The Weekly Dilemma: Mandated Vaccines

The Biden Administration has been running into roadblocks from federal judges and state governors who reject his sweeping program of compulsory vaccination.  Is there a case that can be made for requiring federal government employees to be vaccinated?

Let's be clear about some issues that are irrelevant:  First and foremost, the pros and cons of the vaccines themselves.  Unless there is an immunologist who wants to weigh in, that argument is off the table.  Other irrelevant lines of discussion are the rottenness of the Biden administration, conspiracy theories about the "real purpose" of the COVID panic, the immoral business practices of Big Pharma.  I am not much interested here in the legal or constitutional aspects of the case, since the US Constitution has long been a dead letter, and for the most part we no longer live in a country where the Anglo-American understanding of the rule of law is maintained,  Again, the question is whether or not a government is justified in requiring its agents to be vaccinated,

I posted the following paragraphs in italics as conclusion to last week's stimulating discussion.  Most readers have probably not seen it, so I am putting it here as a suggested set of guidelines.  There are hazards.  The last time I engaged in this sort of discussion, an old friend cursed me to die alone

Thanks for all the comments. I have closed off comments because the discussion seems to have run it course. I used to have a Greek friend, a business professor from Alexandria, and he once remarked that there was no point in debating a communist, because you would go from A to Z, disproving his every point, and just when you thought the debate was over, after settling point Z, he'd pop up and say, "Yes, but what about A." As the years have gone by, I have realized that this approach to rational discussion is not limited to communists but is found in every ideology: feminists, libertarians, religious fanatics of every tribe and sect. And, when the ideologue returns to his unbudgeable position, he is a small step away from personal insult.

When I was teaching students how to organize their ideas and to write a coherent essay on a thesis, I gave them a rule--albeit a rule made to be broken by good writers, but, a good guideline nonetheless.  Here it is: Never offer a fact or instance, except to illustrate a general principle, and never declare a general principle that is not backed up by instances. Now, a truly Socratic teacher would add that the first phase of a logical argument about some human dilemma is to reach the point where the participants are clear about their basic principles, I have jokingly called this, in a piece of fiction, paramoral inquiry.

The next phase is to discover whether the participant's set of principles are congruent with each other.  In this regard, it is sometimes helpful (though not necessary) for a participant to state the context of authority in which he is speaking, e.g., as a Catholic, a Classical Liberal, a Kantian, a Rothbardian, an "American Conservative," a Marxist, etc.

This probably sounds too elementary to need stating, but just this once, perhaps, it is not a waste of time. This has been quite a good discussion, and I look forward to the next episode. Please feel free to suggest questions, because I do not always (ever?) know what topic might interest our friends and readers.

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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

41 Responses

  1. Vince Cornell says:

    This wolf being rather close to my own sled, I’ve been pondering it quite a lot of late. To attempt to edit myself down from a long, rambling comment to a not-quite-as-long rambling comment, by concern with the Federal vaccine mandate for Federal employees encompasses 3 points, here listed in descending importance.

    First, the principle behind this and every other vaccine mandate is the punishment of someone for something they have not done. One is not being punished for being sick or for making others sick, one is punished for not accepting an unwanted medical procedure that may not even be necessary, especially if one has already recovered from the disease. Worse, it confirms the popular but devastating notion that disease is not part of Adam’s Curse, which we all share together, but a matter of personal liability, even if one is asymptomatic, squarely placing Man (and his many bureaucratic organizations) as the arbiter of life and death vice God. I can’t imagine anything more destructive or divisive – to be constantly on the prowl for scapegoats to blame for this outbreak or that, to punish parents, schools, business owners, churches . . .etc. based on how much they did or didn’t do to “prevent disease.” I cannot imagine how actual charity can survive in such a world, and it gives an awfully big stick to the government by which we can be forever beaten as necessary.

    Second, while it could be argued that the Federal government has the authority to “keep Federal employees” safe, this is not a case of subsidiarity where families, communities, parishes . . .etc. meet together to determine what is best for their community. The Federal Government is so large, powerful, bloated, and spread out across the whole country and funded by money taken from all citizens, we have a vested interest in how it is operated. It seems that allowing arbitrary mandates that can either prevent certain folks from working in the government or to remove some who already work for the federal government is creating a precedent that future arbitrary mandates, that have no basis in merit or ability, can be used to cull and shape the workforce towards specific political agendas. For example, the current political class seems always on the lookout for a way to cull relatively moral Christians out of the military so as to have an armed force that is more pliable and obedient to whatever orders they might receive. It might not be in the best interest of Americans to allow this or any other arbitrary mandate to allow the political leaders to achieve their goal, and while we’re not allowed to harp on about the vaccines in this discussion, the fact that the survivability rate of COVID based on all public data sets that are available is over 99.9% all across the world gives some justification to the idea that the mandate is arbitrary.

    I know I used the words merit and ability in the above paragraph regarding Federal employees. I hope I didn’t cause anyone to snort coffee out their nose.

    Finally, from a purely practical perspective, allowing the Federal Government to mandate any product for all Federal employees when that product is paid for by Federal tax dollars is a HUGE economic boon to a company with little opportunity for transparency or accountability. Basically, it creates a tremendous opportunity for fraud and corruption on an even larger scale than the Federal government usually operates. Even massive contracts for things like cell phones (which are in themselves quite a large boondoggle) are at least restricted to agency or command wide contracts, much smaller in scale than the entire Federal government, and subject to appeals, reviews, challenges, and court rulings to attempt to tamp down some of the corruption and waste. To basically create a contract with a company to provide goods for the entire Federal workforce without having to resort to an actual contract is a much bigger expenditure with practically no oversight whatsoever. Imagine a mandate “for the good of the country” that all Federal employees had to have on their persons smart phones that operate in a secure environment that happens to be proprietary to Apple but don’t worry it’s all paid with tax revenue.

    If this were a true emergency and Pfizer and other companies had waived all intellectual property rights and profit in order to provide the most vaccines to the most people, that would be one thing. However, since that’s not the case and Pfizer and Moderna are posting record profits, I think it’s fair to view the vaccine as a commodity just like a cell phone or government leased vehicle.

    So those are my initial concerns. Being a federal employee myself, I fully expect to be fired within the next few months regardless of any religious exemption requests, but perhaps this is God’s way of telling me it’s time to get an honest job. Like a ditch digger or something.

  2. Eric Peterson says:

    I work for a federal contractor. They are a very “inclusive”, progressive company. In the late spring we were invited to attest to our vaccination status in order to work in the office. If we were required to work in the office, then our vaccination status didn’t matter except that we would be required to wear a mask. Later that changed to everyone was required to wear a mask regardless of status. I reluctantly resumed wearing a mask but not until after being told to do so by security.

    The attestation said simply that we were giving this information voluntarily and it was not required. We were given the choice to work from home or attest and come into the office. After the federal mandate, in September, we were suddenly required to send in our proof of vaccination. I sent a photo of my “CDC card”. It shows a J&J inoculation last May (I am not an immunologist of any sort, but I have read that the effectiveness of that inoculation is probably very low by now).

    All of a sudden our company was no longer “inclusive” regarding vaccination status. For those unfamiliar with “inclusion”, I was required to take an online course mainly about that topic. Inclusion is the third leg of the stool of “diversity, equity and inclusion”. It is not simply non-discrimination, it is a mindset and set of actions to proactively include everyone in all aspects of corporate existence. In a nutshell, every action you make and every word you speak has to be carefully calculated not to exclude or offend anyone. Except now the unvaccinated.

    Vaccine mandates are regressive. They specifically discriminate against people of color. My company happens to be quite white to our upper management’s eternal shame, unless you count Asian as non-white, which is unclear. A recently hired person of color in my office left for “personal” reasons in October. He was a nice guy and a good colleague although I didn’t work with him much. I asked another person of color about it who seems like he should have known the reasons but he either didn’t know or wouldn’t tell me.

    Vaccine mandates are too broad. Leaving aside effectiveness, there are many reasons to get or not get vaccinated including health, religion, or family and social interactions (which was my reason). The alleged social benefits of vaccination are becoming more tenuous by the day. Experience from around the world shows that people must be prudent regardless of vaccination status.

    People may or may not have to work in the office since that depends on their job function and project assignments. They may or may not have added or reduced risk in public or in their home. Informed consent makes sense in most cases. Mandates don’t make sense.

  3. Clyde Wilson says:

    The question is not so much whether the executive can order the vaccination of federal employees as whether it can order private employers to force vaccination on their workers.

