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Vaccines against the coronavirus (Covid-19) have become a hot topic of debate. Different sides of the argument seem entrenched in their positions. But is there a right and a wrong position on this? And does the idea of forced vaccinations and passports smell of corporate fascism?
In short: no vaccines or forced passports
Let’s sum it up quite easily:
- The government should not force people to get vaccinated.
- The government should not force people to wear vaccine passports.
The. It was easy, wasn’t it? Well actually, no. Because the reasoning behind this position is extremely complex – and not at all “anti-vax”.
Vaccines: their arguments
the arguments for vaccines are that they reduce the risk of serious illness and reduce hospitalization and death rates. This is pretty obvious by anyone’s standards from the data for the UK. Studies are also showing that vaccines reduce transmission. But Omicron is an unknown quantity. Currently, some proof shows it is to evade the vaccine. Vaccines (just like seasonal flu) may need to be adjusted accordingly to beat Omicron.
So, that’s surely reason enough for the government to force us all to have both them and vaccine passports, right? “Protect the NHS. Save lives’ and all that. Well, again, it’s not that simple.
Government vaccine authoritarianism
As my editor told me while discussing this article, there is a “real tension between individual freedom and collective responsibility”. The current British administration is perhaps one of the most right wing in recent memory. So trusting them with our civil liberties seems bizarre at best. UK governments have decided to roll back our fundamental rights and freedoms under the guise of ‘public interest’.
Tony Blair’s alleged center-left Labor Party from 1997 to 2010 was one of the worse delinquents. As well, “catastrophe capitalism”As it’s called – when governments use a crisis to further control or change society – is nothing new. So to think that the Conservatives are not exploiting the pandemic is naive at best: questionable PPE contracts for what a future might look like with vaccine passports / digital ID via “secret”Clauses for companies like Pfizer on their contracts with the government.
Read on …
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Growth of corporate fascism
I warned via The Canary, even before the first lockdown in March 2020, that the government’s coronavirus legislation was overbearing and violated civil liberties. On top of that, you have the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill: racist and authoritarian legislation that is anti-protest. Then there is the Nationality and Borders Bill: another racist and authoritarian piece of legislation. I could go on.
The point is, our right-wing government is turning the UK into a corporate fascist state. I wrote a lot about it for The Canary. In short, it’s the idea that politicians have granted corporations unbridled power and the same rights as citizens – which ends up concentrating power in their hands. Forced vaccines or vaccine passports could give businesses more power over our daily lives. For example, a pharmaceutical company could deliberately restrict the supply of a vaccine to increase its profits and therefore indirectly restrict people’s freedom if the passes remain in place.
Yet, as it stands, are we supposed to believe that government is a benevolent entity acting in our best interests? Germany forced “quasi-containment“For the ‘unvaccinated’ or people who have not recovered from the coronavirus – where they are not allowed to enter certain public spaces. This is an example of where the UK can go – and the center-left German government is quite liberal. So imagine what ours can do.
The conflicting interests of capitalism
Of course, what we’re also seeing with the rollout of the vaccine is the various industries of capitalism pursuing their own interests. On the one hand, you have the interests of the big pharmaceutical companies. Then on the other you have the night economy / service sector. It’s clear that right-wing governments are stuck in the middle here because these two subsets of the economy are crucial for the wheels of capitalism to keep turning.
Thus, compulsory vaccinations and passports are the obvious solutions to satisfy both sectors. Big pharma is killing – and the night / service industry stays open. Again, the rest of us have to do as we’re told, to protect corporate profits. If there has ever been another reason to nationalize the pharmaceutical industry, it is this.
One size fits all for all vaccines: a failed approach
There must also be a debate on the “one size fits all” approach to immunization. While the vast majority of people won’t experience any major side effects from jabs, not everyone does. In my Twitter community alone, I know several people living with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) who have been vaccinated and it has made them even sicker. Unfortunately, the voices of chronically ill and disabled people are often erased from speech.
In addition, human physiology and genetics are complex things. Mass immunization programs only take into account the risks to a little patient groups. Thus, diseases like ME, the origin of which is still unknown and yet generally triggered by a virus, are ignored in this. Some people may say, “Well, it’s better than them to die”. I know people who would disagree with this given their serious illness. Plus, they shouldn’t have that binary choice anyway.
The sins of a few cause the chastisement of many
But ultimately, the story of government-mandated vaccines is the same as that of other disasters like the climate crisis. Essentially, the sins of the few bring the retribution of the many. The actions of the wealthiest people and businesses have now placed our entire species at risk of climate degradation. And the governments that prioritized the economy and the needs of capitalism over public health at the start of the pandemic have resulted in countless needless deaths and the almighty mess we find ourselves in now – including the debate. on vaccines.
Capitalism: reap what it sows
Moreover, the fact that governments are moving closer to imposing vaccinations on us is in a sense on their own initiative. As a species, corporate capitalism encourages us to become obsessed with ourselves at the expense of others. Our own responsibilities to our communities, species and larger ecosystems have been eroded over time. In a perfect world, we would all have voluntarily locked ourselves in our homes with strong government support until the virus died of natural causes. Unfortunately, humans are not an inherently altruistic species – and corporate capitalism encourages this.
What is the alternative?
From the start of the pandemic, the government’s handling of it was a disaster. He should have closed the borders immediately; locked faster; provided better financial and social support for everyone, and set a goal of trying to achieve ‘zero Covid’. But that did not happen. In fact, the government’s response was often motivated by false behavioral science; the decisions were either bad or too late, and that has now left us in that position. Due to the incompetence of government coupled with the needs of capitalism, we have a binary choice between “to vaccinate or not to vaccinate”. It should never have been that way.
Yes to targeted and personalized vaccinations
Vaccinations in and of themselves have been good for humans. As a society, we generally live in close proximity to each other, which encourages the transmission of disease. We are one of the few vertebrates who can’t synthesize our own vitamin C, putting our immune system to a Natural disadvantage. This situation is exacerbated by structural and social factors such as poverty and nutritionally poor diets. And mother nature is, as the coronavirus has shown, ever-changing – bringing new threats to our doorstep. So the fact that humans have a first line of defense against viruses is obviously in our own best interest. Immunization programs should holistically examine each person, their health and potential impact on them, while measuring the benefits for the rest of society.
We should decide
But ultimately, the decision to get the vaccine should be a personal choice. Humans surely should have evolved beyond a point where those in charge of us have to enact laws to impose drugs on us. We should make these decisions ourselves, knowing that there is a benefit to us as a society in being vaccinated. For those of us who for whatever reason choose not to have it, there should be no legal ramifications.
Governments should not force us to have the vaccine because of their own mistakes and profit driven programs. We should all be looking at what we can do personally and collectively to stop the spread of the virus, reduce pressure on the NHS and save lives. And then we have to consider how we allowed this to happen in the first place – ensuring that it never happens again.
Selected image via Wikipedia
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