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Political Editors / September 16, 2021

In Brief: A Conservative Argument for Vaccination

The federal government shouldn’t dictate what you do about vaccines, one way or another.

“Getting vaccinated is a personal question,” says political analyst Timothy Carney, and it shouldn’t be determined by the federal government.

There’s a much stronger argument that you ought to get vaccinated. It’s not based on utilitarian “greatest good for the greatest number” moral thinking. Rather, it is based on the concepts of duty and risk.

[Recently], I met a father. As we spoke about vaccines, I told him I thought he should get vaccinated. He first asked whether I thought he posed a threat to me. I said, “No, because while my vaccination doesn’t guarantee I won’t get sick from an infected person, it provides incredibly strong protection against serious illness.”

This other dad’s duty is not to me, the guy who talks to him at a cookout. His duty is primarily to his wife and kids, and secondarily to his employer and to his community.

Carney compares it to the risk posed by “attempting a reckless dirt-bike trick,” which could leave a husband, father, and employee injured and unable to fulfill his duties.

Getting vaccinated against COVID reduces by 90% the risk of hospitalization from COVID. That is a leading cause of hospitalization these days, and hospitals risk being too crowded to serve those with other maladies. So, that’s one more risk you are imposing on others in your community if you don’t get vaccinated — you are making it more likely that they won’t get timely care for an auto accident or a severe, deadly case of the flu.

“So,” he says, “opting against vaccination represents a needless risk to you and to others.”

Carney doesn’t really get into the politics of it all, focusing his argument on the duty/risk question. But in our humble shop, we can’t help but notice that Joe Biden and his ilk are intentionally politicizing the vaccines so as to turn conservatives against them. That’s a cynical game with deadly results.

As for Carney, he brings it back to the personal: “You are taking on a risk of hospitalization (and, to a lesser degree, a risk of death). Can you look at everyone to whom you owe a duty — your wife or husband, your kids, your parents, your employer and community — and explain why it’s worth that risk?”

Read the whole thing here.

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