On Covid Vaccines, My Bout with Omicron, and the Current Crisis of Conscience in the Church

(Note: Thy Will Be Done is now available at Barnes and Noble)

Last week I finished my quarantine after testing positive for Covid (most likely the “Omicron” variant, as I live in New York and came down with Coronavirus right as that variant became predominant here).

My experience with it was exactly what Dr. Robert Malone (the scientist who invented mRNA technology and now speaks against it – and was just deplatformed by Twitter for sharing scientific facts; I wonder when WordPress will deplatform me!) described it as: a Christmas gift from God; an illness so mild that it is more accurately described as a (natural) attenuated-virus-vaccine. The symptoms were only like a common cold for me, my wife, and our four children – and none of us have been “vaccinated” against Covid. Well, there was one difference: I completely lost my sense of smell. This, too, was a great gift, being that I have a one year old still in diapers and older children whose morning breath can sometimes only be described as apocalyptic. (Unfortunately, my sense of smell is now returning!)

In all seriousness, though, it was indeed a gift: we now have natural immunity to Covid – which is far better than what any vaccine would have given us (even aside from the fact that the present vaccines now appear quite ineffective against Omicron) –  without the need for three (oh, wait, four) abortion-tainted experimental gene therapy injections which, at this point, we can’t possibly have any knowledge of the long term consequences of. (See Footnote 1)

Good things come to those who wait.

I’ll say yet again: if you’ve chosen to get a Covid vaccine, I have no criticism for you. That’s up to your conscience to decide and it is truly none of my business. But I do want to share my reasons for my decision to not get vaccinated.

And that brings us to the question of conscience. The Catholic understanding of conscience – that is, the true understanding of conscience – is very simple and very straightforward. There is absolutely no excuse for the rampant confusion now being promoted in relation to it by those who present themselves as teachers in the Faith. 

Six facts must be remembered about conscience:

  1. Everybody has a conscience and his right to act in accordance with it must be respected. “Man has the right to act in conscience… He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience…” CCC §1782
  2. Conscience includes the simple logical deduction wherein one applies the universal and objective mandatory tenets of the moral law to the concrete particulars of one’s life, but it is not only that. Conscience is, rather, much more: it is the very voice of God speaking directly to the heart (Gaudium et Spes, §16, CCC §1776). It is “a messenger of him, who, both in nature and in grace, speaks to us behind a veil … Conscience is the aboriginal Vicar of Christ” – St. John Henry Newman. CCC §1778
  3. Conscience must be obeyed (“In all he says and does, man is obliged to follow faithfully what he knows to be just and right… by the judgment of his conscience…” CCC §1778) “In every temporal affair [Christians] are to be guided by a Christian conscience, since no human activity, even of the temporal order, can be withdrawn from God’s dominion.” (CCC §912)
  4. Conscience has no right to dispense one from the requirements of Catholic Faith and Morals; it can only validly operate from the foundation of orthodox Catholic teaching. (CCC §1706, Veritatis Splendor §32-34, etc.)
  5. Conscience has every right to require that one follow a more demanding course of action than the one permitted by Catholic teaching (this is an inescapable corollary to point 3 above and point 6 below). “A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience” (CCC §1800), not only in those cases wherein such obedience enjoys the additional dignity of being confirmed by some express Catholic doctrine.
  6. We have a duty to form our consciences as best we can (CCC §1783, 1798) – in accordance with the Truth. That is, we must form our conscience under the Holy Spirit’s guiding influence which leads us to all truth (cf. John 16:13); not only those truths explicitly contained within the infallible contents of Catholic Faith and Morals, but also all judgments “according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator.” (CCC§1783). If we culpably neglect this duty for too long, we may find ourselves in a truly horrible position wherein we seem to be following the immediate dictates of conscience, but are still acting unjustly because we’ve essentially chosen to pretend that ignorance is bliss and we have thus neutered our conscience.

In summarizing its teachings on Conscience, the Catechism emphasizes three norms – norms whose relevance to the matter at hand is quite clear:

Point 4 above is what liberal Catholics have, for so long now, heretically rejected – for example, in pretending that “conscience” can justify using artificial contraception, or can allow one to be “pro choice” or support homosexual behavior/”marriage.” In fact, all of these are categorically condemned by infallible Catholic teaching, and it is impossible for any Catholic’s conscience to licitly contradict these condemnations.

