Your COVID Papers, Please!

People are justifiably worried that the government is going to impose a COVID passport as a requirement for travel and for maskless participation in public events.

Of course it is going to happen for some good reasons and for far more bad. The only question is how to deal with the government. Do you directly challenge their right to jail, torture, fine, and imprison you over such all-important questions as giving your Social Security number to the library or going maskless into a federal office building, or do you simply accept these petty tyrannies as facts of life, like driving on the right side of the road?

When I was younger and more foolish, I frequently acted on the temptation to prod the beast, but I won nothing but a little smug satisfaction that is bad for one's character. I shouldn't dream of telling anyone which battles to pick, but I would advise people to pick carefully.

Right now, the IRS is dunning a friend for over $3000. From what he can gather from the mainstream press and financial advisors, the tax boys  are entirely wrong.  He is consulting with his tax accountant, but I have advised him that it is far better to pay the extortion money than waste time going to a tax court. People  have much better things to do with their time, such as learning Greek, reading cheap novels, and getting a good night's sleep.

Tacitus was a republican at heart wh was merciless in his criticism of even the best of the early Roman "emperors"--a false and misleading title--but he blamed the Stoic republicans in the Senate for deliberately provoking the even-tempered Vespasian into persecuting them. They accomplished nothing but the ruin of their families, and by the time of Claudius--as we might say by the time of Garfield--restoration of the republic was an impossibility.

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Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is president of the Fleming Foundation. He is the author of six books, including The Morality of Everyday Life and The Politics of Human Nature, as well as many articles and columns for newspapers, magazines,and learned journals. He holds a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Greek from the College of Charleston. He served as editor of Chronicles: a Magazine of American Culture from 1984 to 2015 and president of The Rockford Institute from 1997-2014. In a previous life he taught classics at several colleges and served as a school headmaster in South Carolina

10 Responses

  1. Andrew G Van Sant says:

    Going along to get along. That is what the power brokers count on.

    I just got my tax package from my accountant to review and sign so he can file for us. You want to make sure there is nothing out of the ordinary to avoid an audit. Long ago a friend was pursued by an auditor for years over an odd $200 deduction.

  2. Vince Cornell says:

    I still harbor extreme suspicion over the safety of the various vaccine solutions being pushed. While I don’t sign on to the numerous conspiracy theories about microchips being implanted or Gates’s penchant for depopulation (mostly because I’m certain any involved parties are too incompetent to pull off anything so advanced and functional), I can’t shake the impression that the entire mRNA vaccine is a big experiment foisted upon the public with many acting as willing guinea pigs. I also harbor suspicions about Big Pharma and the billions upon billions of dollars involved in this vaccine business and their indemnification from any vaccine-related problems. I also hear many, many stories from folks I have no reason to doubt about odd to very severe side effects from the mRNA vaccine.

    If this vaccine passport becomes mandatory, I’m keeping my eyes open for *ahem* work arounds for me and my family (keeping a toe in certain Internet circles has its advantages). Driving on one side of the road is one thing, but injecting my children with an experimental drug is quite another.

  3. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    I agree entirely that one can simply not be too skeptical about the close partnership of Big Capital and Big Government, but the risks being shouted from the virtual rooftops of the Internet do not bear much scrutiny. The death rate right of people getting vaccines right now is either on par or below the national average; if the effects of immunization were permanent damage to RNA, why do we need follow-ups–perhaps annually?

    OK, let us reject all the evidence that mainstream medicine brings forward. But, can one simply pick and choose according to whim or the winds of popular prejudices? It’s a bit like people who want to “save the planet” but drive electric cars and spend all day on the computer. If one wishes to escape Big Pharma, Big Brother, and the Medical Industrial Complex, one had better eschew, oh, computers, film, recorded music, open heart surgery, statins, medicines for hypertension, and Advil. I’m willing, but I don’t think I’ll have any comrades. Here is an either or position easy to understand. I have tried to avoid doctors nearly all my life, but if I had not had eye surgeries at the age of 4, I probably could never have led a normal life.

