USA Today has finally let the other shoe drop, and I’d like to commend the authors (three professors of medicine, law, and bioethics) on being frank. It’s refreshing.
Defeat COVID-19 by requiring vaccination for all. It’s not un-American, it’s patriotic.
Make vaccines free, don’t allow religious or personal objections, and punish those who won’t be vaccinated. They are threatening the lives of others.
Unlike most opinion pieces today, riddled with intentional and unintentional vagueness, this one leaves me with only one question: what punishment do you have in mind? (They list a few ideas, but none that would totally contain potential spreading).
Because these professors take the example of conscientious objectors versus draft dodgers, I suppose that is where one must start. So we’re probably talking about massive fines (quarter-of-a-million) or imprisonment. Actually, considering most Americans do not nor ever will have that kind of cash on hand (especially since we’ve just nuked our economy due to this very same fear of death), imprisonment is probably the only feasible option.
So, to the professor of bioethics in particular, I would like to further narrow down the question: How is it ethical to imprison unvaccinated persons together during a pandemic? The subtext of course being that this all but guarantees they will contract C*VID19, whereas they would have otherwise been playing the odds, like every other animal during every other outbreak of anything, ever. Or, is the plan a house arrest, and if so, how would it be enforced? We are, after all, in the midst of #abolishthepolice. Are the brownshirt volunteers already organized to guard these house arrests? And how are we going to denote the homes of the deplorables? A spray-painted Star of David across the doorposts, perhaps?
But one doubts the logistics and/or bravery required to enforce house arrest, so we’re back to that insane, crazy, no-good, #cancelled Alex J*nes’s territory with his “FEMA camps will be converted into concentration camps” scenario. Boy, oh boy! Is anyone else just waiting for the 2020 alien invasion at this point? Just to clarify: assuming any such concentration or imprisonment isn’t a death camp outright (a rather generous concession at this point in the nation’s political discourse), all of the filthy unvaccinated will catch C*VID19, so the implied policy is this: If you will not let the government save you, it will do its very best to kill you instead. A nanny state worthy of Casey Anthony. And a fitting homage to Japanese internment–ostensibly permissible this time since it isn’t racial in its discrimination.
I must admit, when I wrote about the American church being wholly unprepared for persecution (and the possibility of the long awaited Mark of the Beast doubling as some vaccine/passport/business license portmanteau) last week, I wasn’t expecting such a sudden manifestation. But such is the world of the singularity, I suppose–a new reality with each morning’s dawning. So let’s get Big Picture again–and this time we’ll deal with being an American in addition to being a Christian.
When the Antichrist comes, he brings peace (albeit one eventually revealed to be false or temporary). So, right off the bat we know that anyone who does not take his Mark is going to fall prey to a Patriot Act & NDAA reasoning: if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. Worded slightly differently, this simply means: go with the flow or get dashed against the rocks. It’s a kind of National Security gaslighting, wherein the citizens must convince their government that they are not a threat (guilty until proven innocent) rather than the other way around. In philosophical terms, this takes Hobbes’ Leviathan (the state as mutual protector, whom loses the right to fealty in proportion to the external harm it fails to protect its citizens from–or causes to them internally) and inverts it. The individuals whom were to be protected by their fealty must now protect the state’s interests with a self-sacrificial fealty that defeats the state’s very purpose. I would term this inversion, ‘state for its own sake.’
Somewhere in here lies the all-too-real consequences of differing ideologies that our often impotent partisan bickering has obscured over the last few decades. A significant portion of this country is and has been all but begging for a Leftwing, quasi-Marxist ‘state for its own sake,’ wherein they are perfectly content to throw out the Constitution (the mutual protection compact) so-long as doing so accomplishes the unironic utopia that they have in mind. One need only listen to them for a few minutes to gather a few things. One, they are solipsists (other people are not genuinely real to them; they simply react with others on a you-make-me-feel good, you-make-me-feel-bad basis). And two, this solipsistic lack of imagination renders them incapable of understanding the complexities of a society that is inherently comprised of self-interested individuals. In other words, it is easy for them to flippantly say, Just give everyone free food, because they can imagine themselves being gifted a lifetime supply of free food. But what they cannot possibly imagine is the incredible (indeed, currently impossible) collaboration between individuals that would be necessary to achieve such a Star-Trekian feat. Another way of summarizing them would be to say: they know what feels good, therefore they believe they know what is good as a matter of course.
Contrast this, if you would, with the classical view I attempted to sketch in the aforementioned Christianity piece. This is certainly the less feel-good of the two worldviews, for it can be summarized as:
- the acknowledgement and acceptance of inherent pain/difficulty
- an economics of scarcity (and indeed, the determination of value via scarcity), be it scarcity of resources, time (i.e., the realization that all flesh must die), or even talent (men are obviously not equal to one another in a literal sense)
- a belief in Transcendence (something greater than wretched, mortal mankind) derived, not just from religious dogma, but from man’s very desire for Something More, in contrast to all other animals that are truly adapted to this environment and thus do not experience discontent within it
Christianity is firmly planted upon or rooted within this classical view. It differs from the pagan classics only in that it 1. depicts Transcendence coming down to man, instead of man (largely in vain) aspiring upwards to it & 2. in doing so, it offers a vicarious solution, wherein Transcendence gifts itself to us precisely because of our inability to perfectly grasp it ourselves.
Consequently, the political difference between these two views can be summed up in one word: Trust.
