Brownstone » Brownstone Institute Journal » The Eric Adams Cure for Non-Compliance: Compliance 

The Eric Adams Cure for Non-Compliance: Compliance 


As everyone knows, there is a public employee shortage that has nothing to do with vaccine mandates. This is true, just as every thinking person knows that there are nursing shortages, pilot shortages, and clear upticks in sudden deaths among world-class athletes, soldiers and ordinary people between 17 and 49 that also have nothing to do with vaccine mandates. 

Because he’s a smart guy who peruses the New York Times each morning and follows the science, New York mayor Eric Adams knows this as well. 

And this is why he has just reached out to the many of the misguided people who walked away from their city jobs over the requirement to take experimental, almost wholly useless, and often quite dangerous injections with an offer they can’t refuse. 

They can have their jobs back and all will be forgiven if they …are you ready for the big sweetener …they just get the jab. 

Amnesty! Such a deal! 

The kindly and witty letter he sent to some of them (which we have seen) unscored the self-evident line of continuity between achieving good health and doing what you’re told by the government: “In order to cure your non-compliance you must submit proof of vaccination to the Employee Health Program.” 

Sarcasm aside, the mayor’s vaccine amnesty “solution” is quite instructive as it lays bare the cognitive patterns that predominate in those who deem themselves to be on the cutting edge of thinking and governance in our culture today. 

The first thing it shows is their aggressive ignorance. For all their talk about following the science, they’d rather be tortured at Guantanamo Bay than actually read it. Given that the vaccines do not prevent infection or transmission there is absolutely no social reason to get the vaccine and thus no reason to compel anyone to take it. Period. 

And because these self-styled cultural and political leaders have done everything in their power not to get informed as serious people do when facing crucial life questions, they honestly believe there is nothing to discuss. 

And people who truly believe that there is nothing to discuss and argue about when it comes to implementing massively impactful policies touching several aspects of our social contract and our social fabric are, per se, acting in a highly authoritarian fashion. 

They also seem to think that most people are truly dumb. In the particular case of Adams, for example, he seems to presume that they do not know he has waived city vaccine requirements for mostly wealthy professional athletes and entertainers, and that these humble ex-municipal employees can’t perceive this flagrant double-standard. 

But perhaps more important and telling than all of this in the long run is Adams and company’s pathetic understanding of human psychology, especially the central role that belief, moral convictions, and the search for dignity still play in the lives of millions of people. 

Put another way, the self-appointed bringers of the new and—of course—infinitely more just and healthy new world to come are convinced, as the full-bore creatures of a materially-bound consumerist thinking that they are, that everyone else also views the world in strictly transactional terms. 

Sure, they admit, some of the resistant people do often adduce historically-anchored moral arguments for not accepting the wonderful gifts they and their fellow vanguards are selflessly offering them. 

But as these same vanguards know all too well from their successful experiences of climbing up the institutional ladder, most, if not all, moral arguments deployed today are pretextual, mere smokescreens for tactically obscuring the presence of the amoral self-seeker that they know ultimately governs every person’s comportment in the world. 

“Did any of us actually believe any of that save-the-world twaddle the admissions consultants our parents hired told us to put on our college application essays?” they ask themselves. 

“Of course not!” comes back the resounding response. 

And so it is, they conclude, for the non-compliant. 

In this context then, the key as they see it is to just look past all this verbal and gestural bluster and determine resistors’ real price because, as everyone knows, everybody has a price. 

It’s just a matter of finding it. 

And the most effective methods toward achieving this end—as the US foreign policy establishment has been modeling to our domestic elites for decades—are concerted campaigns of insults and the pointed infliction of financial pain. No arguments or sweeteners are ever needed. 

Dignity? Transcendent values? Redemptive suffering? 

Eric Adams and his friends know that’s just desperate verbal filler deployed by eternal losers who, incongruously, have no desire to be “cured” of the childish “illness” of non-compliance before the reality of brute force.  

There you have it. Transactionalist “wisdom” at its zenith. 

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  • Thomas Harrington

    Thomas Harrington, Senior Brownstone Scholar and Brownstone Fellow, is Professor Emeritus of Hispanic Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, where he taught for 24 years. His research is on Iberian movements of national identity and contemporary Catalan culture. His essays are published at Words in The Pursuit of Light.

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