Anti-vaxxers are true democrats

Why would people refuse to be vaccinated against Covid? And can they be forced?

Sometimes protests are expressed with real elegance

If you watch this video, you’ll get an answer to the second question: (As a side benefit, you can appreciate the living conditions in provincial Russia, but that isn’t what concerns me here.)

The clip shows AK-toting Russian special forces pinning resisters down and slamming needles into their upper arms. One of the anti-vaxxers is a police lieutenant-colonel (equivalent to our Chief Inspector), so obviously drunk on the job that he can’t even enunciate his protests intelligibly.

Transposing this scenario to a more civilised setting, our government is unlikely to vaccinate protesters at gunpoint. A hefty fine is probably as far as we can go.

Yet it’s logical that no one should be allowed to shirk his civic duty. After all, vaccination is designed to produce herd immunity. Hence, the more of the human livestock refuse or neglect to be vaccinated, the less effective the programme. The logical conclusion is that we owe compliance not just to ourselves but to society at large.

The first question is more interesting. Why would anyone refuse?

The incidence of side effects is trivial and, when they do occur, they are mild. Three people have been reported to die as a result of vaccination, but related to the tens of millions safely vaccinated people, the risk is negligible. It’s more dangerous to cross the street, even in a quiet part of town.

Medical opinion, supported by a large body of clinical research, is unequivocal on the subject of efficacy. This may vary in its degree, which normally falls in the range of 85 to 99 per cent. But in any case it’s worth having, especially if one considers the Covid mortality rate. It’s not very pleasant mortality either: patients slowly suffocate.

Even those who survive suffer serious damage to their lungs and often brain. One would think that even a measly 85 per cent reduction in the chances of such outcomes is desirable. Potential gains outweigh potential losses so heavily that Pascal’s Wager ought to guide anyone’s decision.

This would be reasonable if logic were brought to bear on the decision. But it isn’t. For every argument in favour of vaccination is based on expert opinion, and these days it carries little weight.

This isn’t because doctors and medical scientists know less than their counterparts did 100 years ago. Quite the opposite: our contemporary medics are infinitely better qualified and equipped to face up to life’s pitfalls.

It’s just that more and more people refuse to accept authority of any kind, and rejecting expert opinion is a glaring example of such obtuseness. The chickens first espied by Plato and Aristotle are coming home to roost.

The two sage Greeks lived at a time of inchoate and highly limited democracy. Only 30,000 or so fully enfranchised Athenians (out of the population of about a quarter of a million at its peak) could vote, with 5,000-6,000 constituting a quorum.

Yet the philosophers anticipated the downside of democracy with nothing short of clairvoyance. If people are equal in one, political, respect, warned Plato and Aristotle, they’ll eventually assume they are equal in every respect – including matters of intellect, aesthetics and specialised knowledge.

In practical terms, this means not only that everyone feels entitled to voice his opinion on any matter in Creation (including Creation itself), but also that everyone is sure that his opinion is as good as anyone else’s – regardless of the relative levels of expertise.

Thus a 20-year-old student discussing a scientific hypothesis with his Nobel-winning professor is perfectly capable of saying: “Well, your guess is as good as mine.” A youngster who has never heard of Magna Carta or the Bill of Rights will lecture a political scientist on the relative benefits of proportional representation and first-past-the-post. And, more to the point, medically illiterate people will insist that they are right and doctors with 30 years’ experience of studying and practising medicine are wrong.

This isn’t to say that doctors are always right. Anyone, whatever his expertise, may make a mistake. However, a doctor’s chances of making one are exponentially lower than a layman’s – even one who has taken the trouble to Google his condition for 10 minutes.

To be fair, doctors contribute to fostering this presumption of equality. These days, they are instructed to give the patient a free choice of anything, from surgery to therapy.

Now, at the risk of sounding immodest, my knowledge of medicine is probably better than average. However, whenever doctors follow their protocols and ask me to choose which procedure I’d prefer, I always tell them I’m not qualified to make such choices. Once I’m satisfied that the doctor is competent (and ideally Anglophone), I trust him to decide what’s best for me.

But then I’m not an egalitarian. I readily accept the existence of social, professional and any other hierarchies in which my place is nowhere near the top. In some, I don’t belong at all.

However, such a worldview is strictly anachronistic. Steering today’s discourse are ignorant and arrogant upstarts whose guess is as good as anyone else’s. In America, this species dominates the human fauna, but it’s in the ascendant everywhere, even among the traditionally more diffident Britons.

I’m not suggesting that political democracy is the root of all evil. What’s important isn’t method of governance, but the kind of society it brings forth. Every method, including democracy, has pluses and minuses, and success hinges on accentuating the former and downplaying the latter.

The desirability of imposing limitations on political democracy is an interesting but separate subject. What’s essential is that the mentality created by political democracy be contained within that sphere and not allowed to spill over into every walk of life.

That’s why the wider the democracy, the more vital its need for a highly educated population. Any mass deficit in learning prevents people from exercising their sovereignty responsibly and effectively. And extending imperious incompetence to areas of specialised expertise is deadly.

When it comes to vaccination, such cocksure, proud ignorance may prove deadly literally, not just figuratively. Still, I wouldn’t threaten ant-vaxxers with guns.