The Constitution, while not inherently Christian, at every opportunity elects the classical view: Men are fallible and corruptible, entropy and degradation are the rule rather than the exception, and, in spite of (or even because of) this, Transcendence may flourish when cultivated and guarded. This abject lack of trust in human nature is not self-flagellation, but vigilance: if we are going to lay our hands upon the Good and True, we must remain ever aware of the fact that we are not naturally good or truthful. This ‘Transcendent Cynicism’ is particularly evident in Benjamin Franklin, whom to the question of what sort of government the United States would be, famously responded:
A republic…if you can keep it.
He was the oldest of the founding fathers; indeed, compared to the others he was more a founding grandfather. He had seen more politicking as ambassador to France than many of the others put together had or ever would see (remember, quite a few of them retired from their posts back to their farms, as opposed to the current life-long bureaucrats we’ve become accustomed to). In this he was as internally balanced as his external ‘Renaissance Man’ accomplishments suggest; he was undoubtedly a hangable Liberal in his time, but he never forgot a curmudgeonly distrust for the nature of man that a classical education bequeaths. Some of the Constitutional whippersnappers were undoubtedly less cynical (the currently celebrated Hamilton being one), but nonetheless they all followed his and Jefferson’s advice about checks and balances, separation of powers, etc.
The consequence of their political distrust is this most prosperous of all nations. Yet, like all comfortable individuals or groups, our vigilance has waned. We’ve grown doughy and dull and drank a bit too much of our own Koolaid about acceptance and diversity and Being Nice at any cost. Those who have studied the fall of Rome cannot help but see similarities; it almost appears that decadent societies willfully commit collective suicide, be it out of despair or to let new mutations flourish. Personally, I cannot help but see this opinion piece as another such example, wherein three men whom have ostensibly flourished at the teat of American classical values (and two of whom likely took the classical Hippocratic Oath to do no harm) call for those very values to be trampled in favor of the State for its Own Sake.
Let me clarify that last sentence, as I fear it’s easy to miss why I so confidently assert that these professors are of the State for its Own Sake. It isn’t just because they are chucking the Constitution in favor of what’s currently in vogue among Coastal elites / the DNC. It’s because they trust the motivations of their State and themselves in this matter wholeheartedly. In other words, these men (whom are, at least in their careers, clearly capable of parsing great complexities) have here treated of an incredibly complex issue–perhaps the most complex we have faced since the Civil Rights movement–in roughly ten pithy and self-assured paragraphs. They write as though they are the God they almost certainly do not believe in. The tone of their confidence is so perfect that it at first reads as though they are totally devoid of ego (a trick of masterful rhetoric, not unlike Lucifer’s dialogue in Job). One would think that such intelligent men would approach this grim subject with a certain trepidation, perhaps even fear and trembling. But no, they have the solution and they’re here to bequeath it to the otherwise helpless plebs. This is the best evidence of their anti-classical, State for its Own Sake persuasion. The same may be seen from Marx all the way down to Alinsky: prose without compromise, concession, quandary, or, to an eerie degree, curiosity. They do not set their pen to paper until their minds are wholly made up. For them, writing is not an exploration but a declamation. A single word for this might be, simply, propaganda. (All sides of political arguments utilize propaganda as the dictionary defines it, but, as you are currently witnessing, the classical persuasion is far more likely to make concession and generally not act as though it is
God’s Satan’s gift to the world).
This clinical form of persuasion puts me in mind of T.S. Eliot’s quip about the world ending with a whimper rather than a bang. It strikes me that, if some Antichrist figure were to arise in the present moment, it would most likely not be Nostradamus’s ‘great squawker Hissler’ (H*tler). That style is too militant and demanding to seduce our obese and anemic collective. No; if he were to come today his would be a voice that states with sultry bedside manner, ‘Please remain calm; there’s nothing you can do. Just leave it to the professionals.’ Certainly that is what is being asked in the USA Today piece. Stop resisting. Just do it. Be reasonable. We’re just doing our jobs. A standard-fare speech to the guards of every gulag ever.
To tie a bow on all of this mess…
- I don’t know if the C*VID19 vaccine will actually be mandatory.
- I don’t know if it will be based on Pasteur’s theory of antibodies, or the gene-editing of the mRNA approach.
- I don’t know if it will be a one-and-done or endless boosters as antibodies fade and mutations form.
- I don’t know if there is anything truly special about C*VID19, or if we’ll start mandating similar vaccine regimens for anything and everything that could possibly send human beings where they are going (the grave) a little earlier than expected.
- I don’t know if the labs developing these vaccines are ethical and moral, profit-driven, or a mixture of both.
- I don’t know if these vaccines are actually safe, or if we’re going to be guinea pigs for side-effects that won’t be fully understood for years to come.
- I don’t know if taking such a vaccine is significantly less dangerous than just taking my chances with C*VID19.
- I don’t know but that I might feel the same even if C*VID19 were considerably more fatal.
- I don’t know if this would be THE Mark of the Beast or just a dress rehearsal (conditioning a populace to the general idea).
Here’s what I do know:
- I don’t trust strangers or human nature in general.
- The only entity I trust unquestionably is the Lord God Almighty.
- I am definitely going to die, one way or another, now or later.
- Some values are more important than prolonging a life destined to end anyway.
- Between being ‘patriotic’ with a pulse or dead with a deity, I’ll take the latter, considering life is ‘a single page bookended by eternities…’
A man chooses. A slave obeys. -Andrew Ryan, Bioshock