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Have any prominent Objectivists addressed this point?

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8 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

It's related, but most importantly, negligence is an indication of the choice to NOT obtain or abide by such facts.

If there is no way to get the facts then you can't be negligent/responsible.

It is also related to survival. If you do NOT give any thought to consequences ... there will be consequences.

In the context of the current plague, whence the 'facts'?

What institutions can be relied on to provide and disseminate all relevant factual data? 

By what metrics can/do we judge reliable , in this unprecedented context ?

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, whYNOT said:

The Covid instance of consent was the only one mentioned by the OP, and his concern with that is which clearly motivated his question.

Exactly right. 

22 hours ago, whYNOT said:

one is NOT initiating force by transmitting an infection; one does NOT have the right to not be infected.

What’s the logic here? Even for a deadly virus that would kill man at his best i.e fit and healthy?

It seems to me your claim rests on divorcing the virus from the individual even though the latter carries the former.

For covid, there is perhaps a case to be made. I’m not sure it can be considered a violation if the damage is primarily due to the ‘victim’s’ own poor health. 

22 hours ago, whYNOT said:

A business owner however could rightfully disclaim as many have always, that injuries (etc.) on his premises are non-liable. "Enter at your own risk".

Right, this seems like the obvious solution to me, and I’ve been left baffled by the libertarian and Objectivist controversy over how to respond to Covid. At the very least, it does the bulk of the heavy lifting.

Do you know of any prominent Objectivists who have argued along these lines?

20 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Boxing is not an initiation of force.

It is not an agreement to allow violation of your rights.

You seem to be equating an agreement that has risk involved as always being a violation of your rights.

Then what’s your definition of “initiation of force”? 

Punching someone in the face complies with the literal definition of those words.

If the initiation of force (literal interpretation) is illegal only when it is involuntary receipt of the initiation of force, as Doug suggests Ayn Rand meant, then the individual can dispense of his right to life (and its derivatives) in any way he pleases meaning he can consent to the receipt of physical force (guaranteed or potential). 

As necrovore argues, man can “surrender” some of his rights in exchange for other values.

In other words this is ultimately down to the discretion of the individual. If not, why? Since he owns his life, he has the right to incrementally trade it off (or incrementally risk trading it off) for other values. 

In the case of covid, when one enters a premise “at their own risk”, they weigh that risk against the values to be gained from entering. By entering they trade away some of their right to life (they’d be losing their right to be free of the initiation of physical force from covid, assuming one considers the transmission of covid an initiation of force). 

A more extreme example: a group of men dying from cancer agree to a televised fight to the death for big sums of cash which they can pass onto their family. 

One might object on the basis that the the “surrender” of rights for values, or the “weighing” of force and values must be rational (like receiving a vaccine) and so voluntarily fighting to the death for money is fundamentally anti-life and irrational. 

But we know from Objectivist literature that one has the right to live the life of a heroin addict which is also fundamentally anti-life and irrational. One has the right to sabotage oneself. 

Edited by TruthSeeker946
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4 hours ago, tadmjones said:

In the context of the current plague, whence the 'facts'?

What institutions can be relied on to provide and disseminate all relevant factual data? 

By what metrics can/do we judge reliable , in this unprecedented context ?

Not sure what you're getting at here. Are you arguing that there is no way to be sure that Covid can kill?

That there would be no difference if Covid existed or did not?

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3 hours ago, TruthSeeker946 said:

Then what’s your definition of “initiation of force”? 

Punching someone in the face complies with the literal definition of those words.

Force in this context is not a collision of objects.

Fraud and theft are not a collision of something against your body.

Involuntary, meaning (not by accident) but being force by another person is the issue.

Not being forced by a tsunami or your hunger.

It is "preventing" another from pursuing their life as they would see fit if when they are unfettered by you. (and the same goes for them)

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25 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

Not sure what you're getting at here. Are you arguing that there is no way to be sure that Covid can kill?

