The Seatbelt Argument

Once again somebody rolled out the seatbelt argument at me today, and I’m kind of stunned that people don’t see the utter speciousness of this argument. You know the one: “the government is making us wear seat belts to protect us, so why can’t it make us get the Pfizer shot?”

Folks, come on. The government isn’t making you eat the seatbelt, is it? There is a fundamental difference between breaching the bodily integrity of another person and not breaching it. I can take the seat belt off. In fact, I spend most of my time not wearing it. Once a therapeutic goes inside the body, you can’t remove it. If you can’t control the inside of your body, what can you control?

Should the government – or anybody – be able to force us to take statins to improve our health? Antibiotics? Painkillers? Should we be fired or denied entrance into restaurants if we refuse a statin prescription? My doctor gave me one. I threw it in the trash and improved my cholesterol naturally. Should I have been coerced to take it? Since most of us will die of cardiovascular disease and not of respiratory viruses, how does it make sense not to aggressively enforce heart health? Where’s the logic?

I know there are no completely uneducated people here on the blog but just in case: nobody claims or ever claimed that “COVID vaccines” eliminate infection or spread. What they do is reduce the severity of symptoms once you do get infected, and they seem to do it well, at least for several months.

So why are there no “passports” for cholesterol meds? Why aren’t we trying aggressively to enforce sobriety? Why are the only symptoms we are trying to spare people those of this one respiratory virus? These are not rhetorical questions. I believe that these are completely reasonable questions to ask. And since nobody is trying to answer them, I don’t know how one can avoid thinking that this isn’t about health at all.

We have all seen ads for class action suits on medications that proved to be deadly. How does anybody know that these “vaccines” aren’t going to be in those ads 10 years from now? How can anybody guarantee that? We have all seen what happened with Oxycodone. It was promoted aggressively as non-addictive. It all ended up in courts and with thousands of corpses. Knowing all this, how can anybody have the incredible, out of this world hubris to make other people put these meds – or absolutely anything else – inside their bodies against their will? Decide for yourself, absolutely. But how can you force others? And for what? For what?

25 thoughts on “The Seatbelt Argument

  1. While I agree with the general sentiment about bodily autonomy in your post, the same argument actually goes against your example of govt.-enforced cholesterol control vs respiratory disease control.

    One may want to live with bad cholesterol and resultant cardio-vascular diseases (or not), but in making either choice one does not threaten the bodily integrity and health of people around. In fact, we know that despite obesity being called an epidemic in the US, US still remains a mecca of junk and fast food joints.

    The case with an airborne and contagious respiratory virus is quite the opposite obviously — and hence the epidemiology and policy decision cannot be the same.

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    1. I agree that people think not taking the virus is equivalent to killing someone, but as we’ve seen that’s not actually true. Unvaccinated persons are no greater risk to others than the vaccinated, since the vaccine is now clearly shown to allow transmission from vaccinated people to others. And since most people in most age groups, and healthy people, are not at risk of death anyway, that argument also falls flat. Part of the hysteria is due to the focus on “rising cases,” which scares people and they equate that to a rise in deaths. Most people don’t look at the data themselves. It’s very calming, though I have not checked recently. Vaccinating during an active pandemic is likely driving these variants we are so scared of anyway. The vaccine puts evolutionary pressure on the virus. Locking down also slowed the spread which allowed more time for the virus to mutate while slowing the development of herd immunity. And of course there are the ignored therapeutics which would have ended the pandemic last March. But no one in power wanted it to end. It’s too useful a tool of control.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Just to clarify: even if driven by fear and lack of experience with novel coronaviruses [(no) thanks to China!], my point is about why “govt” is mandating medication in one case while not in other. It is not about our perceived or realistic impressions about vaccine efficacy [I, for one, am not convinced that people who have contracted covid need to take vaccines for instance].

        Let me give a different example: do we know for a fact that most of the road accidents are caused by drunk drivers? I don’t believe so.
        But still there are laws against drunk driving, though in the confines of your home one is allowed to drink themselves to death. So the point about if it is not the leading cause of harm anyway, why enforce anything to mitigate it does not hold water when it comes to public policy decisions.

        So you can call it perceived “fear”, but the underlying rationale for govt-enforced regulation is the chance of perceived harm to others — which, in my view, justifies vaccine mandates based on the past year and a half [even if vaccines turn out to be of very limited efficacy in the long run]

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      2. God, finally somebody who has been following.

