News Opinions/Publications Eva’s Choice: Vac­cine Pass­ports Or Exile

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”.

Thanks for prov­ing my point, @instagrampic​.twit​ter​.com/​y​S​C​t​T​J​B​B2Y

— 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: theam​er​i​can​con​ser​v​a​tive​.com / Rod Dreher