That there would be no difference if Covid existed or did not?

I am questioning the integrity of the institutions that are making policy decisions and abrogating the protection of individual rights. 

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3 hours ago, TruthSeeker946 said:

In other words this is ultimately down to the discretion of the individual. If not, why? Since he owns his life, he has the right to incrementally trade it off (or incrementally risk trading it off) for other values. 

There are rights you are born with and then there are rights that are contractual.

The right "not to be murdered" is not the same time as "the right to your car".

You can trade your car but not your life.

The fact that you own your life is not contractual.

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1 minute ago, tadmjones said:

I am questioning the integrity of the institutions that are making policy decisions and abrogating the protection of individual rights. 

I will grant you that the entire US medical system is a racket (not free market).

I will also grant you that it does abrogate the protection of individual rights.

But you seem to be attacking anything and everything that comes out of them.

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4 hours ago, TruthSeeker946 said:

If the initiation of force (literal interpretation) is illegal only when it is involuntary receipt of the initiation of force, as Doug suggests Ayn Rand meant, then the individual can dispense of his right to life (and its derivatives) in any way he pleases meaning he can consent to the receipt of physical force (guaranteed or potential). 

I don't see how the first part leads to the second part. I assume you already understand that initiation of force includes things like fraud, so I'm not going to get into discussing what exactly initiation of force means.

You might first want to not think of it in terms of being illegal, or at least, the law ought to be about banning initiation of force. We can get into confusing territory if we change the subject to legality.

You are right that you can dispense of your right to life in any way you please, right or wrong, but it doesn't follow that you can literally dispose, get rid of, your right to life. If you have something, it doesn't necessarily mean that you can get rid of it, or treat it like something you own. You cannot separate your right to life from yourself, just as you can't separate your being a mammal from yourself. You don't own being a mammal, you don't own your rights, you don't own yourself. Rather, you are all these things, or they constitute what you are.

Trading things away still doesn't mean you are getting rid of any right to life. It might mean making a bad choice, it might mean making a self-destructive choice, but the possibility to make choices still remains, you remain alive, or at the absolute minimum, no one else is forcing you to be in a worse position other than yourself. Being deprived of your ability to make choices - a critical part of a right to life - is not in the terms of the trade.

What I'm trying to say is that to even make sense of saying you have a right to make choices and bad decisions, depends on a foundation of a right to life first and foremost. If we contradict that, or ignore that, there is no basis to say you have a right to anything in particular.

It's not correct to say that taking on risk is equivalent to signing away part of your right to life. You aren't actively deprived of anything, certainly not your life. You might argue that you potentially signed away your right to life, because you might be deprived of life, yet you still have control over how things could turn up, not to mention that risk implies lack of knowledge. Just as absolute perfect certainty is not required to have knowledge, nor is it an appropriate demand for leading your life, absolute perfect certainty of how things will turn out is not an expectation that anyone can meet. Blame with regard to rights should only come in when people can reasonably expect that their life and limb will be harmed. That can be difficult to think about for things like covid, riding in a rocketship, or skydiving, but I hope this idea helps you figure things out.

4 hours ago, TruthSeeker946 said:

A more extreme example: a group of men dying from cancer agree to a televised fight to the death for big sums of cash which they can pass onto their family. 

One implicit question is whether anyone should interfere. Just because I say that you can't sign away your right to life even if you wanted to doesn't mean that I want to interfere. If it was some secret island off the coast of Alaska, that wasn't part of the US, I wouldn't care. They can attempt any contradiction they want, and I won't care.

The second part is if they are violating each other's rights. And they are. One person is murdering another person. It's not a risk of death, it is a guarantee of death. The objective is a deprivation of someone's life. The deprivation is directly caused by another person.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Suicide is your right (one that does not affect others).

Assisted suicide may not be depending on how it is done.

