What is Freedom?

Spread the love

Once upon a time in the Congo, there was a democratically elected President; Some* called him the “Big Man.” The Big Man was elected every seven years by a majority of 97.8%. The people loved him because before he became President, war was everywhere, and just before that, the colonial overlords and punishers were everywhere. You couldn’t get a break. Then after a brief interlude of a different duly elected president who died in an unfortunate execution, Big Man saw to it that there would be no more wars.

Well, not exactly. He had wars, and the people of the Congo were given the opportunity to get jobs fighting in the wars, but they were all in adjoining countries, and they were all paid for by the United States Congress. So no war without taxes, and that was good.

I met Big Man one day. He came and gave a speech, and brought with him his duly elected Congress. They were all women, mostly in their 40s and 50s, and they were adorned with what must have been a million dollars worth of diamond jewelry. Each. Small fires could be set nearby from the sparkle. Anyway, he autographed a copy of his book for me, and in the book, he talks about his great relationship was with the former Director of the CIA, his close personal friend since that unfortunate execution, and later, also a President, but of a different country.

Then one day the people rose up and drove Big Man out of the country, where he died a rich but sick man.

Right after Big Man was driven away, the people of one part of the country, where I had lived off an on for a few years, saw that there was a game park full of antelopes, hippos, and other edible animals.

“This is freedom,” one of them said. “True democracy. We are free to kill and eat all of these animals.” And they did.

If you disagree with what they did, fine, but keep in mind that the upheaval that accompanied the departure of the Big Man, along with some other international supply chain disruptions due to war in the Middle East, had blanketed the land with hunger and uncertainty. Of course the people killed the antelopes, and fed them to their children, and of course they killed the hippos, to sell the meat to the cities, and pawn off the ivory tusks, to make enough money for school, medicine, and to tie one on now and then. In this sense, their newly found freedom to ignore all the laws saved the lives of many, lives that were put at risk due to no fault of their own.

I used to live in a city in Minnesota where the number one police call, the most frequent reason the cops had to “rush” to the scene of a crime, was when someone filled their gas tank at a filling station and drove of without paying. Clerks, they were, these cops. They didn’t really rush to catch the culprits. They stopped by the filling station to fill out a form that would allow the station’s owner to take the theft off as a loss. One day someone suggested that they make a rule that all filling stations would only pump out the gas if it was paid for by a valid credit card at the pump, or in advance inside the building. All the filling station owners wanted this rule, but could not admit that out loud, and could not impose this rule unilaterally. Well, they could impose the rule, but then all the people of that city, freedom-loving each and every one, would not go to that gas station any more, even though most of the townspeople already were paying inside (while buying a pack of smokes and a lottery ticket) or were using a valid credit card outside. It was the principle of the thing.

A resolution to create the law was drafted and entered the process and was about to be passed when someone noticed that his would be a freedom-killing regulation, so it was cancelled. And to this day, the number one call to the cops, and thus, one of the largest expenses to the freedom-loving people of that city, is when someone liberates a tankfull of gasoline and expresses their duly elected freedom by driving off without making payment. Ya gotta love democracy. If this was a communist country like the libs want, those people would have to pay for their gasoline!

A new wave of freedom washes across the landscape, in response to a deadly pandemic. Freedom to embrace the virus, to catch it oneself and to pass it on to others. Freedom to be a contagion. Freedom to wash one’s hands of the morbidity among children and widespread death among the elders, by not washing one’s hands at all! Freedom to breathe. Breathe in the virus, let it breed in one’s tissues, and breathe it out in abundance!

Freedom loving contagions die of the virus at double the rate of those who vaccinate. Distracted from fear and loathing of the imminent replacement by hippo-eating Africans, earthquake-ravaged Haitians, and others, the contagions are replacing themselves, with remarkable sense of duty to the freedom they love and have created for themselves.

Next time someone pulls the freedom card out of the deck, ignore them. They probably don’t know what freedom even is.

Have you read the breakthrough novel of the year? When you are done with that, try:

In Search of Sungudogo by Greg Laden, now in Kindle or Paperback
*Please note:
Links to books and other items on this page and elsewhere on Greg Ladens' blog may send you to Amazon, where I am a registered affiliate. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, which helps to fund this site.

Spread the love

69 thoughts on “What is Freedom?

  1. I remember the good old days when many shouted “My body my choice”.

    Not anymore.

    Now many are so afraid of getting sick they support mandatory vaccination – “my body my choice” gets tossed out the window.

    It if funny. An unvaccinated person has a risk of infecting another.

    While abortion has a 100% chance of killing another.

    Today, freedom means mandatory vaccination.

    Today, freedom means you are deemed inherently racist if you have white skin.

    Today, freedom means trans women are women – even if they are actually men.

    It is a funny world we live in.

    I wonder what freedom will mean tomorrow.

    Words have no meaning and they can be changed overnight by a few activists or a single court.

    It should be fun to watch all of this play out and see what happens.

    1. And the libertarian racist liar appears again.

      “I remember the good old days when many shouted “My body my choice”.
      Not anymore.

      And you shouted back “No, you don’t get that because you’re a woman and don’t get a voice in important decisions, even about your own life.”

      Now many are so afraid of getting sick they support mandatory vaccination – “my body my choice” gets tossed out the window.”

      Dishonest conflation of two things — no surprise considering the source.

      Today, freedom means you are deemed inherently racist if you have white skin.

      Not at all — people are identified as racist because of the things they say and support, not skin color.

      Today, freedom means trans women are women – even if they are actually men.

      This is a toss-back to your “why I’m a proud bigot and science denier” from some months ago. I guess once you go in on the science denialism and authoritarian lines, as you have, you go all in.

      Words have no meaning and they can be changed overnight by a few activists or a single court.

      a) Your lack of understanding, or flat out denial, of why ideas and terms are constantly adjusted, doesn’t make those adjustments and changes wrong
      b) I didn’t realize that never before in the history of language did meanings of words ever change.