As these liberal Catholics are now accustomed to being (rightly!) criticized for this stance by orthodox-minded Catholics, they now predictably levy the charge of hypocrisy against those Catholics today who refuse to get vaccinated on the grounds of conscience. This charge, of course, is pure slander, and it flows from ignorance regarding the nature of conscience, for it consists in the rejection of point 5 above. 

But the problem, unfortunately, runs much deeper. If this were just another example of leftist Catholic fallacy, refuting it would prove easy enough for the “conservative” Catholics; the paragraphs above would suffice. The problem is, some of these very “conservative” Catholics have – for decades now, but in another context – adopted the exact same rejection of point 5 above, therefore they cannot now propose the very assertion they’ve previously dismissed. 

Once you make a pact with error, it follows you everywhere and haunts the rest of your days until you repent.

Now, Catholic apologists in general do excellent work and I thank God for their powerful defenses of Catholic teachings. But due to the efforts of a few of these career lay apologists and their thinly veiled disdain for private revelation, some people in the Church today have succumbed to a slightly Catholicized version of the Protestant sola-fide (Faith Alone) heresy, wherein it is said that as long as something is not a universal, objective, infallibly-defined necessity for all the faithful as a matter of Catholic Faith, they say it cannot ever become any conscience-based obligation of any sort for any Catholic. For these apologists (and I reiterate: I certainly do not mean all of them; I only have a few in mind!) found – in the indeed valid premise that private revelation does not demand belief as a matter of Catholic Faith – an opportunity to draw an utterly fallacious conclusion. Namely, they insist that because private revelation never binds as a matter of Catholic Faith, it is also categorically impossible for any private revelation to ever place any duties of any sort upon the consciences of any Catholics (except perhaps the individual seer who received the revelation). (I address this point in greater detail in Part Three of Thy Will Be Done)

As you can see, this is precisely the same fallacy used today to insist that, because the CDF has said they can be okay, conscience cannot ever validly lead any Catholic to reject the Covid vaccines for himself. As the (erroneous) argument goes: “The Church has said the vaccines are okay and no Catholic can, as a matter of Catholic Faith, reject their use; therefore no Catholic can at all discern in his conscience that they aren’t okay for him, and furthermore requiring these vaccines is, accordingly, no problem.” One need only swap out a few words to generate this lie from the same exact line of reasoning which these few apologists invented decades ago to dismiss any private revelation they dislike. This insistence, in turn, is what is used to justify the very vaccine mandates that are now serving as the precursor to the Mark of the Beast itself.

Seducing as it always is at first in the opportunities it gives to rationalize doing the self-will, error has consequences.

Let me give an example. Suppose a certain person was over for dinner one night and, as the hour grew late, suggested that we watch a new episode of some ridiculous sci-fi TV show about aliens and time travel. Suppose I responded by saying “well, I’m getting quite tired and may just fall asleep soon, but I haven’t yet prayed the Rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet, so I better do that now instead.” Suppose he then responded “Ah, don’t worry! The Catholic Faith does not require those prayers – each are from private revelations – so you are under no obligation to recite them, skipping them would be fine, and I really want to watch this show.”

He would have entirely missed the point. My conscience tells me that I must pray the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet every day. That these devotions are from private revelations and, accordingly, are not required as matters of Catholic Faith is irrelevant to the fact that I find in my heart a duty related to them. I have read enough about both of these devotions to know of their utterly astonishing is their power, therefore I know what I am neglecting by failing to pray them every day, and this knowledge in my mind has grown sufficiently potent that God has worked through it to direct my conscience to direct my will to pray both each day. Nor would I be doing anything wrong by encouraging others to form their consciences in accordance with the same knowledge that has compelled my own conscience to demand their daily recital. So long as I let their own consciences do the demanding and concern my input with helping to form their consciences, I have not engaged in unjust imposition. 

So it is with avoiding the use of abortion-tainted vaccines. Now, indeed, the CDF has issued a document, the most relevant points of which are summarized below. I submit to the Church’s authority and I therefore grant that Catholics are not universally morally obliged to reject, say, the Pfizer Covid vaccine. This doesn’t mean that I have no right or grounds in conscience to reject it for myself.

