Brownstone » Articles » Forced Medicine: The New Frontier in Coercion

Forced Medicine: The New Frontier in Coercion

SHARE | PRINT | EMAIL

If you want an interesting encounter with human fury, hop on over to your local pharmacy. Hang out in the area where people are lined up for scheduled or walk-in Covid vaccines on this August 3, 2021, as the pressure to get the jab reaches a fevered pitch and the noncompliant are being blamed for the very existence of SARS-CoV-2. In a friendly way, ask what they are up to and what they expect. I guarantee you will get an earful. 

At this late stage, everyone who wanted the vaccine, because they made their own free choice based on risk evaluation, has done so. The people who remain are facing forms of compulsion from work, travel demands, or are just sick of being treated like society’s vermin. And they are livid. They are dreading it. They feel badgered, hectored, tyrannized. No matter how many lectures they get from government officials – no matter how much Biden shames and blames them – they aren’t having it. 

It’s not only an undesired biological invasion; the information required from everyone includes enough to steal an identity. For being forced to submit, coughing up personal details and taking unwanted medicine, they will likely be angry forever. If government officials and media pundits really wanted to recruit a dedicated anti-vaccine army, this is a good way to go about it. Make people do things to their bodies against their own will and you engender a lifetime of resentment. 

Some of these people have had Covid in the past. They know very well, because they can read in scientific journals – or maybe they paid attention in 9th grade biology class – about the immunities that recovery confers. They suffered the illness but are being robbed of the payoff by elites who only trust the pharmacy. Of course, you will not hear about natural immunity on mainstream news channels because, for reasons that are lost on every medical professional, there is still near-silence on this topic in news coverage. 

Neither the CDC nor the WHO is willing now to speak on one of the most remarkable scientific discoveries that came with the birth of modern times. It’s been wiped off the map of public culture for reasons that are still unclear. 

Other holdouts have looked at the demographic data and noted that they are at astonishingly low risk for any severe outcomes from getting sick with this virus. They are willing to take this risk exactly as we take risks for catching any other respiratorial virus that exists on the planet earth and always has. Risking sickness – and gaining immunities from recovery – is part of life now and always has been, as bizarrely difficult as that seems to be to accept today. 

Others have tricky health issues and worry about side effects. For others, the idea of taking this new jab using new technology just feels icky – and that is their human right to feel that way! 

Nonetheless, these poor souls are being demonized. Listen to Trump’s former head of Health and Human Services Alex Azar. Writing in the New York Times, he says “Whether such skepticism is rooted in political misgivings, conspiracy theories or lack of accurate and timely information, there are still millions of Americans unwilling to take the simplest of steps to end this pandemic.”

So there you have it. The only reason this man can imagine that people are not stepping up is that they are dumb or consumed with politics. This is ridiculous. On balance, no one is better than the individual at evaluating health benefits and risks than the individual in consultation with medical professionals, many of whom have very balanced opinions on this matter. 

It makes no sense to anyone that he or she should turn over the decision over whether to get an injection to a career government bureaucrat who generally thinks that the American people are dumb as chickens. 

As for a step to “end this pandemic,” based on the numbers, that is happening or has happened already, unless we are going for that pipe dream of total elimination rather than endemicity. Not even universal vaccination will achieve elimination, as even the CDC is saying now with the well-documented prevalence of breakthrough cases thanks to the Delta variant. 

And speaking of that variant – yes, every such virus mutates and that is wholly normal, trading out severity for prevalence, as is usually the case – one man in the line I saw today flat out said it: “All this preaching about Delta, Delta, Delta, is merely to scare more people into compliance with their mandate.” 

Interesting theory! 

Let’s move on to the vaccine mandates. A month ago, those who speculated on this were denounced as crazy, paranoid conspiracy theorists. Apparently, last month’s conspiracy is this month’s reality. The governor of New York (under pressure not for destroying his state or condemning thousands of elderly citizens to their deaths by forcing Covid patients into nursing homes but rather for violations of workplace gender decorum) is demanding that private businesses impose exclusions of the unvaccinated. Many have complied, most with high proximity to powerful people – in the usual trajectory in which nominally private companies serve statist interests at some critical level of intervention. 

Around the same day, media figures began to pester both the US president and the head of the CDC about the possibility of a national mandate. They both hedged their answers, effectively holding out a real possibility. They are both surrounded by fanatics who have decided that the unvaccinated are ignorant rubes who are dirty and deserve to be muscled. The only criticism they get within their own social circles is from people for whom there can never be enough mandates. They have never met someone who rejects a vaccine for principled or prudential reasons. 