        I’ve been stunned throughout this pandemic how little people know about the virus in spite of wall-to-wall coverage. The fact that vaccinated transmit and get infected has been announced by the CDC, Fauci, WashPo, NYTimes. Actors, politicians, famous people have spoken about it. “Breakthrough cases” are being discussed everywhere. Yet people, intelligent, profound people, still think that you take these vaccines to stop the spread.

        This is actually quite dangerous because if they are vaccinated, they will not think to get tested or stay home if they develop symptoms. Then they are likelier to spread.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. COVID vaccines DO NOT prevent infection and spread. From the very beginning, the makers of the vaccines never claimed they did.

      How is it possible that people still don’t know this? Do you not know anybody vaccinated who got infected? Seen anyone on TV? There are tons of people, some quite famous. Piers Morgan, a great enthusiast of the vaccines. Lindsay Graham.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. A simple answer to the first of your non-rhetorical questions is that cholesterol is not communicable so the analogy doesn’t hold – you cannot unknowingly pass on your high cholesterol to your neighbor with an underlying heart condition and cause him to die just by breathing the same air for too long. If that were the case and cholesterol worked just like covid, I suppose we would be in the exact same situation but with cholesterol passports.

    Because Covid is now endemic, the choice seems to be between the risks posed by possible infection and the risks connected to vaccination/mitigation. Individuals and societies simply come to different conclusions based on their circumstances, but it is disingenuous to present either choice as entirely risk-free. Yes, the long-term risks of the vaccine are unknown, but so are the long-term effects of infection. Unless you lead a charmed life and you manage to avoid both the virus and vaccination, but that’s unlikely with an endemic virus.

    At least in the country where I live, ongoing rampant infection and subsequent disruptions to the healthcare system (e.g. almost no routine cancer screening has been done for well over a year) seem to carry greater risks affecting the health of more people more severely than vaccination/mitigation currently does. So I got my shots without knowing whether there’ll be negative consequences in six months or five or ten years, but I don’t think anyone else should be forced to.

    OT: What I do find strange though is how those regularly clamoring about things like body/fat shaming now also seem to be the most eager to force vaccinations on others or to exclude the unvaccinated. It is a very contradictory standpoint.

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    1. The vaccines don’t prevent infection or spread. They just don’t. This is not in dispute. Vaccinated people pose A GREATER risk of spread because their symptoms are milder and they are less likely to stay at home when they get infected. This has been accepted as fact by Pfizer, by Fauci, by everybody.

      The only thing these vaccines do is lessen the severity of one’s symptoms. As I said, they seem quite effective at that for a few months. Then, the effectiveness fades. Look at Israel that vaccinated early and aggressively. Eight months later, we have a travel warning to avoid going to Israel. Too many people there are getting infected. 60% of them are vaccinated.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. These vaccines won’t be those ads in ten years because the manufacturers have been legally shielded from all potential consequences.

    If the vaccines, in ten years, are known to cause that kind of problem, I think we will see vaccine company execs torn to bloody gobbets in the streets by angry mobs. Because that’s why we have a court system that lets us sue for redress: to prevent that sort of thing. What happens when you need it and it’s not available? We may find out soon enough.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I have always been of the opinion that the government shouldn’t force you to wear seatbelts, either. If you want to rocket through the windshield after a collision, that’s your problem.

    Full disclosure: I got the jab. Does that mean you should be forced to get it? No.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Clarissa, as you know, very few people have ever been convinced to change their minds in internet arguments. Generally, this makes them dig into their positions more.

    I think in the end, whether we decide to get the vaccine or not is driven by emotion, and we then pick out the facts that support our point of view. There is so much information for various sources, many of them reputable, that you can find plenty of material to cite for or against the vaccine.

    I will concede that, being human, no matter what else I may claim, that’s how I decided to get vaccinated. Whatever arguments I can make here for it will be an example of the behavior described above. I view the arguments you’re making the same way.

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    1. You realize that getting the vaccine and forcing everyone else to get it are different things? We all support the former, but not the latter.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I support everybody’s right to take birth control. But I completely oppose forced sterilization.

        Why is it a complicated idea to transmit? My whole life I’ve been for bodily integrity and “my body, my choice.” I’m still for it.

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        1. I’m 100% OK with governments and public health authorities requiring people to have certain vaccinations for some of the things they want to do – say, attend public school, or receive a US permanent resident status. The comparison to forced sterilization doesn’t hold.

          If something much worse, like smallpox, were still around and more prevalent, I would be completely onboard with a smallpox vaccination being pretty much required to interact with other people in society.

