“How Do You Respond When An Anti-Vaxxer Dies Of Covid?” I’ll Answer That…

I thought this op-ed, by a Jesuit priest, would have something profound to say about the ethics of schadenfreude. I was disappointed. His grand conclusion:

At this point I could run through a list of philosophers, theologians and wise voices from religions and traditions around the world to prove my point. Instead I will reclaim a word that has been largely lost from our discourse: mean. Crowing over someone’s suffering or demise is as far from a moral act as one can imagine. It’s cruel. Indulged in regularly, schadenfreude ends up warping the soul. It robs us of empathy for those with whom we disagree. It lessens our compassion. To use some language from both the Old and New Testaments, it “hardens” our hearts. No matter how much I disagree with anti-vaxxers, I know that schadenfreude over their deaths is a dead end.

Wow, stop the presses. A Jesuit recognizes the value of the Golden Rule. This is news that’s “fit to print?” Well, the obvious (I hope) conclusion turned out to be device to attack Wuhan vaccine skeptics and opponents on the way to reaching it. “After months of trying to convince anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers and anti-social distancers that lifesaving measures are both for their own good and for that of others, frustration might get the better of people,” Father James Martin writes, finding an excuse for one side of the aisle while condemning without sympathy, for example, Fox News pundit Laura Ingraham, “a commentator who often expresses her belief in “Christian values,” gloating over the news that Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had tested positive despite being vaccinated and boosted.

I expect more fairness and less deceit from the clergy, Lord knows why:

  • Opposing government mandated vaccinations does not make one an “anti-vaxxer.” That’s a slur on par with calling those who doubt the certitude of over-simplified climate change taking points “deniers.” Many oppose the mandated vaccines as an unconstitutional and unethical violation of personal liberty, and are not taking the shots to stand up for basic rights, not because they necessarily don’t believe in “the science.”
  • Calling masks, particularly the masks most people wear, “live-saving” is propaganda and misinformation. The CDC’s “experts” have, in sequence, said “mask aren’t necessary,” wear masks; no need to wear masks if you’re vaccinated; better wear masks, and if you don’t like what the advice is now, as they say about weather in New England, wait a bit. I know men of the cloth are suckers for faith, but if Jesus had been wrong as often as the health experts, we might be making offerings to Jupiter and Neptune today.
  • Don’t get me started on “social distancing.” I’m surprised the good Father didn’t also say we were killing people by touching our faces. Remember that edict?

To answer Father Martin’s question: when I read about a pandemic measures opponent whom we are told died of the virus or one of its relatives, my responses are:

  • It’s moral luck, just like fitness a guru dropping dead while jogging. It doesn’t prove anything.
  • I think about NBA player Rudi Gobert, who was roundly razzed and mocked when he tested positive after this incident…

But we now know that the Wuhan virus isn’t transmitted by touching surfaces. Nevertheless, he was made to grovel to pandemic hysteria..

  • I’m skeptical. As we have discussed here repeatedly (but the mainstream media has deliberately obscured), the way it is determined that someone had died of “Covid” has been rigged to maximize fatalities.
  • I’m angry. I’m angry at the dishonest, manipupulative, arrogant health officials that over-sold their certainty and “the science,” making the kind of Americans I consider the bulwark of our system, those who are suspicious of authority abusers and dictators, justly suspicious of their motives and trustworthiness.
  • I also regard such a death, if indeed it was caused by the virus, the direct result of the panicky, politically driven, reckless and stupid response to the Wuhan virus by schools, cities, and states, wrecking our economy, harming our children, dividing the country and tainting the 2020 election. The death might not have occurred if the officials we trusted hadn’t betrayed that trust.

20 thoughts on ““How Do You Respond When An Anti-Vaxxer Dies Of Covid?” I’ll Answer That…

      • How on earth did that happen to the Jesuits, John? Georgetown seemed delightful in the very early ’90s when I took our daughter there for orientation. They really seemed to be skilled at making the kids feel at home there. When did the Jebbies there turn into Commies? Too many post-modernist French priests? Depressing.

        • It happened in Latina America in the 1960s and 1970s, when repressive regimes in Central and South America essentially turned into killing machines. The Church was a huge obstacle to the regimes. Many Jesuits in the region turned to the revolutionaries, thinking they would be better than the ruling juntas. They also began teaching liberation theology, with Marxist ideology wrapped around the church.