Now to the tender subject of New York City and its new city-wide mandate. It was imposed by executive order by the most unpopular mayor of that city in living memory. This man is literally despised, and New Yorkers are counting the days until he is gone and a new mayor takes his place. He has deployed a huge and draconian new order on one of the world’s great cities that could fundamentally change the entire experience. 

There is nothing democratic or consensual about any of this. It’s a pure act of executive despotism of the sort one would otherwise think would be ruled out by the whole pro-choice ethos of American culture. But when lockdowns came so too ended the presumption of liberty and rights for people, and thus began an era when sheer political will and power can override every presumption about what makes a sociopolitical order great. We literally threw out centuries of precedent and presumptions about liberty into the thrash. 

How well thought-out is this new order, set to go into effect in only two weeks and then enforced weeks later? Consider this from the Wall Street Journal. “Children under the age of 12, who cannot be vaccinated according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, would likely not be excluded from the program’s outlined indoor activities, Mr. de Blasio said, adding the policy would be worked through in the coming days and weeks.”

So Broadway shows of children’s plays are permanently banned? Families cannot eat in restaurants? Kids under 12 cannot go to indoor events at all? Is this serious? Media questioned New York officials about all of this, and it truly appeared as if the geniuses running the city had completely forgotten to think about children at all. The question alone seemed to take them by surprise. If they exempt them, there is already a problem. Why include a 12-year-old but exclude an unvaccinated 13-year old? 

Regardless, this is an appalling and unthinkable amount of compulsion to impose for the sake of a vaccine that the willing have long ago accepted and about which the remainders have either grave doubts or hard-core opposition. People figure that it will be challenged in court but that takes time and money, and it is not at all clear how courts will respond. 

In the end, though lawsuits are fabulous and there should be many more, I don’t see how they stop this tyranny. I’m not sure what precisely does but I know this much: a people and culture that acquiesces to this level of imposition is not well suited for the preservation of liberty or civilization in general. This really does feel like a new chapter in the history of American rights violations. 

Every time we observe and experience these overreaches, based on no real science or even rationale, we are assured that this is the end. There is no real foul play here. This is not designed to prepare us for something worse. The boosters are not a thing. We won’t have to carry around a health passport with re-upped shots, and certainly there will not be a China-style social credit scheme in the US. 

Sure. Just like there would be no lockdowns, promised Anthony Fauci in January 2020. It’s only two weeks. It’s only about hospital capacity. There will be no travel restrictions. Your churches will open soon. There will be no police enforcement of stay-at-home orders. There will be no mask mandates. There will be no vaccine mandates, no passports, no brutalization of the population. None of this will happen, they always said, and each time the promise has been nothing but a foreshadowing of another layer of compulsion.

These days the advance of statist impositions seems to be increasing by the hour, alongside the demonization of dissent. Yes, it is demoralizing. It is designed to do just that. If you give in, you are doing exactly what they intend. 

The other day, Anthony Fauci in passing spoke about individual rights. Somehow he managed even to flip that idea on its head, saying that if you spread a respiratorial virus, you have imposed on individual rights, never mind that there is no precedent in the history of modern life for such a claim in law or practice. To be out and about in society and living a free life necessarily involves the circulation of both germs and the resulting bolstering of immunities that has made a mighty contribution to individual and global health. His principle would doom us all to the most dangerous status encountered by peoples in human experience: that of immunological naivete that turns even mild pathogens into mortal threats. 

My mind races back often to those several days in the middle of March 2020, when governments dared trample on every tradition of law, liberty, and public health. What would this unleash, I wondered? Once governments have decided that it falls mainly to the police power to manage the trajectory of a virus with a 99.8% survival rate, and not anywhere close to that for healthy adults, what could be next? How will this tendency be contained if there is not some massive repudiation of such futile and destructive tactics? 

Humanity has long known about the tendency of governments to resist admitting error. Very few ever do. That refusal is costing us dearly right now, as they added layer upon layer of compulsion as a cover for honestly coming to terms with the appalling failures of the last 18 months. There must be a reckoning, just as with other terrible public policies in the last century such as the Iraq War. They tend to come decades after the misdeed, only once one generation of ill-doers has passed the torch to another that at least fears a repeat of catastrophe. 

Author

  • Jeffrey A. Tucker is Founder and President of the Brownstone Institute and the author of many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press and ten books in 5 languages, most recently Liberty or Lockdown. He is also the editor of The Best of Mises. He speaks widely on topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture. [email protected]

SHARE | PRINT | EMAIL
Stay Informed with Brownstone