Comment Of The Day: “Comment Of The Day: ‘Theater Ethics Meets Pandemic Ethics…’”

It has been a hugely informative and entertaining knockdown, drag-out comment battle over vaccine hesitancy the last few days on not just one but two posts on the topic. It’s time to add another. One irony of long comment threads, which make me happy as a blog proprietor, is that many readers don’t have the patience to pick through them. I’m sometimes guilty of that myself.

This Comment of the Day by Ryan Harkins on Humble Talent’s own provocative (to understate it) Comment Of The Day on my post, “Theater Ethics Meets Pandemic Ethics: If I Were Still Running My Theater Company And We Had A Large Cast Show In Production…” deserves to be highlighted. Here it is (and I forgive Ryan for not calling the virus by it’s rightful, earned non-partisan name.)


First, I want to take exception to conflating hesitancy to take the COVID-19 vaccines and anti-vaxxers. There’s a huge difference between being skeptical about one particular vaccine and being skeptical about all vaccines. And conflating the two blurs the issues and dismisses out of hand legitimate arguments and concerns.

I stand in an odd position, because I oppose getting any of the COVID-19 vaccines, and I have been vaccinated. I took the double doses of the Moderna vaccine when it became available at my workplace. Was it to protect my family (my wife is pregnant with our fourth)? Not at all. We’re all healthy, and the odds of the coronavirus having any effect other than a harsh cold for my household is surprisingly small. Was it because my workplace pressured me into it? No, though I will cite that the 14 days paid sick time goes away if I snag a sufficiently large batch of SARS-CoV-2 and I’m not vaccinated.

So why did I get the vaccine? At the time, I believed it the right thing to do to help the efforts of reaching herd immunity. So what has changed since then? Let’s consider my thinking, meandering as it is.

I don’t think there’s any legitimate argument against the efficacy of the vaccines, especially the Moderna and Pfizer variants. I agree they reduce the infection rate, they reduce the virulence of infections, and they reduce the death rates. I also think, from a standpoint of trying to reach heard immunity, the vaccines go a good way towards accomplishing that.

Do I support people in their hesitancy with regards to the long-term side effects? Absolutely. We’ve had tremendous success with vaccines over the course of the last century or more. Vaccines are one aspect that has helped us achieve such extended lifespans. But we’ve also seen drugs and vaccines and therapies come onto the market, and then have their approval revoked when some unanticipated side effects emerge. mRNA vaccines have been under development for 20 years or more, but until now they’ve never been marketed. There’s bound not only to be side-effects, but a large number of unanticipated side-effects, and it is reasonable to want to wait until more information is available. Certainly an FDA approval (which is rumored to be coming soon for Pfizer) would go a long way to assuage fears. Until then, it is reasonable to wait. But that’s not the reason I’m opposed to taking the vaccines.

Do I look at the numbers? Yes, I do. Does it appear that currently there are higher rates of side-effects reported than for any other vaccine in recent history? Yes. VAERS is seeing a surge in reporting on the COVID-19 vaccines. AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson were halted in places over concerns of larger-than-expected numbers of side-effects. Does this justify not getting the vaccine? Not necessarily. This is a balancing act. If the side-effects of the vaccine are less frequent in cases and severity than acquiring COVID-19 naturally, then the numbers still recommend the vaccine. And I believe the numbers currently show the balance to be in favor of the vaccines. This could potentially flip with the Delta, Lambda, Omicron, Babylon 5, or Death Star variants, but we still have to wait for time and data to reveal what’s happening there. So that’s also not my reason for opposition.

So why I am opposed to getting the vaccine? In true “Retards for Freedom” [Editor’s Note: this is a reference to Humble Talent’s COTD.] fashion, I’ll cite freedom. Not from a standpoint of my-body-my-choice, because I don’t believe that. (I oppose abortion, remember?) It doesn’t pass a societal test, and it doesn’t pass the Catholic moral theology test. But there’s a greater concern going on here, and I believe it is encapsulated in the vaccine passports and the threat to freedom that represents. Vaccine passports are the gateway drug into the full oppression of a populace. Show your party credentials, or you’ll be thrown out. We’re already seeing that New York. No restaurant access without the passport. And if the government can get away with forcing such passports on us, do you really, truly, honestly think they’ll stop there?