So what is the guiding principle for assessing assisted suicide? That is what I've been getting at. That is a situation where you are consenting to another person killing you.

 

4 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

There are rights you are born with and then there are rights that are contractual.

The right "not to be murdered" is not the same time as "the right to your car".

You can trade your car but not your life.

The fact that you own your life is not contractual.

3 hours ago, Eiuol said:

What I'm trying to say is that to even make sense of saying you have a right to make choices and bad decisions, depends on a foundation of a right to life first and foremost. If we contradict that, or ignore that, there is no basis to say you have a right to anything in particular.

It's not correct to say that taking on risk is equivalent to signing away part of your right to life.

One implicit question is whether anyone should interfere. Just because I say that you can't sign away your right to life even if you wanted to doesn't mean that I want to interfere. If it was some secret island off the coast of Alaska, that wasn't part of the US, I wouldn't care. They can attempt any contradiction they want, and I won't care.

The second part is if they are violating each other's rights. And they are. One person is murdering another person. It's not a risk of death, it is a guarantee of death. The objective is a deprivation of someone's life.

When I say 'trade', I didn't mean someone else gains possession of it. You 'surrender' some of your right to life in exchange for some values. So it is a personal trade in that sense.

You're giving away your right to claim damages from someone who transmits covid to you and harms you as a result.

Now if the above sentence cannot be described as trading, giving, surrendering etc part of your right to life, then how can it be described? And would it contradict Objectivism?

The alternative seems to be that:

"Because my right to life is derived from the facts of nature and is therefore unalterable, any initiation of physical force against myself, direct or indirect, is a violation of my right to life. Even if I sign a contract in which I give consent to the initiation of physical force against myself, such a contract would be void by default. If I consequently receive physical force, the government has a duty to intervene to protect my right to life, even if I insist that the government does not intervene."

If this is true, it destroys the 'enter at your own risk' argument (which I was/am sympathetic to).

So are not the ultimate questions here 'who decides what is and is not the (illegal/immoral) initiation of physical force?' and 'how exactly is it to be defined?'?

3 hours ago, Eiuol said:

so I'm not going to get into discussing what exactly initiation of force means.

Perhaps it is the crux of the issue though. I think it does need clarifying.

4 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Force in this context is not a collision of objects.

Fraud and theft are not a collision of something against your body.

Involuntary, meaning (not by accident) but being force by another person is the issue.

Not being forced by a tsunami or your hunger.

It is "preventing" another from pursuing their life as they would see fit if when they are unfettered by you. (and the same goes for them)

"preventing" by what means? "unfettered" in what way? And according to who?

A fist to the face is a collision of objects. That is physical force. Physical force that does not involve the collision of objects is known as indirect physical force i.e fraud. I understand the 'indirect' part to mean that the collision of objects would have or will take place if the victim tried to prevent the crime from taking place or in attempting to reclaim his property.

How is boxing any different from a more extreme version of a similar game, on a sliding scale from smashing knee caps, acid wars etc all the way up to a hunger games fight to the death?

What is the principle that separates boxing from the rest? i.e why is it not an initiation of physical force when it comes to boxing but it is with more extreme games?

(And not just games. Anything that involves consenting to physical violence against oneself or initiating against a consenting person).

Why shouldn't the government intervene the moment the first punch is thrown?

Edited by TruthSeeker946
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1 hour ago, TruthSeeker946 said:

You're giving away your right to claim damages from someone who transmits covid to you and harms you as a result.

Now if the above sentence cannot be described as trading, giving, surrendering etc part of your right to life, then how can it be described? And would it contradict Objectivism?

Before I can move on, can you please elaborate on this?

Who is giving away their right to claim damages and why?

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58 minutes ago, TruthSeeker946 said:

Now if the above sentence cannot be described as trading, giving, surrendering etc part of your right to life, then how can it be described? And would it contradict Objectivism?

