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_borderThoughts on discrimination and exclusion

The Boston Marathon is one week from today, and I do not plan to go. For many years, I enjoyed watching the runners cross the finish line on Boylston Street, as well as walking around in Boston on what was usually a beautiful spring day. Even though I’m not a diehard fan of long-distance running, the Marathon signaled the start of spring, and the atmosphere of excitement and joy in the city was difficult to top.

In 2020, there was no Marathon due to Covid. In 2021, the Marathon was held on Columbus Day, a day that has been wrongfully turned into Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Boston and some of its surrounding suburbs. The Boston Athletic Association, the organization that runs the Marathon, decided to apologize to indigenous people for holding the race on “their” day (which is actually Italian Americans’ day). To atone for this transgression, the BAA donated money to indigenous organizations and financed various events and art installations honoring indigenous people. Separately, competitors at the Marathon were required to have received the Covid vaccine. For the 2022 Marathon, the BAA has banned Russian athletes from competing due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

At first glance, these decisions by the BAA may seem to have nothing in common. But recently, while pondering the Marathon and whether or not I should go, I had an epiphany: all of the things that make me angry and filled with moral outrage are things that are discriminatory or exclusionary in some way. And the above-mentioned decisions of the BAA all fall into this category. These policies are the reason why I will not be attending the Marathon this year, or perhaps ever. I don’t want to support an event that discriminates against Italian people, Russian people, and people who have opted against getting a particular medical procedure. One of my most basic beliefs is that everyone should be treated equally and everyone should be included.

Unfortunately, in my experience, discriminatory and exclusionary attitudes have become increasingly common and accepted in our society. An increasing number of cities, towns, and organizations have decided, like the BAA, to honor and celebrate indigenous people while ignoring Italian Americans. Like the BAA, companies and governments around the world have perpetrated blatant medical discrimination by enacting vaccine mandates. And now, Russian and Belarussian people are being excluded from athletic competitions and other areas of society because their president made a foreign policy decision that most people disagree with.

Additional examples are everywhere. Affirmative action, by its very nature, treats people differently based on race, which is the definition of racial discrimination. People who don’t like guns refer to those who do to as a “death cult” and ridicule them for allegedly “fetishizing” “killing machines.” Politicians mindlessly express support for “working families” while completely ignoring the fact that this rhetoric, and its corresponding policies such as child tax credits, paid parental leave, and many welfare programs, blatantly discriminate against people who do not have children. During the “Me Too” movement, people were lectured, “Yes, all women” (whatever that’s supposed to mean) and exhorted to “believe all women.” Silly me, I thought that making generalizations about people based on their gender was sexist, and that people’s credibility should be evaluated without regard to their gender. And, although already mentioned above, it bears repeating that intolerant attitudes with regard to Covid safety measures have reached truly appalling levels of ugliness over the past year. People around the world have been subjected to vicious rhetoric, excluded from activities and public places, barred from employment, fined, and even banned from leaving their homes, all for declining a medical procedure that happens to be recommended by the medical establishment. 

The BLM movement and the “woke” ideology provide a myriad of examples of discrimination and exclusion. The reason why I hate this ideology is because it is the exact opposite of what it claims to be. The people who pontificate the most vociferously about diversity and inclusion are, in reality, actively working to undermine these values. An obvious example of this is the obliteration of Confederate statues, flags, holidays, historical markers, and place names. Deciding that only one side in a war is allowed to be honored is the antithesis of inclusion. The brutal destruction of monuments to any historical figure who is even remotely controversial has had the result of completely stripping our country’s statuary of its diversity. It is the antithesis of diversity to allow only the viewpoints of the majority to be reflected in public art. The vicious attacks on Christopher Columbus statues and Columbus Day are similarly discriminatory. Not only does the erasure of Columbus deprive the world of a remarkable historical figure; it also discriminates against Italian Americans.

The slogan “Black Lives Matter” is itself discriminatory. Why should only black people’s lives matter, while the lives of other races are ignored? The phrase “All Lives Matter” resonates with me. Every historical figure deserves to have his or her life memorialized and his or her story told. Every person should be honored, respected, and included, no matter their skin color, gender, age, religion, culture, sexual orientation, abilities, preferences, choices, experiences, or political beliefs. Enough with elevating groups that have allegedly been marginalized, while actively harming other groups and individuals. Enough with singling out certain groups to honor and celebrate, while trampling on everyone else. Instead of having special months and days for black people, indigenous people, Asian Americans, women, gay people, trans people, et cetera, let’s include everyone and treat everyone as equals. 

