Wednesday, August 18, 2021

New Variant

But even if you were such a libertarian extremist that you opposed vaccine requirements, there's no conceivable justification for banning private business from requiring vaccinations.  When Cruz insists, "No one should force anyone to take the vaccine -- including the federal government or an employer,” he is trampling on property rights and freedom of association, principles a small-government conservative like Cruz usually defends fanatically.  Suppose, for instance, you want to enjoy a cruise with the peace of mind that everybody onboard has gotten a vaccine, and a cruise line wants to sell you that experience.  A traditional conservative or libertarian would describe that as a capitalist act between consenting adults.  DeSantis believes the heavy hand of government should step in and make that contract illegal.

Let's not pretend Republicans would care about rights for anti-vaxxers if their ranks didn't include disproportionate numbers of Republicans.  Only the identity-politics aspect of the anti-vaxx, anti-mask crusade has driven Republicans to turn against their customary reverence for freedom of contract.  DeSantis hinted at the logic in unusually revealing terms two weeks ago.  "I'm sick of the judgmental stuff.  Nobody's trying to get ill here,” he lectured reporters.  "Let's not indulge that somehow it's their fault for not [getting vaccinated].”

Of course nobody wants to get sick.  Nobody wants to die in a car crash or go to prison, either, but some people drive drunk or commit felonies anyway, and generally people like DeSantis judge their behavior. ...  What principle grants somebody the extraordinary right to walk onto another person's property and spread a deadly virus?

-- Jonathan Chait, Intelligencer, A New Variant of COVID Denialism Has Emerged, 16 August 2021

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