I'm not sure how else to explain it. I was saying that your example has to do with potential damage, not violation of rights. To later be harmed would not be a violation of your right to life, in the sense the damage could not have been known before; it could not have been intentional that you were harmed (or there is no reasonable expectation you would have been harmed). All your means of living your life as you see fit are available for you to use as you wish when you put yourself at risk. To even think about the way your right to life is used or what constitutes its violation depends on having that right to begin with. That right doesn't go away if you ignore it, just as much as your right to life doesn't go away because some totalitarian government ignored your right to life.

But I was clear that the government doesn't have a duty to intervene per se. Intervening would have to do with protecting the stability of the law, and setting down expectations of legitimate ways to interact in society (that is, initiation of force cannot legitimately be the means of interacting with other people). It would make sense to treat "dueling cancer patients" as a mutual murder plot, where both people are judged according to the law. If two Mafia families are fighting, and the people fighting consent to it (they see it as part of their culture), and say that they don't want the government to intervene, would that be proper? If the government doesn't intervene, what might happen - not just with the people involved, but the legal system that deals with individual rights? 

58 minutes ago, TruthSeeker946 said:

So are not the ultimate questions here 'who decides what is and is not the (illegal/immoral) initiation of physical force?' and 'how exactly is it to be defined?'?

Morality alone, that's up to the individual. But the rest, that would be whoever makes the laws (and ultimately the justification for that is on what basis a government should be founded).

59 minutes ago, TruthSeeker946 said:

Perhaps it is the crux of the issue though. I think it does need clarifying.

I'll say more about that then depending on how you answer the above.

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1 minute ago, Easy Truth said:

Before I can move on, can you please elaborate on this?

Who is giving away their right to claim damages and why?

It was in reference to the covid example. If the transmission of covid is considered an initiation of physical force then the entrant could enter the property at their own risk i.e giving up their right to claim damages against anyone inside the property who transmits the virus to them causing them harm.

Of course, if it is not considered an initiation of physical force then the 'enter at your own risk' disclaimer isn't a rights based issue.

But that leads me to the central issue of my post regarding the definition of the initiation of physical force.

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Posted (edited)
56 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

But I was clear that the government doesn't have a duty to intervene per se

But of course it does. The government's duty is to protect individual rights. The initiation of physical force is a violation of individual rights and it is banned under the law. Therefore, the government has a duty to intervene.

So if you cannot give away/surrender/trade away your right to life (partially or otherwise), then as long as it is considered a violation of your right to life, the gov would have a duty to intervene.

Then the only question is determining whether it is or is not an initiation of physical force.

 

56 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

I'm not sure how else to explain it. I was saying that your example has to do with potential damage, not violation of rights. To later be harmed would not be a violation of your right to life, in the sense the damage could not have been known before; it could not have been intentional that you were harmed (or there is no reasonable expectation you would have been harmed). All your means of living your life as you see fit are available for you to use as you wish when you put yourself at risk.

It's still a violation of your right to life from the POV of the violator. They committed the act of force. 

Unless you mean the transmission of covid is not an initiation of force or a violation of anyone's rights as long as the person who transmitted it didn't know it? So it comes back to defining the initiation of force.

56 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

To even think about the way your right to life is used or what constitutes its violation depends on having that right to begin with. That right doesn't go away if you ignore it, just as much as your right to life doesn't go away because some totalitarian government ignored your right to life.

I acknowledged this.

 

2 hours ago, TruthSeeker946 said:

The alternative seems to be that:

"Because my right to life is derived from the facts of nature and is therefore unalterable, any initiation of physical force against myself, direct or indirect, is a violation of my right to life. Even if I sign a contract in which I give consent to the initiation of physical force against myself, such a contract would be void by default. If I consequently receive physical force, the government has a duty to intervene to protect my right to life, even if I insist that the government does not intervene."

 

Edited by TruthSeeker946
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1 hour ago, TruthSeeker946 said:

"preventing" by what means? "unfettered" in what way? And according to who?

