Government enforced vaccination – is it a good idea? This article discusses the recent government initiatives of forcing people who do not want to be vaccinated to get vaccinated by threatening their livelihood.
You may ask:
“Is it really forced? Is it coerced?”
It depends how you define things. For me forced means the consequences of not conforming are harsh enough that you will conform even with serious objections about doing it. The consequences don’t have to be fines or jail time. Threatening your livelihood is pretty severe. It’s like an ongoing fine the size of your entire income.
You will notice that most of the content of this article has nothing to do with vaccines. Most of the content has nothing to do with medical advice related to vaccines.
Your position on vaccines is largely irrelevant.
Something else to note about many of the points made in this article is:
The threat and severity of the covid virus is irrelevant
There’s no completely safe route out of covid. Every route has its pros and cons and I don’t believe the negative implications of government enforced medical treatment have been appropriately addressed. It’s possible the overall impact may well be negative – a case of the cure being worse than the disease.
The Road to Tyranny Starts Subtly
Totalitarian regimes, who rule with cruelty and tyranny, don’t manifest overnight. They evolve slowly, incrementally. Increments are kept small enough so that they seem innocuous and tolerable. This pattern can grow indefinitely, with the government’s creeping power and control forever trending upwards. Even if the current government has good intentions with their continually increasing power, at some point in the future someone with bad intentions will inherit that power and abuse it.
When looking at the road that has led to past tyrannical regimes a common thread can be identified:
Systems go wildly out of control when people don’t stop them when they’re going mildly out of control.
It’s important to recognise a mildly out of control system and act before it’s too late. It’s extremely difficult to recover lost freedom when you’ve become weak and oppressed. Action needs to be taken before that point. It’s dangerously easy to do nothing, to say that in isolation this incremental change is safe.
A common characteristic of tyrannical regimes is the use of fear to convince people to do things they don’t want to do, with justification being something like “it’s for your own good”. This is exactly what we’re seeing with governments today. Apart from the loss of freedom, such a strategy implicitly suggests that the government believes the people are too stupid to understand so force must be used. Resentment, suspicion and lack of trust quickly follows.
Another characteristic of tyrannical regimes is suppression of information and control of speech. This is precisely what we are observing today, with censoring of information critical of the government’s policy on social media and online platforms, and with new legislation controlling what doctors can and can’t say.
What happens if the effectiveness of the vaccines deteriorate, as is already observed in early adopters like Israel? What additional power and control will the government attempt to seize? Where does forced medical treatment stop? This could easily escalate to much more ethically questionable medical treatments forced onto civilians and disproportionately severe punishments to those that disagree with the government’s policy, including torture and murder. It may seem like a far stretch but the process starts exactly in the way that we are observing today.
Who will be responsible for deciding when to use the government’s new power of forced medical treatment? Those people that you would least want to be responsible. Most people in government positions will understand the intent of the law and not abuse it, focusing instead on whatever they believe to be productive, attempting to do what’s right. Corrupt, power mad tyrants will gravitate towards these sorts of policies so they can make an ethical case to exercise their power.
Encourages Ineffective Governments
Any idiot in positions of power can close borders or create new laws to ban people from doing certain things or use threats to enforce control. We need to stop calling these “tough decisions” and instead call them “dumb decisions”. Such binary decisions can be made with a coin, by flipping it. It’s the dumbest way of addressing problems. It takes competence and effort to simultaneously allow people their freedom whilst addressing society’s problems. Outcomes are far superior when people are intrinsically motivated to follow the direction provided by the government. Leadership should appeal to reason and an individual’s responsibility rather than the use of force. This is true in government and in business. In general the following can be asserted:
A leader who must use force is a failed leader
If a significant proportion of people aren’t intrinsically motivated to follow the direction of a leader and force must be applied for them to conform, then that’s a massive red flag indicating that perhaps the leader has got it wrong. In fact that is exactly how leaders should be checking their work. Leaders aren’t perfect. Leaders aren’t smarter than everyone they lead. Leaders can get it wrong. Using force isn’t being a leader, it’s being a dictator. Dictatorships usually lead to dark places.
Given the option, governments will always resort to force to solve problems because it’s so easy to do. They’ve become so stiflingly ineffective that they are unable to attempt anything else. If we allow governments to make these dumb decisions, it gives them permission to continue to be ineffective and it sets a precedent for them to perpetually solve problems using this method. Anything that attracts any risk or potential to cause problems will be banned. Eventually everything will be banned because you can’t enjoy life with zero risk.
