“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe!”
These words attributed to Albert Einstein come to mind when I think of all the people in the United States and other richer nations that refuse to vaccinate themselves, but not because they lack availability, but, rather, because they lack critical thinking faculties to separate facts from lies, science from conspiracies.
These alleged theories, though, are too incredible and too numerous to even begin to enumerate, but they range from including spying chips devised by billionaires to monitor one’s movements, to being rendered severely and profoundly autistic, to surreptitiously having one’s body polluted with risky experimental drugs to guard against a virus that does not exist because it is a hoax.
The concoctors of these conspiracy theories dangle the promise of “freedom” in the face of their followers: freedom from masking, freedom from toxifying the body, freedom from being led down the deadly path like vaccinated sheep to slaughter.
And they promise them their individuality, that essential vital quality that forever separates them from the crowd, from the conformists whom they are taught to believe have sacrificed their freedom long ago for some deceitfully guaranteed sense of security.
Oh sure, some communities, specifically communities of color, have a certain degree of vaccine hesitancy in which an inherently racist medical system historically conducted inhumane and deadly experiments on black and brown bodies and other bodies such as Jews who were constructed in the public imagination as “other” or as subaltern.
But we must assure one another that the parallels of those times and those criminal offenses do not hold here today. Rather, current criminality belongs solely to the peddlers of unfounded and tragic conspiracies.
They have turned the pandemic with their promotion of lies into a political weapon for their own gratification in their lust for power and control. They have polluted the body politic, which places everyone, including themselves in serious jeopardy.
So, how much “freedom” does any of us really have when people around us fail to heed the warnings to vaccinate?
The days of wild West rugged individualism are over. Either we as a nation change our style of living to consider more about the common good, or else we will certainly and very quickly increase our chances of dying individually, as a democracy, and as a nation.
The theory of a “Social Contract” developed as far back as ancient Greece. Though reiterated and reformed by numerous philosophers and public figures, the foundations of this social contract stand on the premise that people live together with an agreement that establishes moral, ethical, and overarching political rules of behavior between individuals and their government in the formation of civil society.
A violation by any of the signatories jeopardizes the very stability of that progress toward a fully civil society.
We witness politically conservative figures either refusing to sign this contract or for those who may have previously etched their names, reneging on the terms and stipulations. For them, they abide by the motto that “government is best that governs least.”
If people don’t care about or trust scientists who are taking decisive countermeasures to inhibit the spread of the virus, if they don’t care about their own health and that of their loved ones, they should at least care about and trust the frontline workers who are risking their lives to save ours – including the lives of the protesters in this war against an invisible enemy.
But I leave those who believe that “freedom” is going against the advice of science to remember the words from Janis Joplin’s “Me and Bobby McGee”:
“Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”
That includes your life.