  4. Dom says:

    One would have to show that this virus poses a health risk that is particular to federal employment. This is not like poultry workers getting shot for bird flu. What is it about a federal work place makes COVID a particular menace, especially when compared with all the other serious infectious diseases for which no vaccine is required?

  5. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Clyde, that is exactly the question I am not asking, and, therefore, I have nothing to say on the subject of federal contractors. The question is not concerned with whether or not mandates make sense or whether they are fair to all concerned. (I’m not a Rotarian.)

    I am aware of Mr. Cornell’s plight, and I had him partly in mind, when I posed the question. I hope he will forgive me for saying that he presents no evidence of having seriously considered the question. I also took off the table the topic of the vaccines’ efficacy or danger, unless an immunologist or researcher in related fields wishes to make a statement. When VC declares this is not the health emergency that the government claims, is he speaking as a medical authority or merely recycling highly dubious propaganda from the internet?

    Let us begin by taking a simpler model that is not so complicated by questions of subsidiarity or the rights of states. Suppose we are living in a city state of, say, 5-10,000 souls. Military service is compulsory, and our city is going to war with a neighboring community that has repeatedly invaded our territory. The hitch is that the enemy is infected with a deadly communicable disease. Does the assembly or council or king have the theoretical right to require the soldiers to be vaccinated to prevent them from contracting the disease on campaign?

    Take the parallel question of a city under attack from a terrifying enemy–Mongols or Huns. The city is protected by encircling walls but in centuries of peace, people have built houses outside the walls, some of them connected, allowing the enemy easy access. Our city’s a long record of preserving property rights, but do the city Fathers have the right to tear down the houses?

    Would the same Fathers have the right to burn down a house and its goods, if it was believed by be a source of Bubonic Plague?

    Suppose a wise guy had read a pamphlet showing that Plague was not spread by contact with solid matter but was carried by foul winds, blowing from swamps to the East. Should this individual have the right to resist the Fathers’ decision?

    Or, suppose you are living in the US in 1950. You are in the army, and you are being sent to Turkey, and the assignment requires a series of inoculations. Although you belong to a comparatively enlightened church–Catholic or Lutheran, say–you claim a religious exemption, despite the obvious fact that your church advocate nothing that would justify an exemption? What are your chances of getting an exemption? (The odds are worse than the Illinois lottery!)

    If we can give the obvious correct answers to the above questions, then let us look at a member of our all-volunteer armed forces. When he signed up, he knew that the army or navy had the right to order vaccinations and other health treatments. Under what circumstances would Corporal Jones be justified in saying that he refuses a specific vaccine but contests the power of the superiors to discharge him?

    Finally, down the road but not now, I want to take up the related question: Does the head of a family have the moral right to lower the financial security of his dependents because of a prejudice against a specific vaccination? But, let us sort through the basic question first.

    As I indicated in introducing the subject, we should be looking for the ground on which we wish to take a stand. An advocate of government would remind us that the state is supposed to hold a monopoly on violence, including executions, and, conversely, has a positive duty to protect the people from invasion, crime, natural disasters including plagues. Those who believe in a social hierarchy from the household to the nation-state–Aristotle, St. Thomas, Althusius, the American “Founders”–would argue in response that each level of social organization should be permitted to exercise a quasi-sovereignty in its own sphere.

    So, then, a nationalist would say without hesitation that employees of the national government must obey the rules set by the government, whether the employee regards them as unfair, inefficient, unjust, foolish. What would an Althusian (for want of a better word) say? Speaking as an advocate for this position, I should say that it is as wrong for an individual soldier to refuse the orders of the high command (unless it contradicts the basic moral understanding of the society) as it is for the High Command to take over child-rearing.

    If anyone would like to argue that vaccinations are a violation of the moral order as generally understood by Americans, I’d be interested to see the evidence, since I have spent a lifetime in which schoolchildren had to be vaccinated.

  6. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Dom quite cleverly gets away from the military and puts his finger on a weak point in the argument, but is it a generally valid statement? School children are not uniquely susceptible to the diseases for which they are inoculated, and some workplace rules on safety and health are general rather than specific. Should only people working with asbestos be forbidden to smoke on the job? Are only test pilots and racing car drivers prohibited from drinking or taking a variety of drugs, legal and illegal, that impair performance?

    As a general rule, in the history of our peoples until quite recently, private employers could make all sorts of rules on dress and behavior, and even today many companies maintain dress codes and rules against dating. In the better world I think most of us would rather be living in, employees could require church attendance, fire drinkers and divorcees, and in general impose their own social and moral vision on the company’s work force. What a private company can do, surely a fortiori a national government can do.

    Dom’s first argument remains something to consider. The second argument, which is his personal opinion that COVID is no more serious than other diseases, has no legs, even though I agree with him on this point completely. Every society must have not only rules but rule-makers, not only decisions but deciders. Fathers and mothers do–and should be able to do more freely–prescribe rules and punishments for their children, and a national government should be able to reject, for example, communists, homosexuals, and drug addicts as employees, even if their performance on the job is exemplary. I know that various vicious federal laws make this more difficult, but–and not ironically or paradoxically–these laws protecting deviants, traitors, and the physically incompetent are means of increasing government authority. Fathers, employers, and governments must have the power to enforce erroneous decisions; otherwise they lose all authority.

  7. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Now, if an employer, especially a government employer, imposed a rule that was generally understood to be immoral–e.g., killing the innocent or endangering the life of the employee–that would change the situation, but since, while there is some controversy, the opinion in the medical community generally ranges from the vaccines are necessary to probably harmless, there is not much in that line. I’d also suggest that people beware of using the bogus freedom of religion argument. Any religious sect that teaches parents not to treat their children, e.g. Christian Science, should probably be outlawed on grounds of systematic abuse of children. It also implicitly sets religion against science, faith against reason, which is exactly what atheists would like to do.

  8. Harry Colin says:

    One element that might need to be addressed is definition of terms. There are not an insignificant number of people and organizations who argue that the jab is not a vaccine, but a genetic manipulation. I’m no immunologist so I can’t comment on that other than to say from what I’ve read those in the field do not agree on the definition of a vaccine.

    A few years ago, an American Army lieutenant fought a lengthy battle against deployment to Iraq on the grounds that it was an immoral war that didn’t meet the criterion for a just war. He and his legal team included Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Augustine in their arguments. Now this young man espoused a number of views that I suspect many here would not find compelling, but his just war defense was formidable. He was court-martialed nonetheless. The Army did not challenge the points made about the just war doctrine, but ruled against him because their argument was that since the government decided to go to war, it was by definition a just war. So, if simply by deciding to do or require something the government is correct, then are we not left as subjects rather than citizens? As an Army officer I was both under orders and issuing orders; I understand no military unit, or even government organization, can operate with each person free to decide whether to follow orders or not. Yet I was sent to school with German Bundeswehr for “Inner Leadership,” where the application of conscience was stressed as a critical component for service. Just where does that line cross? It doesn’t then seem so obvious to me that government/federal employees are precluded from using the same arguments other citizens have available – or do we have them at all?

  9. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Excellent points. I’ll put a card or two on the table. Since receiving an NDEA grant to study Greek–Imagine if the Spartans got a time machine, I used to tell people who did not think the DOD was spending its money wisely, America would need a Greek-speaker to negotiate our surrender– I have never knowingly taken Federal money. The organization I worked for and led for some years had a rule, imposed by the founder John Howard, against taking federal grants. As a college president, he had also rejected the king’s shilling. “He who pays the piper calls the tune,” was a frequently heard proverb.

    I did once receive an EU grant, though I was late in recognizing the fact, which supported revision and publication of my dissertation, but in general I regard modern governments as more a source of evil than of good, and therefore would not take a job, much less one in the federal bureaucracy or military. I do not say that I am absolutely correct, only that such a position is consistent with my most fundamental principles. When you volunteer for the military, you surrender your right to decide on the morality of a war, and, I would argue that conscripts in in hardly a stronger position. St Alphonsus makes the case emphatically.

    Here’s another card, hardly a secret. It has been decades since I recognized the government of the USA as fully legitimate. We do not have the rule of law but a fictitious right of the majority to do whatever it likes under the direction of a rather tiny elite class. When did I reach this conclusion? Sometime before I graduated from college.

    I scrupulously obey the law and avoid making unnecessary trouble–which would be both pointless and immoral. (Americans do not need examples of supposedly honest men who only obey the laws they approve of. The admirers of Steve Bannon are people I do not wish to know.)