The CDF Document’s Key Points:

  1. If you cannot obtain a morally irreproachable vaccine, then it can be morally acceptable to receive an abortion-tainted one because although this entails material cooperation with abortion, it is remote, and therefore avoiding it is not obligatory “if there is a grave danger” (and it goes on to offer a statement – perhaps outside, we should note, of the purview of the CDF’s competence– that Covid is such an example; though I leave settling the scope of that jurisdiction to smarter people than myself). Note that this point itself refutes many of the vaccine pushers, who insist that there isn’t cooperation with abortion at all by using these vaccines.
  2. In the case of grave danger, abortion-tainted vaccines may be “used in good conscience with the certain knowledge that the use of such vaccines does not constitute formal cooperation with the abortion…” (§3) No one that I know of denies this. Of course getting an abortion-tainted vaccine isn’t, in and of itself, formal cooperation in abortion; but only material. 
  3. The use of aborted fetal cell lines is still wrong (§4)
  4. Vaccination must not be made mandatory. (§5)
  5. Duty to the common good “may recommend” vaccination (but the document does not say that such duty ever requires it). The same paragraph implicitly admits that a Catholics’ conscience can indeed compel him to reject these vaccines, by saying: “Those who, however, for reasons of conscience, refuse vaccines produced with cell lines from aborted fetuses…” (§5)

Now Pope Francis, of course, has repeatedly stated that he views the vaccines as “acts of love,” as in no way problematic, and as even “morally obligatory.” He has never Magisterially taught this, but has only stated it (albeit repeatedly!) in entirely non-Magisterial contexts. Every Catholic is free to disagree with his insistence that receiving these vaccines is a moral obligation. For many years now I have been begging my readers to realize that a number of Pope Francis’ personal opinions are clearly mistaken, and to – for the sake of the good of their souls – not hesitate to disagree with them when called for. This is just another example of the same dynamic, and its existence in the present context shouldn’t surprise us.

Pope Francis knows that, with only a few minutes of time, he could promulgate a brief Encyclical, Papal Bull, Decree, Apostolic Letter, or anything of the sort, in which he Magisterially teaches that these vaccines are entirely morally unproblematic, that no Catholic can have grounds for rejecting them in conscience, and/or that every Catholic has a moral obligation to receive them. For over a year now, he has deliberately refrained from doing so. Obviously, it is not for lack of concern (just see his repeated non-Magisterial comments!) – it is because he knows that it would be entirely impossible for him to teach these things Magisterially.

Rampant Bad Arguments

As for me, I do not claim any certain knowledge on this issue, and there are plenty of better Catholics than myself on both sides of it who know much more about it than I do. But I will say that I find entirely unconvincing all the arguments I’ve read so far which seek to assuage the consciences of all Catholics in using these vaccines. 

For when I see otherwise intelligent people repeatedly proffering only logically bankrupt analogies to make their points, I cannot help but suspect that they do so because the conclusion they seek to bolster with these analogies is itself fallacious.

One particularly famous career lay apologist argues that the abortion-tainted Covid vaccines are fine because using them is like paying a pizza-delivery guy for your pizza, even if he might be a drug addict who will then go and use the money to buy cocaine. How absurd. The abuse of cocaine was not necessary for the cooking (or delivery!) of that pizza, and there is no argument that you are unjustly cooperating with his drug abuse by paying him for the pizza.

Another more serious thinker – a Catholic philosopher by the name of Ed Feser whose work I generally greatly admire – has used a better analogy (perhaps the best one I’ve found so far proffered by those who defend the use of abortion-tainted vaccines), but it still completely fails in assuaging my conscience. He posits a scenario wherein someone is murdered, and his fingernails are then clipped off by another who stumbled upon the corpse. This strange fellow then clones these fingernail clippings (somehow) and sells them on eBay. Decades later, a nail clipper designer comes along and uses these very cloned fingernails to design an amazing nail clipper which soon becomes the only readily available one. Feser then says: “Are we obliged to refrain from purchasing this nail clipper? Obviously not.” But I do not understand why Feser chose to construct his analogy with such a glaring lack of parallelism to the very matter he is seeking to illustrate with it. His analogy would only work if the murder victim were deliberately murdered for his fingernails, and the removal of these fingernails was the motivation for the murder, and the fingernail clipper designer – knowing full well all these facts – nevertheless chose to use these cloned fingernails to work on his prototype. If that were how Feser phrased the analogy, then, I think Feser would admit, buying those fancy new fingernail clippers suddenly becomes much more disquieting. 

