Does the Brownstone Institute produce reasoned arguments or propaganda? We report, you decide.

There is good money in libertarianism.  The Brownstone Institute was recently founded by Jeffrey Tucker, a libertarian who most recently has spent his time criticizing covid lockdowns.  He just published an article criticizing Biden’s support for a vaccine mandate.  He lists five problems with Biden’s policy, but is it analysis or propaganda? Let’s take a look.

1. The Biden mandate pretends that the only immunity is injected, not natural. . . .

Nope.  The rules ultimately issued by federal agencies may or may not include exemptions for people with prior covid infections, but you can make an argument for not including such an exemption without denying the existence of natural immunity.  For example, you could cite administrative simplicity, or the added value of being vaccinated even if you have recovered from covid.

2. This natural immunity is long-lasting and broad, and we’ve known that since last year when the first studies revealed it. You can say that the addition of a vaccine provides even more but it’s new and untested relative to most drugs approved by regulators, and many people are concerned about possible side effects of this vaccine that was approved much faster than any drug in my lifetime – and there is not one living human being in a position to say with certainty that these skeptics are wrong. 

There is not one living human being in a position to say with certainty that any skeptic is wrong about anything.  He’s not making an argument, he’s just shifting the burden of justification onto those he disagrees with, and setting the standard of proof at an absurdly high level.  In addition, it kind of sounds like he’s encouraging vaccine hesitancy, doesn’t it?

3. The mandate presumes that everyone is equally susceptible to severe outcomes from getting exposed to the virus, which we’ve known is not true since at least February 2020. . . .

Not so.  The mandate assumes that the best way to move past the pandemic and resume pre-covid life is to get everyone vaccinated as quickly as possible.  People can spread the virus even if they are at low risk for serious illness. 

4. Biden seems still of the belief that vaccines stop infection (he claimed this many times) and spread but we know with certainty that this is not the case, and even the CDC admits it. . . .

The evidence is that vaccines reduce transmission of the virus.  Reducing transmission could justify mandatory vaccination even if vaccines do not “stop” infection “with certainty”.  Again, he’s not making a relevant argument, he’s just shifting the burden of proof.

5. Biden’s order flies in the face of basic human freedoms and rights. There is no other way to put it. And it is this fact that is the most prescient for the multitudes who are right now seething in anger that one man who happens to hold power can make health decisions for the whole population regardless of their perfectly rational judgements. When the needle filled with liquid is forced into the arms of people who either have natural immunities or do not fear exposure to the pathogen, it gets personal, and people get really mad, especially after they are still forced into masks and denied other essential rights. 

I’d like to see Tucker’s evidence that people who reject vaccination are making perfectly rational judgments.  Maybe he could start by interviewing some of the unvaccinated people choking to death in ICUs, so see how rational they think their judgment is.

And it is worth noting that no one is going to be tied down and injected against their will, though they will be pressured to get a vaccine, as we do with many other vaccines.