8 thoughts on “Anti-vaxxers are true democrats”

  1. “Why would anyone refuse?” There are numerous reasons that experts, rather than bloggers, state. For example; Professor Eric Caumes stating that he has never seen as many undesirable effects with a vaccine as with the Pfizer (RNA) injection. I read through the Moderna 80 page report that came with the vaccine release and the side effect charts were very concerning. The mRNA lipid-coated PEG-construct– by Moderna’s own study–does not stay localized but spreads throughout the body including the brain. Many Doctors are now saying that the vaccine does cross the blood-brain barrier.

    “The incidence of side effects is trivial and, when they do occur, they are mild. ” This is certainly not true, and one concerning side effect is death! According to many official reports it is way above what the ‘main-stream -media’ state. Between Dec. 14, 2020, and Feb. 18, 2021, 19,907 reports of adverse events were submitted to VAERS, including 1,095 deaths and 3,767 serious injuries.
    The major benefit for the vaccine is for stakeholders.

  2. Well, as you think “no one should be allowed to shirk his civic duty” you must also support no ending forced vaccination as new virus strains will mutate continuously like all other influenza viruses. I have never taken a flu shot in my life and will not do it now either, unless looking into a gun barrel. I am not an anti-vaxxer as such but believe in peoples’ freedom to chose what is injected in them if anything at all. Do you also support mandatory face mask wearing for ever? If not, you should, as flu vaccine is not 100% fail proof.

    1. No medicine is 100 per cent effective. The efficacy of treatments is measured statistically, in percentages. An efficacy range of 85-99 per cent is excellent — but it’s only achievable if most people are vaccinated to produce herd immunity. Contrary to the famous pronouncement about there being no such thing as society, I do believe it exists and, in extreme cases, such as wars and pandemics, its interests take precedence over individual liberties. Even as I mock the Google-educated ignoramuses who claim vaccines are ineffective or dangerous, I reject the doctrinaire libertarian argument, such as yours. Actually, I reject any argument based on inflexible ideology, although libertarianism is less obnoxious than most. But no, I don’t support mandatory masks, unless it can be shown that they are necessary. Neither do I support summary executions of anti-vaxxers, nor even their deportation. My arguments can be subjected to reductio ad absurdum, but so can libertarian arguments, and more easily.

      1. Thank you for your reply, brilliantly laid out as I expected. As I think I have mentioned earlier, I usually agree with your opinions but in this case; no I don’t. Have a great day until my next comment.

      2. But the efficacy of the population’s collective immune system, for this particular disease, is greater than 99% and the evolutionary pressure of all respiratory viruses is to become less virulent and more transmissible – that is until you start quarantining the healthy, when the only opportunity for the virus to spread is if it makes you ill enough to require hospital treatment – hence the nosocomial nature of this virus’s evolution.

        These treatments are not ‘vaccines’ by any stretch of the definition. They are gene modification therapies likened, by one distinguished immunologist to: ‘…taking chemotherapy for a cancer you don’t have.’ They are still officially in the human trials phase of their development (due to end in Jan 2023) and are unlicenced, being rolled out under ‘Emergency regulations’. All for a disease which was removed from from the High Consequence Infectious Disease (HCID) list in March 2020.

        Your body, your choice – but there is something spectacularly evil going on here.

        1. Very true Fin…and it is especially scary when basically all the world governments are insisting we have the shots, one won’t be enough, yet the companies who manufacture the potions want immunity from prosecution.

  3. In a free society, people should be allowed to shun their civic duties; when the duty is a reasonable 0ne, enough people will comply for society to function. Equally, society should be permitted to shun the refuseniks, by preventing their access to public places such as theatres and restaurants.

  4. Mr. Boot,

    I realize I am a bit late to the game here, but I thought this worth mentioning: many people these days do not know whom to trust, so when they hear an opinion they like, they tend to support it. Since the first reports of the “Wuhan virus” over one year ago, we were fed a steady diet of bad information, hyperbole, and downright lies. If one cannot trust the nightly news as a source of information, then where must one look? While I agree with you and lament the “Google-educated” masses, it is true that people use quick internet searches to find information. I remember watching part of a video (I could not stomach the entire show) where a doctor (whose specialties are gastric bypass and “tummy tucks”) expound on the dangers of this new virus and solemnly predict over 1.5 million deaths in the U.S. by Easter (none, sadly, to rise again). Just a bit off the mark there (one year later we are about 1/3 of that number).

    Couple that lack of trust (well earned, I would say) with the stories of the source of the virus and the source of the coming vaccines, and we arrive at our current situation. While wild conspiracy theories are not my thing, any story that combines Bill Gates and population control seems to have at least some credence. I’ve never understood his aversion to increased population among the poorer nations in Africa. After all, more children means more people to buy computers with his underperforming products installed, no?

    A third possibility for aversion to the vaccines, admittedly small in number, would be their provenance. While I have read dissenting opinions from Church leaders (even some I respect!), there are some Catholic faithful who believe a vaccine is morally unacceptable if brought to market via cells produced from a line traced back to an aborted fetus. Again, I grant this would be a small number, and probably few in the Russian crowd had studied this viewpoint.

    I just thought it worthwhile to present another viewpoint. I do think some distrust of authority is understandable, but I would also say that it is related to the idea that everyone thinks himself a genius in these modern times (as you so eloquently stated).

    My wife and I both contracted and survived the virus, with minimal symptoms and no lasting affects (at least thus far noticeable). But perhaps I just come from good stock: my father contracted the virus while on a hunting trip – at age 84 – and survived!

    P.S. Keep up the good work. I thoroughly enjoy your writing. Yours is one of only three web sites I visit on a regular basis (and the only one I promote to friends and family).

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