    But my opthalmic surgeon Dr. Hilding was part of the conspiracy, as are my cardiologist, thoracic surgeon, and the internal medicine lady who functions as my primary care physician. So are several friends of mine who are physicians. They basically share my ethical, religious, and political outlook–at least they say they do–and they do me the kindness to read my writings and say nice things. But when they tell me after reading the journal literature and treating dozens of cases of Covid patients and relatives, friends, and patients who have had the vaccine and concluded, despite their contempt for government officialdom and the Medical Industrial Complex, that for many people, it is on balance more prudent to get the vaccine, I must conclude they are either part of the conspiracy or really incompetent–or that they are probably more likely to give sound advice than I and other non-physicians are.

    I don’t feel strongly one way or another about the vaccine. Every new wave of medicine stirs up resistance, and there are still antivaccers running around saying that Polio was not an infection but was caused by manmade toxins including the vaccine. I think the Lockdown has aggravated the engrained American tendency to run to extremes, either of acquiescence or resistance. Greece now says it will probably let Americans into the country by May, so long as they are vaccinated. I can either cower in fear here in Illinois or spend time where I have always felt part of me belonged. I have no advice for anyone else, but what have I got to lose? I wasn’t afraid to get COVID and I am not afraid to get the jab.

  4. Robert Reavis says:

    I took the vaccine and will let you know how it turns out. Some friends say the second dose may be troublesome for a day or maybe not. I hate the modern world as you know, banks, medicine, technology, politics, the bullies and cowards that make it up but learned a long time ago you must either read it like a book or don’t look at it at all. Like Odysseus strapped to the mast, I can’t simply not participate so I need the vaccine to do some occasional work in government buildings, some occasional travel, to attend certain events of my grandchildren, to visit my elderly in-laws etc. I may not like it but I can’t escape it.

  5. Vince Cornell says:

    I feel like one doesn’t have to be a doctor or an “All Medicine is of the Devil” radical to tell that Anthony Fauci is far more a wheeling & dealing bureaucrat than any kind of medical scientist. If he told me the sky was blue I’d check for myself before I agreed. Having personally been hip to neck deep in the bowels of the medical establishment for the past 5 years, and having a well regarded medical doctor as a close relative, the opinion I’ve formed is that the world of medicine is just as much a bureaucracy as every other bureaucracy. I’ve seen very competent, compassionate people do amazing things, and, especially once the well-worn path had to be abandoned, I’ve seen those same folks struggle and guess and hope and consult with colleagues who turned around and guessed and hoped and struggled and eventually chose a course of action that could have come out of a magic 8 ball for all its scientific basis. I’ve also noted many a good doctor accept, without question, the official opinion from on high when it came to anything not directly in their field, but then when asked difficult questions about those opinions they’ve deflected with a “Well, I’m not a virologist.” It would be, perhaps, easier for me to swallow if those official opinions weren’t promulgated by medical journals that already shredded much of their credibility with political-minded and bogus studies which they were forced to withdraw or by public science figures who have told everyone, with a straight face, that standing 3 feet apart from someone while keeping a thin strip of cloth over one’s face will protect against an aerosol-transmitted virus. These are the same experts who want me to believe that a boy should be using the girls’ locker room if he feels so inclined.
    So I think there’s some room between “it’s all a grand conspiracy theory” and “everything must be safe” mostly because the experts rarely know as much as they think they do and the human body (as well as most of creation) tends to be more complex than they are willing to acknowledge. It’s not as if the medical field has a stellar track record regarding safety when it comes to new drugs or procedures.
    I apologize for my screed. Perhaps I have been driven to extremes myself. Perhaps I should just put on my mask, keep my mouth shut, and take whatever shots the government tells me to (which, in all likelihood, I won’t have a choice in the matter any way). In personal encounters I have never encouraged anyone to avoid or to take any of the vaccines, and I do not think the vaccines are very dangerous, although I do personally know one person who had to go the ER after the second shot due to side effects (I also know many who were fine). I do not think COVID is very dangerous, and I know many, many people who had it and recovered with ease. The impact on my life is minimal as I have the luxury of not being able to travel anywhere even if I wanted to, nor can I attend “public events” although even on the best of days I’ve little interest in concerts or sports events. So the vaccine passports mean little to me, either way. I sympathize with those who, for travel or job security, must take the vaccine against their wishes, but I have no ill thoughts towards any who want the vaccine and seek it out.
    Perhaps I should go off and start living as a caveman now, to get a head start on preparing for Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” I feel increasingly lost with each day, with less and less of an idea on how I should act and what I should do in this modern hell.

