AIER deserves tremendous thanks for hosting, and for making available the full transcript of, Florida governor Ron DeSantis’s April 12th roundtable discussion of Covid-19 and lockdowns with Scott Atlas, Jay Bhattacharya, and Martin Kulldorff.
[CBS 60 Minutes “reporter” Sharyn] Alfonsi found a couple of Democrat politicians who said Florida’s vaccine rollout was racist because DeSantis prioritized senior citizens of all races for the first doses of vaccines available. As Florida’s senior population skews white and rich, it’s therefore Jim Crow if you opt for a race-neutral strategy to vaccinate the vulnerable.
Mises’s next sentence follows: “And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction.” No safe spaces in a crisis. Destroy the market, smash the normal functioning of the social order, and you threaten everything that matters to our material well-being. You smash life and well-being. You crush the ability of people to provide for themselves, everyone’s sense of self worth, access to food and housing and health care, and the very notion of material progress. You reduce life to subsistence and servitude. The world becomes Hobbesian: solitary, poor, nastty, brutish, and short.
The emphasis here is on the word “no one.” No one can free ride off others in the long run. There is no essential and nonessential, no one person with more priors and privileges than anyone else. Not in the long run, in any case. The Zoom class might imagine it has hid and thereby saved itself from wreckage but like Prince Prospeo in Edgar Allan Poe’s classic, the pathogen eventually finds its own.
“Therefore,” Mises continues, “everyone, in his own interests, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle.” No hiding, no seclusion, no silence, no “stay home stay safe.” We must all enter the battle of ideas. Perhaps this one seems to be a stretch because not everyone qualifies as an intellectual. We know that. And yet good ideas, and good instincts about how life should work, is more distributed throughout the population that is normally supposed.
It would be an overstatement to say that cloth and surgical masks are unambiguously ineffective or harmful. But neither is there a firm case that they provide any meaningful benefit. Limited mask mandates may be justified in circumstances with unavoidable face-to-face contact within the range of droplet spread, such as public transport, and private businesses should be free to require masks if they like. Citizens at high risk should be free to wear effective N95 masks for their own protection, and federal regulators should clear away barriers to domestic production.
But mandates of cloth and surgical masks impose major inconveniences and potentially serious health risks on citizens, for no clear benefit either to themselves or to others. Leaders who pride themselves on following the science should consider ending them and letting citizens protect their health as they see fit.
Ostensibly, the passports are designed to allow individuals to partake in everyday commerce and “life” with freedom.
The same freedoms that each and every individual is entitled to under the Constitution and other bills of rights and freedoms in democratic societies by definition. And yet we now require a passport to exercise our ‘unalienable’ right? Absurd. While vaccine records were and still are a requirement for international travels where infectious diseases are common, this is as a safeguard for the traveler. But for citizens of the USA, and elsewhere, the requirement of a digital SARS CoV-2 injection passport has taken on a darker and sinister meaning. These passports are now being touted as a requirement for living a life within the country, our own country. This is simply a shattering idea. Public discourse is already available suggesting that one’s life could be essentially ‘shut down’ if one does not acquiesce to getting vaccinated in order to obtain a vaccine passport. Will these passports now constitute, as they have in the past under the governance of totalitarian regimes, the very currency for free existence?
Here’s an early snapshot of life in a world of vaccine passports. (HT Phil Magness)
Public health bureaucrats at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have brought Johnson & Johnson’s vaccination efforts to a screeching halt pending an investigation into six confirmed cases of blood clotting among the nearly 7 million people to become inoculated. This decision will inadvertently get people killed, but if you dare to question it, you will be branded an enemy of science by the “trust the experts” mafia.
Make no mistake, the pause represents lethal risk aversion. There is no real question that many, many more people will contract COVID-19 because they did not receive a vaccine quickly enough—suffering hospitalization or even death as a result—than will have an adverse health outcome from the vaccine.
“This decision was made by the CDC and FDA,” said Jeff Zients, a White House coronavirus response coordinator. “We’re ruled by the science, not any other consideration.”
Since the decision to pause the J&J vaccine cannot be defended on any sort of basic life-saving calculus—oral contraceptives carry a greater risk of blood clotting, and the FDA hasn’t prohibited them—government health experts and their media mouthpieces are instead arguing that the pause is necessary to stave off a surge in vaccine hesitancy.