Critique of "Live Free or Die: Why Medical Autonomy Matters"
by Frank Miele
published in Real Clear Politics, October 11, 2021
I have for some time now been wanting to write a response to the various objections I’ve encountered in discussions with anti-vaxxers and non-vaxxers on social media. I’ve encountered a few who are refusing vaccination because they’re young, have good health habits, and also take precautions in public places, but even they are often guilty of sharing a variety of conspiracy theories and misinformation. This article by Frank Miele includes some of the most common, all gathered into one place, providing a good format for engaging this topic. The Italicized phrases and sentences are from the article.
1. Government powers that are mandating a vaccine represent a threat to society — the threat of totalitarianism, the state against the individual.
- Could also say they represent the state acting for the common good, namely public health.
2. What’s the point if I have to surrender my dignity and willpower to the bureaucrats and technocrats and let them stick a needle in my arm to mark me just as a rancher would brand his cattle: owned.
- Why is this a surrender of dignity and willpower? Is that what the author feels when the state requires him to wear clothes or abstain from smoking in public places? And how does the state “own” someone who complies with a vaccine mandate? There is no parallel between a vaccine and branding cattle. This is nonsensical hyperbole!
3. I’m supposed to give up my ability to govern my own body because the people who are already vaccinated are still terrified of the virus that the vaccination supposedly protects them against.
- The vaccine actually does drastically reduce the rate of serious illness and death. And it’s not so much that people who are vaccinated are terrified of you, it’s that they want to protect others like you from others like you!
4. All kinds of rationalizations about how he is happy to get a vaccine that protects from a diseases that are actually dangerous. He even gets a flu vaccine because flu kills around 50,000 a year. Yet did anyone — even St. Anthony Fauci — ever dare to suggest that vaccination for flu should be mandatory because it would save lives?
- “St. Anthony Fauci” should tell you everything you need to know about this writer. But, fwiw, flu vaccine is required in some places, including the military.
- Case fatality ratio for seasonal influenza is about 0.1% and Covid-19 is 1.6%, or 16X more deadly. Some strains of Covid-19 are also more infectious. While 50,000 in the U.S. would die from influenza in a bad year, over 700,000 have died from Covid-19 during the last year, which is about what we’d expect given the fatality rates mentioned above. Sounds like a deadly disease to me!
5. I even got a (flu) shot last year, although for some peculiar reason, influenza vanished last winter while COVID was enjoying its greatest reign of terror.
- That’s supposed to imply some conspiracy in how Covid information is tallied, but all it really shows is that mitigation efforts to reduce the spread of Covid also reduced the spread of influenza. Some people got influenza anyway, and some died.
6. On allowing children whose parents didn’t want them vaccinated to attend school: If someone had a personal reason why they rejected vaccines, we didn’t put them through an inquisition or try to burn them at the stake of public opinion. This was America — land of the free.
- Well, sometimes they were not allowed to attend, and, at any rate, these children benefited from the herd immunity created by vaccinated children and so were little danger to others. That’s radically different from Covid-19, where some 25% of the population refuses vaccination; additionally, there are millions of children not yet eligible for vaccination.
7. So why might a reasonable person decide not to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in such a hysterical climate? Maybe because it’s an experimental and untested drug using a technology (mRNA) that has the power to tamper with the very genetic makeup of the cells in my body.
- Spin and misinformation! mRNA vaccines are not experimental, they are not untested, and they do not alter the genetic makeup of the cells in one’s body. This man is ignorant and misinformed.
- See https://tinyurl.com/3nccwd8p for a short video on mRNA vaccines by Mayo Clinic.
8. After rattling off stats about death rates from various causes for 66 year old men like himself: Think of it! If I’m going to die this year, I’m 33 times more likely to die of anything else besides COVID. Based on the propaganda we are inundated with every day about the virus, I should be terrified! There are way worse things out there trying to kill me than COVID.