Here’s some things a competent government could have been doing over the last two years instead of sitting around waiting for a vaccine whilst forcefully controlling its citizens:
- Increasing the surge capacity of the health system. This is massively important. Even without covid you would have heard reports of health systems at breaking point or excessive waiting times at hospital emergency or doctors and nurses stressed to their limits. The health system has become bloated and expensive, overrun with unproductive bureaucracy whilst at the same time having the productive people being whittled down to the bare minimum. The current system can barely meet the requirements of average demand and falls apart during periods of high demand. Improving it can be done at little cost – simply shift resources from the bloat of unproductive bureaucracy to productive people and more hospital beds / intensive care units. This means that, during periods of low demand, the doctors and nurses and hospital beds will be underutilised. I know this burns at the ego of power hungry middle managers and government bureaucrats but the benefit is a health system that can cope with surges and accommodate covid victims rather than one that can barely manage the average load.
- Funding research into treatment options rather than relying on mass vaccinations as the silver bullet. Out of patent drugs, repurposed drugs, vitamin supplements and lifestyle factors are generally not given adequate research funding by private companies because there isn’t much money to be made. A proactive government could help fill that gap.
- Creating a health system that focuses on solving root causes of health problems, rather than the current system of treating symptoms through administering of drugs. This would create a population that is more resilient against pandemics.
- Encourage healthy people. The covid risk is massively diminished for people with a healthy weight, who exercise regularly, who eat a healthy diet, who get enough sleep, who don’t smoke or drink too much and who don’t have diabetes. This needs to be popularised as a method of protecting yourself and your community against covid. There is evidence to suggest that a vaccine’s ability to completely prevent infection quickly deteriorates, however the vaccine’s ability to prevent hospitalisation and death remains strong. You know what else is good at preventing hospitalisation and death? Being healthy! I’d like to see a study to see the efficacy of being healthy compared to the vaccines and how that changes with time. I’d have a guess that being healthy achieves a similar level of protection against hospitalisation and death and ultimately exceeds that of vaccinations over long enough time frames.
- Rather than passing responsibility onto health experts to make decisions, a competent government would take responsibility for its policies. It would take a balanced approached with appropriate input from health (including mental health), education, economic interests, small business, young people, children, hospitality, entertainment, tourism and whoever else the potential policies would impact. It would encourage open and engaging dialogue and debate whilst acknowledging that every solution to a problem is a compromise. An appropriate solution is one that attempts to find the right balance between competing factors. The government would develop such a strategy that it holds itself responsible for and puts forth as a representative of its citizens. This is actually the job of a government, which the government hasn’t been doing!
The items listed above are more difficult to do when compared to coin flip dumbass decisions like shutting down borders and mandatory vaccinations. This is why incompetent governments shy away from their actual job and instead prefer to use brute force and authority. We should not encourage this type of government.
It’s Bad for Business
Generally speaking, on time frames of sufficient length, less government control is better for business. However the leadership of large western corporations struggle to see past their 3 month reporting period. They’ll support increasing government control because, in the short term at least, they see it as increasing the likelihood of banking next quarter’s KPI bonus. They’re also generally too scared to make a stand, due to fear of negative press.
What would a 20 year or longer view look like? Business leaders would be interested in less government control to foster objectives such as:
- Ensuring the economy remains free and market orientated.
- Ensuring competitive market forces remain strong and without barriers.
- Ensuring the government doesn’t acquire so much power that it may steal profits from companies through corrupt legislation and unjust taxes.
- Ensuring a culture where people are happy to say something if they have a concern, which can help flag inefficiencies and prevent major disasters and the associated costs.
- Ensuring people don’t feel forced in the way they operate at work. People who feel forced become disengaged with their work. They’re demotivated, don’t take responsibility for what they’re doing and operate at a level just enough to stay under the radar. This is bad for productivity and stifles innovation.
- Ensuring civil war does not emerge. Civil war is terrible for business.
If insufficient numbers of the public have been convinced to get vaccinated then that’s a failure of the government to make its arguments credible enough. Then to make vaccines mandatory and use the force of the law to punish those who refuse it is going to increase the lack of trust that is driving the inadequate vaccination rates to begin with. Since the government has handballed its responsibilities to health experts, this distrust is likely to spill over to health and science. And since it’s the police that are tasked with enforcing the government’s agenda (rather than performing their actual job of protecting citizens), distrust will also rise towards the police force. Conspiracy theories will gain in popularity.