    I find, lately, in reading a lot of Alexander Pope, that he took a similar position. I may like England, but I don’t drive on the left; I an completely opposed to abortion, but, then, no one has tried to make us kill our children. Conservatives who wish to engage in protest in order to restore some better state of the American republic are self-deluded. I was born in 1945, and although the world of the 1950s was infinitely preferable to the current condition, it was still a militarized unconstitutional state, hell-bent on revolutionizing the world. I am grateful for the men who have defended our country, not because it is a city on a hill, but because it is where I live with family and friends. To use Shaw’s metaphor, America is a pirate ship, but we are sailing on it.

    The question of the officer’s right and duty to follow his conscience is, in my opinion, a residue of our hypocritical prosecution of German officers and officials after WW II. Eugene Davidson did some excellent work on Nurnberg and the consequences. I don’t believe we ever intended to grant or enforce a right of conscience but all that nonsense was designed to provide cover for an increasingly immoral military machine that has been a primary agent of social revolution since the end of WW II.

    You sign on to the Mafia, and you accept certain rules like not ratting on your pals on pain of death. The same goes for the military, with this stipulation: At least until the end of the 20th century and probably later, US armed forces preserved some considerable shreds of dignity that enabled officers and men to feel a good deal of legitimate pride in what they were doing. How many took part in war crimes, such as the bombing of civilians in Syria being reported on recently? I don’t know. I suspect not many. But for the life of me, I cannot understand how a volunteer, after Vietnam and all the little surrogate wars we engaged in to the destruction of lousy little Third World countries, could suddenly decide he did not have to go to Iraq.

    It goes without saying that I disagree with this federal mandate on practical and ethical grounds, but he who pays the piper calls the tune.

  10. Vince Cornell says:

    My mission is to prove that Rex Scott isn’t the only one around here willing to ask “dumb” questions in front of Dr. Fleming! (No offense, Mr. Scott!)

    I don’t believe vaccinations are in violation of the moral order as generally understood by Americans, but I do believe that medical experimentation on unwilling subjects IS against the moral order as generally understood by Americans and is the actual focal point of dissent. That’s part of what drove the haste to get “full FDA approval” without actually undergoing any of the previously standard requirements necessary to get “full FDA approval.” At some point, non-experts can make reasonable observations about public knowledge. The facts are that the mRNA vaccines have never been used in humans before, they did not complete the full set of clinical trials standard to receive approval, and the control group from the trials was intentionally eliminated. There is even some news now about the accuracy of some of the data from the trials, but that’s neither here nor there, I don’t think. This is not conspiracy theory or “it’s all Bill Gates’s evil depopulation plan” theorizing, just the publicly available facts about the drug.

    I believe that’s at the heart of most of the objections I’ve heard (in and out of the government). Unlike all previous vaccinations, this one does not follow the very rules that were established to prove the vaccine is safe. That has been replaced with “experts” like Tony Fauci and politicians saying “the rules and the data aren’t important – just trust us.” When the national leaders are violating the very rules and regulations they put in place, at what point is there any licit resisting of the leviathan State? Or is there nothing to stop the Federal Government from legitimately saying “5 boosters” or you’re fired”? Or “all the children in your home have to be vaccinated, too, or you’re fired”?

    Somedays I wonder if the Amish might not have a point. Too bad I can’t grow a beard.

  11. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    I’ll save my clippings for you. Your questions are not stupid but perhaps a bit duplicitous. How many hundreds of millions of people have been vaccinated so far? The death rate from all causes seems rather low, and the death by COVID among the immunized is dramatically lower than the rate among other infected people. I have one or two friends who are conservative anti-government physicians who oppose the mandates but have instructed their staffs and patients to get immunized. When people with little interest in science all of a sudden start accepting hypotheses and arguing points, the motive is almost never a developing interest in climatology or immunology.

    There is always a price for living in a given society. Pope, as a Catholic, had to face persecution, and sensible Christians of all types today are in an inferior position. What are the choices? Perhaps to have the serenity to accept what we cannot change. Or move to a more compatible country. Go into revolution. Hide out among the Amish or the mountain men. Revolution wastes your time and gets you killed or jailed. Moving to Hungary means learning Hungarian and cutting yourself off from all the friends and experiences that have molded you. Going into the wilderness is, for most Americans, highly impractical, and even those with the skills soon find they are exhausted and bored living off the grid. What one cannot do is to live within a society but try to play by your own rules.

    Draw up a list of the positive things that matter to you–children, friends, good books, decent whiskey, –and then draw up the list of disadvantages: immunizations, stupid people on TV, foul restaurants, traffic jams, cities with high crime rates. It is possible for most of us to increase the amount of good and decrease the bad by making discrete decisions. I have a friend who desperately wants to return to Italy but refuses to get the jabs. I have told him repeatedly he is being stupid and self-defeating, like the vegetarians who starve their brains of need meat protein because they are afraid of heart disease. Do those things that increase your best human qualities and endure the petty prices you have to pay.

    I am not at this point advising anyone to get the jabs and go on with his life, but I am suggesting you develop a sense of priorities. I hate automobiles, regard them as an evil invention, but I have a license and drive when I have to to be able to function more successfully and minister to my own desires. I dislike being told what medical procedures to have, but the COVID vaccine does not do one millionth the damage of automobiles.

  12. Dot says:

    “Is there a case to be made that can be make for requiring federal government employees to be vaccinated?”
    The mandate made requiring that federal employees be vaccinated is a command by the government to behave a certain way (wear masks) thus taking choice away from the federal employee and also attempting to dictate vaccine requirements for the states to decide for their for themselves. It is a slippery slope to socialism.

  13. Kellen Buckles says:

    Since Tom has violated his own guidelines by positing the putative efficacy of the vaccines, I guess I will dare to beard the tiger. Fleta and I are in the final recovery stage of covid19. We chose not to be vaccinated because, apart from ages beginning with “7”, we had none of the other danger factors. For us the disease was similar to the influenza we had years ago and we are happy now to have natural immunity. But, yes, we have recommended the vaccines to family members who smoke and are overweight as the risks seem to be clear.

    I don’t need to be reminded that I’m not an immunologist, but I do have a good friend who is an epidemiologist and she tells me that about a third of her medical acquaintances range from vaccine skeptics to those thinking it isn’t necessary for healthy young people. One sees evidence of this by the numbers willing to lose their jobs while their peers reluctantly acquiesce.

    It’s correct to say that the vaccines seem to have a good track record of saving lives. It is not so obvious that the harm from the vaccines is negligible. The VAERS statistics suggest otherwise. I’m told President Ford stopped the vaccine rollout for swine flu based on 55 unexplained deaths, but for covid vaccines there are at least a thousand (and some claim many thousands) of unexplained deaths and many more injuries. The CDC has finally admitted that vaccination for adolescent males has a risk of myocarditis but the risks of covid, they say, outweigh the risk. This is where I consider the CDC’s generalization to be misleading: they lump all the age group together without considering the health conditions.

    The big push now is for children 5-14. I spend too much time parsing CDC statistics. They show through July only 91 covid deaths for this group. For the same time period there were over 230 non-covid respiratory deaths. In 2019 there were 226. Our “local” paper is pushing complete vaccination of school children due to the statistic that 700+ (US) have died. Finally I saw the CDC quoted as saying 70% of these were medically challenged kids – obesity and asthma – and of that 70% over two-thirds were Black and Hispanic.

    We have to realize that our federal health agencies are staffed with people trained in the same schools that produced their arrogant friends who thought it was a good idea to enhance an already virulent virus and let it escape into the world. They have the same vested interests in this field as do the proponents of CRT in theirs.

    My point is that we labor under a cloud of deceit from the therapeutic state and since we recognize that, we are justified in protesting in our various ways. As to the post’s question about the Feds’ right to demand vaccination of employees, unfortunately we’ve already tacitly agreed through the democratic process. My hope is that the development of a traditional vaccine will arrive in time for us to make another visit to Italy.

  14. Robert Geraci says:

    Under the parameters set by the writer of the article, specifically that the rule of law is not a constraint: “I am not much interested here in the legal or constitutional aspects of the case, since the US Constitution has long been a dead letter, and for the most part we no longer live in a country where the Anglo-American understanding of the rule of law is maintained,”, then certainly such a government can do what it pleases with its subjects. But such subjects, especially those who know they are being illogically separated from other subjects, have a right to rebel. If this government as it does with its CDC states that those who are vaccinated can a. still get Covid, albeit hopefully suffering lesser effects, and b. can then spread the disease to all others, both others who are vaccinated and those who are not, but which then continues to reinforce the narrative that the unvaccinated are still a threat to others, then it is clear that what is being done to the unvaccinated is solely punitive. I suppose such a theoretical government can be justified being vindictively arbitrary according to the writer’s rules, but there is no fault in some of those subjects deciding to take tactics that they think will save both their own and their children’s lives both in the short term as well as long term when the experiment is concluded with this vaccine since the protocol was to use humans as test subjects and not animals first. And by the way, such tactics are in no small way attributed to reacting to the VAERS reports that now list over 14,000 deaths from the vaccine and hundreds of thousands of others experiencing side effects, no small number for anyone concerned with living safely.

