Vaccines are not vaccine mandates. The choice and the requirement are different concepts. That statement might seem self-evident but, judging by the public discourse, it is a difference that is lost on many. Fortunately, even many who have chosen a vaccine recognize the dangers of mandating them or, even worse, setting up a vaccine passport system.
A healthy distrust of mandates and passports is not unwarranted. An important factor in predicting future outcomes is a study of past outcomes in similar situations. Our history features many slippery slopes; whenever the government is given a new authority, it immediately exceeds the boundaries of that authority. These powers are often given to government in times of “emergency” without consideration of the long-term consequences.
Long Term Consequences of Mandates and Passports
Our legal system is based on precedents. When making a determination as to whether something can or cannot be done, an important factor is whether or not it has been done in the past. The vaccine mandate sets a precedent for requiring medical procedures in the name of the common good. This could have far-reaching consequences beyond the current pandemic.
It is not far-fetched to speculate that such a mandate would be expanded to include other freedom-crushing medical mandates that are deemed necessary for the good of society. Vaccine mandates were, in the very recent past, used by the Supreme Court to justify sterilizing people against their will. In the winning judicial opinion in the 1927 case Buck vs. Bell, Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote, “The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes.”
The civil asset forfeiture laws that were purportedly necessary to topple powerful drug kingpins were soon expanded to rob average citizens of their homes and cash. SWAT teams, constructed under the auspices of dealing with hostage situations and active shooters, were ultimately used for no-knock drug raids, endangering the innocent on low-level search warrants. The Revenue Act of 1913, which started as a maximum 7% tax for the wealthiest of citizens, increased to realize a marginal tax rate of 37% for middle class Americans.
From traffic laws to government surveillance, there are myriad examples of incremental changes that would have triggered outrage if the legislation had initially been implemented as such. This type of legislation is often accepted by the public by creating an atmosphere of fear, such as in the case of the War on Terror, in which restricted freedom is portrayed as the only solution and a sacrifice that all ethical people should be willing to make.
When the Favored Team is not in Charge
Even if one is in favor of this vaccine, in this particular situation, and under the current administration and legislature, one may not be as comfortable with a different medical procedure in different circumstances under an administration that does not reflect one’s political views. History shows that once the power is granted, it is difficult to roll back.
Many people who are pushing vaccine mandates trust President Biden and support the Democratic administration’s recommendations and goals regarding public health policy. Would those same individuals want the power of mandates and passports in the hands of a Trump administration? In fact, there were many vaccine skeptics, including Vice President Kamala Harris, who were distrustful of Trump’s Operation Warp Speed. Harris declared during the Vice-Presidential debate that she would not taking a vaccine on Trump’s recommendation. When a new power is put in place, it remains in place after the emergency and the trusted authority come to an end. It will be misused, not dismantled.
The Vaccinated Have a Vital Role to Play
A person who chooses, for whatever reason, to remain unvaccinated has, by making that choice, resisted mandates and passport systems. So, how can a vaccinated individual join the fight against the mandates? The answer is by refusing to disclose your vaccination status. The system cannot function without willing participants and as numbers of the unvaccinated reduce with every additional dose, it becomes more important that the vaccinated actively resist.
Injustice remains strong if only those who are unjustly treated speak out. This is about so much more than a vaccination. It is about the right of individuals to make their own medical decisions. It is about the right to privacy. It is about encroaching authoritarianism that impacts us all. It is difficult to stand one’s ground in these circumstances but, considering what is at stake, these are sacrifices that must be made if the right to bodily-autonomy is to remain recognized.