“Shovel” Time

Many years ago, when I was eased out of a position, essentially dehired, my soon-to-be previous employer made a comment along the lines that he didn’t mind so much my calling a spade a spade, but he drew the line at my calling it a “God-damned shovel.”

Well, it’s shovel time. I’m sick and tired of the anti-vaxxers, the anti-maskers, the apologists for those who endanger everyone else by refusing to follow tried and effective public health practices. Those practices work, and they work not just for COVID-19. Last year, because of masking and social distancing, the number of flu cases dropped by roughly 95%.

There hasn’t been much recognition of that fact, especially by the anti-maskers and the “I want my personal freedom” crowd.

Vaccines work. Just look at who’s in the hospital and dying — and at the vast majority who aren’t.

But too many people are saying words to the effect of “protect yourself and let the stupid ones die.” The problem with that approach is that millions of people are still vulnerable, either because they can’t be vaccinated, because they’re stupid or ignorant, or because those who control their health decisions are. My wife the professor has college students who are afraid to get vaccinated because their parents oppose vaccinations. Small children can’t be vaccinated. Older people who are immuno-compromised and vaccinated can still get COVID, and some small percentage will die despite taking every preventive step they could. Even those who recover from COVID may face lifelong negative health consequences.

And the “freedom” crowd persists in saying that people should have the right to make an informed decision. Vaccinations have a minuscule negative effect, but when a large group of people fails to get vaccinated, the impact on the rest of the population is significant – witness the continuing death toll. So a decision not to get vaccinated isn’t just a personal decision; it has a significant adverse public impact. Even if “you” escape the consequences of COVID, “Your” freedom can and will kill other people, even if you don’t know them.

One real problem is that too many policy-makers and politicians refuse to admit that a great number of people are in fact stupid or ill-informed, and their ignorance results in too many innocents dying. Public health measures are called “public” because they affect everyone. School systems require vaccination for something like ten diseases, and most of them aren’t as deadly as COVID, but idiot legislators across the U.S. are forbidding COVID vaccine mandates, either because they’re afraid they’ll lose votes, or because they have no understanding of public health requirements, or because they’re idiots, possibly well-meaning, but still idiots who don’t want to admit, either publicly or privately, that a significant fraction of any population isn’t that well informed or intelligent.

But this shouldn’t be a great surprise. Too many Americans have been ignoring reality for years, coddling their children, turning their eyes from ongoing economic and educational dysfunction, supporting political philosophies and decisions that cannot work over time, and extolling freedoms that, in actuality, don’t exist for everyone. And now they’re insisting that everyone is rational and can make an “informed” decision and that everything will be fine if we let them make that decision.

Can I interest you in buying a large used bridge in California?

38 thoughts on ““Shovel” Time”

  1. Postagoras says:

    I completely agree with you.
    So how do we move forward, anyway? We’re at the point where the Republican “legislators” have groomed a reliably angry populace to vote against their own best interest.
    It’s fascinating from the point of view of Political Science, but tragic from the point of view of policy.
    In your books you often solve these problems by making the decision-makers pay for their duplicity in a big way.
    What can we do in real life?

  2. Chris says:

    The fact that vaccines have become political is nuts, and will have real consequences for years. Unfortunately, at this point I believe the only realistic option to end this is attrition.

    As you said, the vast majority to die will be the stupid and ignorant, but there will be casualties among the groups that did what they should. The freedom crowd is either implicitly or explicitly on board with this. Their cavalier disregard for others is a big reason I avoid interacting with most of them.

  3. Joe says:

    People really need to read some Science and stop listening to whatever scientifically illiterate media their TV/radio/internet is tuned to.

    This entire argument is based on the fallacy that these vaccines are no different from other vaccines (they’re like nuclear engines when compared to gasoline engines), that COVID is as contagious as the flu (it’s way way worse), and that the vaccines stop transmission (they don’t).

    In the real world (Science), things are looking quite grim. Read this https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.08.19.21262139v1.full and figure out what will be selected for next.

