President Biden’s decision to unilaterally impose a variety of widespread federal vaccine mandates over vast swathes of the American population may be one of the most large-scale violations of individual liberty that has been perpetrated upon Americans in the history of our nation.
To be clear: I have made the personal choice to get vaccinated, based on my own beliefs and contextualities.
However, whether or not one believes in the efficacy of the vaccine is irrelevant to the larger point: We have lost the right to make our own choices.
The fact that I have to say these words is mind-boggling, but this is where we find ourselves: It should be an individual’s choice to choose what foreign (and unproven) substances are injected into their body – based on both an American citizen’s inalienable rights as well as any individual’s basic human right to autonomy over his or her own body.
That decision has been stolen from anyone who is a government worker, government contractor, Medicare or Medicaid related health care worker, and even from anyone who works at a private company with more than 100 employees.
What choice is there but to get vaccinated, when the alternative is losing one’s livelihood? One of Biden’s plans calls for a fine of $14,000 per violation for any company deemed to be in violation. A business would have no choice but to fire any unvaccinated or non-compliant employees.
What choice is there but to get vaccinated when one is unable to travel, socially congregate, or simply experience a semblance of life outside of their own personal property?
All of this for a vaccine that is far from a scientifically proven commodity, linked to potential health problems, and pushed by government and global institutions such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization that have been completely wrong on countless occasions.
Vaccines, along with mask mandates and most other mitigation measures, are largely unproven theories. They are guesses— educated guesses, perhaps, but still guesses. And to create such aggressive, authoritarian public policy based on a guess is the epitome of recklessness.
Acclaimed scientist and author Michael Crichton famously termed this phenomenon of presenting a theory as fact — based simply on popular opinion — as “consensus science.” He explained in his 2003 lecture at CalTech (in which he was discussing consensus science as it related to climate change): “There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.” Basically, if one has to legitimize the authenticity of a scientific study by looking to his or her peers for validation, rather than letting the science speak for itself, it is not truly science.
Crichton illustrates many historic and recent examples of consensus science being used to promulgate policy initiatives on false pretenses, including everything from climate change, to smoking bans in restaurants, to nuclear winter. Science has become so inextricably tied to interest groups and political objectives, on both sides of the aisle, that it is hardly surprising that so many individuals no longer give it much credence.
So, when someone like Nicki Minaj refuses to get vaccinated based on her skepticism, I do not blame her, especially in the face of the horrific scientific experimentation historically performed on the African-American community. They have not forgotten the Tuskegee Trials, and they shouldn’t.
Recent studies have shown that minority communities (especially African Americans), despite leftist assertions to the contrary, have received significantly smaller percentage shares of the vaccine than whites. It is hard to discount their hesitancy.
Further, it is hard to countenance the leftist assertion that this imbalance in vaccine equity is due to misallocation. Urban areas, where vaccine rollout has been predominantly concentrated to reach the greatest number of people, have significantly higher percentages of minorities than harder to reach rural communities, which are typically comprised of white Americans.
Now, let us say for the sake of argument that the vaccine truly has zero deleterious short- or long-term side effects or other negative consequences, and is proven safe for every possible individual. Even in this scenario, it would still be unethical and reprehensible to coerce its adoption.
What right does government have to impose its will on individual citizens, or to override state and local governments? The U.S. government was created to be as minimalist as possible, especially at the federal level. A federal mandate is not only unacceptable for its destruction of individual liberty, but also for its blatant disregard of our federal system.
The framers of the Constitution, primarily Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, even enshrined this commitment to state autonomy within the Bill of Rights. The 10th Amendment states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Finally, beyond the aforementioned political, economic, social, ethical, and moral concerns, what precedent does this establish moving forward? To paraphrase Ben Franklin, by willingly giving up our freedom for temporary security, we are relinquishing our right to both.
Is it crazy to consider a scenario in which, in the face of continued resistance to vaccines or other future mandates, the government might take more drastic measures?
All it took for Franklin D. Roosevelt to send 120,000 Japanese-American citizens to internment camps for the duration of World War II was a simple executive order, based on fear, ignorance, and mass hysteria propagated by his administration. This, despite Roosevelt’s hypocritical assertion that “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” not to mention his “Four Freedoms.”
Many are already living in a state of constant fear, holed up in their homes, unable to congregate indoors, unable to go to work. It really is not that inconceivable to envision a scenario in which the Biden administration (or a future president) might decide to unilaterally quarantine communities deemed to be public health risks. Or, to forcibly detain non-compliant individuals.
This is, essentially, already happening.
Can individuals choose to vaccinate themselves and thereby avoid the current consequences, or future ramifications? Yes. Should they choose this? That is not my decision to make, it is not your decision to make, and it is absolutely not Joe Biden’s decision to make.
It is their own decision to make, based on their own values and cost-benefit analysis.
Individual choice is the cornerstone of a society that values liberty; without it, we cease to be free. It is really that simple.
Jack McPherrin is an editorial intern with The Heartland Institute.