  15. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    In some of these responses, I hear the voice of despair, which I would not be hearing quite so loud from people who were determined to find a reasoned answer. I sympathize, and I fully understand how hard to is for decent people to grasp two points: first, that this is a bad regime, not just a bad government, but from top to bottom American society is conducted on false and corrosive principles and, second, that , since there is little that anyone can do about it, it is better to go about the business of everyday life without pretending to be able to make judgments on science or revolutionary political commitments.

    Kellen, I have not violated my guidelines. What I have said is a good illustration of the exceptio probat regulam, namely, that since none of us is an expert or even an amateur in these matters, we can only go by the mainstream conventional opinion of the medical industrial complex, which includes my own doctors, whose advice and help I should repudiate if they are deliberately lying to me. I do not, of my own authority, say anything about the vaccine except that two jabs of the Moderna first, did me and my wife no apparent harm, two, failed to keep us from contracting COVID, and three, according to physicians and a recent rather large-scale study, may well have lessened the severity, which in my case could mean kept me out of the emergency room. For medical evidence to be relevant to this argument, it has to be the preponderant opinion of the profession, and you don’t come within a million miles of that standard. Frankly, all we are seeing on FB and elsewhere from the antivaccers is a group of people whose hostility to government is assuming paranoid dimensions and whose vulnerability to rumor and bogus science is apparent.

    Second, friends Robert G makes a series of misstatements, which are then misconnected to form conclusions that are irrelevant. A man should be able to survive and thrive under a lousy government. Most humans known to history and anthropology are in that condition. The fact that a government rests on force, duplicity, and greed does not at all justify a group effort at revolution, and certainly cannot justify individuals to defy trivial and irritating edicts. Here you are not only completely wrong but have veered into the territory of anarchy-libertarianism. What you are really describing is not revolution but subversion and treason. Suppose that subversion and treason are warranted, wouldn’t one want to apply something like just war criteria, in other words the severity of the wrongs being committed, the prospects of success, and the cost benefit ratio of the action would all have to be considered. It is pretty obvious that the advocates of “Give me liberty from immunology or Give me death” have no ground to stand on.

    To make matters worse, Robert is not addressing the subject. The federal government is not drafting anyone to work for it. If the regime is as evil as you think it is, then you should welcome this opportunity to find a more honest employment.

    The reason I made the stipulations that I did at the beginning was to prevent the side-tracking of the discussion into the usual channels. To read my FB friends on the dangers of the vaccine, I should know dozens of people who have had terrible reactions, but I don’t know one. Some months ago, consulting with an anti-mandate skeptical doctor friend, I was told that she had strongly recommended it to dozens of nurses, assistants, and patients and not witnessed one bad reaction. No medical treatment is perfect or without risk, and mandated vaccines would only be morally and politically justified in extreme cases like Plague or Cholera, but that is not the issue here at all. Also not at issue is the safety or efficacy of the vaccines, because none of us has the right to an individual opinion.

    So back to the question, which might be put even more broadly: whether any government, whether that of a constitutional republic, a monarchy, or a mass democracy has the right–apart of course from the right conferred by the bayonet–to insist on imposing public health measures like vaccinations its employees? So far, no one apart from Mr. Colin and Dom have taken the trouble to address the question as asked. In general what I hear are the voices of people whose contempt for the American regime has reached the point where they are ready to break traffic regulations just to prove their moral independence when in fact they are proving their dependency.

    This confirms my suspicion that both sides of the general debate on COVID are dominated by irrational superstition. As for me, I am, not much afraid of either COVID or the vaccine, and I have got lots of more pressing and interesting questions to answer every day, such as whether or not to press forward in my French lessons, what to have for supper, how much gin is too much for a man of my age and condition, do I dare take off the metal brace from my knee when I go to bed, do I accept Socrates’ arguments against suicide, and does The Treasure of the Sierra Madre count as a western movie.

  16. Vince Cornell says:

    I’ll confess up front, I don’t think I speak the same language as many of the good folks here – that or my thoughts are too muddled for me to see clearly. So I’m not trying to waste time by missing the point – I’m just usually very earnestly missing it.

    I guess the difficulty I have is in the “none of us has the right to an individual opinion.” I feel like I’m being asked to “turn off my brain and just trust the experts” as if the experts have never been wrong. Without bothering to type up an extensive list, there are many, many examples of the experts being not just wrong but very wrong (c.f. thalidomide), and I don’t hold considering recent historical events the same thing as irrational superstition. I personally know Marines who have had to suffer with “Gulf War Syndrome” due to the mandatory Anthrax vaccine way back during the first Gulf War. They don’t doubt the validity of the orders they received to get that shot, but they’re still stuck with the consequences this many decades later. I know people suffering from myocarditis after getting vaccinated (not a majority sample size, no, but also not zero), and while it may not be as common as a car accident it is pretty seriously life altering.

    On the one hand is a recognizably corrupt government working with a historically corrupt industry that is shielded from all liability and guaranteed payment via tax money, and on the other hand I’m told to never question the science because I’m not a scientist (referring specifically to the media and my employer).

    As a Federal Employee, I can see the point. Yes, they have the right to order their employees to do pretty much anything they want them to do in the name of “safety” (apparently up to and including altering their DNA). Either takes your money and hesh yer gob, or go find employment elsewhere. Which I intend to do, but not until the duly authorized and legal process to appeal has been exhausted (not because I love my job but mostly because I hope to make life difficult for the paper pushers processing all the exemption requests). At this point, even if I get an exemption approved, I plan to pursue my livelihood elsewhere. I figure it’s only a matter of time. Whether because I don’t take this shot or some future shot or swear allegiance to some transgender thing or because I go to the Latin Mass or homeschool or have too many kids or read the Fleming Foundation or whatnot, I figure I will inevitably be judged “inappropriate” and cast out. Might as well seize the opportunity now, while I’m not (*searching for tactful wording*) too “mature” to find something else to do and while I have a very brief moment of relative financial stability.

    Honestly, if it weren’t for the nefarious system of tying health care to employment in the States, I would’ve considered seeking other employment a while back. But sometimes one gets stuck.

    I don’t lose any sleep over any of it, either way. I have a 3 year old with the stomach bug that keeps me up of late, but definitely not COVID or vaccinations.

    And I’m dubious about Treasure of Sierra Madre being considered a Western. If that counts as a Western, then what about the Mark of Zorro?

  17. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Vince, I know you for a level-headed man and father. The parallel with global warming may help. Sane people know that, whatever the science, the ginned up hysteria has a political and moral significance. The point is to make us more servile, more dependent, and to give them more control over our property, resources, and lives. Arguing the science is a waste of time–though in the case of global warming, some of the people who first sounded the alarm have condemned the movement as it advanced so there is stronger ground. Take your stand on the ethical and political grounds and you will not be moved, but take your stand on their hand science, and they will almost always beat you. In this case–COVID–we have to keep our heads. We know what they want, and nothing will give them better satisfaction than purging the ranks of the military, police, federal agencies of dissidents. There are good reasons to find a safe way out of the Swamp, but it is better to do it on your grounds. The mandate is a power-play, of course, but it is a bad fight, because government employees are rightly subject to rules made by their employer. Napoleon famously observed that he never lost a battle when he could pick the time or place. In this crisis, they are naming time and place and fixing the rules of engagement. Your primary responsibility is to your kids and not to an unrealizable vision of responsible government and the rights of citizens. First do your duty in your own sphere and, when opportunity arises, then it will be time to get out.

  18. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Actually, I think “The Mark of Zorro has a better claim, because it is about old California and about a sort of Lone Ranger hero who goes underground to protect the weak. Also, they ride horses, shoot guns, and oppose a corrupt regime.

  19. Dot says:

    It’s all opinion. I got my shots plus the booster. I will not wear a mask in a business establishment unless it is a requirement. I have age on me plus other issues however, a daily exercise regimen keeps me in reasonably good shape. I am not ready to downsize into that box.
    In my humble opinion, the feds should not be mandating vaccines for their workers. There should be choice but instead there was a mandate. From the get go, there was entirely too much opinion from all these “experts” that did nothing but raise angst among the population. Media added greatly to the problem by placing COVID and anything related to it on the top of its reporting agenda.
    It’s all opinion, including Dr. Fleming’s.