      Some people never disappoint. Others, like you, always disappoint — your posts continually show that HRC was correct in her comment about trump supporters but should have given a bigger estimate for the population size of deplorables.

  2. Abortion has a 100% of killing another what? A fetus isn’t a person, so it’s not murder.

    An unvaccinated person contributes to a pandemic which could have ended a long time ago and we’d be able to put this all behind us.

    1. “A fetus isn’t a person”. That is what some say. Many others do think a fetus is a person.

      Ask the grieving parents after a miscarriage if they shouldn’t mourn because a fetus isn’t a person. But don’t kid yourself. A fetus is a tiny unborn person, just as a baby is a tiny born person and a toddler is a larger, but still small person. Still developing, still growing – just as a fetus is still developing and still growing until it is killed.

      The closer one gets to full term, the worse parents usually feel about a miscarriage? I wonder why that is? Do you think there is a magic point during pregnancy when the fetus turns into a person? I feel the same way about abortion. The closer to full term the worse I feel about it.

      The vaccines are great and I would urge everybody to get vaccinated. I chose to get vaccinated, as did everybody in my family. It certainly makes me feel safer – knowing I lowered my risk of getting sick and even if I do get sick I have lowered my risk of hospitalization and death.

      But I live in a world where others choose not to get vaccinated. And that is ok.

      That is their choice. I would use persuasion rather than mandates. But that is just one person’s opinion.

    2. Oddly, it is mostly men, among the genders, that strongly feel that an embryo or a fetus is a person, and the distinction between a fertilized egg and an embryo, or an embryo and a fetus, is ignored, suggesting that maybe they don’t know what they are talking about.

      Across religions, I think it is true that it is mostly Christians, who on balance love the death penalty, that think a fetus is a person.

      These things do not add up. Well, they do add up, but they add up to no good!

  3. Only someone truly despicable would equate grief over a miscarriage with an abortion.
    But then, it is rickA.

    But don’t kid yourself. A fetus is a tiny unborn person

    Your willful science denial and your immense desire to control women when interference is none of your business is still front and center.

    1. I think you should be consistent.

      Either you should respect the “my body my choice” narrative for both abortion and vaccination or not. To be both pro abortion and for vaccine mandates seems like a contradictory position to me.

      Just one person’s opinion (of course).

  4. “Either you should respect the “my body my choice” narrative for both abortion and vaccination or not. To be both pro abortion and for vaccine mandates seems like a contradictory position to me.”

    Spare me. Your position on abortion is based on your ignorance, your dismissal of the right of women to make decisions for themselves — in other words, lack of concern for women and the desire to restrict their freedom, nothing more.

    Your lack of support for vaccine mandates is based on your libertarian “mind set” (quotes because it implies thought, which is anathema to libertarians like you) that a single person’s feelings are more important than society as a whole.

    But, considering you call the BLM and the antifa movements as terrorists while viewing storming of the Capitol in an attempt to carry out a coup was a minor civil event, there’s no reason to expect you’ve actually learned anything over the last 1.5 years.

  5. “These things do not add up. Well, they do add up, but they add up to no good!”

    Yup. One of the women on our faculty says it best: “Don’t make the mistake of believing the pro-life crowd values anything more than controlling women. If you do believe they value life you’ll be wrong about 99.999% of them.”

    1. What many so-called pro-life people are actually for is the power to require forced birth pregnant women. Shouldn’t pro-lifers be just as interested in curtailing rather than expanding gun-toting, wars, trying to ease the poverty of so many families with children (~40% of children live in families below the poverty line in some states), and keeping anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers from infecting others with their diseases?

      When asked about the new Texas restrictions on abortion (starting restrictions before most women would even know they were pregnant) in the case of rape. Neither rape nor incest is considered a valid reason for an abortion in the TX rules and Governor Abbott replied that it was no problem because they (presumably he and his minions) were going to take rapists off the streets. You might think that only an idiot would think that result even possible, considering that a rapist can’t be identified before he commits at least one rape and is then caught and found guilty. Even if all known rapists were imprisoned for life (or even executed), that doesn’t do anything useful for impregnated victims.

      I wonder if any of those pro-birthers know anyone who was raped

    2. What many so-called pro-life people are actually for is the power to require forced birth on pregnant women. Shouldn’t pro-lifers be just as interested in curtailing rather than expanding gun-toting, wars, trying to ease the poverty of so many families with children (~40% of children live in families below the poverty line in some states), and keeping anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers from infecting others with their diseases?

      When asked about the new Texas restrictions on abortion (starting restrictions before most women would even know they were pregnant) in the case of rape. Neither rape nor incest is considered a valid reason for an abortion in the TX rules and Governor Abbott replied that it was no problem because they (presumably he and his minions) were going to take rapists off the streets. You might think that only an idiot would think that result even possible, considering that a rapist can’t be identified before he commits at least one rape and is then caught and found guilty. Even if all known rapists were imprisoned for life (or even executed), that doesn’t do anything useful for impregnated victims.

      I wonder if any of those pro-birthers know anyone who was raped

  6. Either you should respect the “my body my choice” narrative for both abortion and vaccination or not. To be both pro abortion and for vaccine mandates seems like a contradictory position to me.

    That is because you are one of those considered by Peter Medawar to be amongst this cohort:

    “The spread of secondary and latterly of tertiary education has created a large population of people, often with well-developed literary and scholarly tastes, who have been educated far beyond their capacity to undertake analytical thought.”

  7. RickA writes: Either you should respect the “my body my choice” narrative for both abortion and vaccination or not. To be both pro abortion and for vaccine mandates seems like a contradictory position to me.

    Actually, we libs do respect that narrative for both. If a pregnant woman doesn’t want to get an abortion, she is free not to get an abortion. Of course she will then have to live with the results of her decision: bringing the pregnancy to term, perhaps with medical complications; and then raising the child or giving it up for adoption. Either outcome imposes a substantial burden.

