than I want to stay, that I should make an excuse such as saying that I have a headache or have to get up early the next day. This has always seemed not quite right to me. Why should I have to make an excuse for staying for what I perceive to be a normal amount of time? My decision to leave a social event would be perfectly legitimate even if my only reason for doing so was preferring to play video games, sit on my couch, or watch paint dry. Just like with medical decisions or gun ownership decisions, people should not have to justify to others their decisions about how to spend their time and energy.

bookmark_borderWashington council member’s absurd comments on vaccine mandate

Thankfully, vaccine mandates have been lifted over the past few weeks in various places. One such place was Washington, D.C., where Mayor Muriel Bowser lifted that city’s mandate on February 15. Dismayingly, however, there are numerous people who value safety over respecting people’s fundamental rights, and who have objected to the lifting of vaccine mandates.

One such person was Washington, D.C. Councilmember Brianne Nadeau, who said (according to the Daily Wire):

“As a CM, and a parent of 2 kids under 5, I am flabbergasted and angry. Why would we give up on vaccines when we have come this far? Why are we not protecting the workers in these industries? Why are we telling parents we don’t care if they participate in society? I’m so F-ing mad… This will have a chilling impact on businesses. People who were going out and eating indoors BECAUSE of the mandate will not do that anymore.”

Everything about this statement is absurd.

First of all, ceasing to force people to get vaccines against their will does not constitute “giving up on vaccines.” It is frustrating that so many people equate forcing people to do a thing with the thing itself.

Second, the vaccine mandate applied to workers at affected businesses in addition to customers. Forcing workers to get a medical procedure against their will is the exact opposite of “protecting the workers in these industries.”

Third, it is preposterous to claim that ceasing to force people to get vaccines against their will constitutes “telling parents we don’t care if they participate in society.” There is absolutely nothing about allowing people to make their own medical decisions that prevents parents from participating in society. It seems that Nadeau is attempting to claim that it is impossible for children under 5, because they are not eligible for the vaccine, to go to places where there is any chance that a non-vaccinated person might exist. This is blatantly false. Plus, Nadeau should have specified that she meant specifically parents of kids under 5, while accompanied by their kids, as opposed to merely using the word “parents” and forcing people to guess about what she actually meant.

Additionally, it is irrelevant whether or not ceasing to violate people’s rights will have a chilling impact on businesses. Violating people’s rights is wrong, in all cases, regardless of the impact on businesses (or anything else, for that matter). If people stop eating indoors because they are unwilling to do so unless the rights of others are violated, so be it.

This leads to my most important point: it is incomprehensible that someone could be “flabbergasted,” “angry,” or “F-ing mad” about the fact that people’s rights are not going to be violated anymore. It is vaccine mandates themselves, not their abolition, that ought to make every person on earth flabbergasted, angry, and F-ing mad.

Finding it unacceptable for people’s fundamental rights to actually be respected, Nadeau introduced a bill to reinstate D.C.’s vaccine mandate. Thankfully, her efforts were unsuccessful. But that didn’t stop her from making another preposterous statement, which you can read below:

“I still believe that reinstating the proof of vaccination requirement for certain establishments and facilities is the best way to protect public health and safety. I believe that it is the best way to protect our immunocompromised neighbors, children under five, and even the ninety-three percent of District residents who have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. I strongly encourage businesses to keep this protection in place for their workers and patrons. I truly believe that patrons will choose to spend their money in the places they feel protected. If the Washington Post poll is any indication, then 74 percent of residents who support the requirement will have your back. The restaurant workers who have to face unvaccinated out-of-state customers want it. The parents who have to make tough decisions every day about what risks to take with their young children want it. Residents in their twenties still suffering from long COVID want others to avoid their pain, and the residents who passed away saying goodbye to their loved ones on FaceTime would want it if their voices could be heard… I will continue to engage in the hard work of making the District safer, healthier, and fairer.. I implore the Mayor to do the right thing. I implore her to stand up for workers, for young people, for sick people, and for all those whose voices have been drowned out in this conversation by those of lobbyists.”

Let’s go over everything that is wrong with this statement. 

First of all, the number of people who support something has nothing whatsoever to do with whether the thing is right or wrong.

