On March 10th, 2021, visiting George Washington University professor Leana Wen, M.D. – who is also a medical analyst for CNN and a columnist for the Washington Post – told CNN’s Chris Cuomo the following:
But I think that there are many more people, millions of people who, for whatever reason, have concerns about the vaccine, who just don’t know what’s in it for them. And we need to make it clear to them that the vaccine is the ticket back to pre-Pandemic life. And the window to do that is really narrowing.
I mean, you were mentioning, Chris, about how all these states are reopening. They are reopening at a 100 percent. And we have a very narrow window to tie reopening policy to vaccination status. Because otherwise, if everything is reopened, then what’s the carrot going to be? How are we going to incentivize people to actually get the vaccine?
So that’s why I think the CDC and the Biden Administration needs to come out a lot bolder and say, “If you’re vaccinated, you can do all these things. Here are all these freedoms that you have,” because otherwise, people are going to go out and enjoy these freedoms anyway.
(A clip of Dr. Wen delivering her appalling argument to Bro. Cuomo is here.)
Two days earlier, on March 8th, 2021, Dr. Wen offered similar advice in her WaPo column:
As more states lift restrictions, the Biden administration has a narrow window to tie reopening policy to vaccination. It can suggest to states, for example, that businesses do not need capacity limits for fully vaccinated people, but if businesses are not checking vaccination status, they should still limit capacity indoors. Interstate and international travel should require pre-travel testing and post-travel quarantine, which would be waived for people with proof of vaccination. Yes, there’s a risk that those vaccinated could still be low-level carriers of the coronavirus. That risk is offset by the greater risk of waiting: At some point soon, everything will be fully reopened anyway, and there will be no carrot left to offer.
To have our best chance of achieving herd immunity and ending the pandemic once and for all, vaccines should be presented as the ticket back to pre-pandemic life. Time is running out for the CDC and the Biden administration to embrace this approach.
It’s come to this, my fellow Americans. A prominent “expert” – one who is a personality on a major international television network, a columnist at one of the country’s most prominent newspapers, and a professor (if apparently only now visiting) at a major U.S. university – recommends, with no evident embarrassment or shame, that each of us Americans be compelled to purchase our freedom by getting a Covid vaccine. Freedom, in this woman’s view, is the “carrot” that will lure us little rabbits to submit to vaccination.
Please do not mistake me for being a so-called “anti-vaxxer” (a term much misused and misapplied these days). Just as I don’t fear Covid, I don’t fear the Covid vaccine. A few days ago I got the first dose of the Moderna vaccine and at the end of this month I’ll get the second dose.
But now I’m feeling somewhat ashamed of myself. I agreed to get the vaccine not because I fear Covid. I sincerely don’t fear it; and since at least late last April, I have never feared it. I agreed to get the vaccine only in order to be able to go about my life as normally as possible in these deranged times, including to be able to visit my son in New Hampshire. My son, although still only 23 years old, does fear Covid. He fears it for himself somewhat and, bless his heart, for me much more. He’s aware that my assessment of the risks posed by Covid differs greatly from his assessment.
Agreeing to get vaccinated in order to secure my son’s fret-free approval for me to visit him is not what I’m ashamed of. Instead, also factoring into my decision was the recognition that, once vaccinated, I’ll have an easier time flying, dining out, and otherwise avoiding the obstacles that I fear will be imposed by the Covidocracy. This part of my motivation to get vaccinated is what I’m now ashamed of – now that I’ve encountered Dr. Wen’s charming “carrot” analogy.
I’m ashamed of my chasing this carrot. I’m ashamed of behaving like one of the lab rats that people such as Dr. Wen supposes Americans to be. I’m angry that a fellow American thinks of liberty as something that each American possesses only by permission of the state, and only then if that American behaves as our betters demand. And I’m beyond-mystified that so few of my fellow libertarians and classical liberals are up in arms about Dr. Wen’s and many other similar proposals by pundits, professors, and politicians to have our liberties crushed by the Covidocracy. Remember: you are not free if you must first secure the permission of the state to act as you’d like.
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