  20. Kellen Buckles says:

    TOM: “For medical evidence to be relevant to this argument, it has to be the preponderant opinion of the profession, and you don’t come within a million miles of that standard.” The preponderant opinion of the profession is based on implicit trust of the CDC, not on personal knowledge. I assume very few can talk intelligently about the mRNA and the spike protein reaction, et al. And as I said earlier, around a third of the medical profession is not 100% certain about the necessity of the jab for everyone. That’s a significant proportion.

    Apart from all the “FB experts” there are real, highly qualified specialists who have spoken out about these issues. Peter McCullough is one of them. Robert Malone has patents for mRNA but he thinks it’s wrong to vaccinate children. I don’t pretend to know if he’s right or wrong, but what I can judge is the reaction of the CDC to him and basically it’s ad hominem; there’s no room for discussion. FB experts and right-wing talking heads may be anti-government, but I have seen no evidence that any of the leading experts began with an anti-government bias.

    I’ve come to my conclusions not by making medical judgments but by looking at CDC reports. I illustrated this with the stats about school-age children. Another way the average person can judge these issues is looking at how the CDC works. Example: I have no opinion about the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine but I know the perfidy of the CDC in labeling it dangerous. Some doctors around the world claimed antiviral properties and treatment success. The Henry Ford System found a 37% advantage for hospitalized patients. Then the British Journal “Lancet” published a massive world-wide study attacking HCQ, and the CDC responded by refusing use of HCQ for covid. Unfortunately, the Lancet study was fraudulent and Lancet retracted it in one of the most embarrassing retractions of any medical journal ever. The CDC did not change its opinion. HCQ is still “dangerous”; as you know this is a gross exaggeration. Why would the CDC do this? Perhaps because they were set on the vaccines and by law they cannot get an EUA if there is another treatment possible.

    Again, with ivermectin the same stonewalling by CDC. Dr Pierre Kory asserts that no one should die from covid and lists a hundred studies from around the world to prove it. One example: the Brazilian hospital where 800 workers took IVM and 700 did not. None of the former contracted covid but 548 of the latter did. The CDC attacked the anecdotal nature of the study. Today their document states that IVM failed in Brazil – but read carefully and you see it failed, not because of efficacy, but because the people thought it was a miracle and took no other precautions. CDC opposes it because it makes people not want to be vaccinated; you couldn’t even perform a clinical trial in the US until recently. (With our positive covid test came an offer to participate in the U of Minn trial for $400 each. No thanks.) I make no claims for IVM but it does have anti-viral properties; our friend in Venezuela received it for dengue.

    I am not anti-vaccine. There is a place for it for the medically challenged and for most of these the remote risks will probably not surface in their lifetimes. I don’t personally know anyone who had an adverse reaction to the vaccine, but I also don’t know anyone who died of covid19. You seem to suggest that covid will wipe us out if we don’t vaccinate. The truth is that 99% of the people who contract the disease will survive, and survival is much higher for healthy and young people.

    Tom, can you address the applicability of Richard Weaver’s idea of the “last metaphysical right – Property?” Are our bodies not our most important property? Since we aren’t faced with the plague but just a virus with 99% survivability, it seems people have the right to question the mandate without loss of livelihood. Especially because they are the ones who will suffer if they call it wrong.

  21. Michael Strenk says:

    I reject the analogy to a war whereby the property of some is destroyed for the good of all as I reject germ theory as it is currently promoted and the “War on Germs” popularized through this ill-conceived marketing ploy. I also reject the “War on Drugs” and the “War on terrorism” which are similarly marketed for some of the same reasons, mostly profit. I do not therefore love disease or illicit drugs or terrorism, but reject the manner in which and covert reasons for which these “wars” are being fought.

    It seems to me that science as it is currently understood and practiced to a Christian stands in much the same position as Greek and Roman paganism. As long as it was not insistent on Christian participation it was not a problem and could be lived with. What can’t be lived with is an insistence on participation in blood rituals. This is especially true as fetal cell lines were use, at least in the “testing” phase, for all of the injections currently available and some contain fetal DNA fragments. To obtain these fetal cell lines hundreds of children were sacrificed until the right “material” was obtained. The children were born alive and were killed by the removal of their organs. It is my understanding that these cell lines are about to become non-viable, which will renew the search by the same means even though adult stem cells are a more that adequate substitute.

    Starting a revolution, leaving the country or going to live in the mountains are not the only solutions. Secession can be done in many ways that are not violent and do not require one to give up on all of the comforts of modern life, certainly not friends, although one may have to make new ones, or good food, although one may have to acquire food through alternate systems including home production. Medical care also does not necessarily have to follow their pattern. I believe that they acted with this project (hand slap for “conspiracy” theorizing) because an increasing number of people were slipping the reservation and with good results. Their narrative has been collapsing for some time and they needed to act radically to reestablish their dominance. I realize that there is a danger of conflict here, but the initiation of conflict, including violence, will have to be initiated by them, negating the last shreds of their legitimacy.

    I believe that VAERS is above 18,000 deaths now and 800,000 adverse events. Harvard did a study of VAERS in 2010 (I believe), which indicated that adverse events from vaccines were under-reported by 100x. One might make the argument that this injection is getting more publicity so that the multiplier would be substantially less, but the counter-argument is that many doctors and nurses are true believers (more religion that science, no?) who are actively suppressing death and injury statistics and many doctors and nurses don’t want to rock the boat and lose their jobs and many simply do not want to engage with the extremely onerous paperwork, much like many time-serving policemen (hand slap for sexist language) who discourage a report of crime for the same reasons. Any suggestion that this injection is largely effective or harmless base on statistics kept by those who are to benefit from them are quite spurious.

  22. Michael Strenk says:

    Mr. Buckles, Dr. Malone has also become gravely ill as a result of the injections by his own admission and speaking as an MD and a developer of the MRNA technology with a knowledge of its potential side effects.

    Dr. Fleming has mentioned the climate change malarkey without connecting the Covid operation with the climate change operation. They would seem to be a tandem that are tag-teamed in the media to keep everyone’s head spinning. The vaccine passports are the key to technocracy’s wildest dreams which would use health status and energy consumption, and, by extension, food consumption as their means for total control. So much for the good life. Should we accept the passports along with the injection? Is there a line to be drawn?

  23. Michael Strenk says:

    Yes on Zorro. No on Treasure.

  24. Dom says:

    Perhaps it would help to define some lines and limits of authority. Who has default medical authority over a man’s body? I would argue the man himself, as he should for his children. If there are times or reasons for other men to override this authority then that should be clearly defined. Medical matters involve the very person, so the definition of bounds might be a graver matter (particularly from a Christian standpoint) than enforcing workplace habits or dress code or the disposition of property.
    I am confused about the ground rules. Do we reason that employers may place any conditions on employment that they wish (as perhaps things should be), or do we proceed as if the government qua employer is bound by the laws and limits it has set? That last part might sound laughably idealistic, but if we start from a position that the federal government is unaccountable – before its own laws – then the feds override all authority, may wield it arbitrarily, and we just have to live with it. Maybe that is true, but then why have this conversation at all?

  25. David says:

    A serenity prayer is in order so to offset that despair the good doctor is picking up on…

    It is all rather Socratic isnt it?
    Drink a hemlock as you deserve it, or amplify your hypocrisy and bolt. The horror, the choice.

    I wonder: Where’s Navrozov on this?

    To VC : good to see you still on the Hill, for the moment.
    Seems the Elephant is closing in.
    fear not. Farewell.

    the weeping women on the path to the hilltop is what’s most striking: weep for the children, the children. But i think I’m misunderstanding…

  26. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    It appears that most commenters don’t wish to address the question as posed but prefer to air their grievances against Fauci, the medical establishment, and the Federal government. I cheerfully agree with most of their objections to “our’ government–and believe I go a great deal further–but since they have little relevance to the question on the table, I’ll be content for the time being to let the horses run whithersoever they list.

