What is choice?
It’s early February and there are convoys on the roads – people upset at being told they must mask and produce proof of vaccination before they can use a restaurant or go into a liquor store. These “mandates” frustrate the unvaccinated rebels who believe a Covid19 vaccination will somehow “stain their very souls”. Let me ask this – when they were children, did they believe that vaccination against diptheria, tetanus, mumps and measles had a negative effect on their souls or a positive effect on their lives? Their parents believed the latter. So did health care professionals. Farmers vaccinate whole herds because they know if they leave some calves unvaccinated they risk a loss of profit with disease and death of that unvaccinated portion of the herd.
Is this a matter of choice? I am pro-choice in my belief about a woman’s right to choose whether to carry a baby to term or to terminate her unwanted fetus early in the pregnancy. Is vaccination also a matter of choice? What is for the greater good? Let’s look at both choice cases.
In the abortion debate, it appears that the greater good is for the woman, to not bear an unwanted pregnancy and carry a child to term and be left with the burden of another life for the remainder of the mother’s lifetime. Or she could endure the shame of carrying the child to term and then letting it be adopted. But it is an impossible secret to keep and it is a heartbreaking decision to make after enduring nine months of pregnancy and hormonal attachment. So who benefits from choice? The woman primarily, not society as a whole. Some would argue that the death of the unknown quantity – the fetus – is a loss to society, but that is hypothetical and coming into an unwanted situation cannot bode well for an innocent child. I myself was adopted and I am pro-choice for women – She has the choice to give up the child to adoption, to abort or to keep the child. Leave her with those choices and stop taking those choices away.
In the vaccination debate, the greater good appears to be for the herd – the population at large which benefits from all those around them who get vaccinated and the booster and follow the protocols of masking, washing hands and isolating as much as possible. Why? Because by doing these things we are all safer than if there are some unknown elements, who may not identify themselves, who are not vaccinated, and may be spreading infection without knowing it. Even if the rest of us follow the protocols, there will be gaps in the system where infections can penetrate – door handles and cart handles that are touched by an infected sneeze. Are all the vaxxers to remain at home, in isolation, and the anti-vaxxers allowed to run wild in the streets doing what they like? It seems that is what they are demanding of us – the freedom to do as they want – freedom from mandates. Freedom to choose to put the rest of the population at risk. That is going too far – that is asking too much of a just society.
It is alright to complain about their plight – about being shut out of services – but all they have to do is ask a vaccinated person for assistance and we will help them get their liquor, get their groceries or whatever they need. It seems it’s too much for them to humble themselves to ask for help – but not too much to make a ruckus in a national capital convoy.
In these days of uncertainty – Omicron Covid might be diminishing in its impact in some places and threats of convoys are calling for the end of masking and vaccination mandates – but I believe until the pandemic is over – really over, we cannot lose sight of our need to care for each other and stay safe, stay healthy and strong. That means following the rules for herd immunity. Following science based findings. Listening to science. Not truckers.