Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

President Biden’s most anti-vax policy

Jerry Stratton, March 16, 2022

George Eliot: History repeats itself

Vaccinations have become an excuse for all sorts of heartless policies. Reading about the United States and Franklin Roosevelt’s rounding up of Americans of Japanese descent into camps, I often wondered how it could happen here. Now, we’re seeing the same thing, all over again. Australia is arresting “close contacts” and especially targeting aboriginals for temporary COVID camps and for their own good, of course. The European Union is considering ending the Nuremberg Code’s ban on forced medical treatments. For our own good.

Temporarily, of course. But two years after fifteen days to slow the spread, “temporary” is no longer a comforting word.

People are being denied jobs and travel if they’re in an unclean class. Patients are being denied critical health care or are being forced to take unnecessary vaccinations that are clearly dangerous for them.

All for our own good.

One of the most heartless—and inexplicable—COVID policies in the United States is firing health care workers and professionals, after all they’ve been through since early 2020. Back in September I wrote that if you view the Biden administration’s COVID policies as specifically to discourage vaccination, they make a lot more sense. Everything the administration does seems designed to make the COVID vaccines undesirable.

Lewis: Government in the name of science

The most anti-vaccination policy of the Biden administration currently has to be the heartless decision to fire health workers who choose not to be vaccinated. All this does is highlight that there are health workers who choose to forego vaccination.

Without this policy, the fact that some health workers don’t want the current vaccines would not be news. To the extent that some of these decisions were shared online, it would be shared only within a very tiny community.

The Biden administration’s decision to fire health workers makes their decision to forego the current COVID vaccinations far more consequential than it otherwise would be. What would have been a personal decision looks like a statement, and this is entirely the fault of the Biden administration.

It is, as so many of their decisions seem to be, as if the Biden administration specifically wants to discourage vaccinations. It makes no sense otherwise to highlight that there are health workers—the heroes we’ve been praising for two years—who don’t want the vaccines. It implies that there are so many such workers that we need a policy to force them to change their mind.

Further, it ensures that their decision is public knowledge, without ensuring that the reasons behind their decision are public knowledge. Many will have medical reasons for avoiding vaccination complications; others will have other reasons. But none of this comes through with the Biden administration’s decision to move the focus if the debate to whether or not they should lose their jobs.

After a year of portraying this particular group as heroes, to publicly harass and intimidate them cannot but elevate their decision beyond the personal. Of course it will make people think twice about taking a vaccination when heroic health workers are choosing not to take it, and their choice is such a strong one that they need the threat of losing their jobs to force them to take it.

Chesterton: The State has gone mad

And of course some will actually lose their jobs, highlighting how strongly health workers feel about avoiding the vaccines.

It makes no sense to shine a spotlight on that decision. All it does is ensure that everyone who is hesitant about getting vaccinated not only knows that some health workers aren’t just hesitant but are refusing, and are doing so in the face of financial ruin.

This is especially true when over this period some hospitals have chosen to require COVID-positive—vaccinated COVID-positive—workers to work. It becomes very much not a medical decision to fire unvaccinated workers when it only highlights that vaccinated workers are still getting the disease.

Short-staffing wouldn’t be in the news if there were more staff. There would be more staff if the administration weren’t firing them. People recognize this.

Assuming the administration is competent, the decision to fire much-needed health workers and spotlight their decision not to get the current COVID vaccinations can only be seen as anti-vaccination.

But of course that’s the kicker: “assuming they’re competent”. Everything else we’ve seen from this administration, from their disastrous choice to shut down military installations in Afghanistan before evacuating civilians, to their decision to shut down oil pipelines and keep the United States dependent on Russian oil, makes it obvious that this administration is not competent.

Suppose you wanted to convince people that a procedure is safe. The last thing you would want to do is highlight strong resistance to that thing by firing those who choose not to take it. And the last group you would want to spotlight would be the group with both special knowledge of that procedure and who are simultaneously hailed as heroes because of their work fighting the crisis that makes that procedure necessary.

No worse tyranny

Clearly, the firings are not a medical necessity, not when they make it necessary to force COVID-positive workers to come to work.

Choice is absolutely necessary for the process by which we brought these vaccines to market. Without choice, that process does not work. Normally, we require a long process of bringing a new medicine to market so that we already know all of the special niche problems the medicine has once it becomes universally accepted. Instead of letting people buy medicines that we know will save their life, our normal process is to hold up those medicines and keep them from the public so that a tiny number of people won’t have to make a decision about whether it’s a good idea for them.

The problem, of course, is that this kills people who need the medicine. This became blatantly obvious in 2020. And so, for the COVID vaccines we streamlined the long process for the obvious reason that this would save lives.

But a streamlined process means that we must allow people to make their own health decisions, because they’re the only people who know if the benefits are worth the risks to them and with their own special knowledge of their own condition.

We were right to do bypass the long process. We should do this for all new medicines. The way we currently do it kills the many, not to save the few but to save the few from having to make decisions. But this can only work if people are allowed and encouraged to make their own decisions about getting vaccinated, based on their own medical history and their own weighing of risks.

In response to How to overcome vaccine hesitancy: We need to take a lesson from Mark Twain. The best way to reinforce vaccine hesitancy is to force vaccinations. The best way to overcome vaccine hesitancy is to act as if vaccination is desirable.