          Pope John Paul II tried to rein them in but the damage was pretty much done. Pope Francis, sadly, is an outgrowth of that experience.


  1. I look at these kind of antivaxer deaths simply as the results of choices and consequences They are all still a tragedy regardless of vaccine status because they are someone’s parent, child, friend, etc.

    • Tragedy means they get my sympathy. I don’t delight in the death of a unvax’ed individual, but he made his choice, and he has to live (or die) with consequences.

  2. Two things…


    “Trumper lies kill”

    These are Trump’s vaccines. They were developed during his administration, he cut a whole lot of red tape to make them happen and he used the military to distribute them. America was vaccinating at a rate slightly better than a million people a day by the end of Trump’s term. How, the actual hell, does someone tie anti-vaxxer sentiments to Trump?


    “Opposing government mandated vaccinations does not make one an “anti-vaxxer.” ”

    That’s absolutely true, but doesn’t reflect the reality of the situation we’re talking about. This was a woman who stood outside of pharmacies and heckled people in line like a Westboro Baptist at a soldier’s funeral. Not everyone being *called* an antivaxxer is. But she sure was.

    • They want to blame Trump, to deflect the blame from the sitting vice president, who appeared on national TV and said she wouldn’t take a vaccine recommended by Trump.

      The Democrats invented the anti-vax political position. Say said they feared the safety of a vaccine developed so quickly, and potentially under tested. Low and below, people took them at their word, and now don’t believe they are sincere when they call everybody an asshole for not getting these “perfectly safe” shots.

      And for the record. I’ve gotten every shot available to me. Three at this point, and I expect everyone else to do the same. If you elect not to, I don’t give a damn, but don’t expect my sympathy. You’ve made you choice, you live and die with the consequences.

  3. This is basically a Darwinian. exer5cise. People do stupid things all the time. Driving drunk comes immediately to mind. This doesn’t mean I’m going to gloat over their death’s. Any needlessly lost life is a tragedy, and both are needless. I am concerned, because their lives touch others and may well cause other deaths as well. And that, I think, puys us pn the horns of the dilemma: are we unethical to condemn the stupid actions of others at risk, or not since they are given freedom of choice. Frankly, I don’t know. In part because we have no way of predicting future repercussions of ANY of our actions. My mother’s first husband drove into a bridge abutment, driving while drunk. Stupid? Of course. However, if he had not, my mother would never (maybe) have met my father and I (maybe) would not be here. Thus, I am mildly grateful that he did so. I do not feel particularly unethical being gratified that he did so. By the same token, I am not going to celebrate his death, either. It was clearly his choice.

  4. I share your scepticism regarding the actual cause of death. The “Daily Beast” article offers zero evidence of a COVID diagnosis. The best a similar “SFGATE” article can do is this:

    “Bacterial pneumonia is a phrase commonly used in anti-vax circles to explain a COVID-related hospitalization without admitting to contracting the virus”

    That’s awfully weak evidence for the unequivocal title of: “Popular QAnon promoter dies of COVID in California”

    A more accurate title would be: “Someone we don’t like has died — we really hope it was from COVID”

  5. Government funded hatred seems to be flourishing! White vs Black, Cisgender vs Transgender, Pro-vaxx vs Anti-Vaxx…everybody fight! Listening to each other and finding common ground is clearly a bad solution to every problem. It certainly is much better to pit everyone against each other and see who wins by means of counting the death toll and dancing on the graves of our enemies. Maybe we should develop a system for engaging in this behavior! How about we set aside some time each day, say 5 minutes, and everyone can sit down in front of a television and engage in this hatred together!! It would be morale boosting. Everyone scream it with me: “Death to the anti-vaxx!”

    The above was sarcasm, if that wasn’t clear.

    Heather McDonald, a standup comedian, recently got onstage, delivered an anti-vaxx joke, then promptly lost consciousness, fell, and fractured her skull. Should the anti-vaxxers celebrate? Is it ethical for them to point and laugh? If it’s ethical to point and laugh at the deaths of anti-vaxxers, then it is ethical to point and laugh at the fractured skulls of the pro-vaxx. Personally, I think neither scenario is ethical.

    I think playing this game goes no where good.

  6. In the past weeks, I have presided at three funerals. All the deceased followed the guidelines- mask, quarantine, social distance, vaccination, boosterd. None had serious comorbidities. The age range was 42-63. All their death certificates listed COVID as causative for their demise. I mourn for them as I mourn for all who die from the Wuhan disease or any other disease.

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