    I’m sick and tired of this too. The politicization. The lying. The scientific illiteracy. The fact those who unleashed this bio-weapon are not held to account. The fact the geriatric in charge mandates things he clearly doesn’t understand (he thinks the vaccines stop transmission).

    But whatever. It’s pointless, like peeing into the wind.

    It’s a real problem that so few people have scientific expertise, and the people making decisions are mostly selected for their social skills or their greed, not their expertise.

    1. Joe says:

      The media really seems to think its job is to make people do things.

      https://taibbi.substack.com/p/the-cult-of-the-vaccine-neurotic?r=83qgf&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=email&utm_source=

      In fact, the media is just supposed to inform people. When information is supposed to change people’s behavior, it’s called propaganda.

      I like correct information. Not propaganda.

    2. Chris says:

      The last study I saw showed the vaccinated individuals are contagious for a much shorter period of time. So even though they carry similar viral loads, because it is a shorter amount of time, they are likely to infect fewer people. But why bother trying to reduce the number of new infected people when we can just let some of the ones that wouldn’t have become infected die?

      1. Joe says:

        Here’s why giving everyone a vaccine might not be the most clever thing to do.

        Natural immunity (you catch COVID and survive) gives broad spectrum immunity because it recognizes all the proteins on the surface of the COVID virus. So if a new variant shows up that has similar proteins on its surface, the immune system can recognize it and whack it.

        However vaccine protection gives those who get it specific protection to the spike protein. That means, that if the spike protein changes enough, the antibodies learned from the vaccine won’t do anything. But what’s silly about this is that the spike protein is the functional part. The functional part is is where changes such as increasing contagiousness are encoded. Improved function is what is selected for in evolution. So the very variants which are selected for by evolution will have diffrent spike proteins and therefore are less likely to be recognized by the antibodies the vaccine caused the immune system to learn. Natural immunity doesn’t have this limitation. Vaccine antibody resistant variants are described in the paper I linked to.

        People who really need the vaccine should get it. But if those who would most likely survive without it did not get it, the population that selects for variants that can get around the immunity provided by the vaccine would be reduced: if few people get the vaccine, there is a much smaller competitive advantage for variants that can get around the vaccine. Then those who got the vaccine would be less likely to encounter a variant that is not recognized by the antibodies the body learned from the vaccine and therefore they’d be more likely to survive.

        A reduction in the amount of time someone is contagious would most likely help if the virus were less contagious. However, as the viral load increases, it becomes less useful: if transmission is reduced by 60%, and Delta emits 1000x more virions than Alpha, then vaccinated Delta emits 400x as many virions as Alpha. Yay! Proper masking would do more which is why telling people they can go back to normal if they are vaccinated is insane.

        If you followed my argument you might understand why I am concerned that it is likely that we will be killing more people in the long term by mandating that everyone takes the vaccine than we would kill if only those who really need it were to given it: we’re creating an environment for the virus that will select for nastier variants.

        Given the path that has been chosen by the authorities, I’ll be very happy if in 10 years what the powers that be are doing works out. It might be due to luck, but more likely would be due to a mechanism of which I am ignorant.

        1. Ryan Jackson says:

          Except the very article you posted does NOT argue that it’s better to let nature run it’s course.

          To quote the medrxiv link above: “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.”

          So even your source is saying get the vaccine.

          This is an example of the type of nonsense Mr. Modesitt and others (Myself included) are almost raging against. You literally took an article that says one thing, cherry picked something else out of it, and then speak at length for your pre-set goal.

          Also from that article. In bright blue letters at the start: “This article is a preprint and has not been peer-reviewed [what does this mean?]. It reports new medical research that has yet to be evaluated and so should not be used to guide clinical practice.”

          1. Joe says:

            POST REMOVED FOR ABUSIVE AND INACCURATE LANGUAGE

          2. Ryan Patrick Jackson says:

            You are correct, my apologies.

            Let me rephrase. The site you link you has articles specifying Vaccine plus natural immunity is better than Natural Immunity thus still supporting the vaccinne.

            The article you posted DOES still contain the statement that it is a preliminary report without peer review and should not be taken as medical guidance.