Maybe I’m being heavily influenced right now as I’m reading “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” by William Shirer (“Hi, my name is Ryan, and I’m falling into the ‘my opponents are Nazis trap…’”), but it certainly seems that if the government can revoke rights because of crises, they will continue to create crises so they can continue revoking rights. Eventually they will have such a precedent of success in revoking rights that they’ll just do it without a crises. And by then, it will be too late.

Will more people die if people don’t get vaccinated? Probably. But that’s the cost of pushing back against the totalitarian mindset besieging us. I see this in the same light as the gun debate. Yes, more people will die due to guns by keeping gun ownership a right. But it is a cost that has to be paid to keep freedoms intact.

26 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: “Comment Of The Day: ‘Theater Ethics Meets Pandemic Ethics…’”

  1. “And if the government can get away with forcing such passports on us, do you really, truly, honestly think they’ll stop there?”

    Exactly. And the precedent of requiring the vaccine passports will be cited as justification for requiring
    other violations of autonomy.

  2. Does this justify not getting the vaccine? Not necessarily. This is a balancing act. If the side-effects of the vaccine are less frequent in cases and severity than acquiring COVID-19 naturally, then the numbers still recommend the vaccine.

    Age is a pretty good proxy for risk.

    Age IFR Estimate
    0-19 Years 1 in 33,333
    20-49 Years 1 in 5,000
    50-69 Years 1 in 200
    70+ 1 in 18
    *80+ not included

    The vaccination campaign jumped the shark when it turned from informing the old where and when to get vaccinated to getting the young to want to get vaccinated. And for kids, it takes over 33 thousand vaccinations to save one life!

    But this fits a pattern of always moving the goalposts.

    • This was said in the other thread too, and you’re still looking at this one-dimensionally.

      If every one of those age cohorts had a separate virus that the other age cohorts could not catch, then you are completely correct… But they don’t so your not. Getting vaccinated has ramifications larger than yourself.

  3. Thanks for the COTD, Jack!

    One thing I hadn’t really considered when I wrote the above comment is the following challenge to my position: why not get the vaccine, because on its own it is net positive, and then simply refuse to admit one way or another? In other words, why not focus the antipathy towards the passport, and not the vaccine?

    Jack’s comment that his biggest concern yesterday was that the sheer number of unvaccinated people, coupled with the rising number of cases, might prompt the government to mandate lock-downs again.

    These are two serious challenges to my argument, and I’m still thinking my way through them.

  4. “Yes, more people will die due to guns by keeping gun ownership a right. But it is a cost that has to be paid to keep freedoms intact.”

    But gun ownership is defensible. You already gave up the rational argument against taking the vaccine.

    My original reply to this comment was “At least you own it” referring to RFF. Because this is the perfect encapsulation of exactly what I was talking about: You obviously did your research, you were the only one in the last comment section to actually have the right answer to why we shouldn’t be concerned about the testing process, you obviously understand the benefits of the vaccine, you obviously did the reading…. And yet, despite the fact that you accept that these vaccines are safe and will save lives, you’re saying that people shouldn’t get them, because of the threat of creeping authoritarianism.

    Someone in the last comment section asked me, “If everyone else jumped off a cliff, would you?” I might. Maybe there’s water at the base of that cliff, and a herd of stampeding Wal-Martians rolling at me on their scooters up top. I’d look at why they were running off the cliff. It might be the right thing to do.

    But if there was a cliff, and there’s no reason to jump off the cliff, and you’re pretty sure that there’s a possibility that you’d die if you jumped off the cliff…. But those damn Libs put up a sign telling you not to jump off the cliff… Would you jump just to spite them? Because, really… That’ll show them.

    • I’m certainly hoping we can have some more detailed discussion on the creeping totalitarian aspect of this matter. There are three questions that I can think of that are very pertinent.

      1. How dire is the threat of the totalitarianism? (By the way, I’ve been projecting doom and gloom to my coworkers that I don’t think contributing to my 401K is worth anything (I am maxing out my contributions each year, though…) because the government will nationalize our retirement accounts. And then a couple of days ago, Politico issued a report that Congress is considering a host of options to pay for their $3.5T spending package, and one of those items is raiding “Mega” IRAs, because people don’t need that much money for retirement…)

      2. How effective would resisting vaccination to confront totalitarianism be?

      3. What are the alternatives?

      One of the biggest concerns I have about the vaccine passports is that they are couched behind doing a good thing, namely getting people vaccinated so we can reach herd immunity. But the bait of a trap is not effective as bait if it isn’t tempting. Evil always justifies itself by claiming to solve some problem. It always asks us to make a small compromise to achieve some good. And once that compromise has been made, it asks for another small compromise, and another, until we’re firmly in its grip and it no longer needs to ask us to make compromises.

