Sometimes a thing can be two things at once, one good and one bad. That requires a choice. And in a free society, that choice is usually best made by the individual directly affected. If not, then by an open, democratic process. Yet that is not what’s happening with Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate and it’s why the cure is worse than the disease.
I am, by my choice, thrice vaccinated. I understand the COVID vaccine prevents me from getting sick, and it is only a day-by-day smaller population of unvaccinated people who are actually still at risk of dying. We each make a choice. Now the government wants to make that choice for us.
Vax mandates are an unhealthy thing for our democracy and represent a willful effort by government to exert additional control over an already cowed population. There is a direct line between the Patriot Act, mass surveillance, and vax mandates that claims “it is all for our own good” when it is more broadly for our own bad. This is about politics, not medicine.
Whatever you call a country where a central authority makes unilateral decisions to control its people’s lives, that is what America has become. In escalation towards that dark reality, the Biden administration announced a mandate requiring employers with 100 or more workers to ensure employees are vaccinated for COVID or tested weekly. A separate mandate requires employers participating in Medicare or Medicaid to have a fully vaccinated workforce, with no testing alternative.
The first rule alone covers 84 million U.S. workers, or two thirds of the workforce (for now; the government is already working on expanding the program, though a federal court has temporarily blocked its implementation). People who do not comply will lose their jobs. Workers who test positive will be removed.
It is critical to understand that these mandates have been imposed; there was no legislation, no vote, no robust debate, no public record of who supports and who opposes them. It all raises the question: if the threat is so obvious, why has the cure needed to be so coercive and sneaky? The Biden administration disingenuously enforced the mandate as a faux emergency rule through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a sub-office inside the Department of Labor created to ensure workplace safety, not deprive people of a living.
The mandate places an unvaccinated worker (not a diseased worker, mind you, but a healthy worker without a vaccination) in the same category as frayed electrical cords and wet floors, a workplace hazard. OSHA, under threats of penalty, outsources enforcement (i.e., firing the worker) to the conscripted employer. Fines are up to $136,532. It will be interesting to see what happens if an employer, for his own reasons, accepts religious exemptions for 100 percent of his workforce.
Left undiscussed is what will be accomplished by firing truckers (“will decimate industry, worsen supply chain woes”), or how workloads in schools and hospitals will be lessened by sacking teachers and nurses, as well as the effect of canning cops, pilots, and firefighters. There is no evidence of any calculus by Biden of risk versus gain, just one of power.