Krugman takes these arguments to the next level, arguing conservatives seeking personal autonomy are really trying to preserve white male Christian “privilege”.
They have found a COVID scapegoat. It is you.
Persuasion to get the COVID vaccines failed with some Americans, as those who seek to persuade – namely government officials and the media – have no credibility. Onto the next step: a collective effort by the press, corporations, and the government to blame and vilify and target the unvaccinated. This is no coincidence, as such efforts help deflect responsibility from those who caused and created this problem in the first place.
In New York City, you will need proof of a COVID vaccine for indoor dining, gyms, and concerts.
If you want to participate in society fully, you’ve got to get vaccinated. It’s time.
You’ll need proof of #COVID19 vaccination for indoor dining, indoor gyms, and indoor concerts and performances in New York City. This is a lifesaving mandate to keep our city safe. https://t.co/hIK99Z8M8A
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) August 3, 2021
Writing for The Atlantic, Juliette Kayyem (a former Homeland Security official with the Obama Administration) calls for the federal government to institute a “no-fly list for unvaccinated adults.” She desires there to be the establishment of “norms that restrict certain privileges to vaccinated people,” apparently so other “privileges” can be removed if the no-fly list doesn’t encourage enough vaccinations.
Her use of the word “privilege” is intentional. This is because she believes “Flying is not a right.” We disagree. Travel (and thus the manner of travel) is a fundamental right to all Americans, “one of the implied and unremunerated rights reserved to the People.”
Anyway, the unvaccinated “no-fly list” isn’t solely for the purposes of airplane safety. She concedes that the transmission of COVID is “unlikely” during a passenger flight. This is, instead, a proposed punishment to change the minds of the unvaccinated.
Of course, there are millions of Americans who don’t fly. Banning them from flying won’t have the desired effect. From there it follows that they will have to remove additional “societal benefits” until compliance with a vaccine that still doesn’t have FDA approval is 100% (or at least until they get herd immunity).
And on that point, the New York Times states, “the elusive path to herd immunity necessarily runs through vaccinating unpersuadable adults.” If they cannot be persuaded, what are the options? The Times answers that question: Without vaccine mandates, it’s hard to imagine making much progress with this population.”
You know where they’re going with this. The Times’ Ezra Klein proposes policymakers start “raising the costs of remaining unvaccinated.” As if the people haven’t been through enough.
Meanwhile, over on Twitter, morbidly obese writer Matthew Yglesias is offended by your health decisions and fantasizing about forced vaccinations (a position he holds but since deleted).
While they say this is about health, it is clear that it is also political.
The press revels in condemning conservatives for not getting the vaccine. Self-loathing conservatives like David French say Evangelical vaccine hesitancy is a “spiritual problem.” Conservative governors – those with low COVID death rates in their states – are attacked for not doing enough to encourage vaccination.
Paul Krugman takes these arguments to the next level, arguing that conservatives seeking personal autonomy are really trying to preserve their while male Christian “privilege” while making minorities pay the price.
The government – including officials like Dr. Fauci and Dr. Francis Collins – must be happy with the blame-shifting. Just imagine their delight, after having potentially contributed to the creation of COVID-19, that the unvaccinated are now the accused.
Never one to miss a media appearance, Dr. Fauci is out there saying the unvaccinated are “propagating” the latest outbreak, that we need to “do something to get them to be vaccinated.” This duty that Dr. Fauci advances is the purported obligation to do something to protect others. (One has to ask whether millions of lives would have been saved had they followed this same duty with taxpayer dollars at Wuhan.)
We believe this is just the start. If persuasion has reached its limit (and there is evidence it has), then please, trust them at their word when they advocate restricting your rights and inflicting punishment if you remain unvaccinated.
And in considering the institutions of power setting their sights on the unvaccinated – those whose purported crime is of inaction – I leave you with the words of René Girard:
“The crowd tends toward persecution since the natural causes of what troubles it and transforms it into a turba cannot interest it. The crowd by definition seeks action but cannot affect natural causes. It therefore looks for an accessible cause that will appease its appetite for violence. Those who make up the crowd are always potential persecutors, for they dream of purging the community of the impure elements that corrupt it, the traitors who undermine it.”