On Tylenol, etc. 

Stepping outside of the realm of analogies, the most commonly employed attempt at a comparable example – the favorite of the Covid vaccine pushers – is Tylenol (and a smattering of other similar over-the-counter products, such as Tums). Since McNeil Consumer Healthcare (which owns Tylenol) does experiments using the same aborted fetal cell line (HEK 293), the Covid vaccine pushers say that it too must be rejected by anyone who would reject the Covid vaccines on the ground of conscience. But this is fallacious. Tylenol (that is, acetaminophen or paracetamol) was invented in the 1800s, developed in its present form during the early 1900s, and hit the market in the U.S. in the year 1950. All of this, of course, was long before abortion was even legal in America, and no aborted fetal cell lines had anything to do with its development. No one is cooperating with abortion by taking acetaminophen. If McNeil Consumer Healthcare currently undertakes tests using the HEK 293 cell line, then that is lamentable, but it cannot magically bend the laws of logic and retroactively impose its own moral evil upon a medicine that was developed long before these tests ever happened. If you want to stick it to McNeil (or Johnson and Johnson, who owns it), then by all means, buy generic “tylenol” (generic acetaminophen, which is all I buy) – it is the exact same thing and costs half as much. The same applies to Tums and the other cases these vaccine pushers use. For example, calcium carbonate (Tums’ active ingredient) was used to treat heartburn at least as early as 1930. Developing this treatment in no way involved abortion.

We know, in Catholic moral philosophy/theology, that remote material cooperation in evil can sometimes be justified (depending upon circumstances/intent)– as in, for example, paying your taxes even though your government does evil things – but so many who present themselves as teachers in the Faith today are ignoring that, although taking (let’s say the Pfizer) Covid vaccine is indeed only remote material cooperation in abortion, that does not describe the situation we have here; that is only a small part of the picture. The other– and much more significant– part of the picture is summarized below.

The relevant considerations:

  1. The HEK 293 cell lines were part and parcel to the development process of these vaccines (whether, as in Pfizer/Moderna, pre-release testing – also a requisite part of development. See just this one paper from Pfizer/Biontech, et. al., which alone makes several references to their use of HEK in developing their mRNA vaccine…or whether, as in J&J, the vaccine was – even more problematically – actually cultured on the HEK line ) More on this point below.
  2. Abortion was part and parcel to the generation of the HEK cell line – a healthy, normal preborn girl was murdered in the Netherlands in the 1970s for it. She was likely extracted – alive via a C-section abortion – from her mother’s womb, and dissected – alive – in order to most “successfully” remove cells from her kidney; only perfectly fresh organs (taken from a living baby, that is) would have worked in culturing a fetal cell line as “successful” as HEK293. It is an oft-repeated lie that it was either a miscarriage or that some abortionist murdered a baby, then a scientist came in and said “Oh, what a shame that you did that. But now that you did, let me extract some cells.” No, the abortion was almost certainly undertaken with the intention of extracting the cells; for the cell line to work, these cells had to be extracted within minutes of the baby’s extraction (and pray tell – how exactly could that have happened if it wasn’t intentionally planned beforehand?) and in a way that would make Hitler proud – from a “fresh,” that is, living, baby’s body. Moreover, the cell line is called HEK 293 (Human Embryonic Kidney 293) because it took 293 experiments to create it – experiments that required many, many abortions before the one that ultimately generated the cell line. Now, people debate about the details of this point and I am not well versed in that debate. But so long as the account I have provided here is even possible, it is what I will assume is the case. Only in light of overwhelming evidence would I be willing to operate under the premise that HEK was derived from a miscarried baby.
  3. Abortion – as well as unborn-child-murdering “scientific research” – is an ongoing genocide. It is, therefore, far worse to participate in any way in it than it would be to benefit from, say, atrocities undertaken in medical research in Auschwitz during a genocide that has since ended.  
  4. Unborn-child-murdering “scientific research” (for example, embryonic stem cell research) continues to this day precisely because the diabolical forces behind it know full well that Christians today – by and large – are too cowardly to take a strong stand against it, and will readily gobble up any remedy to their physical ills that involves cooperation with it. 
  5. Pfizer, Moderna, J&J, etc., are still using the HEK cell lines which were necessary for the development of their Covid vaccines, and every such vaccine taken increases their profits and emboldens them to continue this evil practice. 
  6. Material cooperation in evil must only be justified in proportion to the importance of what is pursued by that cooperation. But the vast majority of people have an over 99.9% chance of surviving Covid without vaccination. With Omicron, which will likely soon account for all Covid cases, that survival rate will likely rise to over 99.99%. Overall deaths from Covid are not the relevant statistic here. Survival rate is the relevant statistic. By the logic of appealing to overall deaths in a situation that applies to the whole world of almost 8 billion people, any risk of death, even the most utterly minimal one, will wrongly seem to justify extraordinary means in order to avoid it. Consider speed limits: if all speed limits were reduced to 5 mph, this would save over a million lives every year. Doing so would still be absurd, however. Your survival rate proportional increase from everyone driving only 5 mph does not merit such a change. With speed limits as they are, you have about a 99.99% chance of surviving all of your year 2022 driving. Bumping that up to a survival rate of 99.999% would be nice, but no one in his right mind would consider that a moral obligation for you if it required extraordinary measures, and even less so is it an obligation if doing so involved material cooperation in evil!  (See Footnote 2)