            Further, looking at the site as a whole it has the following disclaimer:
            medRxiv is receiving many new papers on coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. A reminder: these are preliminary reports that have not been peer-reviewed. They should not be regarded as conclusive, guide clinical practice/health-related behavior, or be reported in news media as established information.

            So, again, my apologies for the miscommunication in your specific article, my point remains accurate and in general the same.

          3. Joe says:

            The truth is that even peer reviewed publications should not be considered conclusive. I’ve peer reviewed many papers, and books, and I was irked by the fact you presume to explain peer review to me. Don’t tell your grandma how to suck eggs, and all that. But getting irritated was stupid.

            Peer review is like sausages, it’s better not to see them being made. Given the amount of time one has to peer review a paper, it’s a poor filter. The only real filter is replication. Unfortunately journals don’t like to publish “boring” results so replication occurs more rarely than it should.

            Anyway, my point was that Science is not a set of holy texts handed down from on high. In Science, I’m allowed to contribute an argument, and to refer to facts from papers that don’t explicitly make the argument I am making.

            The argument I am making is that the fact the vaccinated people preferentially harbor variants which are vaccine resistant, and can transmit them, means they are a perfect evolutionary petri dish for making new better more resistant variants. The more vaccinated, the more this will occur. The only thing limiting this is wearing masks. No, it wasn’t that paper, but it’s obvious if you ever studied evolutionary biology. The argument that needs to be made is why evolution is not going to do its usual thing in this case. I have yet to see that argument.

            Anyway, that’s probably it from me. I need to get on with my actual work.

  4. Michael Creek says:

    Why in the USA has vaccination for Covid19 become so politically contentious? Here in Australia we are aiming and close to achieving 70% and then 80% double dose. These thresholds will enable substantial lifting of restrictions including domestic and international travel. Some are calling for targets to be lifted to 90% or more. Both of the major political groups support vaccination and pretty much everyone else except the lunatic right.

    1. Alan says:

      Because people are essentially dumb and unthinking creatures, by and large. They are easily influenced by media talking heads who want to make ratings capital out of the whole debacle. And politicians who want to make political capital.

      About the only argument I’ve heard which holds any water with me (not that it’s a great one mind you), is the numbers.

      330M people in the US. 43M confirmed cases. 700k Covid deaths. By those numbers, you’ve got about a 13% chance of catching Covid, and about 1.6% chance of dying of it if you catch it. Aggregate that’s a 0.2% chance of dying from Covid before you start looking at subfactors like race, age, immune system status.

      So a 0.2% chance of dying from the virus really isn’t scary enough to prompt the remaining majority of people to get the vaccine, wear masks or do most anything else.

      They don’t care about how it impacts others, or why their behaviors make things worse in general.

  5. Tom says:

    I note that there are now appearing “Shovel” time articles concerning the US. Perhaps these opinions in the main stream media will finally get through to us what the consequences of our actions might be.

    e.g.
    https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/10/06/americans-national-divorse-theyre-wrong-515443

  6. Joe says:

    Speaking of non-existent bridges for sale in California… I have no idea what to make of this…

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/vaccine-mandate-covid-19-biden-osha-rule-legal-11633381896

    https://archive.fo/IVT4O

    1. Tom says:

      From the White House website:

      There appears to be no signed legislation mandating workplace vaccination.

      There is executive action requiring OSHA to produce legal requirement for Federal workers and Federal contractors to be vaccinated. No ruling from OSHA as yet.

      Biden has apparently got some help from businesses requiring vaccinations or testing from their workers.

  7. Jeff says:

    I agree. Can I share this with my local member of congress? Not that it will do any good.

    1. You certainly can, although I share your concerns, since many members of Congress are far more interested in power than public health.

  8. R. Hamilton says:

    Getting vaccinated is the right thing for almost everyone (for which a vaccine has been approved – still not there for younger kids) to do. Wearing a mask in crowded situations is the right thing for most people (even vaccinated people) to do for the time being. I CHOOSE to exceed recommendations and take other carefully researched (as in articles in professional journals) possible precautions readily available to me and likely to be at worst, harmless. But I DO NOT HAVE TO.