Second of all, I find it odd for someone to refer to being robbed of bodily autonomy as a “protection.” I would much rather patronize a business where my fundamental rights are respected, as opposed to a business where my rights are violated out of some paternalistic desire to protect health and safety.

Third of all, it is twisted and messed up that Nadeau speaks of workers “who have to face unvaccinated out-of-state customers,” as if the existence of people who decline a particular medical procedure is somehow a foreboding and terrible thing.

I also find it presumptuous of Nadeau to assume that restaurant workers, parents of young children, people with long covid, and people who have died of covid would support having their rights, as well as everyone else’s, violated. I’m sure some people in each of these groups (unfortunately) support vaccine mandates, but I’m also sure some don’t. Nadeau should speak for herself instead of presuming to speak for others.

Additionally, for Nadeau to imply that mandating vaccination constitutes “making the District fairer” and “doing the right thing” is the furthest possible thing from the truth. Vaccine mandates might possibly make places safer and healthier, but they absolutely do not make any place fairer. Mandating any medical procedure is both deeply unfair and morally wrong.

Furthermore, vaccine mandates are the furthest possible thing from “standing up” for anyone. Mandating a medical procedure tramples on people’s rights, which is the opposite of standing up for people.

And finally, it is deeply offensive to claim that the decision to cease trampling on people’s fundamental rights is somehow the result of lobbyists’ influence. And it is utterly wrong to claim that the voices of people who support vaccine mandates have somehow been drowned out. The reality is the exact opposite of this: those who actually believe in respecting people’s rights are the ones who have had our voices drowned out, while those who prioritize safety over liberty have completely dominated the conversation. Ultimately, it is irrelevant what led to the decision to lift D.C.’s vaccine mandate, and it is irrelevant how many or how few people support this decision. Stopping trampling on people’s fundamental rights is simply the right thing to do. Anyone who wishes for the rights of others to be violated deserves to have his or her voice drowned out, because such a person is a morally bad person.

In conclusion, Councilmember Nadeau is demanding that her city do the wrong thing by re-implementing a policy that violates people’s rights to make their own medical decisions. She is flabbergasted and angry that a policy violating people’s rights has come to an end, when the thing that she should be flabbergasted and angry about is the fact that the policy was implemented to begin with. This mindset is illogical, immoral, twisted, and (unfortunately) all too common in today’s society.

bookmark_borderFour ways in which vaccine mandates harm people

Thankfully, vaccine mandates appear to be on their way out in many parts of the world (knock on wood). Despite this, I was philosophizing the other day (as I am wont to do) about why exactly vaccine mandates are morally wrong. These are four ways that I came up with that explain how vaccine mandates harm people:

