1984: Thread

grarpamp grarpamp at gmail.com
Thu Sep 16 01:09:14 PDT 2021

McMaken: Biden's Vaccine Mandates Are All About Power



Last week, the Biden administration announced sweeping new mandates.
The new mandates require that all employers with more than one hundred
workers require workers to be vaccinated or to test for the virus
weekly. The mandates also require covid vaccinations for the 17
million workers at health facilities that receive federal Medicare or
Medicaid. Moreover, vaccines are mandated for all employees of the
federal government’s executive branch, and for all contractors who do
business with the federal government. There is no option to test out
in these cases.

The new mandates extend an earlier mandate from this summer which
required vaccinations for nursing home staff to other healthcare
settings, including hospitals, home health agencies, and dialysis

Employees who don’t conform face termination. Employers who don’t play
ball face the wrath of federal regulators.

Clearly, this represents yet another dangerous frontier in using a
perceived or real crisis to justify an immense expansion in state
power and state control over the population.

The Vaccinated Still Spread the Disease

The reasons given for the mandate continue to shift. Some supporters
of vaccine mandates continue to claim that the continued spread of
covid-19 ought to be blamed on the unvaccinated.

Yet the facts do not support this position. We know that the
vaccinated spread the disease freely, even if the vaccinated do not
suffer the effects of the disease to the same extent as the
unvaccinated. The infected vaccinated even carry a viral load similar
to the unvaccinated. In fact, health officials so freely admit that
the vaccinated spread the disease, that the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends mask mandates for the

Some other advocates of mandates, recognizing the incoherence of the
“stop the spread” position, instead have reverted to the same
rationale behind the old “flatten the curve” slogan of 2020. In this
case, it is asserted that the unvaccinated are more likely to need
hospitalization and thus are using up “too many” beds in intensive
care units. That is, it’s no longer about stopping the spread of the
disease, but about limiting use of medical resources.
The Return of “Flatten the Curve”

As with the old “flatten the curve” claims, this raises the question
of why only covid patients are the target of federal mandates and
public shaming. If failure to get vaccinated constitutes an “unhealthy
choice” that must be punished with threats of losing one’s job, why
are other unhealthy choices ignored?

Hospital beds are frequently filled with patients who overdose on
drugs, chain smoke, or allow themselves to become morbidly obese. In
fact, type 2 diabetes—which is entirely preventable—increased by 95
percent from 2001 to 2017, especially among the young.

If one mentions the unhealthy choices that sent these patients to
intensive care, one is likely to be accused of “fat shaming” or
blaming the victim. On the other hand, singling out vaccine-hesitant
Americans for financial ruin should they refuse the vaccine is greeted
with cheers and applause.
Abandoning Limits on Government Power

These arguments in favor of mandates, of course, are all premised on
the idea that the federal government should be unrestrained in its
ability to impose “solutions” to various perceived or real crises.

The question of legal authority for such acts seems almost academic at
this point. It has become abundantly clear that the federal
government—and especially the executive branch—regards legal and
constitutional limits on federal power as mere inconveniences to be
ignored. Debates over constitutionality are now, for the most part, a
relic of an earlier age.

Just as the Trump administration invented a new federal power to
regulate evictions at rental properties—with little political
opposition—the Biden administration’s vaccine dictates for all private
employers of a certain size are remarkable in their scope and
unprecedented nature. The notion that a single person—a president—can
regulate, with a stroke of a pen, the terms of employment for
countless private sector employers is striking, even in this era of
nearly untrammeled federal power.
Using Federal Spending to Get Compliance

Moreover, thanks to the growth of government spending and
subsidies—such as Medicare and Medicaid—which now extend into so many
American institutions nationwide, the federal government doesn’t even
need to directly force compliance. The federal government can simply
say, “If you want our money, do what we say.” After decades of
conditioning America’s institutions to become addicted to federal
money, this method becomes easier every year.

The exercise of so much direct federal power over 330 million
Americans ought to be alarming. Yet for many Americans—likely around
half of them—it will not be alarming at all. Notions of due process,
natural rights, and decentralized state power are nearly without
meaning to this portion of the population.

The Triumph of the Technocracy

Rather, the vaccine mandates represent merely the latest example of
how the ruling class and much of the public supports a utilitarian
technocratic state unrestrained by old classical liberal limitations
on state power. In the minds of countless Americans, second thoughts
about granting governments vast new powers is an old-fashioned and
contemptible habit. What matters now is granting kind-hearted
government agents the prerogatives to “do something.”

The groundwork for all this has been laid for decades in universities,
public elementary schools, and in the media. The advent of “covid
policy,” with its lockdowns and vaccine mandates, is simply the latest
manifestation in the tradition of the PATRIOT Act and the War on
Drugs. This thinking has been embraced by both Left and Right, as both
sides have sought federal action for their pet projects.

Yet the danger of the current “war on covid” is that it is nearly
inescapable for the population as a whole. The intrusiveness of these
policies—combined with the repugnance of a policy designed to force
medication on millions of Americans—place them at a level above other
government “wars” in the name of safety or “public health.”

Those who can resist mandates must do so. Even today, some avenues
remain through the federal courts. And in recent years, state
governments have shown an increasing willingness to openly oppose
federal acts.

But until Americans begin to deny the moral permissiveness of “federal
mandates” altogether, little progress will be made. As Ludwig von
Mises repeatedly pointed out, only the power of ideas is sufficient to
provide real limits on state power.

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