    Similarly, if a man is exposed to the novel coronavirus, he is free not to wear a mask, and not to get vaccinated. Of course he must also live with the results of not doing those things: in the first case, he must isolate himself for a period of time to be sure he has not caught the disease; in the second case, he must be tested and show recent proof of a negative test, or he will not be admitted to public events he might want to attend.

    And if those who decline masks and vaccinations purely out of personal choice get COVID-19, they should go to the end of the line for treatment.

    Those with “a dog in this hunt” may wish to argue over whether the burden of wearing a mask or getting a vaccination is greater than the burden of using contraception to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.

    Of course neither masks nor vaccines are absolutely 100% effective — just as contraception sometimes fails. But many Republicans argue that skipping these preventive measures purely out of personal choice should have different consequences. Get COVID, receive prompt treatment; get pregnant, be denied a legal abortion. I call that a skewed version of freedom.

    1. Further to this, a Republican state senator has complained about a Colorado health system requiring a prospective transplant patient to be vaccinated against COVID. Here’s the UPI story:

      Health system defends requiring COVID-19 vaccine for organ transplants
      1:56 PM ET, 10/06/2021 – United Press International

      A Colorado health system is defending its decision to require coronavirus vaccinations for people receiving organ transplants after a Republican state senator complained about a patient being denied.

      University of Colorado Health spokesman Dan Weaver told the Denver Post that placing conditions for transplant patients before, during and after surgery is commonplace and well predates the COVID-19 pandemic.

      Colorado state Rep. Tim Geitner complained on Twitter about a letter he received about a local patient being denied surgery. The patient told Geiter they were placed as “inactive” on the transplant waiting list because they had not been vaccinated for COVID-19.

      “UCHealth denies life-saving treatment — kidney transplant — to [an] El Paso County resident,” Geitner tweeted.

      “Patients may be required to receive vaccinations, including hepatitis B, MMR and others,” Weaver told the Post. “Patients may also be required to avoid alcohol, stop smoking, or prove they will be able to continue taking their anti-rejection medications long after their transplant surgery.

      “These requirements increase the likelihood that a transplant will be successful, and the patient will avoid rejection.”

      Weaver said non-vaccinated transplant patients have a higher mortality rate — from 20% and 30%, compared to under 2% among the general population for those who’ve tested positive for the virus.

  8. For RickA, and other right wing loons like him, life begins at conception and ends at birth. I am sure he doesn’t shed the slightest tear at tens of thousands of otherwise healthy children in the world whose lives are torn away daily by poverty, malnutrition and war. No, he cares more about undifferentiated cells that have not yet formed any kind of sentient being. And a woman should have rights over her own body. Every time RickA writes in here, one can be sure it will be some more warped, innane far right piffle. Sadly, there are many RickA’s out there lacking a scintilla of common sense or decency.

    Moreover, while opining about freedom, I would like to ask RickA if he stops his car at red lights or at stop signs. After all, doesn’t this basic road law impinge on his right to drive anywhere without having to concern himself about others? Because that is what mask wearing and vaccination are all about. It is about taking into consideration the rights of others. It is about helping to eradicate a potentially lethal pathogen and to safeguard the health of the vulnerable.

  9. Re: “Do you think there is a magic point during pregnancy when the fetus turns into a person?”

    I do but I don’t think there is any “magic” about it. A human fetus may be a potential person if it is not yet capable of living without artificial aid and has not yet developed a brain capable of any human thought it is not yet a person. That being said, I also think that the potentiality should be taken seriously during a woman’s decision-making process.

    1. I agree to a point, Tyvor. But what gets me about the anti-abortion crowd is how little they care about the welfare of children across the world who are alive. Many of them are ardent supporters of the US military, and raise nary a whimper when US bombs and militarized drones are blowing infants and toddlers to smithereens in far away lands. One never sees them protesting in front of the Pentagon. Instead, these brainless morons are camped outside of legal abortion clinics, bellowing their fake concern for the lives of the unborn.

      The word hypocrisy only scratches the surface in describing the motives of these people.

  10. Essentially, as Amanda Marcotte writes on Salon, the GOP has made the right to spread covid a centerpiece of their political platform. One cannot put it any more succinctly than that. Jason Klepper, who has spent the past several years ritually humiliating right wingnuts at Trump rallies, said on CNN that the staggering levels of ignorance he encounters at anti-masking and anti-vaccine protests is even beyond his comprehension. And then you have the cretins on Fox News, all of whom are of course vaccinated, feeding bucketfuls of lies to their faithful about vaccines while pushing bear urine, horse deworming paste and other quack remedies.

    Over here in Europe I can only say that many of us are in shock at events transpiring over there.

  11. When asked about the new Texas restrictions on abortion (starting restrictions before most women would even know they were pregnant) in the case of rape. Neither rape nor incest is considered a valid reason for an abortion in the TX rules and Governor Abbott replied that it was no problem because they (presumably he and his minions) were going to take rapists off the streets. You might think that only an idiot would think that result even possible, considering that a rapist can’t be identified before he commits at least one rape and is then caught and found guilty. Even if all known rapists were imprisoned for life (or even executed), that doesn’t do anything useful for impregnated victims.

    My problem with carving out exceptions for rape or incest is that the state is not very good at investigating, prosecuting, and convicting rapists. There’s a small percentage of rapes reported, and at each stage the success of investigating, prosecuting, and convicting. What, then, is the threshhold of proof for determining that a pregnancy is legal in such cases? Does the prosecutor wait to see if there is a conviction before deciding to take a doctor to jail for performing an abortion? It places more burden on the pregnant woman to prove she was raped, or a child a victim of incest, and so they have to both procure an abortion and show that they came about the fetus through such a damaging event as rape or incest.

    I don’t think we should add to the burden, but make abortions to be a legal medical procedure that isn’t my business nor anyone else’s.

  12. Re: “. . . what gets me about the anti-abortion crowd is how little they care about the welfare of children across the world who are alive.

