by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Why do some people have trouble with the idea that some things that are good should not be made mandatory?
Vaccines are the obvious example today.
I am pro-vaccine in general and vocally in favor of the COVID-19 vaccines. I got the Moderna vaccine. My wife got the Pfizer vaccine. I have encouraged my friends to get the vaccine. I have gone on television, radio, and panels and made public speeches encouraging people to get vaccinated. I have addressed the pro-life objections to the vaccine and written multiple articles encouraging people to get vaccinated.
Yet I get called anti-vaccine.
In fact, I qualify as the dictionary definition of anti-vaxxer. Yes, Merriam Webster, the dictionary that has decided to sell its credibility in order to make itself a shameless warrior in the culture wars, now defines “anti-vaxxer” to include a person who opposes “regulations mandating vaccination.”
The foundation of this worldview is that there can be no meaningful distinction between a person who believes vaccines are good and that people should get them voluntarily (me)and a person who believes that government and corporations should use their power to force unwilling people to get vaccinated. …
… Given that the COVID vaccine, unlike the polio vaccine, is not a sterilizing vaccine and that vaccinated people can still get and spread the virus, the public health justification for vaccine mandates is relatively thin. That doesn’t matter. …
… I don’t simply believe that I should get the vaccine. I believe that you, dear reader, should get the vaccine. As I said, I tell everyone that. But there’s something between “I only think about myself” and “everyone should be required to do what I do.”
I do not believe that firing someone for not getting vaccinated is just or reasonable in most cases — especially given the imperfection of the vaccine in preventing infection. I also believe that an extremely high threshold needs to be reached before the government can force us to undergo medical interventions.