It is my belief that supporters of the “woke” ideology do not actually believe in diversity or inclusion. Instead, they simply believe in going along with whatever cause is popular and groveling at the feet of whatever group happens to be politically favored. I believe in diversity and inclusion. I believe that All Lives Matter, not just the lives of people who are politically favored.

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_borderPsaki’s ignorant comments on bullying

Recently, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki made some truly idiotic comments about the Florida law prohibiting education about sex and gender related topics for kids in preschool through third grade.

Here is what she said, according to the Daily Wire:

“A bill like this, that would discriminate against families, against kids, put these kids in the position of not getting the support they need at a time where that’s exactly what they need. It’s discriminatory. It’s a form of bullying. It is horrific… I think the most important question now is why are Florida leaders deciding they need to discriminate against kids who are members of the LGBTQI community? What prompts them to do that? Is it meanness? Is it wanting to make kids have more difficult times in school and in their communities?”

The fact that Psaki uses words such as “discriminatory,” “bullying,” “horrific,” and “meanness” to describe this law demonstrates a complete lack of empathy towards people who have actually been discriminated against and bullied. Psaki’s comments are particularly objectionable because a huge amount of the discrimination, bullying, and meanness that has occurred lately has been perpetrated by the Biden administration.

To give just one example*, President Biden has repeatedly used rhetoric that insults, threatens, and aggresses against people who opt not to get the covid vaccine. He has attempted to implement policies requiring people to get the vaccine in order to work for the federal government, for any company that contracts with the federal government, for any employer in the medical field, or for any employer with 100 or more employees. He has also used rhetoric to encourage all employers not covered by the above categories to force their employees to get the vaccine as well.

Essentially, Biden chose to use the power of the presidency to force people to undergo a medical procedure against their will. And as Press Secretary, Psaki has enthusiastically defended these efforts. Forcing people to undergo a medical procedure against their will is the epitome of discrimination. It is the epitome of bullying. It is the epitome of meanness. Forcing people to undergo a medical procedure against their will is truly horrific. And requiring medical documentation in order to participate in public life truly, to use Psaki’s words, causes people to have more difficult times in their communities.

For Psaki to describe the Florida law using all of these terms, while completely ignoring the fact that these terms actually apply to her own actions and those of her employer, is deeply illogical, hypocritical, and immoral. Psaki clearly has no idea what discrimination actually is, what bullying actually is, or what meanness actually is. To truly understand what these terms mean, Psaki would need merely to look in the mirror.

 

*Another example that comes to mind is the brutal campaign of destruction that has been waged against statues and monuments to unpopular historical figures. These actions are infinitely more discriminatory, bully-like, horrific, and mean than a law limiting what types of sex ed can be presented to young children, yet Psaki has not uttered a single word of criticism when it comes to this topic.

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_borderTo the person who hacked GiveSendGo

Recently, a despicable excuse for a human being (or group of despicable excuses for human beings) decided to attack and forcibly shut down the fundraising website GiveSendGo due to the fact that GiveSendGo is used to raise money for pro-individual-rights causes. If this sounds completely despicable, that’s because it is.

The normal GiveSendGo home page was temporarily replaced with a video that stated the following:

“Attention GiveSendGo grifters and hatriots: The Canadian government has informed you that the money you assholes raised to fund an insurrection is frozen. TD Bank has frozen several accounts. You helped fund the January 6th insurrection in the US. You helped fund an insurrection in Ottawa. In fact, you are committed to funding anything that keeps the raging fire of misinformation going until that it (sic) burns the world’s collective democracies down. On behalf of sane people worldwide who wish to continue living in a democracy, I am now telling you that GiveSendGo itself is frozen. A convoy of trucks to protest vaccine requirements?”

At this point, I was unable to stomach reading any more of this morally grotesque message, so I stopped. 