    I concur with that, in fact I said something about it in a previous post. Anyone really “pro-life” should be against poverty in general, war in almost all cases, and drunk driving. They should be pro-environmental protection, for a realistic minimum wage, and follow medically approved ways to aid the survival of as many people as possible, especially in in a pandemic. The idea that there is some “right” under the U. S. Constitution to do things which pose a risk to other people’s health is just loony. The framers of the Constitution probably never thought that a malignant moron could be elected President* nore head a lemming cult of 30-40-odd percent of the population.

    * Can we be sure he was actually elected in 2T016?

    1. Tyvor says: “The idea that there is some “right” under the U. S. Constitution to do things which pose a risk to other people’s health is just loony. ”

      Things like:

      Breathing.
      Talking.
      Arguing.
      Sneezing.
      Shaking hands.
      Coughing.
      Traveling.
      Drinking.
      Smoking.
      Driving.
      Boating.
      Kissing.
      Sex.
      Cooking.
      Camp fires.
      Owning a firearm.
      Owning a knife.
      Owning a baseball bat.
      . . .

      Lets mandate the flu shot.
      Lets mandate diets.
      Lets mandate exercise.
      Hey – too many people. Lets mandate abortion.
      Maybe a mandatory test before you are allowed to have a child.
      Or go the opposite way. Lets mandate carrying every child to term.
      Mandatory firearm ownership and carry.

      My point is what cannot be mandated when you can mandate a medical procedure for people who already have natural immunity (which is better than vaccination immunity, studies show).

      When does the nanny state go to far?

      No organ transplant without vaccination (I just read about that one).

      Maybe no marriage without vaccination is next?

      There seems to be no end to the authoritarian urge. No religious exception. No exception for natural immunity (people with laboratory evidence of immunity don’t have to get the MMR vaccination, for example.)

      It all seems over the top to me.

      But that is just one person’s opinion.

    2. Hey Tyvor, you have upset our resident right wing loony who is a part of that 30-40% of Americans who are members of the cult. And it is a personality cult – it is not based on policies, but on some bizarre adoration of malignant narcissism.

      But I digress. As always, taking apart RickA’s piffle is easy. He is a part of the GOP death cult. He believes that spreading covid as quickly as possible is a fundamental human right, and especially as it enables the Trumpers to ‘own the libs’. Because that is why these right wing morons are all wound up about freedom on this issue. It is brazenly political. Damaging the Biden administration is their main agenda, even if this means that the body count rises rapidly.

      What would RickA think is the necessary mortality threshold that would satisfy his standards for vaccination mandates or enforced isolation? He never says. We are talking about a novel, dangerous virus that kills around 1% of those infected and leaves around 20% or more with long-term symptoms (long covid). If the mortality rate was 5%, is that enough? 10%? 20%? Or should there be no critical threshold? Does RickA believe that vaccination and mask mandates should not exist irrespective of the type of virus? He seems to imply that people with Ebola or Smallpox should (a) not be mandated to get vaccinated, and (b) should have unlimited freedom, even if this means infecting others and leading to a massive death toll. Heck, I wonder if RickA stops his car at red traffic lights or stop signs; after all that impinges on his freedom too. Those other road users just have to stay out of his way! If he smashes into them, then it is their fault because they were not paying attention!

      One can take this ‘freedom’ mantra way, way too far. The vaccine mandates are about saving lives, considering the health of others, and achieving herd immunity as quickly as possible so that society can return to normal. But again, the GOP and anti-vaxxers do not want this. They want chaos. They want disruption. They seem to want death.

      RickA’s point about abortion mandates was equally ridiculous. There were no mandates before – a woman could freely choose. Now there is a mandate. A woman is mandated to carry her pregnancy through to term even in cases of rape and incest and whether or not she wants this. In other words, her freedom to choose has been revoked. So much for RickA’s feeble attempt to stand up for free choice. The hypocrisy is blatant: in RickA’s warped view, vaccine and mask mandates should not exist, even though ths saves lives. But alternatively, abortion is now mandated as illegal in Texas, which in RickA’s opinion saves human lives.

      So which is it RickA? You believe that freedom to spread a potentially lethal disease is entrenched in your bill of rights, but that a woman’s right over her body should not be free because you think that this saves the lives of the unborn. So some lives clearly matter to you more than others.

      Pathetic.

    3. And Jeffh, don’t forget that the resident loonatarian lists privileges in his list of “rights”.

      His long history of saying individuals (as long as they are the right race and of the male sex) are more important than community, general health tell us his comments here aren’t unusual for him, they’re just statements of the crap he really believes. It’s incredibly scare that one person like this exists, but as we saw in the 2020 vote there are millions of people as deluded as he is.

  13. Re: RickA’s list which contains:

    Breathing. Talking. Arguing. Sneezing. Shaking hands. Coughing. Traveling. Drinking. Smoking. Driving. Boating. Kissing. Sex. Cooking. Camp fires. Owning a firearm. Owning a knife. Owning a baseball bat.

    I notice that you don’t list “Pulling a fire alarm or shouting ‘FIRE!’ in a crowded theater (theatre if you prefer) when there is no fire.” Why not? Could it be that there is no such acknowledged right regardless of the First Amendment in the U. S. Constitution? Could this be because it would be dangerous to do so?

    We are living during a time where there is a world wide outbreak of an extremely transmissible disease which can kill, can result in can in log-term damage even in some unknown as yet percentage of survivors, and can saturate our always limited capacity to treat it in hospital facilities, thus crowding others out of those facilities despite need.

    Do you really think that some hindrance by mask-wearing to (breathing in peoples faces), talking (maybe arguing) at close range, sneezing and/or coughing at people, or kissing them is such an unbearable loss of freedom that it is a “right”?

    Is shaking hands so important that it can be demanded as a right despite the dangers to both shakers who can then go on to infect others if infected themselves?

    Have you been arguing for the “right” of people with AIDS having sex freely?