How well is a society going to fair when the public distrusts its government, the health system, science and the police? It’s not hard to image it degenerating into anarchy or civil war.
Fosters Identity Politics
Through its legislation and communication, the government is giving people an easy target to label as the enemy – those who are not vaccinated. People who are genuinely concerned about forced vaccination may say nothing because they are afraid of being labelled the enemy. People will no longer attempt to take balanced positions on issues as they instead attempt to maintain allegiance to their side. This stifles meaningful dialogue. Rational discussion can’t occur. It replaces problem solving with fighting. Fighting has the potential to escalate uncontrollably.
The government’s authoritative control during covid has many knock on effects. Some of these include:
- Rising rates of depression, anxiety and mental health issues.
- Increased use of anti-depression medication.
- Increased suicide rates. This includes more children and young people killing themselves.
- Severe impact to businesses in certain sectors.
- Financial destruction of individuals who have poured their lifetime into a severely impacted business.
- Cumulative cost to the greater economy through loss of business
- Debt accumulation of governments propping up an economy that has been crippled through its own policies.
- Spending of our children’s money to compensate for current government policy.
- Future debt burdened governments unable to appropriately invest in health, education and infrastructure.
- Emotional and quality of life impact of not being able to see loved ones, visit dying relatives, attend funerals, celebrate weddings.
- Emotional and quality of life impact to residents locked out of their own state or country and not able to return home.
- Disadvantage to children and young people going through formative stages of their development under oppressive restrictions.
Are these factors being appropriately addressed in the government policy? Has there been sufficient debate around them? All I see is a continual stream of authoritative announcements. That’s ok for people in the government, with their secure jobs and generous income that keeps rolling in every week. What about everyone else?
Many of these negative impacts will manifest in the future and continue to grow. We’re reducing the immediate risk of covid (mainly for old sick people) at the expense of increasing the future risk to our children. Has there been adequate conversation to ensure we have that balance right?
The Vaccines are Experimental
Let’s not play identity politics by picking sides or labelling someone an anti-vaxxer. It would nice if things were black and white but reality is endless shades of grey. This needs to be acknowledged in order to have meaningful dialogue.
Vaccines usually take 10 to 15 years to develop. The covid vaccines were developed much quicker. The long term health effects are not known. The long term interactions between the vaccines and an evolving virus are not known. Given the unknowns, people should be free to make their own judgement about vaccines based on their own unique risk profiles.
Additionally, vaccine benefits are marginal for fit, young, healthy people. You don’t make experimental vaccines mandatory to people who the vaccine would provide little benefit to. Where is the risk benefit analysis? Where is the study to indicate that quality-adjusted life years is improved sufficiently by the vaccine in fit, young, healthy people to warrant its use?
A major pandemic in the modern era, combined with these experimental vaccines, presents a situation to humanity that has never been encountered before. In these circumstances I don’t think it’s ethical for a government to pretend to be so sure of its opinion on the right pathway to safety that it can assert the right to force it onto others.
If there’s misinformation, the government should address it (with facts, not with propaganda). People should have the vaccine because they think, on the balance of risks and rewards, it’s good for their health and their community’s health, rather than because they are forced to. A government’s failure to appropriately convince the population about the merits of a vaccine should not be compensated for by brute authoritarian force.
At an individual level, you should not be advising people to get an experimental vaccine. What if it does turn out that these vaccines have terrible long term consequences? Keep your conscience clear.
What should you do?
If you work for a corporation who is supporting the government’s acquisition of power, and you’re worried about it, then you should say something. Note this has nothing to do with whether you have been vaccinated and what your opinions are of the risks and rewards of vaccinations. Whatever your vaccination position, if you are worried about our deteriorating freedom or the precedent that forced medical treatment is setting or any of the other issues identified above, then you should say something. You have an ethical obligation to say something. Ensure your conscience remains clear in case our freedoms continue to deteriorate. You don’t want to be contributing to a future tyrannical government and all the suffering and death that accompanies such a regime.
You don’t need to say something that will risk your job. You don’t need to make threats about leaving. You don’t need to make demands. Saying something could be as simple as something like:
- I think people should decide for themselves to get vaccinated because they think it’s a good idea rather than be forced to. What do you think?
