So much for “my body, my choice.” The authoritarianism of Michael Bloomberg and his flunkies is on full display in a new column at the anti-gun billionaire’s personal news network, where columnist Clara Ferreira Marques argues that personal choice and responsibility should take a back seat to government coercion and brute force when it comes to vaccines.
Sticking a needle in people’s arms against their will may be “unpalatable,” says Marques, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t happen if large numbers of Americans refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine on their own.
Full compulsion — which implies fines or even prison, as opposed to simply not getting a benefit or public service — isn’t easily embraced. For me, that’s less because of arguments around personal liberty than because of the deep polarization in many societies, including the U.S., that would only worsen with such an approach. More importantly, some reasons deterring people from vaccinations — distrust of health or political authorities, or more pressing medical or shelter problems — deserve to be tackled, not papered over.
Why am I not shocked that the argument around personal liberty isn’t compelling to a Bloomberg lackey like Marques? After all, her own boss’s favorite strategy to fight violent crime when he was mayor of New York was to throw young Black men “up against the wall” in the hopes of finding a gun. Bloomberg and his sycophants have just as much contempt for our Fourth Amendment rights as they do our right to keep and bear arms, and Marques’ concern about making the current polarization in our country worse takes a back seat to her desire to compel others to get jabbed in the name of the “public good.”
Take University of Richmond philosopher Jessica Flanigan’s comparison between vaccine refuseniks and a person firing a weapon into the air. We’d want to stop the shooter because bystanders could get hurt or killed. The same, she argues, applies to vaccinations. It’s less about the right to refuse than the right not to get infected — especially for those who can’t be vaccinated, like tiny babies, the immunocompromised or those with severe allergies.
Of course, Marques doesn’t mention that she and her boss doesn’t just want to stop someone who’s actually firing a gun in the air. They want to ensure that no one can get a gun in the first place, and I’m sure they’d have just as little concern about using force to get their way in disarming Americans as they do when it comes to vaccinating others against their will.
For authoritarians like Bloomberg and Marques, the ends always justify the means. Or as Soviet Communist writer Aleksandr Arosev wrote in his 1922 novel The Notes of Terenty the Forgotten, “What is necessary does not corrupt.” Even the worst human rights abuses can be excused as long as those committing them believe that they’re being done for a noble purpose. Of course they never believe that they themselves could ever be the victim of that mentality, at least until it’s too late. Arosev likely had a change of heart about his philosophy in the moments before he was executed by his fellow Communists by order of the state in 1938, and if Marques’ desire to force American citizens to get vaccinated ever did come to pass, chances are that she too would eventually come to regret her sordid embrace of authoritarianism in the name of the greater good.
For now though, Marques is leaning into the idea of compulsory vaccinations, just as Democrats like Joe Biden have embraced the idea of compulsory gun registration and the compensated confiscation of legally-owned firearms. Your personal freedom and your civil liberties mean nothing to these folks. All that matters is that they get their way, and any abuses they might commit in the process can simply be explained away by arguing that they were necessary.