  1. Vaccine mandates violate people’s privacy rights. Many people think that if someone is vaccinated, then that person is not negatively impacted by vaccine mandates. After all, being required to get a medical procedure isn’t a problem for those people who happen to have already gotten the required medical procedure, right? Wrong. Being required to provide proof of vaccination is harmful in itself, even if someone has already gotten the vaccine and has a vaccine card or other documentation easily available. This is because the act of having to prove to another person that one has undergone a particular medical procedure is inherently demeaning and degrading. This is not the type of interaction that a human being should ever have with another human being. Additionally, it is an invasion of privacy to require someone to share the fact that they got a vaccine, the date they got the vaccine(s), and the type of vaccine(s) that they got. One might think that this type of medical information isn’t that personal – and I would agree that it isn’t on the same level as info about getting a colonoscopy or having an STD to give just a couple of examples – but it is still medical information, and no person should have to provide it if they don’t feel comfortable doing so.
  2. Vaccine mandates punish people who aren’t vaccinated. This reason is pretty straightforward and doesn’t require much explanation. Requiring a vaccine for employment, travel, events, activities, or entrance into certain places means that people who haven’t gotten the vaccine aren’t allowed to do those things. Depriving people of the ability to hold certain jobs, travel to certain places, or participate in certain events and activities is inherently harmful.
  3. Vaccine mandates coerce people into getting vaccinated when they don’t want to. In my opinion, this is the worst way in which vaccine mandates harm people. For many non-vaccinated people, the punishments mentioned above are impossible or impractical to accept. Perhaps someone cannot absorb the loss of their job, because they need the income to survive. Perhaps someone’s passion is going to art museums, or hockey games, or fine restaurants, to give just a few examples, and they feel that their life wouldn’t be worth living without these activities. Or perhaps someone is part of a friend group that regularly partakes in activities that are subject to vaccine mandates, and the person doesn’t feel comfortable revealing to their friends that they aren’t vaccinated. In these types of situations, someone who does not want to get the vaccine may feel forced into getting it anyways. Unfortunately, this has likely happened to many people over the past months. Every instance in which this happens is a tragedy.
  4. Vaccine mandates bias the decision-making process of those who are undecided. This may be the most subtle way in which vaccine mandates negatively impact people. For someone who is genuinely undecided about whether or not to get the vaccine, the existence of vaccine mandates inherently biases the decision-making process. Every time a person makes a medical decision, that decision should be made 100% freely. People should be able to decide about the Covid vaccine based solely on their weighing of the risks and benefits of the vaccine to them individually. When a person knows that some jobs, places, events, and/or activities will be off-limits to them if they decline the vaccine, this knowledge inherently tips the decision-making process towards getting the vaccine. Therefore, by implementing vaccine mandates, governmental and private institutions are interfering with people’s medical decisions. They are introducing external factors – factors other than the actual risks and benefits of the vaccine itself – into the decision-making process. This is morally wrong, because it deprives people of the ability to make a truly free decision. (Infuriatingly, many institutions that implement vaccine mandates likely view the “tipping” of the decision-making process as an argument in favor of mandates).

These four reasons demonstrate how vaccine mandates harm everyone: vaccinated people, non-vaccinated people (both those who remain non-vaccinated and those who end up eventually getting vaccinated), and undecided people.

bookmark_borderThe immorality of the Canadian government

It shouldn’t even need to be stated that the actions of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Canadian government in response to the Freedom Convoy are morally wrong. Trudeau recently requested, and the Canadian Parliament granted him, emergency powers, which give him the ability, among other things, to freeze citizens’ bank accounts and seize their funds.

I am on the email list of the Campaign for Liberty, and they (correctly) wrote in a recent email: “This has shocking implications for free speech. In an instant, Canada went from a nation that honors free speech to a nation where the government can seize citizens’ property, savings, and livelihood for even donating to an effort whose viewpoints fall outside the accepted norm… We are talking about the government taking everything from working-class families – just for supporting free speech. The chilling effect it will have is obvious – and that’s the point.”

The Canadian government’s actions do indeed violate the fundamental right to freedom of speech. For people to be punished with financial destruction for the “crime” of political dissent is despicable. But that is not the worst thing about these actions. The situation becomes even more morally problematic when one considers the fact that the protesters being targeted by these brutal measures are not just any protesters. They are particularly honorable and brave protesters, and their cause is as worthy and morally right as any cause that can be imagined. For these protesters are demonstrating against government policies that force people to undergo medical procedures against their will.

It is entirely correct to condemn the seizing of people’s money for expressing viewpoints that fall outside the accepted norm. But the even bigger problem is the fact that the viewpoints in question fall outside the accepted norm in the first place. In a morally decent society, everyone would be in agreement that the government should not force people to undergo medical procedures. In a morally decent society, the viewpoints of the Freedom Convoy and its supporters would be within the accepted norm, not outside it. In a morally decent society, support for vaccine mandates would be outside the accepted norm, and those who advocate for medical procedures to be forced on their fellow citizens would be the ones facing the possibility of having their bank accounts frozen and assets seized. 

The atrocities happening in Canada are immoral because of their chilling effect on free speech, but they are even more immoral because of the content of the speech that is being suppressed. The members of the Freedom Convoy are standing up for people’s rights to make their own medical decisions. Speech in support of this cause is exactly what the world desperately needs more of, and protests and demonstrations in support of this cause should be unanimously supported. Punishing people for expressing their views is unquestionably wrong, but punishing people for expressing these views is even more wrong. No viewpoint is less deserving of punishment, less deserving of suppression, and less deserving of being chilled, than opposition to vaccine mandates.

