As COVID Vaccine Nears, Government Coercion Begins in Earnest

The New York Times, in a recent cultural exposition on the lingering social effects of the evolving COVID-19 response, quotes several epidemiologists.  The sources also offer their prognostications.

The fully unsurprising consensus among the managerial class?  “Normalcy” (i.e., life before the pandemic) will never be revived.  The measures instituted in March massively restricting freedom of movement (and virtually every other civil liberty) are here to stay. 

In the New York Times piece, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health associate Amy Hobbs declares that “wearing a mask will become part of my daily life, moving forward, even after a vaccine is deployed.”

To that end, the survey administered to the 700 epidemiologists interviewed found that 12% of respondents said they had either eaten at an indoor restaurant within the last month or would have if they had needed to.  Eleven percent rode public transportation or would have.  Ten percent would have visited an elderly relative.

What kind of a life is this?

To pacify a U.S. public they knew would object to being locked out of social life forever, politicians and policymakers paired the early economic shutdowns with assurances that they would be temporary.  After a vaccine has been developed, they promised, life will go back to the way it was before.

In March, the de facto COVID authority figure (who has transformed into something of a public health demigod, dispensing his wisdom to the peasants from on high) assured an anxious public that he and his colleagues had no intention of extending the lockdowns beyond emergency measures in the immediate future.  “I don’t want people to think that any of us feel that staying locked down for a prolonged period of time is the way to go,” Anthony Fauci told CNBC in a May interview.

That commitment to ending the lockdowns as soon as feasibly possible was offered seven months ago.  The most dense population centers remain largely locked down to this day with no end in sight.

Even as early as the spring of 2020, Fauci was warning of the dire consequences of unending forced closures of businesses and social activities.  “Now is the time, depending upon where you are and what your situation is, to begin to seriously look at reopening the economy, reopening the country to try to get back to some degree of normal,” he said.

The lip service that the social engineers paid to a return to “some degree of normal” is now ancient history.

Without adequate explanation (does royalty explain decisions to the masses?), Fauci and Co. turned on a dime.  They are now predicting that economic and social life remain off-limits until fall of 2021 at the earliest.

For reference to the accuracy of the social engineers’ wild crystal-ball forecasts, Fauci and Jake Tapper terrified their viewership on a March Sunday morning with the possibility of “millions” of coronavirus deaths within a few months of the pandemic.

That was in March.  As of December 2020, fewer than 300,000 “COVID-19” deaths have been “recorded.”  Even that figure — already a small fraction of the death toll predicted in the corporate press — is heavily disputed.

The social devastation and political toxicity of the COVID-19 shutdowns manifest in a number of ways, including on the formerly sacrosanct right of Americans to choose their own medical care.

Since the very first days of the pandemic, federal policymakers have waged a concerted effort to push vaccination on the American people — even before a viable COVID-19 vaccine had even entered trials.

While the likelihood of a door-kicking vaccine mandate enforced at gunpoint may be relatively low in the United States, lawmakers, policymakers, and their partners in big business have become more creative in approaching the vaccine policy question.

John Delaney, former Democratic presidential candidate and congressman from Maryland, for example, recently suggested tying coronavirus relief to vaccine status.

Under the plan, if the citizen submits to vaccination, he qualifies for the next round of proposed $1,500 stimulus checks.  If the citizen instead exercises his rights under the Constitution and refuses to comply, he receives nothing.

“We have to create, in my judgment, an incentive for people to really accelerate their thinking about taking the vaccine,” Delaney told CNBC.

Against the backdrop of unprecedented economic suffering among huge swathes of the population, such proposals smack of a special cruelty. Four in ten mothers of children younger than twelve can’t afford to buy enough food to feed their entire family.

Given the dire straits of the times, mandating vaccination in exchange for cash is indeed likely to produce the compliance that policymakers hope it will.

Delaney’s position on the vaccine issue is far from an outlier.  Comments from several D.C. establishment figures — including  Brookings Institution fellow Robert Litan, Bush administration adviser Gregory Mankiw, and Scott Winship of the “conservative” American Enterprise Institute — have indicated widespread approval within the Washington power structure of the proposal.

Barely any major media have pushed back against the serious moral hazards afoot.  These moves betray the true ethos of the ruling establishment: the ends justify the means.  Whether the motivation to incentivize vaccination in the general public is born out of true altruistic concern for their fellow citizens or out of avarice, power brokers nonetheless see authoritarian carrot-and-stick approaches to managing their own constituents as legitimate.

The public polling is clear: 42% of the country do not want the COVID-19 vaccines, with an overwhelming majority citing safety concerns as the primary factor in their position.

Instead of coming to the negotiating table of the public square in good faith to convince supposedly sovereign adults of the purported benefits of vaccination, the ruling class simply resorts to standard third-world coercion tactics — in this case, holding $1,500 of desperately needed emergency relief money hostage.

Ben Bartee a Bangkok-based American journalist, grant writer, political essayist, researcher, travel blogger, and amateur philosopher. Contact him via his portfolio or on LinkedIn.

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