Those who would do you the most harm rarely appear as the cartoonish characters we often associate with evildoers. Take, for example, the current authoritarian premier of China, Xi Jinping. Does this look like the face of a man who would condone genocide of the Uyghur population?
Oops, sorry, wrong file photo.
Here we go.
I'm sure Leana Wen is probably nice enough in person, maybe even kind to animals, but it is exactly this clinical and bloodless approach to authoritarianism that is the most frightening to me.
And Wen is not some obscure crackpot standing on a street corner screaming incoherently about lepers, aliens, and the unvaccinated.
Leana Wen is a visiting professor of health policy and management at George Washington University, a Washington Post columnist, the former president of Planned Parenthood, and a medical analyst for CNN.
She has a platform, several in fact, to push her agenda. It has occurred to me that her purpose may be to try and make Joe Biden seem reasonable in comparison, but given what is going on elsewhere, such as in Australia and Canada, I believe she is totally sincere.
And totally dangerous.
I transcribed a slightly longer version of her remarks as I think they add some additional (and chilling) context.
"I think we really need to make it clear..."
I think we have to be really careful not to skim over these seemingly benign comments. This short preamble is freighted with an authoritarian impulse.
Who, exactly, is "we?"
It's not me. It's probably not you. It's people like Wen, and people with actual power, like the President.
And you need to "make it clear?" You mean, like a parent speaking to a child?
She thinks nothing of it, as you can tell from the rest of her statement.
"...There are privileges associated with being an American. That if you wish to have these privileges, you need to get vaccinated.
Privileges. Not, rights. Privileges granted to us by that "we" I guess she was referring to earlier.
Travel, and having the right to travel in our state, it's not a constitutional right as far as I know to board a plane.
As far as she knows.
"...saying that if you want to stay unvaccinated, that's your choice, but if you want to travel, you better go get that vaccine."
You better young man, or no freedoms for you!
Wen is, as are all the members of the Biden administration, an allegedly college-educated individual and yet she and the rest of the vaccine fetishists misunderstand (deliberately or not) the very foundation of our system of government and the document that codified it.
The Constitution does not grant rights to the people, it grants limited, defined, authority to the government and further outlines in the Bill of Rights a handful (it's not an exhaustive list) of unalienable rights that predate any form of government.
This abandonment of the concept that real authority is vested in the people is what Reason refers to as "Permission Requirements."
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a bonanza for government officials, allowing them to extend authority that they then exercise with relatively little oversight or restraint in ways that would have been inconceivable in the past. It has accelerated the transformation of previously free societies into permission-based states, where things once done as a matter of right are now considered privileges to be dispensed or withheld by those in power.
The citizens are the ones who are supposed to be "in power." We don't have to demonstrate a "right" to do anything, the government, that we formed and empower, has to justify to us why we can't do something.
Case in point: the Biden administration reportedly discussed making travel within the United States conditional on vaccination status but is holding back out of fear that the public has yet to be sufficiently softened-up for such an intrusive restriction.
We are being "softened up," much like cattle fattened up for their ultimate fate.
That is what the fight over forced vaccinations is all about. It's not about science unbelievers, it's not about Qanon conspiracy theorists, it's not about anti-vaxxers. It's about liberty.
Of course, they will argue it's not about liberty. Why, it's just about common sense laws, like drunk driving!
Remaining unvaccinated & going out in public is equivalent to driving under the influence. You want to be intoxicated? That's your choice, but if you want to drive a car, that endangers others. No one should have the "choice" to infect others with a potentially deadly disease.
"False equivalency" does not begin to capture this. You cannot equate getting obliterated at a bar and hopping in a car to making decisions about your personal healthcare, to literally injecting a substance into your body.
We should always be very careful to make the distinction between action, and inaction. Choosing not to do something can never be considered an act of violence and should never be compared to doing something.
There's also the little matter of who we're supposedly assaulting with our pathogens.
In one breath, we are told this, get the vaccine, don't be one of these people!!!
Covid: CDC study shows unvaccinated people 29 times more likely to be hospitalized.
And then we're told this.
We are going to protect the vaccinated workers from unvaccinated coworkers.
We're going to force you to get a vaccine that we don't think works.
In fact, while we're on the subject, why are we forcing people who already had Covid, whose immunity is at least as good as those of us who did get the vaccine, to get the vaccine?
Let's turn to the supreme leader of all things Covid for the answer:
"That's a really good point…I don't really have a firm answer for you on that"
Wen is not alone, by the way, there are plenty in the medical community who support stricter mandates, but more worrisome is how many fellow citizens support the idea.
Most people in US support vaccine mandates in some situations.
"...in some situations."
The majority of the people surveyed supported vaccine mandates in certain circumstances. For instance, 57% supported it for airplane travel, 56% for crowded public events, and 51% for visiting a bar or restaurant.
Similarly, 62% believed vaccines should be mandatory for healthcare workers, 58% for those who work with the public, 56% for military personnel, and 55% for government employees.
So, basically if you are a hermit, a gamer living in your parent's basement, or a writer for Not The Bee, you can make your own personal decisions!
Note that in every case above, a majority of those polled supported the idea. Not a plurality, not "a lot," a majority.
One final parting remark from Wen:
"You have the option to not get vaccinated if you want, but then you can't go out in public."