Let Freedom Thud
Published with the permission of the author August 31, 2021
South Dakota governor Kristi Noem, a Republican Party avatar for the concept of individual freedom, just announced that she was considering adopting a classic libertarian position allowing employers to mandate genetic experimentation on their employees. Or else be fired. Reason Magazine, that bastion of “free minds and free markets,” immediately acclaimed the governor’s virtue on this issue by posting the money quote above her beaming photograph: “It is not conservative to grow government and tell business what to do.” The magazine also prominently embedded a video that featured one of its “employment” lawyers who, in an authoritative tone, maintained that “employers absolutely have the right to require the vaccine.”
Nothing portrays why the Stupid Party continues to serve the goals of the Evil Party better than this story, particularly since universal vaccination heads the Evil Party’s political agenda. Reason Magazine’s laudatory article now pops up first in a Google search, reinforcing, as Google is wont to do, that narrative. I mean, it sounds so right headed. Government should never tell businesses what they can and can’t do. Let freedom ring. Employers can do what they want, surely. Government must get out of their way in order to create wealth and prosperity for all.
Such apparent naïveté is breathtaking. Truly juvenile. But disappointing. Even disturbing. The gulf fixed between the likes of Noem and, say, Winston Churchill, certainly no enemy of “free markets,” is vast and evidently unbridgeable.
What Noem”s cartoonish rationale fails to consider is a monsoon of both theoretical and practical political complexity. Not least is the oath she took before becoming governor wherein she swore to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. That document is not a contract between a majority mob and its enablers. Rather, it demands all authority in the republic, including government and any business enterprise, regulate society in a way that cannot transgress enumerated individual liberties, no matter what the excuse du jour. Consequently, Governor Noem cannot constitutionally ignore her obligations to protect individuals when businesses, government agencies, the courts, or the schoolyard bully behave badly. Would Noem turn her eyes away from businesses that openly discriminate on the basis of gender, race, creed or sexual orientation? Could businesses in South Dakota create sweatshops, employing children to work for a dollar during a 16-hour day? Could employers in her state rightfully demand that all of their employees no longer own firearms? Can they demand that employees no longer attend the church of their choice? Can a corporate bully require an employee to provide sex on demand without reprisal? Under Noem’s political libertarian rationale, the answers to these and a host of other similar questions must be YES.
To this, Noem and Reason might reply: “Hold on. You’re misstating our position. What we really mean is that businesses can proceed to do what they want without government intervention as long as they don’t bring harm to others.” Which makes sense. But all this does is to bring the argument back to the protections of the Constitution, along with a number of other nettlesome venues, such as medical codes of ethics and international treaties that invoke lessons learned about totalitarian regimes throughout the twentieth century, culminating in legal commitments to the moral medical strictures embedded in the Nuremberg Code, which the nation has ratified into law.
Under what regime can sense be made from sanctioning a policy on behalf of improving public health that allows businesses to mandate a vaccine that doesn’t immunize, with increasing evidence that it causes the very infection it was designed to avoid while compromising the immune system itself; doesn’t prevent infection transmission; produces a range of well-documented illnesses and even death; requires continual boostering with no assurance of effectiveness, along with perpetual, functionally useless mask mandating; exculpates the mandaters from any personal or financial liability if things go south; and violates, in blatant, down home ways, any fair minded notion of informed consent. The threat of loss of livelihood, retirement plans and medical insurance, among other potential lost benefits, under a mandate that has nothing to do with job performance, is hardly a “free” choice.
Governor Noem, in her defense of business freedom from government interference, doesn’t seem to understand the perverse irony involved in allowing businesses to do just the opposite with its workers. There is little evidence that those who exercise their choice not to receive the GMO cocktails pose any threat to those who choose to receive it. Unless, of course, she concedes that the injections don’t actually confer any protection. Which would then make the whole initiative moot. Which is why flu shots were never mandatory, since everyone knew they were not immunizing (they aren’t called vaccines in consequence), don’t reduce mortality, and most years do little to mitigate suffering for those victimized by viral influenza’s cascade of “variants.”
Perhaps Noem has succumbed to the lunacy of increasingly corrupt judicial tort cases, where the idea of negligence has been stretched to be anything a legal impresario can get a jury to believe, despite empirical evidence to the contrary. Worked up juries now routinely hand down damages in the millions for what they’ve decided should be criminal negligence, such as, among other things, serving coffee deemed too hot, maintaining shallow but unfenced garden ponds (ye olde attractive nuisance routine), and serving peanut butter in schools (each year, peanut butter allergies claim the lives of approximately five of the nation’s 74.2 million children, yet the product is now banned throughout the nation’s school systems because of the threat of “tortious relief”). Such decisions offend common sense, logic, and truth. But they quickly become legal precedents for even more egregious decisions. At each iteration, even the threat of tort litigation promotes laws, and now executive mandates, that, drip by drip, unreasonably constrict the freedom of everyone in their wake. And cost billions.
If this is so, the governor, rather than keeping a hands off policy, is cynically doing just the opposite, using her office in the best traditions of crony capitalism to signal the state’s business community she will not oppose mandates that might substantially reduce legal expenses and provide legal “cover” against charges of virus negligence. Any employer who then imposed an injection mandate, as well as a mask mandate, could then maintain they did everything they could have done to protect the public from infection, which is the best defense against the charge of negligence, though even this is often not sufficient to carry the day.
However, by pretending to take the libertarian high road, she’s also kicking employee rights to the curb while giving credence to the questionable idea that the so-called Covid vaccines are both safe and effective. Out from the same righteous spirit that spawned her no interference gambit, perhaps the governor’s office should assume liability for employees harmed by their employer’s mandate. Noblesse oblige in action.