    Are you really of the opinion that traveling freely is a “right” during a pandemic? Even Trump tried (feebly with his usual lack of intelligence) to limit the ability to spread COVID 19 to the U. S. so quickly. Even if it were a right here, it wouldn’t/couldn’t stop other countries from keeping us from carrying whatever old or new viruses we have into their countries.

    Drinking (alcoholic beverages), smoking, driving, boating, campfires, sex, are already regulated in our society and other societies in certain places and under certain conditions. Firearms have been regulated in our past (before we had such a large annual death toll from gun violence and among children of parents who didn’t believe in locks). And you can not legally attack, wound, or kill someone with a gun, knife, or baseball bat even now.

    Consider this point: If people had just voluntarily adopted masking, social distancing, and getting vaccinated when vaccines were made available, we would not have the pandemic still running rampant through the country. (Weren’t you one of those arguing for herd immunity? Thanks to what you are now arguing for, this may not be accomplished. Instead we will be faced with endless mutations and overstressed hospitals for a long time.)

    1. Well done, Tyver. A demolition of RickA’s arguments, one by one. Freedom comes with responsibility. If owning a baseball bat meant that everyone was suddenly free to take it into crowded places, and then to start swinging it indiscriminately, regardless of the people it hits, then regulations would be passed limiting where a baseball bat can be taken and used. The fact is that 99.9999% of people buy baseball bats to play baseball.

      With the coronavirus, allowing unvaccinated, or maskless people, or those carrying the virus, to have the same rights to go into crowded places as those who have been vaccinated and wear masks, is akin to letting a person with a baseball bat who intends to swing it indiscriminately to go into crowded venues. There is nothing wrong with mandating laws prohibiting maskless or unvaccinated people into bars, theaters or restaurants, where they risk infecting people with a potentially deadly virus, any more than it is wrong to prevent people going into these venues who have a propensity to randomly start swinging a baseball bat around.

      There are also mandates to prevent smoking in public places that are much more strict than any of the watered down laws we have over here in Europe. When I was a postdoc at University of Wisconsin-Madison in the late 1990s the whole city was virtually smoke-free. It was only in 2008 here in the Netherlands that smoking in restaurants was banned. We are light years behind the US on this issue. When I visited the US in 2001 and drove across the country visiting parks and wildlife refuges, I was surprised that in some states or counties it is forbidden to sell alcohol in restaurants. This ‘dry law’ was clearly mandated. I didn’t see locals up in arms over it. I don’t drink so of course it did not bother me.

      RickA’s mental engine again seems to be missing several spark plugs. He is super-selective in his interpretation of mandated freedoms, and even there, he interprets mandates based on his own political biases. Abortion = evil to him, so mandate abolition; vaccine and mask wearing = evil to him, so do not mandate them.

  14. Interesting discussion.

    Some people have brought up masks.

    I am against mask mandates as well as vaccine mandates.

    Now there are several levels of mask mandates so I have to be nuanced here.

    First, private property owners of course can mandate masks for their employees and their customers. No shoes, no shirt, no mask, no service is fine with me. So I would wear a mask at a grocery store or any store if they required it. Just as I would not carry a gun on private property which prohibits it. That is the property owners right and I can choose to comply or not enter the property. No problem.

    Now take a government mandate. Say they mandate I wear a mask in my home. Well, all the people in my home are vaccinated so I would feel no obligation to comply. The government doesn’t have the right to make me wear a mask in my own home (that is my opinion of course). They can suggest and try to persuade but any law passed would be struck down as unconstitutional, in my opinion.

    Now take a mask mandate outdoors in public spaces – say parks or on streets and so forth. This is more of a gray area. After all, the government can force me to wear cloths in public, wear corrective eyewear when driving and so forth. I would wager that a mask mandate in public spaces could be upheld as a valid police power during a pandemic (by a state but not by the Federal government, which has no police power). So while I am against mask mandates in public spaces, I think the state government does have to power to mandate one during a pandemic. Again, I would not be in favor of this as I think recommendations and persuasion will get more compliance than force – but that is just my opinion.

    So those are my thoughts on masks.

    1. “I am against mask mandates as well as vaccine mandates.”

      You are also presumably against abortion. Which contradicts your own position on personal freedom. Which makes you a hypocrite on the topics.

  15. RickA, this is not a discussion. It is a demolition of your rather feeble arguments.

    Look, just admit that you are part of a right wing death cult that wants covid to spread and infect as many people as possible. Admit that you seek chaos and disruption as part of your ‘own the libs’ agenda. This is what you are all about. This has nothing to do with freedom.

    Nice to know that you are also one of those Magats who carries a gun around everywhere that you are ‘permitted’ to do so. As for mandates, you comply with anti-smoking mandates, seat-belt wearing mandates, and a million other mandates. So what is it about vaccines that are mandated to protect people and save lives? As Tyver said, you were banging on about herd immunity a year ago. Now you appear to suggest that herd immunity should not be mandated via safe vaccines but that people should be free to get infected and spread covid to others.

    Clearly, the health and welfare of heavily overworked and stressed hospital staff means squat to you.

    1. Yes, I was discussing herd immunity last year. As I said then, and still maintain – it is a race between natural immunity from getting COVID-19 and recovering and vaccination immunity. But one way or another we will reach herd immunity – because we always have and do.

      We are still in that race between natural immunity and vaccination immunity. Eventually we will reach herd immunity. I happen to think that if we managed it we would get their more quickly and with fewer deaths. But few agree with that.

      I still advocate for volunteer vaccination and not mandated vaccination. But that is just one person’s opinion.

      Good discussion!

  16. So RickA thinks it is better to mandate natural infection than vaccination. Because the only way we will get to a herd immunity threshold is if enough people are vaccinated and/or are naturally infected by covid. So if the herd immunity threshold is not reached via vaccination alone, then the only way to reach it is if enough people get the disease. Of course this means a lot of deaths and long covid.

    Anti vaxxers are really clueless. They claim to have faith in their immune systems. Clearly, for some 700,000 Americans, their immune systems let them down. I wonder how many people who place faith in their immune systems over vaccination with covid would do so if they were bitten by a rabid mammal. Let’s put it this way: without a vaccination they are dead.

