Medicine Should be Non-Violent
By: Scott Morefield
As a thought experiment, I posted the following statement to Twitter last week:
“Unless you are 100% sure that this vaccine is 100% safe for 100% of those who take it (you aren’t), you have NO moral right to force or coerce it on ANYONE. In fact, choosing to do so is an evil action.”
To clarify, I added the below as a follow-up:
“You can strongly recommend it. You can explain why you think the benefits are worth the drawbacks and/or risks. What you can’t do – if you want to stay on the right side of morality, that is – is impose a negative consequence for making the ‘wrong’ choice. THAT is coercion.”
By almost any standard, especially mine, the tweet did remarkably well, reaching hundreds of thousands of people and garnering hundreds of responses. And particularly interesting was the fact that it did so without being retweeted by any major accounts, at least as far as I could tell. That especially means that the issue, and the framing above, strongly resonated with people who are passionate enough about it to interact in some way.
If you have a few minutes, you can and should read through the comments. Though most agree with me, the ones that don’t tell you everything you need to know about where we are with the fight for bodily autonomy regarding Covid-19 vaccines in America today. The gist of most centered around the seeming assumption that the unvaccinated are automatically actively spreading the virus to everyone around them just by virtue of being unvaccinated. ‘Your right to swing your fist ends where someone else’s nose begins,’ or something, the logic typically went.
Except, as we are increasingly learning, whether someone is vaccinated or not has little to nothing to do with whether or not someone spreads or contracts this particular virus. Yes, possibly, your symptoms might be reduced and you may have a decreased chance of hospitalization or death – for the few months the vaccines actually work in this respect – but this has absolutely nothing to do with anyone around you, who have all made their own decision about whether or not to take the vaccine.
In other words, this decision is and should be a personal one and a personal one alone.
But what if it wasn’t? What if the vaccine actually did prevent the contraction and spread of Covid-19? Would the mandaters then have a point? Before we dig deeper into that question, consider this thought experiment presented by a respondent on the thread cited above:
“It’s found that spinal fluid of aboriginal men cures cancer of any stage. But, 1 in 1,000,000 extractions will cause immediate death. A law that forces them to donate is immoral.”
His conclusion: “You can’t morally force anyone to take a risk of any degree for any cause.”
Indeed, it’s difficult to argue with any of that from a moral perspective. In that scenario, one could imagine plenty of freedom-respecting ways to incentivize “aboriginal men” to donate their spinal fluid, if said spinal fluid did cure cancer. And even minus incentivization or monetary compensation, many would doubtless choose to donate for the good of humanity.
But one could also imagine a tyrannical government forcibly taking the spinal fluid, violating both the liberty and bodily autonomy of these men and subjecting them to a risk – even a minimal one – of death. Surely, a government that respects freedom and protects the rights of its citizens would never allow the latter scenario – something any of us could easily picture happening in a place like China or North Korea – to occur.
Back to this particular genre of vaccines, which currently boast the largest side-effect profile in modern vaccine history and more associated deaths than all other vaccines combined, not to mention heart issues and other life-altering side effects. Even if one in a million die after taking this vaccine, do you want to be the one to choose which child has to be without a parent, or which parents have to lose their child?
I worded my tweet the way I did – demanding 100% certainty – knowing that this number is impossible to ever reach with even the best vaccination program. Granted, if the side effect profile were better, if the disease were scarier, and if the vaccines actually did prevent transmission and contraction, perhaps a case could be made by moral people for mandates. I would disagree based on what I’ve laid out above, but the case could be made and I might have some respect for those making it.
However, if all those factors were present, the mandates wouldn’t be needed nor likely called for. Minus those medically unable to take them along with a small number of hard-core anti-vaxxers, uptake would easily top 90%, more than enough for herd immunity, assuming herd immunity could be obtained by a vaccine against a cold virus.
Most people who choose to remain unvaccinated – like myself – do so not because we want to spread the virus to others or are against vaccinations in general, but because we have natural immunity and/or serious, data-driven questions about this particular vaccine.
The moral case for choice, and against vaccine mandates, is as clear as day and as absolute as any case for good and against evil could ever be. If the Covid-19 vaccine mandaters aren’t evil people, they are certainly engaging in evil methods. As such, they should be opposed using every non-violent measure at our disposal.
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