      Can totalitarians succeed in rising to power in the United States? If Americans are willing to endure pain, suffering, and death, then I don’t think totalitarians can succeed. But if we as a whole are unwilling to endure the difficulties required to retain our freedoms, then we’re lost.

      So I don’t see this as a matter of trying to spite liberals. But I’m open to having my perception on this challenged. But on the scales right now are the thousands of deaths that will follow from unchecked coronavirus, and on the other is the liquidation of millions of dissenters and impoverishment of an entire nation, which are the modus operandi and results of totalitarian regimes.

      Of course, in risk management, you don’t just look at the worst case scenarios. You have to look at the probability of those scenarios occurring. A meteor hitting the refinery where I work would be absolutely devastating, but the odds of that happening are unbelievably small. Moreover, any effective measure to protect against a meteor strike is prohibitively expensive. So we don’t guard against meteors.

      I look at the risks of coronavirus, and in my personal (and nonprofessional, I’ll admit) estimation, the worst case scenario for this very, very unlikely to occur. The more probable path is that the virus will continue to mutate, come around seasonally, reinfect us annually like the flus, and it will ultimately fade into the potpourri of viruses that cause the common cold. This is likely to occur irrespective of the vaccines. What the vaccines accomplish now is shortening the transition from a relatively severe disease to the common cold.

      But the likelihood of a totalitarian regime arising in the United States is harder for me to judge. I think it is more likely than a variant of coronavirus becoming both highly lethal and highly contagious. I also see many, many governments, empires, kingdoms, and whatnot succumbing to regime changes for the worse over time. So there’s a certain inevitability in my perspective on the fall of the United States, and ultimately the entire West. So my risk analysis says at the moment that the success of totalitarianism is the greater threat, and the vaccine passport is a hill to die on.

      I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

      • 1. How dire is the threat of the totalitarianism?

        It depends what you call totalitarianism, I suppose. I do think the question kind of fails to take into account recent history. Right at the beginning of the pandemic, Democrats were talking about “The Great Reset”. The response to “The Great Reset” was so overwhelmingly negative that they are trying to pretend that was a right-wing conspiracy theory, but the fact of the matter is that they said the words, they wrote the words, and everything is recorded. The Great Reset failed. And there was this golden band of time maybe a month or two each side of the election, where we all could have just come together and done the right things for the right reasons.

        That obviously didn’t happen. I don’t blame anyone in particular, but it *obviously*didn’t happen. In response to the election and the Democrat flop on taking vaccines, a not-insignificant portion of Republicans started rejecting the idea of vaccination. You could see it in real time from the outside, the difference in reporting was *incredibly* stark. The thing is… This isn’t a chicken/egg question. The Democrats had floated the idea of vaccine passports, but there weren’t a whole lot of concrete steps taken towards them until it became obvious that vaccination rates were stalling out.

        Which is why I think this is all a red herring. The vaccine hesitancy predated the creeping authoritarianism. The authoritarianism was the response. This might be the excuse du jour, but the unvaccinated had a different reason three months ago.

        2. How effective would resisting vaccination to confront totalitarianism be?

        No clue. Ask me in six months, when the 20/20 vision kicks in. If I had to make assumptions? I’ll say it’s probably going to be a mixed bag, it’s going to vary by state, but I think on average it’s going to be less effective than effective. The reason the “Great Reset” failed was because the response was overwhelmingly negative, the response to things like vaccine passports is somewhere between accepted and whelmingly negative. Anti-vaxxing is not a majority opinion. It’s not even a plurality opinion. Nate Silver did a survey, people opposed to vaccines make up less than 20% of respondents. And I know: Polling. But what do you think the number really is? It’s not enough to be Tom Bombadil in the Old Forest, you have to convince other people to think like you, and I don’t think that you’re going to convince them to think like you by acting like a spiteful toddler.

        3. What are the alternatives?

        I’ll put this back on you, what do you think the alternatives are?