    1. “Anti vaxxers are really clueless.”

      So is there “when people covid they get better immunity than when they get vaccinated”, since not everyone who gets covid comes away with significant antibodies. But never underestimate their stupidity — or rickA’s, either.

  17. But one way or another we will reach herd immunity – because we always have and do.

    In the face of multiple mutations of one virus type? One which has been allowed, by the antics of such as yourself, to get out of control to the point that the number of mutations will be legion. You really don’t have a clue do you.

    Peter Medawar sure had your type nailed.

    1. You do know that vaccinations are relatively new. The first one was in 1796 for smallpox.

      For thousands of years before (or even hundreds of thousands of years) we achieved herd immunity the old fashioned way – by getting sick and recovering and training our immune systems to handle each disease.

      So with a combination of vaccination and natural immunity – yes we will reach herd immunity eventually – no matter how many variants pop up. That is just part of the battle we have been waging with bacteria and virus forever.

      That is how humanity has survived to the present day – by achieving herd immunity to every illness thrown at us (along with modern sanitation, hand washing and so forth).

      It is just easier with vaccinations than in the old days – which is why I encourage everybody to get one. I just got my flu shot and think that is a good idea also. I just wouldn’t force everybody to get any vaccination because I think it is counterproductive in the long run.

      Just one person’s opinion.

  18. “For thousands of years before (or even hundreds of thousands of years) we achieved herd immunity the old fashioned way – by getting sick and recovering and training our immune systems to handle each disease.”

    This moron glosses over the huge percentages of people who died, but then he’s never been an honest person, especially about science.

    1. An accurate dismissal of one person’s worthless opinion because once again he (RickA) demonstrates that he cannot base argument on his own ‘facts’.

      Shawn Otto has his measure here, my emphasis:

      In an age when most major public policy challenges revolve around science, less than 2 percent of congresspersons have professional backgrounds in it. The membership of the 112th Congress, which ran from January 2011 to January 2013, included one physicist, one chemist, six engineers, and one microbiologist.

      In contrast, how many representatives and senators do you suppose have law degrees—and whom many suspect avoided college science classes like the plague? Two hundred twenty-two. It is little wonder we have more rhetoric than fact in our national policy making. Lawyers are trained to create a compelling narrative to win an argument, but as any trial lawyer will tell you, that argument uses facts selectively and only for the purposes of winning the argument, not for establishing the truth.

      Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America

      Another book that describes the underlying issues resulting in increasing ignorance in the population is Susan Jacoby’s ‘The Age of American Unreason’. I studded aspects of American educational practices in a degree course (Comparative Education module) alongside exchange students from the US. The students were from California or the NE coast with none from the mid-west.

      The Age of American Unreason

      Note that the Trump miss-administration made things much worse by appointing ideologue Betsy DeVos to education. As a Guardian article headed:

      Betsy DeVos: the billionaire Republican destroying public education

      Cuts, attacks, rollbacks – the education secretary’s campaign to dismantle America’s public system has continued unabated

      Reading Shawn Otto, Rick A would discover that the Republican Party has trod all over the intents of the founding fathers of the USA, but that is OK because a lawyer is always right.

    2. How exactly did I gloss over the huge percentages of people who died?

      I am pretty sure that everybody before about 1900 has died (some even from disease). How can you be upset about that? The past is immutable. The number of people who died in the past from disease is fixed and unchangeable.

      What is the faux outrage about?

      Do you deny that humanity survived every single disease we have encountered?

      Do you deny that humanity survived these diseases, since before 1796, without vaccination – relying on natural immunity?

      Of course humanity will reach herd immunity to COVID-19 – with a combination of natural immunity and vaccination. Do you doubt that?

      The people who will die will die and the people who will live will live. That is life (and death). What’s to get upset about? Do you think you can wish disease away?

      Your anger seems misplaced to me. But that is just one person’s opinion.

  19. Yes indeed, as a lawyer RickA’s grasp of science is pretty non-existent. That doesn’t stop him venturing one opinion after another that mangle and distort science because he has an extreme right wing political agenda.

    Saying piffle like ‘herd immunity was reached naturally before the smallpox vaccine’ is exactly as Dean said. Reaching that immunity resulted in many millions of deaths. We are thankful that the IFR of Sars-Covid 2 is ‘only’ around 1%. That has still led to the deaths of over 700,000 Americans. I wonder how RickA would marvel at ‘natural herd immunity’ if the IFR was 10%. That would mean over 7 million dead Americans at this point. Or let’s go higher. Say the IFR was 25%. That would mean 18 million American deaths. At what point does someone lacking any kind of empathy or morality begin to acknowledge that herd immunity by natural infection perhaps is not such a good strategy?

    The other point is that many of the serious zoonotic spillovers affecting mankind are relatively recent events i.e. since humans domesticated animals and as a result of the mass destruction and fragmentation of natural ecosystems. Moreover, these spillovers were relatively local events since human populations did not move over large distances (in other words we were not a panmictic species like we are now). Of course knowing this requires something of an elementary understanding of science, something most right wing lawyers appear to lack.

    1. Please point out exactly what I said that “mangle and distort science”.

      The fact that millions died in the past from disease is relevant how?

      What is it you are so angry about? My opinion that vaccination mandates are a bad idea?

      Is this discussion about science or about values? I think it is about values – namely the right to be free from forced medical procedures.

      What other forced medical procedures are you in favor of? What happened to “my body my choice”?

  20. “What is it you are so angry about? My opinion that vaccination mandates are a bad idea?”

    Your opinion is based on your stupid belief that individual “sanctity” overrides concern for community IN THE CASE where no real risk to individuals is concerned — which is the case with vaccinations.

    Your ‘argument’ is that the belief that individuals need to be concerned about the society in general is somehow a line that cannot be crossed is asinine.