The fact that we live in a world where support for forced medical procedures is the accepted norm is beyond disturbing. The actions of Trudeau and the Canadian Parliament are horrific not only because they are an assault on freedom of speech in general, but also because they are an assault specifically on people who are standing up for bodily autonomy and medical freedom.

bookmark_borderIncreased vaccination rates are nothing to celebrate

Recently I saw a video of a press conference during which, about a week after Boston implemented a vaccine mandate for restaurants, gyms, theaters, museums, and sporting events, city officials praised the resulting increase in the city’s vaccination rate. The mayor and public health officials used words such as “hopeful” and “encouraging” to describe this state of affairs.

“I would say there is quite a bit of reason to be ‘hopeful.’ For several weeks in December and into early January, our vaccination rates didn’t increase. More recently we have seen a significant increase in vaccination uptake. From the first or second week, we noticed a 36% increase…”

(source: Massachusetts Says No)

In my opinion, there is nothing to celebrate in this situation. Essentially, city leaders introduced a policy forcing people to do something, and then shortly after the policy went into effect, they brag about the fact that the policy succeeded in forcing people to do the thing. 

Forcing people to do something – or coercing people, or bullying people, or pressuring people – is not good. It is not something that anyone should be bragging about. It is not something that anyone should be celebrating. It is not hopeful. It is not encouraging.

Since May 2021, the Covid vaccine has been easily available to anyone who wishes to get it. It is highly likely that the people who received the vaccine in mid January did so not because they wanted to, but because of the mandate that went into effect on January 15.

Each and every instance of someone getting a medical procedure that they don’t really want is a tragedy. The fact that so many people seem to have gotten the Covid vaccine as a result of the city’s mandate makes my heart sick. The thought of people feeling reluctant to get the vaccine, but feeling that they have no choice but to get it, is depressing and demoralizing. No one should ever have to face a situation in which they have to get a medical procedure in order to keep their job, participate in an activity, or go about their everyday life. 

The fact that Mayor Wu and her administration consider this situation to be “hopeful” and “encouraging” is sickening, perverted, and grotesque.

bookmark_borderJustin Trudeau’s totalitarianism should not be tolerated

I saw the following quote by Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau on social media recently and found it extremely disturbing. Below, I will explain why.

First of all, Trudeau claims that people who oppose forcing everyone to get the Covid vaccine “don’t believe in science or progress.” This makes no sense. A person’s stance on vaccine mandates has nothing to do with science; it has to do with morality. Even if the science showed Covid vaccines to be 100% effective and 100% risk-free (which it does not), it wouldn’t be okay to require people to get them, because requiring people to get medical procedures is always wrong. Opposing vaccine mandates does not indicate that a person does not believe in science; it indicates that the person (unlike Trudeau, apparently) believes in moral right and wrong. As for progress, Trudeau might be correct in claiming that vaccine mandate opponents don’t believe in progress. But given the way the world has been trending over the past two years, opposing progress is not a bad thing, but a good thing! The world is moving towards totalitarianism, and further progress down this path should be opposed by all morally decent people.

Second, Trudeau claims that people who oppose forcing everyone to get the Covid vaccine are “very often misogynistic and racist.” This claim is completely unsupported by logic or evidence. The question of whether or not people should be required to get the Covid vaccine has nothing to do with gender or race; therefore people who oppose vaccine mandates are no more likely to be misogynistic or racist than people who support vaccine mandates.

Third, contrary to Trudeau’s claims, neither he nor the Canadian people as a whole gets to make a choice about whether or not to “tolerate these people.” People have a fundamental right to make their own medical decisions; therefore everyone has a moral obligation to tolerate people who make different medical decisions than they do. If by “these people,” Trudeau means not only people who opt against the vaccine, but people who philosophically oppose vaccine mandates, then his statement is even more objectionable. Opposing vaccine mandates is the morally correct stance; therefore everyone is obligated not only to tolerate people with this stance, but to support them and agree with them! For someone with a morally wrong point of view to ask whether or not he should “tolerate” people with the morally right point of view is preposterous.

The real question is whether people should tolerate those who, like Trudeau, believe that it is okay to force people to undergo medical procedures. I suggest that the answer should be no.