        Because I think I’ve been pretty clear what I think the alternatives are: What I advocate for is for people to do the right thing, for the right reason. The alternative to doing the right thing for the right reason is to do the wrong thing for horrible reasons. From my perspective, you’re owning this. And when I say that, I’m not saying that I don’t mean it as attributing responsibility to you (although, to an extent, I do), I’m saying that you’re admitting that’s what you’re doing, except you might disagree with my characterization of your reasons. You said it yourself: Getting the vaccine is the right thing to do, and you’re advocating otherwise. Obviously, I can’t make people do what I want, everyone has the ability to make their own risk/reward calculations, but the people who disagree with anti-vaxxers get to make their own risk reward calculations, take actions, and those actions might effect your calculus. We aren’t islands.

        • I was just musing about the term “moral imperative” and the coercive element of vaccine passports.

          There’s a…. je ne sais quoi… there’s a remainder in the equation. An imbalance. Getting a vaccine doesn’t make you a good person, but good people get vaccines. This is probably true for most things, but I don’t think I’ve ever thought about it quite so directly.

          I think you’re getting hung up on the remainder, and it’s kept you from getting to the right place.

          • I’ll put this back on you, what do you think the alternatives are?

            Humble Talent, I think I outlined one possibility earlier in the comments on this post, which I admitted I had overlooked in my initial reasoning. So one alternative is to go ahead and get the vaccine, but refuse to comply with any vaccine passport mandates.

            Other alternatives are to accept the vaccine passports and hope that they lead to nothing further, on one extreme, or engage in civil unrest on the other.

            I don’t think that you’re going to convince them to think like you by acting like a spiteful toddler.

            I agree that we need to work to convince people. That involves engagement, explanation, fielding challenges, and hopefully being charitable with the criticism you receive. I like St. Paul’s admonition to “Test everything, hold fast to what is good.”

            And of course, additional ideas can occur to us when other people challenge our premises. I have to admit, sometimes when I post a comment here, I get a sick feeling about the possible responses I’ll receive. I’m not as thick-skinned as I would like to be. And it is also difficult to post something, and then watch was as little by little, you find that your arguments weren’t as solid as you originally supposed.

            So, since as I mentioned before I’m in the middle of “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich”, I’m going to go ahead and use some Third Reich analogies. For the “Great Reset”, the rejection of that idea could be akin to Beer Hall Putsch, where the Democrats found they were premature in their push and need buy their time and build more support for their ideas. Or they are high-tailing it away from the “Great Reset” and won’t return to it. Which will it be? Given what I’ve seen of the tactics being employed by the left, I’m inclined to lean towards the former. Perhaps you’ll say I’m being fearful and crazy, but it seems that the left has taken control of our education, our media, our social media, and our entertainment, which gives them the platforms to continue to push their ideas far more effectively than anything the political right is engaged in. In a few more years, with enough propaganda, not only will they not be soundly rejected for the “Great Reset”, but we’ll be voting them into office to specifically accomplish that.

            In terms of a thought I had during the composition of this reply, I did consider that maybe making a push to get as many people vaccinated as possible might steal the impetus behind vaccine passports. Jack said as much in light of lockdowns, and my mind was just not making the connection to vaccine passports, though it should have been obvious at the moment.

            This isn’t a chicken/egg question. The Democrats had floated the idea of vaccine passports, but there weren’t a whole lot of concrete steps taken towards them until it became obvious that vaccination rates were stalling out.

            I agree. But a slightly different outlook on the situation would be that the Democrats want to do something like vaccine passports, but didn’t have the excuse to push forward with them until the vaccination rates stalled. Now they have the excuse. Taking the excuse away might deflate them, or they might move the bar again to still achieve their goal. Again, Third Reich analogy, I’m thinking of how Shirer describes Hitler as furious at Neville Chamberlain when the British Prime Minister worked with Czechoslovakia to deliver to Hitler everything Hitler had asked for. Except Hitler hadn’t wanted what he asked for, he actually wanted the excuse to invade Czechoslovakia and march triumphantly into Prague.

            I know, know… Stop the comparisons with the Nazis.

            • “So one alternative is to go ahead and get the vaccine, but refuse to comply with any vaccine passport mandates.”

              This might be the best answer. It seems a little performative, but there’s a real action in there, and if enough like minded people decided to participate, it would have the intended effect. I like it.

              Manitoba played with the idea of a vaccine passport for a while… We technically have a one. But we’re at >80% vaccinated right now, and our case/fatality numbers are basically flatlined, so we’ve almost entirely done away with restrictions and I can’t think of a place the passport is actually necessary.