- Not really! Covid pneumonia is one of the most horrible ways to die I can think of, generally coming after days of excruciating pain and discomfort from fever and systemic infection. Besides, this is just “stinkin-thinkin.” He already told us he gets a flu shot because he presumably wants to reduce his odds of serious infection or death from influenza, and he most likely takes action to reduce vulnerability to other risks. Why not Covid-19? Totally irrational!
- Also, Covid-19 was the 3rd leading killer for elderly people, behind heart disease and cancer.
9. Joe Biden makes my choices, trying to protect me from myself.
- That actually makes sense, and from spreading the virus to others, over-burdening our healthcare system, etc.
10. On the risk of the vaccine: Small or not, the risk is real. The question is why you would want to leave the decision up to a health agency whether you should put something in your body that may harm or even kill you. Why not become informed and then make your own decision.
- Because we are so overwhelmed with misinformation about these topics, as this article amply demonstrates. Most individuals are in no position to sift through scientific information like the CDC, John Hopkins, etc., whose reports and advisories are shared in the interest of public health. They only recommend policies, however; elected officials decide what to do about it. If you don’t like the government policies in your area, don’t blame the CDC, FDA, or your state and county public health institutions. Take it up with your political leaders.
11. Yes, there is a chance that I will contract COVID and suffer as a result. But there’s no certainty about whether I will ever be exposed to the virus while it is in a dangerous form. If I am, I may get very sick or only slightly sick or have no symptoms at all.
- Or die! He left that part out. And what’s this bit about “the virus while it is in a dangerous form?” Like any form of Covid-19 isn’t potentially dangerous? And “certainty” isn’t a valid argument for or against anything on this topic. We are dealing with possibilities.
12. Compare that to the absolute certainty that if I am vaccinated, I am putting myself intentionally at risk of known side effects by putting a vaccine into my arm that I don’t trust. Only a madman would do that, or someone who puts a much higher value on going along with the crowd than I do.
- This is the DUMBEST argument in the article — like anyone who get vaccinated is just “going along with the crowd,” and Mr. Macho Man is free (like a two-year old, he has already explained) to be independent! Fool!
- Yes, there are very small risks with any vaccine or drug, which have to be compared against the risk of contracting the virus. Hundreds of thousands of non-vaxxers have bet wrong. The risk of having severe or fatal consequences from Covid-19 far outweigh any negative consequences of the various vaccines that have been developed thus far.
13. I don’t want to die, but that’s not the worst thing that can happen. Being forced to turn my most personal medical decisions over to Joe Biden or Anthony Fauci is an insult to me and to the Founding Fathers who fought to free us from tyranny.
- Well, George Washington ordered his soldiers to be vaccinated for smallpox, as he thought it posed a greater danger to his army than the British. Was he a tyrant? - Besides, no one is forcing anyone to get vaccinated. That mandate applies to federal workers and certain businesses. If one doesn’t want to go along with that requirement, they can quit. Small business owners can do what they wish.
Enough misinformation and logical fallacies! The reasoning here reminds me in many ways of Tucker Carlson, one of the Fox News evening pundits who has hyped suspicion of the vaccine and played up the individual freedom bit ad nauseam. Carlson is probably vaccinated, however. Fox News has a vaccine mandate! This message has been edited. Last edited by: Phil,
". . . About 23% of people not vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 say they normally get an annual flu shot.3 Even accounting for fear of novelty, it seems plausible that much of this difference is caused by misinformation and disinformation. As of early October 2021, about 22% of the US adult population,4 or 43 million people, have chosen nonvaccination, so we estimate that between 2 and 12 million people are unvaccinated because of misinformation or disinformation.
"We calculate that total voluntary COVID-19 nonvaccination has caused at least $1 billion of harm each day in the United States since vaccines became widely available. This estimate is based on the costs of hospitalizations and the valuation of lives lost and long-term morbidity due to COVID-19 calculated using the standard methodology for US Department of Health and Human Services regulatory impact analysis."
Study on Covid-19 Vaccine Misinformation and Disinformation.
Let's add these, on vaccines supposedly altering DNA:
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