    That said, where the vaccination in particular is concerned (the mask is less of a big deal, you can take it off later, and there are less ethical issues), NOBODY SHOULD BE COMMANDING ANYONE WHAT TO DO. There are consequences, maybe losing a job, that’s sort of ok, maybe. There are other consequences, greater risk to both the unvaccinated and the vaccinated with compromised immune systems. TOO BAD. Those with special vulnerabilities should protect themselves to whatever degree necessary, even if it means staying in a bubble for a few years; and the unvaccinated should simply not be served if it would overcrowd a hospital.

    To imagine that everyone MUST get vaccinated to protect everyone else, and that anyone should have the authority to compel that, is to open the door to the unlimited abuse of authority for all manner of reasons. IT’S NOT WORTH IT, NO MATTER HOW MANY LIVES IT WOULD SAVE.

    Better a lifeless cinder in the 3rd orbit with the remains of people that died free, than a vibrant healthy happy planet of people willing to be commanded. Not hyperbole, I mean that quite literally.

    I might add, I will advise people I care about to do all the sensible things unless they have a very clear and specific reason to the contrary; yet, there may be some I care about but cannot persuade, and I won’t strap them down and inject them against their will! And I’d like it if everyone else would CHOOSE likewise, as this would be over sooner that way. But those who don’t, or those who are especially vulnerable, that’s THEIR problem.

    Funny how all the folks that prefer Darwin to creation don’t want to let Darwin’s system do its job and thin the herd.

    1. Joe says:

      the unvaccinated should simply not be served if it would overcrowd a hospital

      Eh? No. First come, first served.

      What we’ve learned is that the US hospital system is falling to pieces, much like its supply chains for the same reason: too little slack. Something we ought to be fixing.

      As to thinning the herd… suppression worked real well for our forests. I’m sure it’ll work real well in this case too.

    2. Ryan Patrick Jackson says:

      Very cute. Let’s change that up a little bit.

      Respecting others’ lives iis the right thing for almost everyone to do. Not using weapons to murder others is the right things to do. I CHOOSE to exceed recommendations and take other carefully researched (as in articles in professional journals) possible precautions readily available to me to avoid hurting others. But I DO NOT HAVE TO.

      NOBODY SHOULD BE COMMANDING ANYONE WHAT TO DO. There can be consequences, maybe losing a job, that’s sort of ok, maybe. There are other consequences, families of those killed might be unhappy. TOO BAD. Those with special vulnerabilities should protect themselves to whatever degree necessary, even if it means staying in a bubble for a few years.

      To imagine that everyone MUST respect the lives of everyone else, and that anyone should have the authority to compel that, is to open the door to the unlimited abuse of authority for all manner of reasons. IT’S NOT WORTH IT, NO MATTER HOW MANY LIVES IT WOULD SAVE.

      Too much? How about I just point out that this asinine nonsense argument happened when they first required Seatbelts be worn in cars. Do you wear your seatbelt? Are you valiantly fighting the police for taking away your right to drive without a seatbelt?

      There have ALWAYS been laws to protect people. You have no trouble with all the others, so kindly close your mouth about this one which is no different than the seatbelt.

      1. Joe says:

        POST REMOVED FOR ABUSIVE AND INACCURATE LANGUAGE

      2. R. Hamilton says:

        Kindly don’t tell me what to say or not say; that’s not how we do things in this country, or at least it didn’t used to be.

        You have NO right to have people get something done to their bodies to protect you; and neither murder with a weapon nor a seat belt nor even a mask involves that particular factor. Protecting you is YOUR responsibility, not anyone else’s. (even the police are under no actual obligation to save your life if you call them)

        Frankly I’m not entirely pleased with authorities ever attempting to protect people merely from themselves (let the first responders who find a person trapped in a car that’s about to burn just die if they didn’t have their seat belt on, rather than undertake additional risk to themselves that wouldn’t have existed had the person worn the seat belt). And I’m only moderately pleased even with attempts to protect from willful and active acts of one person against another; vigilantes at least wouldn’t release murderers just because the jails were overcrowded or the jailed murderers were at high risk of COVID. (note: I’m NOT advocating vigilantism, just pointing out that due process is also a public safety risk, so why should that be acceptable then but not acceptable regarding vaccination)

        I do NOT consider being unvaccinated equivalent to say, driving drunk (a better analogy IMO than any others mentioned), because MOST people (there are always some vulnerable ones) have more options to protect themselves against COVID than against a drunk driver.