Preventing by any means. The issue is preventing (survival qua man) of another man's survival "non defensively" i.e. initiating the prevention.

According or based on the nature of a human being.

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22 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Morality alone, that's up to the individual. But the rest, that would be whoever makes the laws (and ultimately the justification for that is on what basis a government should be founded).

It's one and the same.

The initiation of physical force (between humans) can have a matter of fact dictionary definition or an Objectivist definition.

The dictionary definition is along the lines of objects colliding between humans or any kind of physical resistance/force between humans, like a playful push or a vaccine injection, or boxing etc.

The Objectivist definition appears to be 'the type of initiation of physical force which is unjust'.

Which begs the question. Which types of dictionary definition physical force are just and which types are unjust?

 

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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

Preventing by any means. The issue is preventing (survival qua man) of another man's survival "non defensively" i.e. initiating the prevention.

According or based on the nature of a human being.

So you're saying punching a man in the face does not prevent the survival (qua man) of that man?

Edited by TruthSeeker946
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19 minutes ago, TruthSeeker946 said:

But of course it does. The government's duty is to protect individual rights. The initiation of physical force is a violation of individual rights and it is banned under the law. Therefore, the government has a duty to intervene.

Yeah, I was just trying to avoid the word duty, because I don't think it is true that every single case of rights violations should be dealt with, even if for the most part every single case is dealt with. For instance, if we're outside the borders of the country we are talking about (the government isn't obligated to go outside its own borders to protect other people or noncitizens), or perhaps some more unforeseen example where any intervention is impractical. Besides that though, yes, the government would always intervene. Some of my questions were to encourage you to think about why they government should intervene. What would happen if the government didn't intervene when people "consented" to violating each other's right? I picked the Mafia example because it is a real-life example, plus there are enough Mafia movies that we can get some idea of what happens when they are left to their own violent devices when dealing with their own internal family conflicts. 

28 minutes ago, TruthSeeker946 said:

Unless you mean the transmission of covid is not an initiation of force or a violation of anyone's rights as long as the person who transmitted it didn't know it?

To the extent they couldn't reasonably know that they had the illness, or to the extent that no one could know with reasonable certainty that someone would be infected (and therefore directly harmed), and other things like that. When you talk about the potential of harm, you are already acknowledging that there might not be harm, and pretty uncertain. 

34 minutes ago, TruthSeeker946 said:

Then the only question is determining whether it is or is not an initiation of physical force.

Okay, I'm getting a better sense of where you're coming from.

The word initiation isn't here simply about who punched first, or the first moment something bumped into another, or where a set of movements began. Initiation implies choosing to use force, or taking actions you are in control of that directly results in force. Furthermore, initiation of force in the context of rights is meant to imply that force is used in such a way as to forcefully act against what the other person is doing or wishes to do, against their will. They are forcibly denied from acting on their will. The reason force in particular is emphasized is because only force can actually prevent a person from using their mind or from using their body. 

 

If I repeat anything by the way, mostly it's for emphasis or to make sure that my reasoning is well-connected to the premises, not because I think you didn't get it. Sometimes repeating things just makes the point clearer.

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1 hour ago, TruthSeeker946 said:

So you're saying punching a man in the face does not prevent the survival (qua man) of that man?

What the context?

Is it a five year old punching a man?

Voluntary or not?

Are there any safety measures?

That's why I brought up the issue of collision not related to "force" in this context.

Although, you have a point in that "force" is a bad choice of words.

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On 8/18/2021 at 3:33 PM, TruthSeeker946 said:

Exactly right. 

What’s the logic here? Even for a deadly virus that would kill man at his best i.e fit and healthy?

It seems to me your claim rests on divorcing the virus from the individual even though the latter carries the former.

For covid, there is perhaps a case to be made. I’m not sure it can be considered a violation if the damage is primarily due to the ‘victim’s’ own poor health. 