  21. “Do you deny that humanity survived these diseases, since before 1796, without vaccination ”

    No, that would be stooping to your level of stupidity and dishonesty. Your “argument” is that even though huge percentages of people in the past died from diseases there is no reason to take advantage of the knowledge and tools we have now to prevent high numbers of deaths, because that infringes (in your little mind) on the freedumbs of individuals.

    As usual, I’m appalled by your lack of concern about general society, but not a bit surprised at you fundamentally shitty opinions.

    1. Nope. Wrong again. I encourage everybody to get the jab. I simply wouldn’t mandate it. The people who died in the past are not relevant to my opinion.

    2. Edited slightly:

      As usual, I’m appalled by your lack of concern about general society, but not a bit surprised at you fundamentally shitty and uninformed opinions.

  22. Then RickA, if you do not supported vaccine mandates, then you clearly must say that there are consequences. A person refusing a vaccine to combat a potentially deadly virus forfeits their right to mingle freely with the rest of society who are vaccinated. They forfeit their right to a hospital bed if they are infected. They forfeit their right to go to sporting events, restaurants, concerts, and other places where vaccinated people congregate.

    So sure then, don’t mandate vaccines. But realize that there are consequences that limit your freedom if you decide to not be vaccinated. By now we know that vaccines greatly reduce the chances of getting seriously ill, and greatly reduce transmission of the virus.

    You can’t have your cake and eat it. And incidentally, smallpox vaccines were mandated. There is nothing unusual about mandating vaccines during a health crisis. It is just pathetic that Magats and many stupid Republicans want to create chaos and help the virus to spread merely because their vile orange hero lost the last Presidential election.

    1. In Minnesota, the law provides for vaccination exemptions. One such exemption is provided as follows “or if there is laboratory confirmation that a child is already immune to certain diseases against which immunization is normally required, the student may submit a statement to this effect, signed by a health care provider, in order to be considered exempt from the contraindicated or unnecessary immunization.”

      In other words, if you can prove you had COVID-19 you can be exempt from getting the vaccination. This makes a great deal of sense because you have natural immunity which studies have shown is better than vaccination immunity.

      https://www.health.state.mn.us/people/immunize/basics/exemption.html

      Do you support mandatory vaccinations for the people who already have natural immunity?

      I am against vaccination mandates – but am really against firing people for refusing to get a vaccination when they already have natural immunity (which is happening all over the USA now).

    2. “then you clearly must say that there are consequences.”

      No, he doesn’t believe people like him (right race and sex) should have to suffer consequences for anything they do. In his eyes consequences are for the lesser people

  23. Natural immunity is temporary. If someone was infected by the original variant early in 2020, they are just as susceptible now to Delta as an unvaccinated person who has never been infected. So no exemptions unless they have proof that they were infected in the past 12 months.

    And yes, natural inmunity is happening all over the USA now because of the rank stupidity of the anti-vaxxers. Also what is still happening all over the USA now – and especially prevalent in the red states – is natural covid-mediated death, along with natural long covid. These states are tragically finding out the hard way that natural immunity is far from absolute.

    1. “Do you support mandatory vaccinations for the people who already have natural immunity?”

      No, since there is no evidence it is as effective as what is gained from the vaccine.

      “I am against vaccination mandates – but am really against firing people for refusing to get a vaccination when they already have natural immunity (which is happening all over the USA now).”

      Yes, it’s great that companies are free to make policies for how they want to run their business in order offer safe service and places of employment.

      Unless dicks like you don’t like the policy. You are really a piece of work, and not in any sense of the term “in a good way”.

  24. One of the best results of these vaccine mandates:

    – medical workers who don’t believe in the science of vaccines losing jobs because they won’t get vaccinated
    – police officers who view “protect and serve” with the quotation marks around the phrase being fired since they can’t really be bothered to protect and won’t get vaccinated
    – scads of right-wing liars and general low-lifes suffering with serious cases of covid after spreading lies about the vaccines to their followers and then, luckily for the rest of us, dying from it

    As I say, secondary benefits, but still benefits.

  25. RickA: there is abundant evidence that people infected in 2020 lost immunity this year as new covid variants evolved. But your point is all smoke and mirrors. You are part of the GOP death cult that apparently wants to maximize viral spread through the population. Vaccine mandates have happened before. Natural infection allows the virus to evolve more rapidly. The best way, by far, to herd immunity is by vaccination. If we want to put the pandemic behind us as quickly as possible, then there is no alternative.

    As for natural immunity ‘lasting decades’ (which is nonsense), a more important point is that death lasts forever. Some 750,000 Americans (and rising) have paid the ultimate price of getting infected by covid with their lives. Many millions more have long covid. Your natural immunity argument therefore is callous and heartless.

  26. I think the main problem with natural immunity is that you need to get sick in order to build the antibodies. With Covid-19 that’s a pretty big deal, and high risk.

    I hope that Dennis Prager recovers. 700k people in the U.S haven’t been so fortunate.

  27. Just a general comment.

    “Natural immunity” is the result of the interaction of one’s adaptive immune system with a virus infection, whereby that infection could be of any given existing variant, and the infection could progress through a number of different phases. A good vaccine is like a model infection, from the point of view of the immune system. A well designed vaccine will activate and engage all of the various components of the adaptive immune system, more intensely and for longer than most natural infections, and will target what research has indicated specific responses. It is tuned in.

    A natural immunity could in theory produce a much better result than a vaccine, but it probably does not most of the time, for something like Covid-19. There is a good chance that the t cell system will wipe out the infection before the b cell system gets its game on, for example. In this way it might require two or three natural infections to develop the same level of immunity as a vaccine induced immunity.

    There is no reason to believe that the length of time an immunity will last is more or less for natural vs. vaccine-caused immunity.

    RickA: Good video, except the logic comparing the two is garbled. See comments above. He is using an unproven statement about antigens and antibodies, and he is using policy as science.

    The sequence of immune system reaction is the problem, he does not address it.

    Given that very high immune response from vaccination, it is hard to believe that natural immunity is better for this particular virus.