Certain Catholics have gone into overdrive for the last year, relentlessly presenting example after example of things that we all do which allegedly consist in more proximate cooperation in evil than one would be engaging in by receiving, for example, the Pfizer Covid vaccine. Not only are each of the arguments presented flawed in their own right (though going through each would be too long), they are also nothing but straw men. The question here is not “exactly how remote/proximate are we talking about here?The question, rather, is: “How can we justify even remote material cooperation in consideration of the 6 points above?” It is those 6 points which these vaccine pushers systematically ignore.

When some consideration is irrelevant to the matter at hand – irrelevant to the determination of whether a given course of action is just or unjust – then it must not be allowed to even factor into the analysis. This is why judges instruct juries to not merely be careful in weighing certain things, but even to dismiss certain things in their deliberations, and it is why certain things are likewise simply inadmissible in court. Here, too, there are points which – and we must stop pretending otherwise – bear absolutely no weight.

The irrelevant considerations:

  1. That the vaccines do not actually contain aborted fetal cells themselves (So what? HEK293 was used in developing the vaccines, and HEK293 is an aborted fetal cell line. That is its substantial nature, not an accidental quality. The HEK line is the subject of the moral evil here; not merely the same exact physical cells extracted from the murdered baby. The HEK line’s morally evil nature is, moreover, carried through its genetic replication to the present day. Similarly, you yourself are the same person you were when you were two years old, even though you share no physical cells in common with your two year old body [all of the body’s cells are replaced, on average, each 7 years]. If you don’t like that example, try another one: child pornography. As with all pornography, it is intrinsically evil. If someone makes a copy of a pornographic photograph of a child, and then a copy of that copy, and so on a thousand times for decades, the ten-thousandth copy is just as absolutely evil as the original photograph. All of them must immediately be destroyed, and any product developed using the pornographic nature of any of these photographs should likewise be rejected.)  
  2. The children murdered to create the HEK fetal cell line were murdered decades ago. (It should go without saying to any spiritually alive person that this has no morally mitigating effect on anything)
  3. That Pfizer/Moderna vaccines were tested on HEK, and not developed on HEK. For even if the Pfizer/Moderna vaccines were not developed on HEK (as J&J was), they were still developed with HEK. Now, this would be relevant if that test were done after the development, (and ideally even without Pfizer/Moderna’s direction or at least without their consent). But that’s not what happened. The testing of the Pfizer/Moderna mRNA vaccines on HEK was not part of an ongoing process of safety-checking after the vaccine development (not that even this would be okay!), but rather HEK293’s use was part and parcel to the initial vaccine development process itself. Accordingly, these vaccines cannot escape the charge of being abortion-tainted, and any attempt to claim otherwise is nothing but sophistry. Again, see just one of Pfizer’s own scientific papers here, where we see just how important HEK was in the development of that vaccine.

