Vaccination and Coercion, Fear and Freedom
A young woman I have known for many years, who has been my student and my teaching assistant, and with whom I have engaged in many lively discussions about philosophy, the Bible, and global politics, has reached a sudden impasse in her life plans and her career path — an impasse defined by vaccine mandates.
We live in the era of mass intimidation and intolerance, of marginalization and public hatred for the dissenting minority and the non-compliant, of freedom redefined as permission, and of public discourse reduced to the parroting of government-designated truths interrupted only by outbursts of collective anger against the heretics who dare to utter government-defined “misinformation.”
There is no room in the inn today for anyone with questions, doubts, fears, or simple reservations about the meaning of all this rapid disintegration of liberty and civility. Literally no room available anywhere for one who cannot prove his vaccination status, which is today’s entry pass for participation in society as a human being in good standing. And so my young friend, who is an “anti-vaxxer,” one of those inclined to suspect the most nefarious motives in the global push for universal vaccination, and a supporter of alternative Covid treatments and of the much-maligned international movement “Doctors for the Truth,” is suddenly finding herself without a job, socially isolated, and running out of practical options.
Recently, she was confronted by a family member about her choice to refuse vaccination at the price of losing her teaching job. The conversation ended on unhappy terms, leaving her feeling alienated even from her family, as she tries to come to grips with her shrinking practical possibilities in a world that has collectively agreed to dismiss the unvaccinated as non-essential humans worthy of public shaming and isolation unto death. Her concerns, however, go well beyond the personal and practical, as she wonders how she may continue to live and represent her deep religious faith consistently in an age that is racing recklessly toward the progressive materialist fantasy of a genetically enhanced or “transhuman” race, implicitly rejecting the very idea of the soul, as well as toward the denial of individual self-determination for those with minority or non-approved beliefs.
Knowing that I am also opposed to the tyrannical trends entrenched during this pandemic, that I am skeptical of authority in general, and that she can trust me as a friendly mentor who will neither reject nor belittle her for her principles and opinions, she wrote to me the other day, seeking my advice or perspective. Since her earnestness and intelligence warranted a serious reply, and since the issues addressed in my reply are of interest to some readers of this website, I reproduce much of my response to her below, with personal details removed, of course.
I know that my friend found the discussion somewhat encouraging and consoling. I hope someone else will too.
Let’s discuss all of this carefully.
He worried that I’m not getting the vaccine, and I worried for him that he’s getting it. We argued, and separated.
That is very sad, and a clear example of the real and most serious effect of all these mandates, lockdowns, etc. They are driving people away from each other, even people who love each other, because everyone is being pushed and propagandized into one sort of irrational fear or another. When these high-pitched emotions clash, people become angry with each other, blame each other, and too often just reject each other completely.
Reason is necessary now, and there isn’t enough of it to go around.
First of all, as you know, I have a very negative view of the way the entire world has dealt with this pandemic, including and especially the sudden establishment of new government powers for controlling, demanding, and monitoring human behavior. It sickens me, and what sickens me even more is how easily most humans have bowed their heads and accepted their enslavement.
That is real and ugly. But that does not mean everyone who makes this or that choice you happen to disagree with is making it for the same reason. It is very important to live with principles. But all life, even the most principled life, is a continual cost-benefit analysis. “I believe that X is best, but I see that I cannot have it. So what choices should I make in the real world that I have to live in, and how can I keep my soul free and focused even when my physical reality is largely out of my control?”
It’s not that people don’t know the truth. They just get better at lying to themselves and everyone else.
That’s sometimes true, and it is a sad part of human nature. But that applies to all of us, not only the people we happen to disagree with. And I would be careful about assuming that most people “know the truth,” partly because that is a very big assumption, and partly because that assumption carries the very convenient implication that you know the truth, but are superior to others because you refuse to lie to yourself the way “they” do.
“Confirmation bias” is a real problem, and affects everyone, on all sides of any question. Confirmation bias means this: When a person with a certain point of view is given two pieces of information — one which seems to support his belief and one which seems to contradict it — he is naturally more likely to trust the one which seems to support his view, and to reject the other one as false or dishonest. The opinion we already hold colors all new information in our minds. It takes a great effort of human reason to overcome that natural inclination to believe any new information that “verifies” what we already think, while rejecting any new information that casts doubt on what we already think.
He keeps getting the vaccines because he swims with the tide to think that that’s how he can continue daily life and not lose social status.
I also got the vaccine. My third shot will be on Wednesday. I don’t like it, and I wish I didn’t have to get it. I also strongly oppose any government forcing anyone to get it. And I especially object to anyone forcing young people to get it, because their risk from the vaccine is slightly higher than their risk from Covid, which means that in forcing young people to get it, we are telling them their own lives and safety should be sacrificed to our “social good.” That is outrageous.
