I am noting some familiar feelings and thoughts sliding back into my consciousness as COVID-19 makes its unsurprising rebound. Yes, I said “unsurprising.” The virus has mutated and will continue to. Why? That is what viruses do.
It feels like the combination of malaise/ennui/depression I had last fall when case numbers were rising and people were calling me a literal murderer because I simply asked for scientific justification before new restrictions were implemented. I don’t want to go back there but the same people still have social media accounts. I am working VERY hard to tune them out, but I fear it won’t be enough.
The numbers suggest the Delta variant is quite communicable, but not quite as lethal as the original strain. But that second fact is doing little to soothe the nerves of people who have (unfortunately) become quite accustomed over the last year-and-a-half to seeing the dark cloud behind every silver lining. I swear there are people who seem positively *giddy* when they say things like, “We’re gonna hafta close the restaurants again!”
As cases increase more and more are falling back on calls for people to wear masks whenever they’re in the same Area Code as another human. The President of the United States of America is mulling a proposal to require proof of vaccination for doing something as innocuous as driving to another state. And there DO exist people who want to empower the most powerful force on the planet with the authority to FORCE people to get a shot.
I am libertarian. My credo is “mind your own business and keep your hands to yourself.” I cannot imagine a simpler philosophy. But just like there are proverbially no atheists in a foxhole, there are evidently no libertarians during a pandemic. At least no popular ones. Of course, if I wanted to be popular I wouldn’t be a libertarian.
As a libertarian, I will fight and die for your right to NOT have to put something into your body that you do not want. That I even have to type that is depressing. Yet we have become so consumed by fear that there are otherwise-normal people who support empowering an entity with near-limitless power with the authority to force you to have a substance put into your body. Picture a dystopian film about a futuristic society where faceless agents hold down the hero and forcibly inoculate him with something he doesn’t want. Over the top? Yes. But there are people who functionally want to do this to protect themselves from a malady with a post-vaccination IFR of 99.97%. Pre-vaccination, it is a mere 99.7%.
For those of you who are bullish on mandatory mask policies and the like, you have NO right to look down on those who are skeptical. Why should people NOT be skeptical? The same people who told us “two weeks to flatten the curve,” later said, “We’ll get back to normal when the vaccine is approved.” Then they said not until it was available for all adults. Then they said it would have to be received by an overwhelming majority of adults. Also, these are the same people who told us masks were “useless” —then later said they were “critical.” And these SAME people said they would not trust a vaccine developed with the previous President in the White House. But with a new President, that makes the vaccine OK. The question should be, why is EVERYONE not at least a little skeptical? There is copious justification for asking questions about a substance that’s about to be injected into you when the people who insist you get it have been so mendacious in the past.
That having been said, every single bit of evidence that is available screams one conclusion. The vaccines WORK. Now, that does not mean they are 100% effective. Nothing is. Ever. For anything. If 100% safety is your expectation, you will always be disappointed. That is a fool’s errand and an authoritarian’s dream scenario.
I’ve been vaccinated. I got all of the information I could and concluded the risk was worth it. If you reached a different conclusion, that is fine. I would NEVER force you to do something you did not want to do. But for those of you on the fence, I urge you to reconsider. The vaccines work. Even if they do little to prevent the spread of the new variants, the numbers show they are quite effective in easing the symptoms and avoiding long-term complications.
At the same time, one of the biggest incentives to get the vaccination is a return to normalcy. Telling people they are still going to have to wear masks, socially distance and all of the other niggling things they’ve had to do for the past year-plus, even if they get the shot—is one of the best ways of making sure they don’t.
So please. Get the shot. If not for yourself, get it in order to help ensure this fall’s High School and College football seasons can proceed as scheduled. Let’s think about what is REALLY important here.