        If you try to protect everyone from everyone else’s both intentional and negligent acts, freedom declines, and I value freedom almost infinitely more than the lowest body count. Even if you think the particular instance of freedom is abusive, unjustifiable, trivial, or less of value than what taking it away
        would supposedly protect. Those both vulnerable and careless are expendable at least partly by their own irresponsibility.

        1. Ryan Patrick Jackson says:

          We don’t tell people what to say or not say in this country? So you can go yell Fire in a crowded theatre can you? Or bomb on an airplane? We have freedom of speach, but it has limits and always has. We have freedom of speach, which means I have every right to suggest how you behave in exactly the same manner that you can choose to say otherwise.

          For the rest. I have no right to have people get something done to their bodies to protect others? So you’re against what’s happening in Texas, right?

          The rest of your protection speach seems to boil down that you are wholely selfish and feel the world would be better served if everyone else was too. That does paint the picture better in terms of future interactions, so thank you for that.

          As for your not considering being unvaccinated equivalent to driving drunk? You’re right. If I drink and Drive I am only a danger to other people for the time I am behind the wheel. If I refuse to vaccinate yet continue to go be around other people I am a constant danger to them for days, weeks, months… One is a far greater and persistant danger, thank you for making that point.

          As for your “If you try to protect everyone everyone else”. You didn’t answer the seatbelt thing. How do you stand on that law? Do you valiantly oppose it?

          1. R. Hamilton says:

            I don’t care one way or the other about the seatbelt law, it’s trivial. But someone is not endangering others when wearing no seatbelt alone in the car; if they’re in a situation where they need the seatbelt, they’ve probably already lost control. If not alone in the car, I definitely recommend the driver wear theirs as the leverage to require all passengers to wear theirs too.

            I prefer people to be well and happy, as long as their conduct does not involve active violence (no, being unvaccinated is not active violence!) or theft or the like, and provided most are more productive than consuming; but I also do not object to Darwin Awards, since those receiving them won’t be causing any more problems for anyone else.

            Liberty is NOT about being irresponsible (although the option is part of liberty). I got vaccinated as early as I can, and will doubtless get a booster as early as I can, and wear a mask both when required and as a judgement call often when not required. I personally have NO problem with that, but I have a huge problem with mandates, AND I respect the liberty of those who do have issues with vaccination. I DO NOT EXPECT OTHERS TO PROTECT ME, not the police or fire department or CDC or anyone else. Doesn’t mean I want anarchy or mob rule or having to repeatedly defend myself. It does mean there’s a balance, and I think that ongoing trends to protect everyone and meet every need keep tilting the balance further away from liberty. How hard is that to understand, that liberty is NOT ABOUT ARROGANCE OR SELFISHNESS, it’s about preserving it no matter what how many lives it costs or risks.

            Cooperative-ism is one thing, but collectivism is the enemy of liberty.

          2. And liberty taken to extremes is anarchy, and anarchy makes freedom impossible for all but the strongest. With too many rules or laws no one is free, but with too few laws or rules, only the strongest are truly free, which seems to be something beyond your comprehension. What is needed is a balance.

          3. Ryan Patrick Jackson says:

            I think we’ve largely moved to the next Blog post but just to point on one thing you said, which, interestingly enough, I knew you would say, was just waiting for it.

            You said “I prefer people to be well and happy, as long as their conduct does not involve active violence (no, being unvaccinated is not active violence!) or theft or the like, and provided most are more productive than consuming;”

            Right there, you make a lie to your main point. You’ve just put limits on liberty. You’ve put limits on freedom. The fact that there are any limits in your mind, means your core stance is false. You don’t disagree with the premise, you disagree with where the line is drawn. Which is a wholly different discussion and makes 9/10ths of your arguments irrelevant and false.