  6. Robert Reavis says:

    Mr. Cornell,
    Please don’t apologize for your honest and thoughtful posts. If I didn’t believe I might as well get the vaccine now instead of later, I would not mess with it. There has been so much dishonesty and stupidity in the entire subject that I have no idea where one would begin to sort fact from fiction in the entire charade.My own reasons for getting the vaccine are as problematic as they are pragmatic, so please don’t take my thoughts on the matter very seriously. I take my own reasons as seriously as the airlines take their masks and social distancing. Some flights leave the middle seats open and threaten to kick people off who prefer sitting together while other flights from the same airline are packed to full capacity like sardines. Or look at the stupid rules for two shot fouls in college basketball where players must socially distance for the first free throw but then may pack the free throw line for the second. The same can be said of the age factor in opening schools or the teacher’s unions in keeping them closed. None of it seems remotely rational so please don’t think your posts are screeds or are any more extreme than the extreme hypocrisy of all of it. I always enjoy your comments and would enjoy them less if you became too self concious about your audience, like Dr. Fauci, or simply unconscious of your audience like Joe Biden.

  7. Vince Cornell says:

    Thank you for your kind words, Mr. Reavis. In whatever Brave New Future awaits us, I hope my cave is close to your cave.

  8. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    I second His Honor’s sentiment. This is not a time for duplicity but it is candor that is needed. A doctor friend, whom I asked for advice, prefaced the response with this caveat: “As you know, all information about the vaccine (and about COVID) has been filtered through political agenda. This is true within medical circles, as well as within the general public. It can be difficult to sift fact from opinion.” It is in fact difficult, and, unfortunately, the more we are pressed to “trust science”–as we once were told to “trust God”–the more we are tempted to trust no one. Everyday under an illegitimate regime such as this is, we are forced to sift fact from opinion–and not just opinion but from propaganda, and we have to do our best to keep a level head. I used to waste time reading the Times and Pravda (and other organs of disinformation) in the hope that I could gain a comparative basis for making judgments. But life is much too short to spend on such laborious folly. Just do your best and make up your own mind without trusting either the official “experts” or conspiracy theorists.

  9. Ben says:

    Hope and trust go hand in hand, yes? …its always been a matter of trust. When did they ever earn it? (They = the peddlers)
    I can’t even trust myself – the enemy was met, it was me my i… an enemy within, an inner jihad

    This topic is the worst – it always leads back to matters of earthly authorities and the trust we owe them after so many of their naked lies are, inevitably, made clear…

    can’t trust Outside ,
    can’t trust Inside .
    Belief Hope Caritas
    The good Doctor counsels:
    trust yourself
    Good Doctor has no fear
    To comply?!

    To DR TJF: if you have no fear to take that jab, does that imply you trust/believe/love Them?
    Surely you can see how stretched by the truths found in the extremes i/we am/are

    Where is navrozov on this? If he willing takes the jab, then : “i quit!”

  10. Dot says:

    I too got the Covid 19 vaccine. What I don’t understand is that our own immune system responds to threats from viruses and other infectious agents from without by increasing the number of antibodies to fight off the antigens. The Covid 19 is no different, however, under Trump we had choices.