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  • Writer's pictureRobin Koerner

Only my disease status - NOT my vaccine status - can affect you.

Violating the rights of individuals based on a statistical claim about a group to which they belong is ALWAYS WRONG.

An unvaccinated person who doesn't have COVID puts others at risk exactly as much as a vaccinated one - NO RISK AT ALL.

My having a communicable disease could affect your health if we encounter each other: my having a vaccine, or not having one, cannot. The current justification for discriminating against unvaccinated individuals depends on a statistical claim about groups: that proportionally more of the unvaccinated (OUT-GROUP) than the vaccinated (IN-GROUP) have COVID (UNFAVORABLE CHARACTERISTIC).

But group membership can never be a basis for violating human rights. Its use for that purpose is the logic of all evil, of all tyrants, of all bigotry. Indeed, it is bigotry. A nation with a history of slavery should know that better than any.

Apply the logic of vaccine mandates (which means harming those who do not take the vaccine) to anything else and you'll see easily how evil it is.

Should we accept discrimination against black men (OUT-GROUP) just because being black and male is statistically correlated with criminal behavior (UNFAVORABLE CHARACTERISTIC)? Of course not.

Should we accept discrimination against people who drive red cars (OUT-GROUP) just because doing so is statistically correlated with causing road deaths (UNFAVORABLE CHARACTERISTIC)? That's equally absurd - but the statistical correlation is accurate.

Should we accept discrimination against people who have children (OUT-GROUP) just because doing so is statistically correlated with causing environmental damage that endangers all of us (UNFAVORABLE CHARACTERISTIC)? That's even more absurd - but the correlation isn't even just statistical - it's an overwhelming and direct causal effect.

Statistical facts about groups can never justify discrimination against an individual member of the group to whom that fact does not apply.

To return to one of the examples above, only a particular black male (or any other person) who has been shown to pose a threat can have his rights legitimately removed to protect the rest of us from him.

We call this protection "innocent until proven guilty". We also call it "not being a complete bigot."

Now, it may be true that a person's maleness and blackness correlate with a higher probability (albeit still very low) of criminality. But that statistical fact tells us nothing about any individual member of that group - and certainly nothing that could justify removing his rights.

To remove rights, you must at least establish the harmfulness of the individual. When it comes to justice, that means, at the very least, presenting evidence that a person committed a crime; when it comes to protecting public health, that means, at the very least, presenting evidence that a person actually has a communicable disease.

To restate "innocent until proven guilty" in a manner that makes its application to medical status obvious: "harmless until proven harmful".

My vaccine status does not affect your health: only my disease status does - and one does not predict the other. And even if it did, you wouldn't need to make the prediction - because my harmfulness (my disease status) is easily and cheaply testable. So find out what it is before you treat me worse than the next man. It's the very least you must do.

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