            Similar to your seatbelt response. You have no problem with it? No problem with there being a law that you HAVE to wear one? No problem with there being fines and consequences if you violate that law? You’ve just accepted that it’s okay to have limitations on freedom.

            I’ll assume you also don’t have a problem with there being laws against words used to incite (Ie the Fire and Bomb examples I was tossing out earlier).

            Thank you for confirming that your primary talking point is a talking point, not an actual belief.

  9. BIll says:

    For the people who refuse to get vaccinated it has nothing to do with science or rationality. It is all about feeling. The former narcissist-in-chief decided that Covid-19 was about him personally. He decided to deny it and make it an emotional issue like he did so many other things. His people followed along blindly and channeled their anger into the issue. No rational argument is going to change them.
    What seems to be making some headway is charging them if they don’t get vaccinated or firing them. When it becomes personal and directly affects their pocketbook, they change their behavior. They will still on principle be against the vaccine but will be able to safely rationalize it, by saying I couldn’t afford not to. This is known and documented behavior. Psychology students have done this for years. If they are required to do a good deed for a study and don’t get paid, they will list the reasons for doing the good deed. If they get paid, they just say they got paid.
    I realize that most politicians simply work at getting re-elected. What I am unclear about is if they realize they are ruining the country and if the people paying them to do that are crazy Americans or foreign interests?

    1. Joe says:

      Here’s a typical commentary from one of those anti-vax, unscientific, irrational people. Why should a professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine know anything? He must just be a Trump supporter who cares only about his feelings, and will do whatever he is told, if suitably coerced.

      https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/why-covid-19-vaccines-should-not-be-required-for-all-americans

      1. Ryan Patrick Jackson says:

        He’s a general surgeon, not an infectious disease expert.

        The fact that your article quotes him saying “Those who choose not to get vaccinated are making a poor health decision at their own individual risk. They pose no public health threat to those already immune. Would we be so stern toward people making similar or worse health choices to smoke, drink alcohol or not wear a helmet when riding a bike?”

        Show’s he is acting in political theatre, not as a doctor.

        Because it’s ignoring the risk to others, ooh, I’m vaccinated and likely safe from Covid, great, you know who isn’t? My immuno compromised parent, who can’t get the vaccine for legitimate reasons. You know who else isn’t? My children who are under the age of 12.

        He very cleverly paints the picture as “Protect yourself and let the stupid die”, ignoring that it will hurt others in the process.

        To repeat, again, this is a General Surgeon spouting his political stance. This is not an Infectious Disease Expert providing expert analysis on the most likely beneficial path. So yes, he is acting on his feelings and ignoring the science.

        1. Joe says:

          And you clearly do not understand that transmission is reduced at most by 60%. Which leaves R > 1. So he’s right. And you’re wrong.

          Whether or not you have an immunocompromized parent is irrelevant to the facts of the matter. It’s an attempt to elicit sympathy. Fine. You have my sympathy. But it doesn’t mean you get to mandate anything, particularly if the facts don’t prove you right.

          1. You’re wrong. Flat-assed wrong. The status of those who cannot be vaccinated, or who are immuno-compromised, is perfectly relevant to the argument because the political and public policy questions are: (1) How how many of those individuals exist; (2) To what degree should public policy take into account their status; (3) Can and should they be protected by public health measures, such as vaccination and masking; and (4) Is it fair and ethical to ignore their concerns or to adopt policies that put them at greater risk?

          2. Ryan Patrick Jackson says:

            To your first point, I’m not sure the point you’re making. My comment was that this Dr is speaking politically, not medically, and is not an infectious disease expert. So the issue of if the vaccine only reduced transmission 60% is not relevant to the discussion.

            Our gracious host has already addressed the second point far better than I would, but I will also amend: I don’t want sympathy for me or my specific family. I would appreciate if people have empathy for those at risk in general, but no, my statement was not to elicit sympathy for myself, it was to point out that there’s more to it than the two stances of “I am Vaccinated” and “I don’t want to get the vaccine.” Your source ignores this for a talking point.

