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Give Me Liberty and Give Me Death

Why are Americans obsessed with medication but resistant to getting the vaccine?

Key points

  • Many Americans take a range of medications with serious side effects yet refuse the Covid-19 vaccine, which could save their life.
  • In the near future, anti-vaxxers will be less and less able to participate in society.
  • Viruses and bacteria are old and resilient. Those who refuse vaccinations are helping them win this evolutionary battle.
a pill for every day of the week
Source: wikicommons

Synthetic meds with nasty side-effects? Yes, please! Life-saving vaccine? No way!

If I were writing this post for The Onion, I might suggest that if vaccine producers could give the Covid-19 vaccine some really nasty side effects like vomiting, leaky gut, dehydrating diarrhea, dizziness, numbness in the limbs, joint pain, and incontinence, Americans would be more likely to get it. While about 70 percent of Americans voluntarily take medications and suffer daily with at least the possibility of these nasty side effects, only about half of Americans are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, although the vaccines typically have mild (or no) flu-like side effects that last 24 hours and provide the added benefit of preventing, in Stephen Colbert’s words, “death-like death.”

Even if we allow that some of these medications that 70 percent of Americans ingest daily are lifesaving and absolutely necessary, that still leaves a lot of Americans voluntarily taking medications for restless leg syndrome, weight loss, anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, ADHD, poor digestion, high blood pressure, motion sickness, hair loss, skin conditions, heart palpitations, allergies, and other conditions that, one could argue, could be treated non-medically.

The most common reasons I’ve heard for people opting out of the Covid-19 vaccine are:

  1. The science was rushed.
  2. It shouldn’t be mandated.
  3. It infringes on my freedom.

My responses to these positions are:

  1. What was your medical training, compared to that of medical experts working on the global pandemic?
  2. Any measure that can prevent preventable deaths should be mandated by a government whose primary function is to protect its citizens.
  3. Your freedom to do what? Get sick and die?

We’re at an intriguing inflection point in human history. We’ve shifted from “Give me liberty or give me death” to “Give me liberty and give me death.” Healthcare workers have had it with these self-styled freedom fighters. They’re gumming up the works, crowding hospitals with preventable illnesses, and robbing others of their right to healthcare. They never bought into “we’re all in this together” and now they’re dying alone.

It could be that our biggest threat is not WWIII, nuclear abomination, climate catastrophe, or alien invasion, but viruses and bacteria. They’ve been here the longest. They’re resilient as all get-out. And they’re having a field day at this particular point in human evolution with science-deniers and anti-vaxxers—easy prey.

San Francisco is big on giving pedestrians the right of way. When I lived there, I always marveled at how blindingly people exercised this right, crossing the street without looking—even across Highway 1, even around a blind curve, even with cars going 45 mph. They could wind up dead, but at least they’d have the right of way. The unvaccinated want to have their freedom or die trying. They’ll increasingly be denied admission to restaurants, bars, concert venues, trains, planes, and Ubers, sports events, weddings, schools, and college campuses. They’ll miss out on human connection. They’ll face the looming possibility of illness and death. But at least they’ll be "free."