- I think travel restrictions and government mandates are not good reasons to get vaccinated.
- I’m worried about the freedom and quality of life of future generations.
- Vaccinations are great, we’re so lucky we have this technology, but I think the government has gone too far by mandating vaccinations.
- Forced medical treatment is a dangerous precedent to be setting. I’m worried about where that may lead.
- I think the risk from ever increasing government control is far greater than the risk of not being vaccinated.
- I think the government has failed us in managing the health system appropriately during the pandemic and so I am hesitant about supporting their authoritarian policies. I’d rather fix the hospitals.
It’s worrying that, when talking to people individually, I’ve found the number of people who don’t agree with forced vaccination is much higher than the number of people actually saying something about it. This is concerning not just for spiralling government tyranny but also for corporate culture and safety. People are ok with doing something they don’t think is right. This can be a recipe for major disasters. People have and continue to die in workplace related accidents triggered by shortcuts, budget cuts, inadequate design, unrealistic schedules, unrealistic cost forecasts, unethical decisions, poor direction from management and excessive greed. Many such disasters could have been prevented if the people involved raised their concerns.
If you feel something isn’t right, you should say something.
If you’re already vaccinated but you are concerned about enforced medical treatment then you should still say something. In fact you should be more inclined to say something since the threat to your livelihood is much less. You can keep your conscience clear with minimal risk.
If there is some deadline date within the corporation you work for, and you can afford not to work for a while, then I’d suggest not showing up for work on the deadline date. Similarly, if you find it easy to find new work, then I’d suggest not showing up for work on the deadline date. This doesn’t mean you are exiting the system, never to work again, destined to be financially crippled. You don’t need to burn your bridges. Take a breather, have some time to assess the situation, take some long service leave or annual leave, go fishing, hang out with the kids for a while, get some house renos done, wait for more information on the vaccines, throw a spanner in the government’s ever increasing appetite for power. You can always take the vaccine sometime in the future, on your own terms. You can always resume working sometime in the future.
If you think having the vaccine is a good idea for health reasons but you are more concerned about our deteriorating freedom, then I’d suggest not getting the vaccine. Protest against the government’s tyranny by sacrificing your personal health. It’s a risk worth taking. Perhaps use it as motivation to improve other aspects of your health so you are naturally resistant to covid. Once our freedom is secured you can resume normal ethical practices: get the vaccine if you think, based on your own unique risk profile, the vaccine is worth getting.
If you feel the government is ineffective and resorts too quickly to dumbass binary decisions like border closures and mandatory vaccinations, then I’d suggest voting for a different government at the next election.
If you work within law enforcement then I’d encourage you to not enforce anything you believe to be unethical. Don’t blindly follow the government’s agenda. Governments can get it wrong. You are the last line of defence against an out of control government. Keep the civilians safe. Keep your conscience clear. You don’t want to be contributing to the future slaughtering of civilians by the police force.
If you have the resources to take on the government legally then let’s do it! If our civil liberties aren’t sufficiently protected and the government’s oppression is legal then we need to look at changing the law.
If you feel this article may be useful in reducing the likelihood of future oppression, then share it.
What if you’re worried about our deteriorating freedom, but you’re inclined to do nothing? Doing nothing is an attractive option. Firstly it’s easy, there is no effort in involved. Secondly it can seem that doing nothing is the least risk option. Doing stuff is generally more risky than not doing stuff, right? And you don’t need more trouble than you need.
So you’re interested in minimising risk. To properly decide on the least risky option, you need to think about and clearly articulate to yourself:
What are the risks of doing nothing?
Is it tyranny? Genocide? Civil war? What are the risks to your children, and your children’s children? How will doing nothing impact your conscience?
To quote a wise professor:
“When you have something to say, silence is a lie.”
Do you like lying? Will you have a constant feeling of stress and anxiety because you’ve lied? How will you view yourself if, instead of speaking your truth, you’ve buckled to government and corporate pressure? How will you feel if you’ve lost self respect? Will you feel like you’ve let down your kids? How will you feel if you have young kids and this situation escalates so that young kids are forced to take these experimental vaccines even though there is no benefit for them? How will you feel if there ends up being some horrible long term side effect that your kids suffer from? How will you feel if, at the hands of your inaction, your kids inherent an oppressive world where people who disagree with unjust government policies are tortured or killed?