The fact that this incident was allowed to occur exemplifies the appalling state of our world, in which individual liberty is attacked and ridiculed, while compliance and conformity are worshipped and fetishized. Bigotry is called inclusion, uniformity is called diversity, freedom is called authoritarianism, racism is called anti-racism, and fascism is called anti-fascism. 

There are so many things wrong with this despicable message, not to mention the hacker’s despicable actions, that it is difficult to know where to begin.

First of all, people protesting against vaccine mandates are neither grifters, nor “hatriots,” nor assholes. 

Second, the hacker’s sentiments about “insurrection” demonstrate utter mindlessness and moral bankruptcy. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there is nothing intrinsically bad about an insurrection. An insurrection is a rebellion against authority. When authority is acting unjustly, which it currently is in almost every country in the world, an insurrection is a good thing, not a bad thing. An insurrection is brave, heroic, and honorable. Both the January 6th protesters and the Freedom Convoy truckers should be lauded and supported, not insulted and ridiculed, for they are fighting back against unjust authority. It may well be true that users of GiveSendGo have helped to fund insurrections. But the fact that someone would presume this to be a bad thing says more about that person than it does about the causes to which GiveSendGo users donate. Specifically, it says that the person is an authoritarian. It says that the person values compliance with authority, as opposed to individuality, justice, or thinking for oneself. Any person who uses the word “insurrection” as an insult is presuming that rebelling against authority is intrinsically bad, which means that said person is devoid of an independent mind, devoid of a moral compass, and devoid of a soul. 

In addition to this, I am incredibly disturbed by the sentiments about “sane people” who “wish to continue living in a democracy.” Why is living in a democracy considered to be a good thing, anyway? A democracy is simply a society in which people elect their leaders. Just as there is nothing intrinsically bad about an insurrection, there is nothing about this method of choosing leaders that makes it inherently superior to others. Going along with the all-too-common mindset that compliance is good and rebellion bad, the despicable excuse for a human being who hacked GiveSendGo clearly holds the (also all-too-common) mindset that democracy is what matters and not individual rights. This “person” ridicules the idea of a convoy of trucks protesting against vaccine requirements, something that every person should not only not ridicule, but actively support. This “person” considers living in a democracy – a neutral state – to be of paramount importance while dismissing the right to make medical decisions about one’s own body – a fundamental requirement for having a life that is worth living – as frivolous and unimportant. Wishing to live in a democracy where people are forced to undergo medical procedures against their will is not sane; it is morally repugnant. If the world’s collective democracies implement policies that require people to get a medical procedure as a condition of being allowed to participate in public life, then they deserve to burn down. Yet unfortunately, abhorrent views like those of the hacker(s) have become the majority, establishment, mainstream views of our society, and those who hold them control the narrative, the framing of the debate, and all of our major institutions. 

In conclusion, not only are the actions of the hacker(s) morally wrong because they demonstrate intolerance for the viewpoints of others; they are morally wrong on an even deeper level, because the viewpoint being held in such contempt is in reality the only morally acceptable viewpoint on the issue in question. The viewpoint being held in such contempt is the viewpoint that people should not be forced to undergo medical procedures against their will. That is a viewpoint with which everyone should be in unanimous agreement. Causes such as the Freedom Convoy should not even be considered controversial, let alone considered so unacceptable that hackers take it upon themselves to forcibly shut down any fundraising platforms that fail to discriminate against such causes. The actions of the hacker(s) are so morally reprehensible that they shock the conscience. I do not exaggerate when I say that these actions leave me sick to my stomach, shaking, struggling to breathe, and searching with mixed success for words strong enough to accurately convey my horror, rage, and disgust. It is difficult to wrap my mind around the fact that a human being (or worse, multiple human beings) would actually choose to act this way. 

The best I can do is to say that the person (or people) who decided to forcibly shut down a website for allowing money to be raised for causes with which said person disagrees is the true asshole. That person is the true grifter. That person is the one who is truly filled with hate. That person is the epitome of bigotry, intolerance, brutality, cruelty, nastiness, authoritarianism, and mindless conformity. That person is utter scum and deserves to be sentenced to death and to burn in hell for the rest of time. 

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_borderA protest is not a temper tantrum

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people refer to a protest with which they disagree as a “temper tantrum.”