  27. Vince Cornell says:

    Looking at a tangential issue to the current discussion (the nail we all seem to be trying to hit instead of the one Dr. Fleming has set in front of us) – if one is not a pilot and not an aviation expert, but one sees the pilot for the plane one is about to ride in wearing thick, dark glasses and using a long, red-tipped cane to guide his way – at what point does one decide to change flights or just stay home? Perhaps a future discussion could examine the point where other qualities create reasonable doubt in the judgment of a subject matter expert? When I think of the City Fathers in previous examples, I get the image of wise old men with admirable beards comporting themselves with dignity. When I think of today’s medical experts, I think of clowns who can’t throw a baseball (but insist on doing so in front of millions of viewers) or relentless self-promoters or bureaucratic double-talkers or political hacks or shameless industry shills (who bounce back and forth between government regulatory positions and senior leadership positions in companies the government happens to be regulating) – images more in line with carnival barkers or snake oils salesmen rather than serious men. I wouldn’t trust someone like Fauci or Francis Collins or (to be fair and to hit the anti-vaxx side of the house) Dr. Robert Malone to feed my goldfish over the weekend, and I don’t even have a goldfish.

    At what point do experts and/or leaders lose credibility not due to lack of expertise in their field but due to lack of faith in their good judgment as a rational human being? Or after displaying a history of bad decisions or big mistakes? If, to borrow from the recent podcast about the Marines and the loss of excellence in America, a Christian pastor is well versed in Greek and Latin but goes around in Bermuda shorts, Crocs, and a Hilary Clinton t-shirt that says “I’m with Her” while publicly defending transgender bathrooms – do we take his opinion seriously even when he’s speaking on the Greek meaning of a passage of scripture? He could be entirely correct, but how can I tell where his expertise ends and the bias or prejudice that he wears on his sleeve begins? If I object to his answer, on what grounds would I object?

    I’m not advocating for “every man is his own pope” type of anarchy – I’m just curious about where the middle ground is between humble submission to those who know better and “he’s off his gourde, I ain’t listenin’ to a word he says” cynicism. And I’m not considering military command structures as those exist with specific requirements to meet specific challenges in a specific environment (i.e if one is doomed to serve under Custer, then tough luck), but the average citizen living under a somewhat heavy handed government.

  28. Frank Brownlow says:

    “Is there a case that can be made for requiring federal government employees to be vaccinated?”
    No. Organizations that require oaths of obedience might issue such a mandate, but if the mandate offends a member’s conscience he should refuse to obey it. In civil society times of crisis can cause a suspension of law: even so an evil mandate has to be resisted. Forced vaccination is an offense against the fundamental principle of personal integrity guaranteed by Anglo-American law. And by the way, if the Rittenhouse jury succumbs to the mob & turns in a guilty verdict, the same principle will have been suspended, and we will know that the rule of law is over in this country, and the rule of law is all we have protecting us from barbarity.

  29. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Good objections but not too difficult to eliminate. First off, we are dealing with the entire population of the Unite States, but only those who work for the Federal government. You seem to be suggesting that soldiers and Federal employees have the right to reject the orders of their superiors. Where, exactly, is the line to be drawn? Federal employees are not slaves, they have not been conscripted, and, if they object to their government’s policies, they are free to find other work.

    Second, you are passing judgment on the rulers because of what you assume to be the bad advice of Fauci and company. But surely, the authority of fathers and kings and democratic governments is not restricted to occasions on which the rulers are correct–or, to he more accurate, occasions on which the rulers’ judgments are not contradicted by my own. At Balaclava, as Tennyson observed, someone had blundered, but the Light Brigade nonetheless made its charge.

    Third, and I cannot emphasize this too strongly, the American’s healthy suspicion of experts has evolved into an obscurantist rejection of science. On my brief forays into Facebook, I see this constantly, but even in everyday life, I meet people who want to tell me about how the Greeks practiced homosexual marriage or the Bible teaches pacifism. In America–as in other lunatic asylums–everyone thinks he has a right to his opinion. Nonsense.

    Now, a citizen who disagrees with lockdowns on vaccine mandates is not obliged to keep his mouth shut, but if he expects to be attended to, he should pretend to be a well-informed expert on immunology or endemic diseases or climatology or gender. I find it absolutely amazing that English majors and the like are opening up on medical subjects, when there is no aspect of science, including scientific method, in which they are sufficiently instructed to make an intelligent judgment. The waste of time and energy that could have been more profitably spent watching Bugs Bunny–to say nothing of reading Plato and Dante–is depressing, and even more depressing is the glittering-eyed enthusiasm with which these fanatics dish out their conspiracy theories.

    If the government were demanding us to kill our babies or murder Christians, we would be required to resist. Immunization mandates for employees is an entirely different question. For all the statistics collected on health risks of the vaccine–by the same sorts of people and agencies who hand out the bogus COVID statistics–I don’t know anyone who knows anyone who has had a bad reaction. And lurking in the statistics are the cases of people who get the shots and die for a cause that may be unrelated–like the people who get the flu the day after their flu shot. The truth is that people dies of aspirin overdose or from eating two peanuts or getting the wrong blood type in a transfusion. Should we quit a job where we may be required to take two aspirin, eat in a cafeteria where some deserts may be contaminated with ground nuts, or get a blood transfusion if we are hit by a car?

    I’d be delighted to deal with real objections to this mandate, but so far, dear readers, you are batting ZERO. I am not going, as I said at the outset, to deal either with the scientific arguments or with the proposition that our government is illegitimate. They have nukes, bombing planes, missiles, a vast or soldiers, sailors, airmen, and hired goons. Pretending that we have the power to defy them leads only to disaster for ourselves and our friends.

    And for what? Kulaks who stood up against Lenin and Stalin were facing starvation. America is been an “air conditioned nightmare” for most of my life. I am sorry if it took the mismanagement of a cold virus to alert some people to the reality under which they have been living, but if they accepted affirmative action, the disabilities act, and the funding of NPR without more than a murmur, they have no occasion to start meditating civil disobedience and revolution, Their government is doing nothing more outrageous than it has done for 60 years at least.

  30. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Frank, first of all, you have excluded the military from your argument. That is a good move. But you have not addressed the argument made above, that historically employers have imposed codes of dress and behavior–this was particularly true of schools. If the employees did not submit, they were terminated. A contract is a contract.

    More to the point is your argument that people who take a job are free to refuse to perform an action that violates their private conscience. This blend of Liberal individualism and Quaker mysticism is not in the traditions of Greece and Rome nor American law, which in the 19th century did not recognize the right of clergymen to refuse conscription. If private conscience is to decide these questions, then what do we say to polygamous Mormons or, for that matter, to Charles Manson or Jack the Ripper?

    The “right of conscience” only works when, either the ruling authorities explicitly grant certain objects, e.g., to Quakers who refuse to swear in court, or when the conscience has been formed by a traditional institution that can speak with authority. A Medieval Catholic could appeal to such a right, so long as he lived in a Catholic country, but a Muslim in a Catholic country could not.

    In order to toss another firebomb into the discussion, let me state categorically that there is no religious right in Christianity to refuse immunization. The assertion of this right by otherwise honest people can only damage their case.

    Here is my suspicion–amounting to a firm conviction. Most people do not really object to immunizations. If a government they trusted ordered small pox immunizations because a wave of illegal immigrants had reintroduced the disease, there would be few objections. But since they–I should say We–don’t trust our respect the government and know full well that COVID, for the healthy majority, poses little threat, and that the government could have stopped it dead in its tracks by halting immigration and travel, we naturally resent this mandate, especially in its overreaching form applying to all sorts of public employees and contractors doing business with the government.

    I posed this question not in order to stir up trouble but to help participants understand why and how they did not have to embrace anarchist or libertarian or Quaker principles in order to oppose the policy. Last night we watched on mediocre video on Youtube of a1963 D’Oyly Carte performance of “The Pinafore.” It was far more amusing–quite apart from the music–than the last ten comic films we have seen–and Gilbert’s satire on Sir Joseph’s insistence on leveling ranks (except for his own) and his demand that that captain add to his orders, “if you please,” has a good deal more wisdom for us than anything I have read so far on the COVID mandate.

    For I hold that on the seas
    The expression “If you please”
    A particularly gentlemanly tone implants.
    And so do his sisters and his cousins and his aunts.

    Just in case anyone has missed the point I am making with the quotation, Sir Joseph, the incompetent head of the Queen’s Navy, exalts his own power by championing the seamen and humiliating the captain.

  31. Vince Cornell says:

    Honestly, five years from now I probably wouldn’t have much of an objection to this particular immunization, but I’m the kind of person that won’t even buy a car if that model has had a redesign in the past 3 years or so. I prefer to let others work out the kinks in new products before investing my own money (or body).

    So, should I change my objection to the vaccine to one of equitable distribution? I can’t, having lived my life in a patriarchal system fueled by white supremacy, in good conscience, accept this drug until the many millions of poor, suffering immigrants and Haitians and third worlders have had an opportunity to get their 2 shots and a booster? If you please.