Right, this seems like the obvious solution to me, and I’ve been left baffled by the libertarian and Objectivist controversy over how to respond to Covid. At the very least, it does the bulk of the heavy lifting.

Do you know of any prominent Objectivists who have argued along these lines?

 

I am strongly against weaponizing or personalizing an infection. This is a naturally-occurring virus, not a gun aimed by someone at anyone.

(Btw, The failure to separate the metaphysical from the man-made has done untold damage. The man-made dictatorial measures, pseudo-rationalized by Covid, are really what people should be blaming; instead as you've heard constantly: "It was Covid which caused me to lose my business/my employment/my home/my savings/etc., and put me on state welfare". But no - those losses were the direct effect of locking down people's activities. It is desperately sad how almost everyone I hear believes that lockdowns (etc.) were the natural, logical and moral solution to a pandemic, cause and effect, all which they grimly have had to go along with self-sacrificailly. Only shows how deeply altruism is entrenched). 

To get back to responsibiIity and self-responsible behavior, I can't generally believe anyone ~wants~ to pass on a potentially deadly infection (purposefully to kill someone). And if, rarely, that happened, and, even more rarely, motive of murderous intent could be established, only then could that be a case of initiation of force and charges of manslaughter.

I do think also that a rational person who felt any kind of evident symptoms would do what has usually been customary, self-interested, polite and responsible to co-workers etc.: Stay at home for a period. Otherwise, one's basic ethical principle to everyone out there in public (any one of whom, you can't know, may be at great health risk) is: Please keep out of my way. Look after yourself; your life and welfare is not a responsibilty I can take on while I go about my living.

Edited by whYNOT
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On 8/18/2021 at 3:33 PM, TruthSeeker946 said:

Right, this seems like the obvious solution to me, and I’ve been left baffled by the libertarian and Objectivist controversy over how to respond to Covid. At the very least, it does the bulk of the heavy lifting.

Do you know of any prominent Objectivists who have argued along these lines?

 

21 hours ago, TruthSeeker946 said:

 

Jeffrey Tucker, he's outstanding, the clearest thinker I know of on this subject (and many). An Objectivism friendly libertarian, one gathers, and will be known to those who used to visit his "liberty.me" forum, now apparently defunct. He is now affiliated to TAS in some way. These articles are a little dated but the ideas stand.

https://www.atlassociety.org/post/no-one-is-required-to-join-the-herd-in-search-of-immunity

https://www.atlassociety.org/post/catastrophe-is-all-around-us

https://www.atlassociety.org/post/all-hail-the-reopening

 

https://www.atlassociety.org/post/book-review-jeffrey-tuckers-thoroughly-excellent-liberty-or-lockdown

Edited by whYNOT
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On 8/18/2021 at 6:33 AM, TruthSeeker946 said:
On 8/17/2021 at 8:21 AM, whYNOT said:

A business owner however could rightfully disclaim as many have always, that injuries (etc.) on his premises are non-liable. "Enter at your own risk".

Right, this seems like the obvious solution to me, and I’ve been left baffled by the libertarian and Objectivist controversy over how to respond to Covid. At the very least, it does the bulk of the heavy lifting.

Do you know of any prominent Objectivists who have argued along these lines?

What exactly is the "libertarian and Objectivist" position on how to respond?

Currently everyone has that disclaimer. That's why the government is able to achieve its power grab.

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42 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

What exactly is the "libertarian and Objectivist" position on how to respond?

Currently everyone has that disclaimer. That's why the government is able to achieve its power grab.

I don't see how. That contract is private, between client and businessman. The latest Gvt. power grab soon to be global, is by co-opting the business owner to turn Government Agent by force. He is now responsible for vetting his customers for their mandatory vaccinations and for barring any without (like a policeman). Whatever may be his own choices in the matter. At penalty of heavy fines where he allows in the unvaxed. At loss of his turnover and profit too, you bet.

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