MSNBC host Rachel Maddow had some pretty disturbing comments about the Covid-19 vaccine, that demonstrate that she does not understand the concept of people having the right to make their own decisions based on their preferences.
“It is OK to feel reluctant or oogey or scared, and not want to get it,” Maddow said. “That is nothing to be ashamed of. But feel the fear and do it anyway. Get it. Because most of all, it is not for you. It is to keep you from getting the virus and then spreading it.”
First of all, Maddow assumes that the only reason someone would not want to get the vaccine is because he or she is “oogey” (whatever that means) or afraid. This presumes the truth of what Maddow is trying to prove – namely, that everyone should get the vaccine. It presumes that getting the vaccine is the rational thing to do, and any desire not to get it must be based on an irrational emotion such as fear. There are a variety of reasons why someone might not want to get the vaccine, many of which have nothing to do with fear. For example, I’m currently undecided about whether or not to get the vaccine, partially because I think it’s wise to wait until I know more about the side effects and how long the protection lasts, and partially because I am unlikely to become seriously ill if I get Covid, so I simply don’t think adding another medical procedure to my life is necessary.
More importantly, whatever a person decides with regards to the vaccine, that decision should be his or her own. Each person has the right to make decisions about his or her body without bullying, pressure, or coercion from anyone else. As liberals like Maddow say so frequently with regards to abortion (but completely forget about whenever any other issue is being discussed): my body, my choice. Hearing people like Maddow tell me I must get the vaccine makes me feel insulted and attacked, and therefore less likely to get it.
She is essentially saying, it’s OK to have preferences that are different from mine, as long as you don’t act according to them, and act according to mine instead. This is incredibly patronizing and condescending. The whole purpose of having preferences is to use them when making decisions. What is the point of having preferences if you are supposed to disregard them and make decisions according to someone else’s preferences? If someone does not want to get the vaccine, that means that they do not want to get the vaccine. Why should someone get the vaccine when their preference is to not get it? What Maddow is saying makes no sense.
A final note: actually, the vaccine is for you, not to keep you from getting the virus and then spreading it. The vaccine is a benefit that people should be able to avail themselves of, if they wish. It is not something that people should be forced or pressured into doing. It is not something that people have a right to order other people to get, as Maddow is doing.
So no, choosing not to get the vaccine is not about being “oogey” or scared. It is about the principle that people are not morally obligated to get a medical procedure for the benefit of other people.
If you want to get the vaccine, you should get it. If you don’t want to get the vaccine, you shouldn’t get it. It really is that simple.