During a Twitter exchange last week about Joe Biden’s decision to implement totalitarian restrictions taking away people’s rights to make their own medical decisions, I was particularly struck by the following comment:
“I’m sick of catering to them, too.”
This comment was a response to someone who was complaining about people who have chosen not to get the Covid vaccine. The commenter was expressing frustration about the extent to which society has allegedly catered to non-vaccinated people.
My first response was… what a preposterous comment. Non-vaccinated people have been criticized, insulted, called murderers, called irresponsible idiots, barred from activities, places, and occupations, and with increasing pervasiveness and severity been pressured, coerced, bullied, mandated, and required to get the vaccine that they do not want. All of this is the exact opposite of catering to non-vaccinated people.
But then I thought some more about this comment, and the more I thought about it, the more disturbed I became. Our society has never, in any way, shape, or form, treated people who haven’t gotten the vaccine better than people who have. At best, vaccinated and non-vaccinated people have occasionally been treated equally and granted equal rights and privileges in some situations. The vast majority of the time, in the ways enumerated above, non-vaccinated people are treated worse than their vaccinated counterparts.
How could someone look at this state of affairs and see a world that caters to those who have not gotten the vaccine??
I realized that this Twitter commenter seems to believe that anything short of actually forcing people to get the vaccine constitutes catering to the unvaccinated. In other words, he/she thinks that merely respecting the fundamental rights of non-vaccinated people, merely allowing them to exist, constitutes catering to them. This is deeply wrong. Catering to someone means deliberately structuring things around their needs, wishes, and preferences. Respecting someone’s fundamental rights is not catering to them. Allowing someone to exist is not catering to them. Abstaining from forcing unwanted medical procedures on someone is not catering to them.
When this commenter expressed being sick of catering to the unvaccinated, what he/she was actually saying was: “I’m sick of allowing people who are different from me to exist.”
It’s hard to imagine a more intolerant or authoritarian way of thinking than that. But unfortunately, this way of thinking has become increasingly dominant in today’s society. From the forcible imposition of Covid mitigation measures, to the violent destruction of statues and monuments honoring unpopular historical figures, to the vicious negative reaction to the protest that took place at the Capitol building on January 6, our society largely operates on the belief that the preferences and values of the majority ought to be imposed on everyone.
Therefore, the majority – in this case those who support mandatory vaccination and/or mandatory Covid testing – are the ones who are truly being catered to. It is their needs, wishes, and preferences around which society is structured. But in their intolerant zeal to obliterate diversity and freedom of choice from the world, they do not see this. They are tired of tolerating the existence of those who are different from them. Already possessing more power and control than they deserve, these bullies view any tiny remaining shred of liberty for the minority as an offense.
A popular slogan among those on the left-hand side of the political spectrum is: respect existence or expect resistance. It’s time they live in accordance with those words.