OPINION: At the risk of being accused of indulging the slippery slope fallacy, I believe these mandatory vaccinations will serve as a test ground for future arbitrary restrictions of people’s rights in the name of some prospective good in the end, writes Pastor Molatudi Modiri.
I do not have any problem with, or an objection to the Covid-19 vaccines. This is more out of ignorance in the field of vaccinology than out of confidence that vaccines work. Perhaps they do work. Better still, they should work. Otherwise, this would be a crime against humanity of unimaginable proportions.
My ignorance notwithstanding, I still know enough to be aware that these vaccines are neither curative or preventive. I am not here suggesting that vaccines function as cures. They do not. I am simply stating this as a known fact that these vaccines do not cure Covid-19.
However, they are supposed to be preventive and/or alleviative. But they are obviously not preventive. Even the most vociferous advocates for vaccination do admit this. At best, they are mitigatory and to what extent? I guess it will differ from person to person. There is no exact science.
I have not taken the jab yet. I am leaning more in the direction of remaining unvaccinated in emotional and mental support for my wife whom the doctors have warned against taking the vaccine.
Nevertheless, the more I listen to experts on both sides of the divide, politicians, media personalities and now recently labour unions and business forums arguing for vaccines, verily to the point of calling for mandatory vaccination, I am becoming more reticent about being vaccinated. The arguments are not persuasive.
I am not convinced by arguments that unvaccinated persons are solely responsible for spreading Covid-19 and the mutations of the virus into more variants. I am even less convinced that they are more susceptible to becoming severely sick once infected.
It is commonplace that vaccinated people still get infected and do spread the virus. Hence the insistence for them to continue wearing masks, practising hand-hygiene and observing social distancing.
It is also true that once infected some of them do become severely ill and even die. While it is true that some unvaccinated people get severely sick and die from Covid-19, others get away with mild symptoms or even recover from severe symptoms.
Again, there is no clear and exact science on this matter. If the Covid-19 statistics are anything to go by, then we can safely conclude that those who recover are incomparably in the majority.
However, this must not be construed as an argument against vaccines. Neither must it be taken as a pronouncement on their alleviative efficacy.
This article is just a layman’s attempt to say the truth on the ground that some vaccinated people also do get severely sick and do die from Covid-19, perhaps at a much lower rate than the unvaccinated. But they do get sick and die from Covid-19. Yet this information is unfortunately being censored and suppressed. But it is finding its way to the public and it’s rattling its confidence in the vaccines.
As to the claim that the unvaccinated are solely responsible for viral mutations, the less is said about that the better, because that is an untested assertion. Any infected person, vaccinated or not, provides a breeding ground for viral variants. It should be troubling to hear that the unvaccinated are blamed for the emergence of variants.
More troubling though is the argument for the mandatory vaccination. That is the primary purpose of this article. Mandatory vaccination, it is argued, must be implemented at the expense of individual rights in order to achieve the greater good for the majority.
Inherent in this argument are two dangerous ethical theories which conscionable persons should oppose with all the courage they can muster, viz, (1) The end justifies the means (Consequentialism) (2) The greatest good for the greatest number of people (Utilitarianism).
The error in this ethical theory is so obvious that it requires no elucidation. Trampling on the rights of individuals to accomplish an imaginary good, apart from setting a dangerous precedent, is just plain wrong and unconstitutional.
People should have a right to decide what happens or does not happen to their bodies. That is their fundamental right. The freedom to think and decide one’s fate constitutes a sense of being. Compelling people to receive into their bodies what they are not comfortable with, for right or wrong reasons, through curtailing their public life and suspending some of their constitutional rights, is draconian, totalitarian and unjust.
The irony is that it is presently criminal in South Africa to discriminate against members of the LGBTQI+ community on the basis of their chosen lifestyle, and yet now people are about to be discriminated against on the basis of their choice to not be vaccinated.
This is justified by the notion that this discrimination will in the end work out for the good. Even if good will ensue from these mandatory vaccinations, it should still matter that that good should not be achieved at the expense of the sacred right of people to be who they really are; human beings with meaningful freedom to choose. Particularly living, as we do, in a constitutional democracy wherein individual rights are protected by the Bill of Rights.
At the risk of being accused of indulging the slippery slope fallacy, I believe these mandatory vaccinations will serve as a test ground for future arbitrary restrictions of people’s rights in the name of some prospective good in the end. This, if not constructively engaged and resisted, is a perfect recipe for future tyranny.
The arrogance in this theory (the Greatest Good for The Greatest Number of People – Utilitarianism), is deserving of our strong repulsion. If not for any reason but that a few cannot claim to know absolutely what is right and good for everyone. To arrogate such powers to itself, the government would be abrogating the right of individuals to determine what is mandatory vaccination in the pretext of pursuing the greatest good for the greatest number of people, which borders on totalitarianism. It was utilitarianism that undergirded Nazi Germany (Hitlerism), Communist China (Maoism), Socialist USSR (Stalinism) and Fascist Italy.
The rights of millions of people were undermined and more were killed in the name of the greatest good for the greatest number of people.
This heavy-handed approach by the government and its multinational partners is bound to provoke vigorous resistance from the body politic which might necessitate armed suppression. This might take a country just a few steps shy of militarism.
That is ultimately where political and multinational corporate elitism is driving the world to a state of existence where people are without rights, a voice and are completely stripped of their supreme God endowed gift of the freedom of conscience.
I am more scared of a state where people’s freedom of movement will be limited and controlled by fear of armed organs of the State which operate in protection of multinational profiteering, than of a virus which is likely to be eventually eradicated from our life by natural processes anyway.
* Modiri is Pastor in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church and writes in his personal capacity.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL and Independent Media.