      • “One of the biggest concerns I have about the vaccine passports is that they are couched behind doing a good thing, namely getting people vaccinated so we can reach herd immunity. But the bait of a trap is not effective as bait if it isn’t tempting. Evil always justifies itself by claiming to solve some problem. It always asks us to make a small compromise to achieve some good. And once that compromise has been made, it asks for another small compromise, and another, until we’re firmly in its grip and it no longer needs to ask us to make compromises.”

        I see parallels to the current scenario in the 9/11 terror attack and the patriot act. The patriot act was couched as a method of preventing terrorism, and who doesn’t want to prevent terrorism? Now terrorism is being redefined to include things like people disagreeing with the elites or protesting causes the elites don’t want protested. Federal agencies are spying on American citizens on the flimsiest of excuses, using FISA warrants to monitor journalists, politicians from the opposition party, and everyday people who don’t want to do what the government wants them to. Virtually all internet traffic is monitored not only by the government, but by civilian contractors who are not accountable to the voters. Phone records, text messages and emails are all swept up in government surveillance on no pretext at all. This is usually justified by broad arguments such as preventing hate crimes, public safety, and cracking down on amorphous threats.

        So what happens when you give the government power over your health decisions? I see enormous possibility for massive abuse in allowing the government to dictate what health decisions people have to make. Somewhere down the road, long after this particular virus ceases to matter, what healthcare decisions will they be mandating? There are obvious ones, like drinking alcohol, drug use, cigarette smoking. I can easily see people protesting those, but I also can see the same type of person who is now demanding obeisance to the vaccine push agreeing with cutting off people’s health insurance, banning them from society for “safety” and demanding 24/7 monitoring of their movements. What about things like forced abortion or sterilization? Forced implantation of tracking devices? The same arguments that are being made now will apply to all these other scenarios. Public health, safety, protection from non-conformers. They are broad arguments that can easily be twisted by government to essentially take over people’s every decision. Once you start down this road, how far does it go? It is very hard to guess, but I really don’t think it will stop at a single vaccine push.

        The patriot act isn’t an exact parallel, but the same type of arguments are being made now for vaccine mandates and health passports that were made then for justifying warrantless surveillance. Taking advantage of societal turmoil to condition a populace into accepting measures that would not have previously been accepted appears to be a tactic the government frequently uses.

        When you give the government power, they never limit that power to the specified purpose. Removing the power you gave them is virtually impossible. I think the best time to consider whether you really want to give the government a particular power is prior to giving it to them. People should ask themselves if they really are comfortable letting complete strangers, with no interest in them as an individual, make their healthcare decisions for them f the answer is no, push back on this effort.

    • My wife was reading me an article in which some nurses were reporting that at their hospitals, they were refusing to test patients for the Wuhan virus if they had been vaccinated. This of course would suppress the case count of breakthrough infections. These nurses claimed that this policy came from guidance from their local CDC reps. I suggested that if the CDC is officially guiding hospitals to do this, it should be posted on the CDC website. We’ve looked and haven’t found anything to suggest the CDC is giving this guidance. I told her that there were three possible scenarios:

      1. The CDC is giving this guidance in its official capacity, but hiding it from the public

      2. The CDC reps are lying and trying to bolster support for the vaccine by claiming the CDC is giving those directions, when the CDC is actually not

      3. The nurses themselves are lying about receiving direction from CDC reps to avoid testing vaccinated individuals for the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

      I’m wondering how many reports are like this are just scaremongering in the disguise of journalism.

    • Jack Marshall wrote, “I’m wondering how many of those reported side effects are really side effects, and how much of the reporting is part of the active effort to make people afraid of the vaccines.”

      That is a very valid concern.

      What’s also a valid concern is why the hell are they so damned determined to censor anything that counters the “settled science” narrative.

      These bear repeating…

      Both political and health authorities are exerting a tremendous amount of effort across the board to maintain their narrative and censor anything and anyone that might counter their narrative. I’ve been saying it for a while now; the political left has a nearly absolute control over the narratives that are being presented to We the People and after the last 4+ years of blatantly false Pravda like propaganda narratives and outright lies from the political left, that control over the narrative should scare the hell out of everyone when they pay attention to how they are pushing their COVID hysteria and COVID vaccine safety narratives so hard. They’re using their narratives to control the public, stomp on human rights and intimidate an entire population into getting an unproven, maybe unsafe by past FDA standards, experimental vaccination that has been rushed into production without meeting the same kinds of standards as other vaccines and they’re giving these vaccines to MILLIONS of people without the real understood knowledge that it is EXPERIMENTAL!