I do not “swim with the tide,” and I am not worried about social status. However, my philosophic principles, which are Socratic, instruct me this way, which I quote here from an article I wrote on my website last year.
Here you are, then: You do not live in a free society. You will not live in a free society for a single day of the rest of your earthly life. You are now living in a society that has utterly and voluntarily submitted to the intellectual and moral premises of totalitarianism, and — if it has not done so already — will gradually succumb to the practical mechanisms of totalitarianism as well, as surely as the sun will set. You will be very fortunate indeed if you meet, or otherwise locate, a handful of your contemporaries on this planet who share your awareness of what has been lost (and will not soon be recovered), let alone feel as deeply as you do what this loss means, and how reprehensible is a human world that would forsake its essence this way in the name of nothing more noble than a vulgar desire for the emptiest physical pleasure and the most superficial physical safety.
But as I go on to explain in that article, this hard truth, because it is the truth, is liberating. The truth shall set you free. Understanding is the soul’s freedom, and no earthly tyranny can overcome that.
As I said, my concern is the tyrannical extensions of power that are being achieved through this situation, with so much easy compliance from the majority of people, who are being manipulated through fear. And the imposition of these vaccines, the use of the vaccines to create new political authorities and identification requirements, and the enormous profits being created through mandates for a few big drug companies, even when we can all see the vaccines have not ended the pandemic as we were promised they would, are all part of the corruption.
As for the other question, about what is in the vaccines, I am skeptical of the ideas you are working on. I do not believe there is enough hard evidence to support any global conspiracy theory. A few anecdotal cases, with individuals claiming they found this or that in a vial of vaccine, cannot prove that the entire vaccination program is designed to alter human DNA or turn us into robots. The real danger, in my opinion, is that most people are already robots, prepared to do what they are told. Furthermore, why go to such extremes to implant nanotechnology in everyone, when all you have to do is say, “Google has a new chip that will allow you to play games just by thinking and to translate any language while you listen,” and everyone will sign up to get it implanted voluntarily tomorrow?
As a plan B, I’m thinking of a qualitative inquiry and research report about the ‘salvation of the soul’. If people can’t keep their bodies as they naturally are…they should at least be able to save their own souls after life.
The salvation of souls is a true and noble concern. And I certainly agree about the general dangers of AI, implants, “transhumans” and so on. If you want to take a religious view of the situation, I am sure you can argue very well about it.
But your soul first. Make that cost-benefit analysis in your own life, and not beginning with the assumption that your beliefs about the vaccines (or anything else) are beyond question and absolutely true. Act and speak on your principles, yes. But don’t have utopian fantasies of fixing everyone, changing everyone, revealing the truth to the universe. You are a real human being who has a short life on this Earth, and a lot to learn and experience in order to find the little bit of wisdom each of us has a brief chance to find.
Don’t trust authority. That is a smart attitude. But don’t imagine that any authority, even the worst one, is some kind of super-genius with otherworldly powers. They are just humans too, and not very good ones. They are not magicians and they have no superpowers. They just want control and money and a dream of being “important.” In the end, their dream will be exposed, because of course these great powers will die alone and hated, and people will remember them (if they do at all) as worthless and evil. All their power and money will be lost before they even have time to see any “benefit” from it.
Knowing this must be our consolation. And also knowing that while they are wasting their little lives dreaming of earthly control, which means nothing and ends nowhere, you will be using yours to understand good and evil, to learn what your soul is, and to seek the Higher Being.
You will win, regardless of what you choose to do in your practical life, as long as your principles and your desire for truth never fade. That’s up to you. No tyrant can take that away from you. And neither can any vaccine, by the way – I have already had two shots, and I am still here, as much my real self as ever, and as resistant to tyranny as ever. They can have my body, and they will, since they are bigger and stronger than I. But they can’t have my soul, because I guard it too well, and no physical power can break through my fortress.
I believe you have a soul with that potential too. Don’t lose yourself in fear and conspiracy. Some conspiracies are real, of course. But as a general rule, my judgment is that any conspiracy theory becomes less plausible and believable as the number of people who would have to know the secret in order to carry out the conspiracy grows, and as the period of time it would take to complete the conspiracy extends. Humans, as I said earlier, are not that powerful or perfect, even when they think they are.
Just don’t be guided by fear or nightmares. Focus on what is best for you, and what you need for your soul’s development toward its final and true destination. The rest is small stuff, no matter how many people think it is big.