  32. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    You are in good company–a swarm of leftist harpies led by the former Mrs. Gates. Sidenote: People have wondered why Bill became a philandering buddy of Jeffrey Epstein. I was amazed, quite to the contrary, that a man with his wealth could endure to stay with Melinda.

  33. Kellen Buckles says:

    With Cat-Like Tread (stomp)
    Upon our prey we steal!
    In silence dread, (ha ha)
    Our cautious way we feel!

    Tom, in most of your responses you have painted with a pretty wide brush. Most of us would appreciate a more specific answer to these following objections:
    • You have limited the argument to Federal Employees. Most of us are thinking about the fact that the mandate is vastly larger, especially now that OSHA is dictating. Does your argument demand acceptance by airline employees, etc?
    • Would you make the same argument if the government mandated teaching of CRT by all teachers? Outlawing guns?
    • You charge some of us with “an obscurantist rejection of science”. But isn’t there is a clear politicization of science? When our gov’t authorities lie about Gain-of-Function research, the obvious lab-leak, the danger of HCQ, and shut down all contrary expert opinion, why is it obscurantist to question the wisdom and motives of the establishment?
    • When 1/3 of medical professionals have some reservations about universal vaccination, why must we ignore them? We liberal arts guys aren’t making medical judgments when we see discrepancies in the data. Few of us are totally against the vaccines.
    • You say “there is no religious right in Christianity to refuse immunization”. Note that it’s “vaccination”, not “immunization” that we question, for as your own case shows immunization isn’t offered. (In fact a study in the European Journal of Epidemiology claims that the most highly vaccinated countries in the world have the highest number of covid cases per million.)
    • Again, I don’t know that Christians are claiming a right against vaccination, per se. They are claiming the subsidiary authority granted by God to exercise control over their families’ health. As our priest explained, parents have the right, power, and authority. The state can only claim the authority and power in cases where personal choice harms others. The unvaccinated are only endangering themselves.

    Thank you.

  34. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Kellen, I always enjoy speaking with you even in virtual reality. Or should I say the “meta verse?”? On this occasion, though, one or both of us is confused. You complain that I paint with too broad a bush and then complain that my) argument is too narrowly focused. Which is it? On behalf of “most of us” (some time you must share with me your survey of subscribers and readers) you ask me to answer questions I specifically excluded from the discussion on the grounds that they would confuse the issue. If I refuse, I am being obstinate, and if I accede prove myself a liar.

    Your other complaints are equally bewildering. You like to put trust in statistics when they back your contention but then reject all others. For example, you trust statistics that show COVID rate are higher in countries where people are being inoculated, in other words, Western countries where statistics are actually kept. Have you ever looked into the kind of statistics that are reported in countries like Cuba and South Africa on everything under the sun? I generally do not trust statistics collected by my own government, and I certainly put no faith in those of third world countries and parasitic international agencies. This is not a technical issue but an ethical one, and no amount of counting beans is going to change the question.

    You want me to accept the language of the anti-vaccers, insisting that the COVD jabs are not immunizations but vaccinations. Do you think the COVID vaccine comes from cows? Or that the a one-time immunization is a magic bullet that confers a lifetime of protection. When I considered getting the jabs, a doctor friend informed me that I’d undoubtedly need a third booster and perhaps an annual shot. This was last Spring. I guess she was lying, like my cardiolocourgist and his nurses, my thoracic surgeon and his assistants, my family practitioner and her staff. I hope, Kellen, you will have the courage of your convictions and never again seek medical help from any physician who does not accept your expert opinion. That was a joke, but I certainly hope Fleeta will force you to go do one of the evil quacks, if you need medical assistance.

    You also complain that I say there is no Christian Right to reject the jabs but offer as proof that families have the right to take of their health. First off, this mandate to federal employees does not extend to families but only individuals, so the argument is entirely irrelevant, and, secondly, where is this right of which you speak? I don’t recall any rights in the Scriptures except for civil rights, such as the right of a Roman citizen like Paul to appeal to Caesar. Mainstream Christianity did not speak the language of rights until the Enlightenment.

    I have pointed out many times that the pseudo-Christian babble about human rights derives from a misunderstanding of words like ius and dike, both of which refer to that which is right and just and not, as St Thomas says explicitly, to any claim we have on others or on society. Christian ethics is rooted, first in brotherhood and love, and then, more broadly in duty. Paul says basically that emperors–not just good emperors- are given us for a good reason. The attitude that is governing your opinions seems to be that laws and edicts are only valid when you agree with them. Good luck with that line, the next time you get a speeding ticket.

    And no, you are quite wrong about what “Christians” are claiming. They are claiming the right to hold onto federal employment while rejecting a decision taken in the interest of the health of the employees, their colleagues, and the general public. The fact that the decision is fundamentally wrong is irrelevant. Suppose, if no cost to you, an injection of few ounces of plasma or some vitamins fulfilled the mandate. Would that be different? Do you really think Gail and I and several hundred million people are all doomed, because we have received the jabs?

    You seem to be indicating that you think I am defending the mandate in any shape or form. I am not, as I have said repeatedly, so why approach the topic as if I were? I have restricted it to federal employees, because if anyone is going to make such a decision for state and local employees, it should be local government. As for airlines, I think an excellent case could be made that since airlines are not regulated by states but by the feds, and since air travel requires such close confinement of passengers in terminals and planes, a prudent government, convinced of the grave danger posed by a disease, would exercise some rights in the matter–though I believe the airlines themselves are mostly in favor of a mandate that would get them off the hook.

    Yes, this is not a grave disease, and no, our government is neither prudent nor just nor honest. But those qualities are irrelevant to the question I have posed. Suppose we had a disease like Bubonic Plague, killing as much as a third of the population. Suppose our ruling class were not made up of crooked Democrats and stupid (also crooked and cowardly) Republicans but responsible Christian king and his vassals who were heroically fighting off Mongol attacks to keep us safe. If by some miracle a remedy or preventive was discovered or something as simple as killing rats, infected live stock and buildings and furnishings that had been infected, only a lunatic would fight the mandate. Or am I wrong. Would the anti-vaccers still be standing up for they “Christian rights”?

    Kellen, I had not hoped to convince people of the correctness of my argument but only to lead them to understand that what they object to is an abusive government that has been in place far longer than we have lived. Of course it takes on more powers as it grows in response to crises, real and manufactured, but the fault is ours if we refused to recognize earlier government assaults for what they were. Why do we need to carry state ID’s? Why do we let the government confiscate income in advance that we virtually have to sue them to recover? Why do we accept employment knowing well that people are being preferred in hiring and promotion who are manifestly unfit in all respects except for some minority identity? You bring up mandated CRT in public schools. What the hell is any sane parent doing entrusting his children to those uneducated ghouls who prey upon the souls of children. You want a revolution? How about leading a fight to cut the taxes that pay for public schools?

    If people could once grasp the broader and darker implications of American Progress, they might be able more easily to go about their daily lives without wringing their hands and wasting so much time on scientific questions on which they will never be able to make rational judgment.

    The besetting sin of conservatives is their entirely fatuous belief that the American people are fundamentally sound and that the corruption of their leaders is a comparatively recent phenomenon that the election of some pure-hearted outsider is going to solve. I put more faith in the tooth fairy than Donald Trump and his would-be successors, and I am very disappointed to see the reaction of otherwise sober and sensible people to this pinprick irritation when they have endured the boils and cancers of social policy their entire lives.

    The lot of mankind is to make the best of the bad conditions into which they are born to live for short a time. From the accession of Julius Caesar to roughly the assassination of Domitian, conservative senators dreamed of restoring the republic. What was the result? Death and the ruin of their families. Tacitus, who shared the dream, deplored the folly of the staunch conservatives who insisted on insulting Vespasian, an emperor they were very lucky to have.

  35. Robert Geraci says:

    The only premise for the government requiring the covid vaccination and conversely barring or even punishing the unvaccinated is that they say that the unvaccinated are a threat to the rest of humanity including those who are vaccinated. That is an absurd premise on its face because if one is already vaccinated then one ought to be protected. But put even that logic aside, because even the Federal government now admits that both the unvaccinated and the vaccinated who get covid are equal in their ability to spread the disease to all others, both vaccinated and unvaccinated. Therefore a federal mandate to be vaccinated makes as much sense as asking some people to wear a red clown nose and others not. And because of that senselessness and absurdity at the very heart of the issue, it is perfectly legitimate to say the government is wrong in what it is mandating and legitimate to refuse such. The federal government is not analogous to all other private businesses that have more leeway in asking their employees to do certain things. It is rather a behemoth whose actions dictate how the rest of the country operates.

