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Reblogged:How to 'Live With' the Coronavirus

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Karen Townsend, a conservative blogger at Hot Air complains:
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A man has chosen to "live with" the presence of a contagious disease endemic in the population. He is also, incidentaklly, making a contribution to herd immunity the easy way. (Image by CDC, via Unsplash, license.)
Two of the biggest employers in the United States are now requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and they are changing their face mask policies. Walmart and the Walt Disney Company announced Friday that nearly every employee will be mandated to be vaccinated or find employment elsewhere. These announcements follow many other large corporations making the decision to require employees to be vaccinated as a condition of employment.
Well, let's see. During a pandemic, large numbers of people are exercising their right not to get vaccinated. A more contagious variant of the virus is scything through places with large numbers of such people. Business owners, who surely face the twin threats of lawsuits and reputational damage from people getting sick on the premises of their businesses, are exercising their property rights and their right of association by: (a) keeping their own employees from perpetuating the pandemic and (b) doing the only thing they can do to stop the people who run around unvaccinated and unmasked from getting other people sick on their premises.

If ever there was a free market solution to a pandemic, this is part of what one looks like. See here for what the proper (and limited) role of the government would be. Such a role emphatically does not include mask mandates, forced vaccination, or indefinite at-home mass detentions of people not known to be ill or infectious.

The title of the post? "Mandate Mania."

Should I laugh at the dumb conservative who can't tell the difference between private and government action, or cry at the fascist who wants to pose as an advocate for freedom by having the government force businesses to adopt pandemic policies to her liking, like Andrew Cuomo or Ron DeSantis?

I don't know, either.

This confused or obfuscatory piece ends as follows:
We have to learn to live with the coronavirus. People cannot be expected to wear a face mask in public indefinitely. Requiring that masks be worn dilutes the message of the success of the vaccines. What the CDC and the Biden White House need most of all are competent messengers. [bold added]
Indeed. And the way we "live with" an endemic disease is to get vaccinated against it and to protect ourselves, our trading partners, and our loved ones from catching it to the degree the situation on the ground calls for. Absent herd immunity, this might include measures such as those some companies are taking right now.

Karen Townsend is equivocating between government coercion and the actions of private individuals simply because, out of context, they look the same. But they are fundamentally different. Indeed, Townsend should applaud these private efforts to snuff out the current wave and achieve herd immunity sooner with less loss of life.

Conversely, the idea that these private measures will go on forever is ridiculous: Once the danger is past, the power of self-interest and market competition will incentivize these businesses to end mask requirements. Good luck getting a politician to let go of the opportunity to order people around -- as we have seen on a daily basis from the get-go. (A possible good side-effect -- but not a valid motivation -- will be that these companies head off a bad-enough wave for politicians to feel like they can "clamp down" again.)

To put things differently: Just because someone is doing what an idiot or a jerk is telling them to do, doesn't mean that's why they are doing it, or whether the idea is good or bad.

Thank you, Walmart, Disney, and the rest for tightening down now, so we can all breathe easier sooner rather than later, and finally put this madness to rest.

-- CAV

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