      On top of that there is open persecution towards those that have not succumb to social pressures and are not vaccinated with this experimental vaccine.

      If you don’t get the vaccine you might loose your job, not get a job, and will likely be prevented from participating in normal activities in our society – a social outcast – think 1930’s Star of David on Jews in Germany type of outcasts. That’s right, a social outcast because you didn’t want to take part in a mass population medical experiment.

      Seriously folks, what the have we become?

    • Exactly, part of the problem is because vaccines have such an active and, frankly, radical anti-following, every time there is any adverse effects (AE’s) in a relative proximation to a vaccine injection, a very noisy minority pumps the everloving hell out of the tires.

      And VAERS is a case study in why that isn’t helpful: Previous to 2020, there was an average of 150 people (give or take) who VAERS listed as having died as a vaccine AE. But to the best of my knowledge, somewhere between absolutely none and very very few actually died as a vaccine AE. It’s possible, likely even, that some might have died from anaphylactic shock, but we don’t know, because it doesn’t go that deep. And my expectation is that quite a few of these people had heart attacks something like 24 weeks later and someone, not necessarily even a medical professional, decided that it was an AE. VAERS gives people just enough information to be scary, but not enough information to be useful. It’s the exact same problem as the reporting on people who “died” from Covid. Meanwhile, some of the same people who were rightly criticizing the Covid reporting are treating VAERS like a holy document.

  5. I think I would come down on the more “agnostic” side of the argument. In other words, I don’t care that much whether or not people get vaccinated. A month or so after the vaccine became generally available, I stopped caring about SARS-CoV-2. It is no longer relevant to me in terms of deciding where I go and what I do. It is dead to me.

    That’s because we’ve done all we can, consistent with the American ideal of freedom, to protect people who are vulnerable. In my view, that duty was fully discharged with the development and delivery of the vaccine, experimental though it is. It is now up to individuals to decide what to do with that expensive and laudatory development effort.

    We don’t require passports for influenza or other pandemic-likely respiratory viruses. If we were to carefully clean the data, I suspect we’d find the mortality rate of COVID-19 very little different from pandemic flu strains, and we have flu pandemics every decade or so at least.

    Having said all that, Ryan’s point, while defensible, seems a bit too pat. The freedom is in the ability to make the choice. If the government attempts to restrict it further using the vaccinated vs. unvaccinated as a lever, it is incumbent upon Americans to resist that effort and demand the government desist in such tyrannical activities. While deciding to eschew vaccination in an effort to prevent the success of such restrictive policies has some merit, doing so also reduces the overall public health and permits a longer and deadlier pandemic.

    The choice, it seems to me, is to forestall the possibility of a possible evil at the cost of prolonging another evil. Which is the lesser? I always prefer to deal with the devil in front of me, cognizant of the ancient aphorism, “Raise no more devils than you can lay down.” I’ll deal with the vaccine passport devil when it shows up on my doorstep.

    But that’s just me.

    • “The freedom is in the ability to make the choice.”

      Exactly right, but I’d go a step further: I think there’s a responsibility in freedom. It can’t be an externally imposed responsibility, because that’s not actually freedom. But having freedom to make choices makes you responsible for the outcomes of those choices, and accepting those outcomes.

      There is very real harm being done right now. And we can point fingers and try to hold our political opponents to account, but the fact of the matter is that there is an extreme hypocrisy in doing that while simultaneously explicitly taking action that you admittedly know make the situation worse.

      • What we have here is a disagreement about what the outcome of the decision is. I don’t see refusing the vaccine necessarily as harm, but rather, a worse choice than the alternative. The virus will spread no matter what we do, and like the cold and flu, it will eventually afflict us all. The debate here is whether or not it’s better to reduce that rate of spread as much as possible, or not, and where the right of refusal to vaccinate lies on the spectrum of desirable outcomes. It’s not as easy a call, in my view, as most people think.

        On balance, though, I favor vaccination over the alternative. Why suffer needlessly, or even die, when your symptoms could be dramatically reduced? In my personal opinion, a milder illness is an unalloyed good thing.