          The effectiveness of the COVID vaccination is dropping as we speak, as is the benefit of requiring it. But if we’re talking about principles, I believe both, that one’s body is one’s choice, and that public health is the government’s responsibility. The only way I see to reconcile the two is by making being vaccinated against dangerous infectious diseases a precondition for some occupations, activities, etc.

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          1. I’m very glad to see people are recognizing that Pfizer juice is not at all what we were promised. This gives me a lot of hope. Thank you! For as long as people can still notice things, we aren’t hopeless.

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    2. How anybody can possibly conclude that the aim of this post is to argue for or against people taking the vaccine (or statins) is a mystery I will never solve.

      I respect everybody’s decision to take any medication they want. When my sister was here, I drove her myself to get the vaccine and didn’t debate her decision at any point.

      My argument is solely about bodily integrity. I defend your right to get vaccinated if you want as much as I defend my right not to take statins.

      If somebody persecuted you for taking this vaccine, I’d be against that. If somebody persecuted you for taking birth control, I’d be against that, too. Your body, your choice. That’s my only argument.

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    3. I agree with ABC. I am happy for everyone who was able to make the choice to take the vaccine. I am in favor of everyone making a choice that works for them. What I am opposed to are vaccine mandates. I would hope that many of those who have made a different choice than I did could agree with me that forcing people to take the vaccine against their will (at he risk of losing their job, for example) is not the way to go.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It is obviously absurd for people to force/condemn/cancel others if one chooses to not be vaccinated against covid. The question here is, or so I thought, was about public policy and health decisions — not everyone who is a reader of this blog have the intellect, opportunity, resources to do research and come to considered conclusions. Hence the need for govt. intervention [look at the drunk driving example above].

    Just like the choice to get vaccinated has pros [reduced symptom severity, benefits for immuno-compromised individuals, potential reduction in transmission] and cons [questionable long-term efficacy, potentially unknown side-effects, etc] — so does the choice of not getting a jab [[no air travel to.from certain countries, working remotely for longer etc.]. The people who make the second choice should be willing to live with the cons of their decision instead of complaining against them as a means for “coercion” geared towards enforcing the first choice.

    I personally got vaccinated not because of fear or some deep faith in these vaccines — but because the inconveniences [especially since my family lives in India so international travel is essential even after discounting professional travel], if not vaccinated, outweighed the risks of getting one.

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    1. “The people who make the second choice should be willing to live with the cons of their decision instead of complaining against them as a means for “coercion” geared towards enforcing the first choice.”

      You mean the cons like being fired from their job? Or the con of not being able to finish their studies at a University? I have an experience of living in a totalitarian society. We are almost there.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “White people who haven’t done public penance for their racism should live with the cons of their decision instead of complaining that they can’t get hired or own property. They should be willing to live with the consequences of being a murderous racist by the fact of their existence.”

        Are you completely sure you have nothing to fear from this mentality?

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        1. The false equivalence with racism you keep bringing up for a pandemic situation is tangential to the point.

          In the very first line I said that this is not about condemnation and persecution or totalitarianism. It is about policy decisions at a govt. level.
          To me at least indiscriminate use of “omg totalitarian” is a complete analogue of crying “omg racism” to absolve oneself from living with consequences of one’s choices.
          – “I failed my maths exam”
          (Omg maths is racist)
          – “I am not being allowed to travel just because I am not vaccinated”
          (Omg vaccines are totalitarian!)

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          1. But that’s precisely the thing. I don’t believe that these are isolated issues. I believe that they are part of one whole. It’s the exact same people who promote both. I don’t see it as a coincidence.

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        2. My larger point, right from very first comment, is that not every institutionalized regulation is about totalitarianism or control [especially when driven by unusual situations such as those created by covid over the past year or so] — by not recognizing this we stand to distract ourselves from the real instances of racism and totalitarianism prevalent in our society, some of which you have deftly talked about on your blog here [like digital surveillance by BigTech etc].

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          1. So the censorship of information implemented by the big tech in collaboration with the government is also just incidental with the aim to protect our health?

            I do agree with you in principle that not every institutionalized regulation is about totalitarian control. However, there are too many signs for me to ignore at this point. I understand that every person’s comfort level with the rules is different. Clarissa suggested we all think about what is our limit. Is there a point that will be a bridge too far for you?

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          2. There must be a reason why racism is now “a public health issue.” Why now? Why at the precise moment when there’s a real, serious threat to public health? Why is it so insistently declared that BLM gatherings help to stop COVID while all other gatherings help spread it?

            The connection between anti-COVID and anti-racism isn’t made by me. It’s being insistently offered up to us at every turn.

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