If you don’t speak the truth what are you? A puppet! Is being a puppet a recipe for living a meaningful life? What is the purpose of your existence if you’re a puppet repeating someone else’s ideas and agenda? If you suppress your own truth what is the relevance of you as an individual? Are you risking a meaningless life? That’s a massive risk!
If you take action it could lead to some trouble. If you do nothing, then, although delayed, you could be in a lot more trouble.
What are the risks if everyone decides to do nothing?
You are fighting against a natural tendency to procrastinate and a bias towards assuming doing nothing is less risky than doing something. Make a conscious effort to map out the risks so you can make the right decision.
What If You Support Mandatory Vaccinations?
I’ve decided that government enforced medical treatment is where I draw the line but I’m not right. It is acceptable to feel that mandatory vaccinations are a reasonable thing to do during a pandemic. There is no objective way to draw the line. Finding the line involves constant dialogue, constant contemplation, constant compromise, constant searching for the appropriate middle ground. You should consider where you would draw the line so that you are ready to take action should the government continue on its trend towards tyrannical control.
For example, you may decide that forcing the vaccine onto children is where you would draw the line. In Australia there have been exactly zero covid deaths in children aged from 0 to 9 and one death in children aged 10 to 18. The long term side effects of this vaccine are not known and governments are considering forcing it onto children who would have practically zero benefit of taking it. There is only risk, no reward.
If you know where you stand then you’re more likely to notice the incremental change that goes too far and less likely to allow incremental changes to accumulate into a totalitarian regime. You should also ask the organisations you work for where they would draw the line so you can hold them accountable to it.
What are the risks of Tyranny?
It’s obvious that being trapped within a tyrannical regime is not fun and may be accompanied by oppression, unjust prosecution, suffering and torture. However these things are hard to measure. Deaths are easier to measure. Well somewhat easier, some estimates vary considerably because it’s difficult to know exactly how many deaths occurred in combat, how many deaths there were in prisoner of war camps, how many civilians were slaughtered and how many civilians died indirectly through famine and living conditions:
|Cause||Number of Deaths|
|Hitler’s Regime (WW2 total)||80 million|
|Mao’s Regime||45 to 80 million|
|Stalin’s Regime||20 to 60 million|
|Covid world total||4.9 million|
|Hitler’s Regime in Germany||7.4 million|
|Australia Annual Suicide Average||3,000|
|Australia Covid total||1,653|
From this data we can conclude:
Governments are more deadly than covid
Further, we can conclude:
Mental health issues are more deadly than covid
Note that deadly governments and suicide disproportionally kill young healthy people. Covid mainly impacts old sick people.
The covid deaths statistics are questionable. It’s difficult to determine the cause of death of an old and sick person who contracts covid. If the default answer is covid then the statistics are over-estimating the number of deaths. The question of whether someone died from covid or died with covid may not be appropriately addressed. If we had statistics to indicate healthy life-years lost, covid would appear far less deadly. I’d guess a healthy life-years lost of close to zero would apply to many people who have been recorded as dying from covid.
Another interesting point is that covid is spread throughout the world whilst totalitarian regimes are limited in geographical location. We can easily see that tyrannical governments have caused far greater deaths than the world total covid deaths, but when assessed within a particular location, governments are monumentally more deadly than covid. For example, in Germany, the government killed about 7.4 million people over a few years through WW2 whilst covid has killed about 95,000 people. That’s nearly two orders of magnitude difference. And many of the deaths in WW2 were healthy young men, woman and children. Covid mainly targets the old and sick. Imagine if we compared healthy life-years lost, the difference would probably grow by another factor of 10!
We are not immune to the processes that lead to Stalinist Russia or Mao’s China or Nazi Germany. In fact we are seeing characteristics within our government and culture that were common in those totalitarian regimes. All governments are at risk of this process at all times. It requires constant and ongoing attention to keep in check. The consequences of not keeping it in check, although delayed, are far worse than allowing it to proceed in the name of a perceived short term benefit.
With decades of prosperity and relative peace, perhaps the most important reasons for freedom have been forgotten. It’s not just a nice-to-have luxury that allows people to have their own way. Freedom is for keeping governments serving their people. Freedom is for keeping democracies working properly. Freedom is for preventing tyranny. Freedom is for correcting corrupt hierarchies. Freedom is for allowing people to speak the truth. Freedom is for giving the people at the bottom a voice. Freedom is for preventing the suffering, torture and murder of millions of people.
Freedom matters. Governments should be our servants, not our tyrants.