        Also, slowing the rate of spread has the benefit of allowing the unvaccinated to be exposed to sub-infectious levels of the virus, which would tend to decrease the body’s response time compared to someone who’s system was naive to the pathogen. People who have no exposure and are suddenly exposed to high viral loads are prone to nasty effects like a bradykinin storm, thought to be one of the primary methods of hospitalization, severe illness, and death.

        On the other hand, the faster it spreads, the sooner we can achieve true heard immunity and be done with this pernicious pandemic. The virus will always be with us, but the pandemic, hopefully, will not.

  6. [Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. The following is the understanding I have gleaned over the last year-and-a-half of Covidiocy.]

    It is my understanding that the mRNA shots (Pfizer, ModeRNA, J&J) are not vaccines in the traditional sense of the word. Strictly speaking, they are genetic therapeutics. They are not injecting people with killed / deactivated / inert pathogen in an attempt to cause an immune response. Rather, these “vaccines” program our cells to create spikes proteins similar to those on the Covid virus, in order to engender some sort of immune response. Doctors and virologists (at least the ones I’ve heard) have said that this does not help us attain herd immunity (whereas both actual vaccines and infection with / recovery from the virus do).

    Lastly, some of these same experts have said that Atra Zeneca and Novavax are not mRNA therapeutics, but actual (“traditional”) vaccines.

    I have taken none of them, yet. I turn 60 next month. I’ve tested positive for Covid antibodies, though I never suffered with any symptoms of infection. Whether or not I take any of the vaccines (or the “vaccines”) remains to be seen. I want to see LOTS more testing (and transparency re. adverse effects).

    Meanwhile, my biblically-informed tendency toward conservo-libertarian politics has me pushing back HARD CORE against any manner of mandate or social pressure whatsoever.

    That is all … peace and health.

    • I am actually quite interested in the Novavax vaccine for all the reasons you mentioned. If that one gets released and seems to go well I will consider taking it.

  7. Ryan is absolutely correct.

    I would add that the federal government, from the President to the CDC to the Houses of Congress, and all stages in between, along with the majority of the states, have blown the messaging since the beginning of the pandemic. I get that science evolves and what is known today may not be the same in two week or two months or two years, but this kind of imagery absolutely guts credibility and leads people to think that the mask mandates and other directives are purely show, at minimum, or down right lies, at the other end:

    These idiots ran from Texas to avoid a vote on voter laws. They didn’t mask up on their way there (many contracted the virus or were already infected and created a bigger problem in DC), but told us all to follow the science and Fauci and the CDC. Yet, here they traveling again without a mask to be seen. What are we to think? And, can you blame us if we disregard the directives because of this nonsense?


  8. Ryan Harkins asked the question, “How dire is the threat of totalitarianism?”
    It should be obvious to anyone with two brain cells to rub together that our liberties have been steadily eroding in this country for well over 100 years by the intentional erosion of state sovereignty and the calculated expansion of the scope, power and physical size of the federal government. Both Republicans and Democrats have been complicit in this process. The states have historically, for the most part, surrendered without a metaphorical shot being fired, and continue to do so.
    As a (now-retired) law enforcement officer, I looked at the Patriot Act with great skepticism, and many of my fears about the misuse of those powers have proven well-founded. Now we see the Democrat administration, their media allies, “woke” culture, the entrenched federal bureaucracy, and “Big Tech” combining their efforts to encourage further moves toward totalitarianism. I don’t see any other way to describe it.
    It’s easy, but not enough, to say “Totalitarianism is bad, so don’t let the federal government take your rights away.” That would be the equivalent to saying, “Don’t get the Wuhan virus.” The questions that I and many others I know keep asking ourselves and each other is, “When will we recognize it’s going to become full-blown totalitarianism? When will we know that the soap box, the ballot box, and the jury box have failed and it is time to resort to the cartridge box? When is the proper time to resist with force?”
    The end result that everyone wants to prevent is the concentration camp, the gulag, the “re-education” camp, the firing squad, the noose, or the gas chamber. If you are sent to a death camp, no rational person would fault you for fighting back. But when you’re being prodded towards the gas chamber, unarmed, nude and nearly starving, it’s way too late. You would have no chance. On the other hand, no one would condone starting an armed rebellion because the government imposed some pandemic restrictions on travel or required vaccination passports. So when will it be not too late, but also not too early? How will we discern the precise point where our nation is standing at the brink of totalitarianism but it is still possible to fight back if we have the will?
    I fear that we are being conditioned to comply, and like the proverbial frog in a pan of gradually heated water, and many will boil rather than jump.

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