          3. Joe says:

            The status of those who cannot be vaccinated, or who are immuno-compromised, is perfectly relevant to the argument because the political and public policy questions are: (1) How how many of those individuals exist; (2) To what degree should public policy take into account their status; (3) Can and should they be protected by public health measures, such as vaccination and masking; and (4) Is it fair and ethical to ignore their concerns or to adopt policies that put them at greater risk?

            I do not understand your point. And I do not have a “flat ass”, whatever that means.

            Masking does seem to reduce transmission and has no long term implications on most people. (Children not learning about faces is a concern). So adults should probably keep doing it.

            Vaccination does not stop transmission sufficiently to create herd immunity. Therefore the only reason to get vaccinated is to help oneself as an individual.

            Unless vaccination does stop transmission sufficiently to get R<1, it won't help the immuno-compromised, or anyone else. If the mechanism doesn't do that, you can have whatever public health policy discussions you want, and it'll make no difference. Coercing people to do things against their better judgement which don't help is evil.

            If vaccination did stop transmission sufficiently, then there would be an argument to be had. But you'd still have to take into account that the virus will continue to evolve, and you'd have to take into account the risk/benefit ratio of the vaccine.

            Ultimately, the well-being who are old and have fewer years to live should not be overriding the well-being of those who are young and have most of their lives to live. That's a trade-off we're making if we're mandating everyone gets vaccinated.

            And since my irritated comments were deleted I shall repeat their main point: the risk/benefit ratio of these vaccines is in no way comparable to the risk/benefit ratio of seat belts. To say so is wrong.

    2. R. Hamilton says:

      Not even remotely factual, although I’ll grant some of his narcissism. When he blocked travel from the PRC (correctly in hindsight), various Democrats screamed racism; and if he didn’t want to risk a shutdown causing premature ruin of the economy, there were also Democrats saying go out and party, it’s fine.

      Moreover, the orange narcissist got COVID himself, and recovered quickly due to privileged levels of treatment and access to remdesivir/Regeneron well before they got EUAs or approval – being willing to be a bit of a guinea pig, at least if not always saying sensible things, not lacking nerve either. Not to mention that he pushed hard to get the vaccines developed in the first place, and to have the preliminaries for deploying them once they got EUA status. And he got vaccinated himself, even if he didn’t do so publicly, and later said that people SHOULD get vaccinated. So you’re more wrong than right. Yes, he said a number of stupid things on that and various other topics, but what he actually DID was mostly far more sensible than his shoot-from-the-hip remarks and tweets. And he (or his doctor) was right about remdesivir and Regeneron even if he was wrong about hydroxychloroquine.

      There are also reasons you may not consider rational that have nothing to do with politics (although many of the same people may share the politics you dislike and such reasons). One of those is that most of the vaccines were at least tested on fetal cell line (HEK 293) material derived from abortions, and the J&J has fetal cell line PER.C6 as growth medium those in the manufacturing process. This is not terribly unusual for vaccines, and even the Pope is ok with it if there’s no other alternative. But if someone takes the topic so seriously that they’re willing to accept greater risk to themselves, you’ve got to admit it’s not just emotion but something they calculated using different factors than you would. I don’t see their position even though I also oppose elective abortion, because the material in question is derived from abortions years ago (70’s and 80’s in Netherlands in the case of the two cell lines mentioned) and IMO is not motivating current abortions (current fetal material use might indirectly contribute, but not old cell cultures kept going for decades); but I don’t think that difference justifies me calling them irrational.

  10. Grey says:

    I see Utah’s ICUs are full and the hospitals are at capacity due to staff availability. Good luck out there, LEM. Maybe stay off the skateboard this week unless you can splint an arm yourself…

    1. Tom says:

      I knew LEM flew but Skateboarding? With his own gyroscope … that is dangerous!

      1. I don’t skateboard, and when I did ice skate I was a menace to anyone nearby.

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