Representative Jon Hansen (R-25/Dell Rapids) pops off this long weekend with this profound misunderstanding of civil liberties and concentration camps:
No, my little Aryan friend, a business requiring employees to obtain a free and effective vaccine to prevent a highly communicable and harmful disease is not a bit like mocking the Jews as you cart them into the camps where you will kill them.
A vaccine mandate, like many other mandates our civil society imposes, enhances everyone’s civil liberties:
- As the ACLU op-ed says, vaccine mandates protect the civil liberties of vulnerable individuals who have legitimate, non-political reasons that prevent them from getting the vaccine by maximizing the number of people around them who are fully protected and far less likely to endanger them with an easily preventable infection.
- Vaccine mandates reduce the exposure of all workers and customers to coronavirus, allowing workers and customers greater liberty in entering places of business and engaging in commerce.
- Vaccine mandates allow employers to prevent the spread of disease while forgoing far more intrusive measures like weekly or daily covid testing, quarantines, and contact tracing.
- Vaccine mandates increase overall vaccination rates, speeding the end of the pandemic and a return to normal life in which we may exercise our civil liberties in public life to the fullest.
- Mandating that we all pay taxes on our peanut butter provides the revenue we need to pay legislators and judges to protect our civil liberties.
- Mandating that we pay taxes to the city of Aberdeen ensures that Aberdeen can run plows in the winter to clear our streets so we can all go out and exercise our civil liberties to work, learn, and recreate on the icy tundra from November through March.
- Mandating that political candidates report their contributions to the public protects the civil liberties of all citizens, at least a little bit, by allowing us to keep track of who is supporting the people asking for our vote, whose bidding those candidates might do, and whose civil liberties might be endangered if those candidates win.
- Mandating that drivers obtain licenses promotes public safety, which allows more citizens to enjoy their civil liberties without interruption from injury and death caused by unqualified drivers.
- Mandating that voters register protects our right to vote from fraudsters and corrupt politicians who would abuse their power to steal our elections. (I’m trying to speak a little language that Republicans understand.)
- Mandating that children attend school ensures that more people understand what their civil liberties are, how to exercise them properly as members of a community, and how to distinguish real government overreach into their personal lives (like the many unconstitutional bills sponsored by Rep. Jon Hansen) from the reasonable limitations we place on everyone’s freedom to turn the anarchy of the state of nature into the true liberty of the social contract.
Not all mandates are good. A surfeit of mandates can restrict freedom, but a complete absence of mandates leaves us in that state of nature I mentioned above, anarchy in which we have no civil liberties because there is no civil order to guarantee them against thuggery and catastrophe. The society we seek necessarily balances mandates and personal choice. Unfortunately, Representative Hansen thinks that balance is found solely within his ego: mandate everything I want others to do, and don’t mandate anything I don’t want to do.
Civil liberties do not exist without mandates.
Mandating vaccines in workplaces protects the civil liberties of all whom those workplaces employ and serve.
Vaccines are the surest way set us all free from the current pandemic.