Mandatory vaccination is okay [response]
I just watched (and am currently rewatching) a German video uploaded by maiLab about mandatory vaccinations titled “Impfpflicht ist OK”. This video offers some rational points for a vaccination mandate. The video seems to me to be informed, well-structured and, above all, rational.
In this post, I do not want to scrutinize any of the points made, I simply want to call attention to a point missed in the conversation (in this video and outside). This ignored factor is the social ramification that would result from a general vaccine mandate. Whether it is rational or not, many people will be greatly upset (to put it mildly) if they would be forced to get vaccinated.
We have seen riots, demonstrations, civil disobedience and voluntary exiles in response to other (less invasive) COVID-measures. My view on this is as follows: “If you feel like you are not being heard, you scream”. This means that the more Draconian the measure, the stronger the response of those against the measure.
If the Capitol Hill riot has shown us anything, it is that ordinary people are capable of a lot if they truly feel wronged. It is a question whether this potential danger is worth the potential gain. This also explains why, as mentioned in the video, politicians are verbally against an official vaccine mandate (in Germany). Politicians need to be popular to keep their jobs, implementing a good, but unpopular law, is simply not a tactical decision in a democracy1.
This leaves us at a larger philosophical and political discussion which may be formulated as a question: “Should a government do what people want or what people would want if they knew what is good for them?” The former option may lead to bad decisions, impulsive-, short-term- and uninformed-policies. While the latter treats citizens like children, limits autonomy, is (in a sense) undemocratic and will be unpopular.
To this question, I have no (generally applicable) answer. In certain fields, such as technology, I prefer my voices to be realized, even if the overlord, in this case the programmer or manufacturer, sees my choices as bad. This is because my knowledge of technology (in consumer electronics at least) is good enough that I know what is good for me. This is similar to my choice not to take painkillers and to off-road mountain bike only while wearing a helmet. However, when it comes to surgical operations, I am glad that the hospital, surgeon and government put in place guardrails because I do not know what is good for me. Ultimately, the question of what I think governments should do in general, remains unanswered, safety or freedom?
If you have any interesting thoughts on this latter philosophical point, or on vaccine mandates in general, please share them with me via email, the address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
1: note that the need to make popular decisions is not exclusive to democracies