by Devon Westhill
I stand with all my fellow Americans—both vaccinated and unvaccinated. And because I do, I recently refused to disclose my vaccination status. And you should, too.
I was invited to speak at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth School of Law about the many public and private mandates enacted, supposedly, to address COVID-19—all of which I oppose. I view vaccine mandates, for example, as the most totalitarian commands we have seen in this country since the days of eugenics-based forced sterilization—leading science, at the time.
Ironically, one week before my scheduled speech, I was told that school bureaucrats mandated off-campus visitors like me confirm they are vaccinated. Many will say that sharing this private health information is a minor intrusion with little downside. I think that’s a mistake.
Certainly, a case can be made that one is ethically obliged to disclose to their loved ones that they have been vaccinated. Especially, if those loved ones are at heightened risk for serious health complications if, for example, they contract COVID-19. Doing so, one line of reasoning might go, can assuage feelings of fear, distrust, and confusion about being inoculated and therefore, potentially save lives.
However, there is no legal or ethical duty to share your vaccination status with complete strangers, and you should not.
he normalization of disclosing vaccination status with whomever demands it will lead to greater division among Americans—literally, creating two classes of citizens. Those who are welcome inside businesses and those who are not. Those who can work in certain jobs and those who cannot. Those who can eat in restaurants and those who cannot.
We are already witnessing massive firings, restrictions on travel, strikes, stigmatization, shaming, and ridicule directed toward the disfavored class of citizens. An America with that bifurcated citizenship status only becomes reality if we the people allow it.
Set politics aside and remember these are our neighbors, friends, and family members. They are frontline workers, service members, and religious leaders, not lepers to be relegated to the fringes of society. Neither are they all depraved sociopaths or Neanderthals who want people sick or who can’t understand the science.
Perhaps you acquiesced to the lockdowns, testing, and tracing mandates. Perhaps you also agreed initially not to wear a mask, then to wear a mask, then two masks. Perhaps you were coerced into getting vaccinated for fear of losing your livelihood. By now you must see, as philosopher David Hume opined, “it is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once.”
We are all simply making difficult choices in difficult times. And while they are coming first for the initial vaccine resisters, if you don’t stand up for a free and united America, they may next come for you.
Moreover, how we handle this will affect the lives of our children in myriad ways. Not least of which is their citizenship status since they are next in line for the jab. The Biden administration has announced its plan to “quickly” vaccinate children as young as five years old. If you think this isn’t an area ripe for yet another government mandate, you’re not paying attention. The federal law enforcement apparatus has already been mobilized to suppress parental opposition to mandates, among other issues.
Indeed, you must see that your children are next, that the ineffectiveness of the vaccine over time and virus variants will require indefinite boosters, and that there is no principle limiting what personal information complete strangers can demand of you to engage in ordinary activities. Where do you draw the line?
For the sake of preserving a Republic that divided against itself cannot stand, I draw the line at appeasing stick up artists demanding my vaccination status.
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Devon Westhill is the President and General Counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity. He served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at USDA in the Trump administration.
Photo “Vaccine card” by Jernej Furman CC BY 2.0.