The very existence of this [OSHA vaccine mandates] case in the Supreme Court reveals that something is fundamentally broken about our presumptions about the relationship between the individual and the state. It must be fixed. It won’t finally be fixed by a court but rather a dramatic cultural change that embraces certain fundamental propositions about liberty itself.
This morning I listened to the oral arguments in the case of the Biden administration’s vaccine mandates as enforced by OSHA. It was a demoralizing experience.
I heard some crazy things, such as a claim that “750 million” Americans just got Covid yesterday, and that 100,000 kids with Covid are in the hospital, many on ventilators. The correct number is 3,300 with positive tests, but not necessarily suffering from Covid. I further heard strong claims that the vaccines block disease spread, despite every bit of evidence to the contrary.
It was my first time hearing oral arguments in the Supreme Court. I might have thought that facts on the ground would actually matter to people who are holding the fate of human liberty in their hands. I might have thought that they would be getting their information from somewhere other than their political intuition, mixed with wildly inaccurate claims from bloggers and media pundits.
I was wrong. And that is deeply alarming. Or maybe it is a wake up call to us all. We have learned today that these people are no smarter than our neighbors, no more qualified to address complicated questions than our friends, and arguably far less informed than the Twittersphere about basic issues of Covid and public health.
The backdrop of today’s arguments is that 74% of Americans of all ages have had at least one shot. Meanwhile, case numbers are up 500% in many places, and 721,000 new cases have been logged throughout the country, and that’s obviously a large underestimate because it does not count at-home tests which are selling out in stores around the country.
The extremely obvious point—the most basic observation one can make about this data—is that the vaccinations are not controlling the spread. This has been granted already by the CDC and every other authority.
No matter what people say in retrospect, I seriously doubt that anyone would have predicted a future in which the pandemic highs would be reached following mass vaccination. It’s not only true in the US but also all over the world. However much they help with mitigating severe outcomes of the disease, at least for a time, they have not been successful in stopping the spread of the virus. They will not end the pandemic.
And yet, so far as I can understand this, that is the whole point of the vaccine mandate. It is to protect workers from getting Covid. There is no zero evidence that this is possible with mass mandates in the workforce. People can get and are getting Covid anywhere and everywhere, among which surely means the workplace too. The vaccine is not stopping that. What will bring this pandemic to an end will not be the vaccines but the adaptation of human immune systems, exposed and then developing resilience.
Apparently there was not one mention of natural immunity during the oral arguments, which is truly astounding. From what I could hear, there was a strangely truncated environment in which no one was willing to say certain obvious truths, almost as if a pre-set orthodoxy had been defined at the outset. There were certain givens that simply were not questioned; namely that this is a disease without precedent, that the state can stop it, that vaccines are the best ticket we have, that the unvaccinated have absolutely no good reason to remain that way.