  28. You have more sympathy for that scumbag and con man Prager than he deserves.

    I’m only saying what I am expected to say in a public forum.

    Thanks for that explanation, Greg. I don’t understand the logic of the people who are willing to get sick in order to be immune from the virus that causes the illness in the first place. What is the point of it, if there is even a small risk of death?

    As far as mandates go, the government provided vaccines in the US at no charge with no mandate, for people to take the vaccine voluntarily. They reasoned that people would want to get the best chance to avoid illness and further spread of the virus, freeing us from masks and allowing us to gather in large groups to have fun again.

    Not enough people took the opportunity when presented, and so we’re still bogged down by the virus, but people seem to think that we’re over the worst part of the pandemic and conservatives have taken up the mantle of anti-vaccination as a political hill to die on. I presume the only benefit is to make Biden look bad for not ending the pandemic, but the whole libertarian “don’t tread on me” sure comes in handy for the virus’ longevity.

    The longer people resist the vaccine, the longer this will go on. Be a mensch, get the jab and then we can go back to live as we lived it before.f

    Recklessly.

    1. “I’m only saying what I am expected to say in a public forum.”

      I see — and don’t take my earlier comment as a sign that I was somehow slighting you: I wasn’t. I was merely saying that I’ve given up wasting any time on these anti-science scumbags who choose to urge other people to fail to protect themselves by downplaying the risk of covid and the safety of the vaccine.

      I’m not hoping prager buys it, but I won’t care if he does (his history of spreading dishonesty, racism, and in general modern republican anti-democracy messages is another reason to view him with disgust). It is sad that someone like him is in a hospital using resources that could be dedicated to someone who hasn’t been ridiculing health workers, but here we are.

  29. Given his history of denying or just being wrong about science in general it isn’t a bit surprising rickA is wrong about natural immunity being better, but::

    https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/579133-cdc-study-vaccination-offers-better-protection-than-previous-covid-19

    Here’s the kicker from the paper (I added the emphasis)

    What is already known about this topic?

    Previous infection with SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 vaccination can provide immunity and protection against subsequent SARS-CoV-2 infection and illness.

    What is added by this report?

    Among COVID-19–like illness hospitalizations among adults aged ?18 years whose previous infection or vaccination occurred 90–179 days earlier, the adjusted odds of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 among unvaccinated adults with previous SARS-CoV-2 infection were 5.49-fold higher than the odds among fully vaccinated recipients of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine who had no previous documented infection (95% confidence interval = 2.75–10.99).

    1. Dean:

      So you are comparing those who got vaccinated to those who didn’t.

      The comparison which is relevant to my point is breakthrough infections for the vaccinated compared to second infections among the recovered.

      The data show natural immunity protects better against variants than vaccination.

      Even better is getting sick, recovering and then getting vaccinated.

    2. “The data show natural immunity protects better against variants than vaccination.”

      The fact that you lack understanding isn’t my problem.

  30. Here’s a link: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7044e1.htm?s_cid=mm7044e1_w

    From the Discussion header, first para:

    In this multistate analysis of hospitalizations for COVID-19–like illness among adults aged ?18 years during January–September 2021 whose previous infection or vaccination occurred 90–179 days earlier, the adjusted odds of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 were higher among unvaccinated and previously infected patients than among those who were fully vaccinated with 2 doses of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine without previous documentation of a SARS-CoV-2 infection.

    I’m not certain where you’re getting your information RickA

    1. Here are some cites:

      https://www.science.org/content/article/having-sars-cov-2-once-confers-much-greater-immunity-vaccine-vaccination-remains-vital

      https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.08.24.21262415v1

      https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2021/10/19/natural-infection-vaccination-which-protects-better-against-covid/6034141001/

      I am not anti-vaccine – I got the two course Moderna for myself and my family. But quite a bit of evidence seems to indicate natural immunity is better than the vaccine acquired immunity.

    2. Here’s betting he will come back and repeat his assertion in spite of the evidence that he is, again, completely wrong.

    3. And boom — rickA, the walking pile of ignorance and science denial, replies with “I don’t care about your studies, I’m right.”

      Almost like repeating some chant 3 times and having a wraith appear.

  31. RickA opines, “natural immunity is better than vaccine acquired immunity”.

    Not for 5 million souls (and counting) it isn’t. They have no immunity because they are dead. And arguably not for tens of millions of others, either, who have long covid. I know several of them. They would take vaccinated immunity over natural immunity in a second if offered the choice again. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

    RickA, your ‘point’ is therefore mute. Governments that promoted natural infection to acquire herd immunity are not merely immoral, they are amoral. Which of these best describes you?

  32. Rick, I’m not sure if you read the articles that you share, or just copy links from Google searches. Here’s a paragraph from the USA Today article:

    In Denmark, for instance, of nearly 12,000 people who tested positive during the first wave of coronavirus infections last year, more than 80% were protected in the second surge. But among those 65 and older, protection against repeat infection was only 47%. Protection didn’t seem to fade over time.

    Milder or asymptomatic infections may provide less protection than severe ones.

    Unvaccinated people who had COVID-19 are more than twice as likely as fully vaccinated people to get COVID-19 again, Nordlund said.

    “Sure, I almost died and spent two weeks with a tube down my throat, but I’m probably immune now.”

    From Science.org:

    In another analysis, the researchers compared more than 14,000 people who had a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and were still unvaccinated with an equivalent number of previously infected people who received one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The team found that the unvaccinated group was twice as likely to be reinfected as the singly vaccinated.

    And from the Medrxiv (BMJ) link you shared:

    This study demonstrated that natural immunity confers longer lasting and stronger protection against infection, symptomatic disease and hospitalization caused by the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, compared to the BNT162b2 two-dose vaccine-induced immunity. Individuals who were both previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 and given a single dose of the vaccine gained additional protection against the Delta variant.

    1 out of 3 aint bad, and even the final one confirms the added benefit of at least a single dose.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.