Eva’s Choice: Vaccine Passports Or Exile
Elsewhere on TAC today, Dutch commentator Eva Vlaardingerbroek write about the vaccine passports mandatory in the Netherlands from this weekend, and what this means. Excerpts:
Beginning tomorrow, September 25, everyone in the Netherlands above the age of 13 will need a “Digital Covid Certificate” in order to be allowed into restaurants, bars, theaters, cinemas, and concert halls. Basically, the things that make life enjoyable for most people, will be limited to those who are in possession of a Q.R. code that indicates they are either vaccinated, tested, or have recovered from Covid-19 within the past 160 days.
What is interesting — and, in my view, incredibly telling — about the Dutch situation in particular is that a whopping 85 percent of the Dutch population is currently already fully vaccinated. More than a year and a half into the Covid-crisis, it is estimated that 95 percent of the population has antibodies, and currently only 200 people are in the ICU. Yet it is at this very moment that our government decides to introduce the most far-reaching and invasive measure the Dutch have seen to date. This is only the beginning.
She makes an argument for why the vaccine passports are not necessary at this point, and won’t actually do what the government claims they will do. So why have them? What is the end game? She goes on:
Frustratingly, only a very limited number of people in the West see what is really at stake here. Most fail to see that, once these Q.R. systems are enforced and people have become accustomed to them, these systems can be used for a variety of other purposes as well. It is most likely not a coincidence that a couple of weeks ago, suddenly, a nationwide poll was conducted to enquire how the Dutch viewed the possibility of a “personal carbon credit” system. Nevertheless, a large majority seems to believe — or want to believe — that all of this is for the common good, or that it is at least all temporary and won’t “get that far.”
I hope they are right, but I cannot help feeling that Tocqueville hit the nail on the head, as he often did, when he wrote that the type of despotism democratic people have to fear will in no way look like the despotism and tyranny our ancestors endured: “It would be more extensive and more mild; it would degrade men without tormenting them,” he wrote in 1840. And, in a way, the fact that it happens more gradually is what makes it arguably even more dangerous. After all, a people that do not realize they are losing their freedom will not fight for it. They will simply let it slip through their fingers.
She’s talking about soft totalitarianism. And she’s talking about the fact that unless she gets vaccinated, she and all the others like her are going to be essentially turned into recluses in their own country.
It’s a perfectly reasonable argument Eva Vlaardingerbroek makes. Maybe she’s wrong — but there’s nothing weird or inflammatory about the objections she raises. But look what happened:
Instagram just took my story down with my article for @amconmag on the slippery slope of vaccine passports, stating it contained “harmful misinformation”.
— Eva Vlaardingerbroek (@EvaVlaar) September 24, 2021
What “harmful misinformation”? Where did she lie or mislead? Or is the “harmful misinformation” simply disagreeing with the state’s scheme?
Did you catch Bari Weiss’s Substack newsletter this week, in which she presented a variety of views of people regarding vaccine mandates? Here’s an interesting point made by a doctor and a health care economist:
Now, looking beyond the epidemiology, it’s worth considering the psychology that comes into play when we start forcing people to do things: It is practically a mathematical certainty that the mandates will lead many people to distrust the government, leading experts at places like the Centers for Disease Control, and our most prominent research universities even more than they do now. Why, the thinking goes, are you forcing me to do something that, you insist, is obviously good for me? If it were obviously good for me, you wouldn’t have to force me to do it.
The mandates, far from persuading the unvaccinated to fall into line, will further undermine the authority of those pushing them — and, critically, it will make it that much harder to persuade the public to get vaccinated when an even more dangerous pandemic sweeps the globe.
There is a deeper, darker reason for the vaccine mandates. Within each of us, there is a primal urge to avoid infection and shun the infected. This stretches back to the ancient world. Medical students must suppress the urge to shun the infected in order to become good doctors.
Alas, mandate supporters have succumbed, to an extent, to this urge. They are fueled by it; they fuel it. They are creating, consciously or unconsciously, an outgroup of the unvaccinated — who happen to include a disproportionate number of poor people and minorities. It is awful public policy.
Look, I think people should be vaccinated. I found out just yesterday that a friend’s uncle, a man my age (54), reported to my friend on Sunday that he probably had Covid, and was feeling pretty bad. Friend told his uncle to go to the doctor in the morning. The next day, the uncle died. The funeral is today. I believe that for many of us — including 54-year-old me, with my compromised immune system — the risks from taking the vaccine are less than the risk from Covid. But I have intelligent, thoughtful friends (like Eva Vlaardingerbroek) who are not going to take the vaccine, and aren’t hysterics about it. I respect their choice, and I do not want a world in which these people are driven to society’s margins. Another friend of mine was fired from his academic job last month for refusing the vaccine. This is unjust. I believe, with Adrian Vermeule (in the Bari Weiss symposium), that the state has, in principle, the power to force vaccines on its population in an extreme public health situation. But Covid, as bad as it is, does not strike me as serious enough to justify broaching the invasion of a citizen’s body.
Plus, look at today’s news, about how the CDC chief overruled her own experts and recommended Pfizer booster shots for at risk workers— a decision that was clearly political. The CDC panel said there just weren’t enough data to justify this move, but she pushed ahead anyway, because that’s what the White House wants. We’re all supposed to get in line, then, because the CDC head is making a decision based on politics, not scientific consensus?
And now, social media censors are deciding what kind of questions we can and can’t ask about all this?
I find these people to be a greater threat to the common good than the unvaccinated.
Source: theamericanconservative.com / Rod Dreher