  36. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Robert, anger is not an adequate substitute for reason nor is populist satire. When someone makes a statement with the phrase “the only,” it is incumbent upon him to offer some argument stronger than another assertion. Either you are not following the progress of the discussion or are too disturbed to make a rational case. As a mutual friend of ours observed when we were saying good bye to each other some months ago, repeating your assertions in a louder voice is no addition to a discussion. Do you actually think someone is defending the mandate? That is what it sounds like, which means your are ignoring the discussion. If I may take the liberty of saying this to a friend, it is for the sake of friends like you and Kellen that I began this discussion, hoping I could wheedle you into some degree of equanimity. I am sorry to have wasted your time. Perhaps there is a federal medical complex you can attack and gain some relief.

  37. Michael Strenk says:

    I am sure that many here represented have been fighting by some means or other some or all of the evils that Dr. Fleming lists. The evils of CRT and the “pinprick irritation” seem to have finally popped, for many, the bubble of unreality and denial in which most of America has long dwelled. Whether or not most will meet the challenge constructively is the question. Some will rise to the challenge and join us. Most will simply whine incessantly and demand that others, the others who have been fleecing them all of their lives, do what they want, much like the imbeciles who buy shirts and hats that insist that we “Save the Bees” or other worthy goals. Of course what they mean is that they want the government to save the blessed bees and not that they will eschew neonicotinoid pesticides themselves and plant their property for the the bees. The government will happily comply by restricting and confiscating all that they can because that is what they do.

    The forced injection into our bodies of unwanted toxins administered by a corrupt political and medical complex is not merely an irritation. It is an outrage that must be met with resistance, along with the other outrages that have long preoccupied Dr. Fleming and his fellows.

  38. Kellen Buckles says:

    Tom: But what about my “cat-like tread”? Thanks for the lengthy and patient answer.
    Please tolerate the following:
    • By “most of us” I meant those who commented on this post
    • I know you limited the scope, but I’m really interested in the increased scope of a very possible UNIVERSAL MANDATE as OSHA wants. What do we do then?
    • Statistics? Two Harvard researchers studied 68 countries with reliable stats, and specifically 2,947 US counties. The methodology looks good to me. The journal is well established. You can find it published at the NIH: “Increases in COVID-19 are unrelated to levels of vaccination across 68 countries and 2947 counties in the United States”. As usual I checked google for refutation.
    • By “immunization” I mean only that these vaccines aren’t immunizing at the levels anywhere near polio, measles, etc.
    • The “right” I mentioned was spoken by a priest and I assume it’s Church doctrine. Subsidiary rights to take care of one’s health and his family cannot be abridged without overriding necessity like plague, etc. St Paul’s advice on obedience can be countered by his unwillingness to worship the emperor. Or Jesus’ words on what belongs to Caesar, like traffic laws, and what doesn’t.
    • Since the “Morality of Everyday Life” my eyes have opened to the fallacy of “human rights”. I’m looking for you to provide us a basis for righteously rejecting a wide-spread mandate where it has not been demonstrated to be necessary.
    • No, I don’t think millions are doomed by their jab. I support the vaccines for people in jeopardy. I will even get one to attend the next FF trip to Italy.
    • You still haven’t given a reason for ignoring the significant number of medical people who deny the need of vaccinating healthy people, especially young people. Many doctors are willing to lose their positions and many more reluctantly stay silent. I’m not aware of any mainstream, highly respected virologists who criticize the vaccines for political reasons, although there are hundreds of quacks discrediting their work.
    • The CRT in schools assumes the elimination of home-schooling, as just happened in France. It’s for the good of the nation, Macron says.
    • I completely agree with your last six paragraphs. And your thoughts have not been lost on me. I don’t think you are pushing the mandate or recommending servility. I AM worried about my son-in-law losing his job as a paramedic.

  39. Dom says:

    What are the terms under which current federal employees became employed? Contracts work both ways and it might be that the federal government has no case to require current employees to get the shot. Also, it’s not clear that the “federal government” has finally spoken on the matter. Right now, we have a mandate proposed by one part of one branch, but there remains significant resistance in the federal government itself. So Mom and Dad are still fighting this one out (well, I guess it’s more like Mom and the pool guy and Dad and the flamboyant gardener).
    Do medical procedures deserve to be set apart from other aspects of life such as acceptable dress and behavior? Uniform requirements and restrictions on certain habits do not seem at all alike to procedures that alter the body itself; a haircut and wearing a company shirt is not the same as getting a harmless tattoo. The difference is not really a question of rights so much as a recognition of the gravity of altering the body itself. Such a recognition seems to me to be rooted in basic elements of Christian belief.
    As for the plague-ridden Mongols, the soldiers going to meet them might expect to be vaccinated because the loss of numbers and unit cohesion would prevent their mission and imperil the existence of the city. I don’t know that civilian employees can be put in the same category as uniformed soldiers, but in any case it is difficult to imagine a scenario where the mission of the federal government is imperiled by a disease that could not be mitigated by lesser measures. We know from experience that the federal government can shut down, send most employees home for a week or two, and emerge no worse for the wear.

  40. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    I appreciate Kellen’s spirit of benevolent toleration. I think whatever good I might have done has been accomplished. I would suggest that if I were seeking to find out the Catholic position, I only am aware of one or two–perhaps as many as a dozen–priests who could be relied upon to give any version of the Catholic tradition. Some of the best priests I have met were infected with classical liberalism I might have mistaken them for Fr. Siricco, a man I have only met once and who seemed quite sensible, but whose basic philosophy is incompatible with any legitimate form of Christianity.

    Dom poses some thorny questions, but they seem addressed to the corruption and baseness of our society and government. It goes without saying that I agree with him, but then, as the song goes, “What we gonna do?: “We have necked, till I’m wrecked
    Won’t you tell me what you expect?
    Is this to be a case of kiss and never tell?
    Folly and farewell, heaven or maybe hell
    Which is it going to be, love or gin?
    Wife or sin? Let’s begin

    My imprudent question was posed to stimulate discussion of how to respond to misgovernment. What I have suggested is to understand our position, which is more akin to Jews in the Third Reich than citizens of a Republic and then to respond prudently by protecting our own interests and the of our family and friends. Not wishing to hurt anyone’s feelings, but some of you dear people seem to feel (I won’t say think are living in a Jeffersonian republic accidentally presided over By JQ ADAMS.

  41. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    From Frank Brownlow:

    “No, I didn’t exclude the military since, as I understand it, they take an oath of obedience, just like monks, &c. Should a general or an abbot give an instruction contrary to good order, discipline, &c., then obviously a monk or a soldier has an obligation to disobey even at the expense of his own safety. This has nothing to do with liberal individualism or Quakerism, with neither of which I have much sympathy, as you know, but with good order.

    “On the larger question, I’m asserting a simple but fundamental, indeed grounding principle of English, hence American, law, on which codes of dress or behavior have no bearing because they don’t impinge upon what in older English speech we used to call the “incolumity” of the body, i.e., its freedom from hurt of any kind.

    No-one knows where this grounding principle of English law comes from. It receives clear legal statement in Magna Carta & the Six Statutes, but seems to have preceded both. I’ve seen it tracked to the belief that since God is a person, then all of us, made in His image, are also persons, and that as persons we have a fundamental right of property in our bodies, which can therefore neither be hurt nor detained without due process of the law. Since in law a mere touch or slap can be prosecuted as assault and battery, what are we to say of a government that insists on sticking needles into its subjects or citizens against their will? The juridical principle of an inviolable property right in one’s own body takes precedence of all claims of the state unless the principle is explicitly suspended in a time of emergency or war, but even that suspension requires consent in some form.

    As I hear of what is happening in places like Britain, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, my chief reaction is shock at people’s ignorance of their own legal traditions and–for the governing class–obligations.

    I agree completely when you say “Most people do not really object to immunizations. If a government they trusted ordered small pox immunizations because a wave of illegal immigrants had reintroduced the disease, there would be few objections. But since they–I should say We–don’t trust or respect the government and know full well that COVID, for the healthy majority, poses little threat, and that the government could have stopped it dead in its tracks by halting immigration and travel, we naturally resent this mandate, especially in its overreaching form applying to all sorts of public employees and contractors doing business with the government.”

    Immunization for small pox is an excellent example because it’s a genuine immunization against a truly nasty, dangerous disease, and we’ve all cheerfully given our well-informed consent to it for donkey’s years.