An example of this is a recent opinion piece describing the Freedom Convoy as a “mass temper tantrum” (via Instagram).

First of all, I’m not sure why this columnist decided to point out that the convoy “won’t end the pandemic.” The goal of the protest isn’t to end the pandemic; it’s to end government policies that violate people’s rights. By pointing out that a pro-freedom protest won’t end the pandemic, this columnist is (falsely) presuming the truth of what they are trying to prove, namely that ending the pandemic is the only thing that matters, that no goals other than ending the pandemic might possibly exist, and that anything that does not contribute towards ending the pandemic is purposeless. 

Second and more importantly, how exactly is a protest a “mass temper tantrum”? The fact that a particular person does not agree with a protest does not make that protest a temper tantrum. A temper tantrum is a specific thing, not simply any protest with which someone disagrees. The fact that someone would use this term to characterize a protest against government policies that take away people’s rights to make their own medical decisions is absolutely despicable. It is also hypocritical, because somehow I doubt that any of those calling the Freedom Convoy a “temper tantrum” used the same words to describe the BLM riots during which people violently destroyed irreplaceable works of art because a police officer killed someone who happened to be black (a situation in which the phrase “temper tantrum” would be a lot more appropriate).

The practice of calling a protest with which one disagrees a “temper tantrum” needs to end yesterday. It is completely unacceptable, and anyone who does it should be immediately fired.

(By the way, with regards to the member of the Freedom Convoy who was photographed holding a Confederate flag, I agree with the Virginia Flaggers, who wrote that the flag is “a universal symbol of rebellion against tyranny.”)

bookmark_borderOpposing vaccine mandates is not “anti-vax”

It shouldn’t even need to be stated that being against forcing people to do something is not the same as being against the thing itself. Specifically, opposing forcing people to get vaccines against their will is not the same thing as opposing vaccines themselves. This is a basic and obvious concept that anyone with an IQ over 80 should be able to easily understand. However, far too many members of the media are, infuriatingly, incapable of grasping this basic concept.

For example, when actress Evangeline Lilly revealed that she attended last weekend’s anti-vaccine mandate rally in Washington, D.C., much of the media coverage was neutral, appropriate, and professional.

However, as can be seen above, the Daily Beast decided to characterize the rally as an “anti-vax protest.” This is factually incorrect and unacceptable, because being anti-vaccine mandates is not the same as being anti-vax.

Rolling Stone did an even worse job, describing the rally as not only “anti-vax” but “insane,” and adopting a shocked and outraged tone at the fact that Lilly would “brag” about having attended the event. This is beyond unacceptable. Not only is it factually incorrect to describe the rally as anti-vax, but it is morally abhorrent that someone would consider it insane to oppose forcing people to undergo medical procedures against their will. In reality, it is insane not to oppose such a thing. As for Lilly “bragging” about attending the rally, she is 100% correct in doing so, as attending a rally for medical freedom is courageous, honorable, and exactly the type of thing a person is justified in bragging about. There is no reason for Rolling Stone to find this strange or bad in any way. Rolling Stone’s actions become even more abhorrent when one considers the fact that neither news articles nor their headlines are appropriate places in which to express opinions at all.

Another example of a factually incorrect and unprofessional headline is that of The Independent, in which the Washington, D.C. rally is again described as “anti-vaxx.” The Independent’s coverage is also an example of a disturbing trend, in which the media focuses its scrutiny and negative attention on those speaking out against authoritarian policies, as opposed to the authoritarian policies themselves. It is appalling that members of the media would consider Robert J. Kennedy Jr.’s comments at an anti-mandate rally to be more worthy of “outrage” than the fact that mandates exist in the first place. The targets of outrage, scrutiny, and criticism should be policies forcing people to undergo medical procedures against their will, not the brave people speaking out against such policies.

In conclusion, any headline that uses the term “anti-vax” (or worse, “anti-vaxx” with two X’s) to describe opposition to vaccine mandates is factually incorrect, unprofessional, and inappropriate. Anyone who chooses to publish such a headline is choosing to take the side of authoritarianism and to defame heroes who are bravely fighting for freedom. Therefore, anyone responsible for such a headline deserves, at the very least, to be fired immediately.