Middle ground

I’ve had something on my mind for a while, and it’s time to put my thoughts on paper screen. Vaccine mandates. They are yet another divisive issue in America, and for good reason – it’s complicated. Here’s my take.

Pro mandate points:

  • To stop a pandemic, the best possible tool is to get everyone vaccinated. Full stop. A virus needs a susceptible host population to infect and mutate among, and if there’s no one left to infect due to vaccinated or natural immunity, the virus dies out.
  • You get vaccinated not just for yourself, but for everyone else. It’s for the greater good.
  • Vaccines have improved modern life immeasurably, removing polio, measles, mumps, malaria and many other crippling diseases from our lives. The science works.
  • There are many jobs that require the extra protection of employees being vaccinated, from a risk management point of view. An employer of health care providers, nursing home staff, and teachers all have perfectly logical reasons to insist that their employees not spread a disease among the more vulnerable clients (people) in their care.

Con-mandate point of view:

  • Consistent with my position on abortion, in a free society I and only I get to decide what happens to my body. My agency over the bag of meat that supports my brain is absolute.
  • In general, government powers should be restricted. Government overreach *is* a problem, and allowing federal, state or local governments control over the citizen’s body seems a very bad idea.

So…two compelling arguments. It’s definitely a debate worth having. And the middle ground isn’t obvious. But after thinking it through, I’ve found a middle ground position that makes sense to me.

My position can be summed up in two succinct points:

  1. My body my choice. The government cannot force me to ingest something I don’t want to.
  2. I’m OK with employer mandates, but not government mandates. Getting a job with another employer is a choice I can make if I don’t want to be vaccinated. Or subjecting myself to regular testing protocols. But leaving the country or becoming a criminal if I say no isn’t a real choice. So for an employer vaccine mandate (requirement of employment), the employer’s risk management need is satisfied, and the employee’s right to choose is satisfied.

This logic works for me. I wish more people could agree and stop demonizing each other about it.

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