The U.S. Constitution is not "waived" due to disease or natural disaster. We must beware of politicians and other officials who seek to exercise power through "mandates" without a single vote or the active exercise of informed consent. Our Constitution was designed and ratified for exactly such challenges and it has endured 231 years through a myriad of challenges far more grave than a virus. (Image source: iStock)
COVID-19 is a serious disease that can have deadly consequences. The good news is that now the recovery rate is between 97% and 99.75%. As the world approaches its second full year grappling with the ever-mutating virus and the public health response, some serious public policy and political questions require attention:
- Are some people looking to leverage vaccination status to stigmatize and marginalize political opponents?
- Is vaccine status being equated with ideology or political affiliation?
- Is vaccine status going to be the new societal discriminator for those who might be "more equal" than others?
- Are we seeing efforts to control and pressure citizens for daring to question government officials?
- What about officials who seek to change the meaning of terms such as "fully vaccinated," or altogether abandon terms and conditions that were used to persuade the public to shut down businesses and society at-large.
The German news magazine, Der Spiegel, recently featured a story titled: "Study Finds Link Between Far Right and High Corona Rates in Germany." The subtitle of the story is:
"The number of coronavirus infections is rising sharply in parts of Germany where the far-right AfD party enjoys greater support. Is it a coincidence? Researchers took a close look at the corollaries and drew some conclusions that surprised even them."
Der Spiegel reporters Holger Dambeck and Peter Maxwill reported:
"An interdisciplinary team at the Research Institute for Social Cohesion and a researcher from Munich systematically investigated the connection between the election results and the spread of the pathogen. The experts' findings are clear: The higher the number of votes the AfD got in a region in the 2017 election, the faster the coronavirus spread there in 2020."
The broader political messaging is clear: Conservatives are disease-spreading troglodytes that endanger civilization.
The sensationalized findings focus on correlation and not a causal relationship, so the study and the speculative reporting are transparently sloppy smear-jobs. The real objective of both the study and the magazine reporting is clearly to damage political opponents by associating them with a deadly disease.
Given Germany's notorious history of brutally stigmatizing various minority populations, it is shocking and outrageous that a German "research institute" and the Hamburg-based weekly news magazine would sink to such sleazy malice.
Sadly, the United States has its own set of operatives seeking to marginalize those who question vaccine mandates, as well as persons with valid reservations concerning the long-term safety and efficacy of the various vaccines. In the British medical journal, The Lancet, Dr. Günter Kampf, a professor at the Institute of Hygiene and Environmental Science at the University of Greifswald in Germany, wrote an important, brief piece, published on November 20, 2021: "COVID-19: Stigmatizing the Unvaccinated is Not Justified." Kampf wrote:
"In the USA and Germany, high-level officials have used the term pandemic of the unvaccinated, suggesting that people who have been vaccinated are not relevant in the epidemiology of COVID-19. Officials' use of this phrase might have encouraged one scientist to claim that 'the unvaccinated threaten the vaccinated for COVID-19'. But this view is far too simple."
Kampf goes on to detail substantial, documented evidence that vaccinated individuals continue to have a relevant role in COVID-19 transmission. He describes a July 2021 COVID outbreak in Massachusetts, wherein 74% of the cases were in people who were fully or partly vaccinated. He closes his argument with a plea:
"I call on high-level officials and scientists to stop the inappropriate stigmatization of unvaccinated people, who include our patients, colleagues, and other fellow citizens, and to put extra effort into bringing society together."
Kampf is not alone. Dr. Paul Elias Alexander is a clinical epidemiologist who teaches evidence-based medicine and research methodology. He was also a senior advisor on COVID pandemic policy for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Alexander has been published by the Brownstone Institute, writing:
"... existing immunity should be assessed before any vaccination... Such would be evidence of immunity that is equal to that of vaccination and the immunity should be provided the same societal status as any vaccine-induced immunity. This will function to mitigate the societal anxiety with these forced vaccine mandates and societal upheaval due to job loss, denial of societal privileges etc. Tearing apart the vaccinated and the unvaccinated in a society, separating them, is not medically or scientifically supportable."
Alexander's report on naturally acquired immunity to Covid-19 seems to be ignored in the media and by government officials. Why is that? 130 research studies discussing the relative merits and protections of natural immunity appear to be scrupulously ignored. One would think that a full, open and honest public dialogue and corresponding public treatment plan would discuss the full spectrum of medical facts, conditions, and treatments.
Conspicuous for defying convention and taking the broader, holistic approach to COVID-19 is Florida's Surgeon General, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, who holds both MD and PhD degrees from Harvard. He is the refreshing exception to authoritarianism and a seemingly endless cycle of public scare tactics.
We are seeing a growing authoritarianism by governments across the globe concerning the drive to vaccinate everyone: mandates, lockdowns, vaccine passports and restrictions on civil liberties. We are also seeing a corresponding resistance to heavy-handed, government imposed measures. Protests have erupted across Europe over renewed lockdown drives by European governments. Australians are also now pushing back in protest.
The Biden administration attempted to issue an unprecedented federal mandate for vaccination, that has been thwarted (for the time-being) by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Court made it explicitly clear that the mandate raises grave constitutional concerns. Nonetheless, the Biden White House arrogantly "encouraged" — some might say ordered – businesses to continue forward with forcing employees to be vaccinated.
Despite the Biden White House's seemingly power-mad drive to defy courts, browbeat businesses, and intimidate citizens, this is still the United States and the Constitution is still the law of the land. Even though the normally vocal "my body, my choice" crowd seems to have vanished hypocritically from the public square over vaccine choice — American workers are pushing back against the fascist-like government/corporate partnership demanding vaccinations.
COVID-19 is a serious disease, but it bears constant repeating that the recovery rate now is between 97% and 99.75%. The American public has never had a federal vaccine mandate imposed upon it. Fear, shock, intimidation and ultimatums are not the decision-making components of a representative democracy. The Constitution is not "waived" due to disease or natural disaster. We must beware of politicians and other officials who seek to exercise power through "mandates" without a single vote or the active exercise of informed consent.
We must resist authoritarian impulses and exercises by various officials seeking to consolidate power and impose their will over the constitutional processes and guarantees we enjoy. Our Constitution was designed and ratified for exactly such challenges and it has endured 231 years through a myriad of challenges far more grave than a virus. The Constitution guarantees that we remain a country of freedom and opportunity in spite of a pandemic and those officials seeking to address public health.
Chris Farrell is Director of Investigations at Judicial Watch and Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.