So,  am I now taking back what I said at the top of this article, when I insisted that I have no criticism of those who have chosen to get vaccinated for Covid? Not at all. I acknowledge that the cooperation with abortion is only material (not formal), and only remote (not proximate). I recognize that the other considerations I have presented are not demonstrative that it is illicit to get a Covid vaccine, and I recognize that the CDF has said the abortion-tainted Covid vaccines can be licitly used in grave cases. So if you have discerned that the risk of Covid is grave enough for you to justify that cooperation, then I do not question your conscience’s direction.

My Point

My point is merely to explain why my conscience now gives me a very simple answer: No.

My point is furthermore that those of us who have consciences which have said “no” must not have our fundamental human rights violated by vaccine mandates that attempt to force us to contradict our consciences. 

And I say this especially to priests and Bishops. I am terrified by the mere thought of the degree of wrath that a shepherd is laying up for himself on the Day of Judgment by requiring his sheep to violate their consciences in order to be allowed at Mass. Our forefathers in the Faith never would have been able to imagine this, and it is utterly apocalyptic for anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear. I can think of no clearer example of one to whom Our Lord was speaking when he said: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” Matthew 18:6

Now more than ever we must stay close to the true shepherds. I emphasized this in my last post, but today I want to draw attention to one especially: Bishop Joseph Strickland. He has long been one of the boldest defenders of the truth in the Church’s hierarchy. As such, he has become one of the liberal media’s (whether secular or “Catholic”) favorite Bishops to persecute. Attack pieces against him can be found on most of the outlets today which will soon become vocal supporters of the Diabolical Quantum Leap, and accordingly he is relentlessly harassed by their minions. If you have a Twitter account, I encourage you to follow him there and show your support for him via comments/likes/retweets/etc., so as to drown out evil with good. His posts are bold, edifying, and grounded in truth; please peruse them. You’ll quickly discover that he is no ideologue; he loves Christ, plain and simple, and accordingly he loves Christ’s truth. Let us pray that God sends us many more shepherds like him.

In conclusion,

Let’s suppose I’m completely wrong in some of the arguments I’ve presented above, and the best use of Catholic philosophy and theology actually does completely exonerate the use of all these Covid vaccines. Even then, when we zoom out and consider this issue from the eschatological, apocalyptic perspective (which, these days, we absolutely must), it matters little. For what is obviously true is that the debate is sufficiently muddled and confusing that, at the very minimum, millions of sincere Catholics across the world do in fact find their consciences violated by these vaccine mandates. These mandates, in turn, are becoming more and more universal, to the point of even being required to survive both spiritually (sacraments) and physically (work, shopping for groceries, etc.). If this isn’t a laying down of the Infrastructure of the Antichrist and a proximate preparation for the Mark of the Beast, then nothing is.

Footnote 1: On the experimental, potentially untrustworthy nature of mRNA:

Yes, widespread general public use of mRNA injections is brand new and experimental, despite some incorrect claims to the contrary now floating about the Catholic blogosophere – the mere fact that mRNA injections were studied and relatively minimally used even some decades ago says nothing. Pfizer’s Covid injection, for example, despite being “FDA approved,” is still in clinical experimental trials until at least May 15, 2023.  Now, I neither believe nor disbelieve many of the so-called “conspiracy theories” out there now about the mRNA jabs, but I certainly don’t trust brand new (injected, no less!) medical technologies, no matter how many scientists or scientific groups tell me they are safe. As an engineer, I know to not even trust motor vehicle technologies until they’ve proven themselves in mass-manufactured cars for at least a decade – I held off until this year to buy a car with a CVT [Continuously Variable Transmission]. Why, then, would I trust brand new medical technologies, considering how vastly more complex the human body is than a car? The mere fact that, throughout the history of vaccination, adverse consequences have always been discovered within the first few months of widespread administration means nothing – that is comparing apples and oranges. This “vaccination” drive is not comparable to anything in the history of vaccination, since none of the previous drives used mRNA injections.

Footnote 2: On a societal precursor to vaccine mandates

The example used in point 6 above reminds us of yet another societal foundation, laid down decades ago, which prepared the way for these vaccine mandates: seat belt laws. Now I’m a big fan of seat belts and I strongly encourage their use. I myself always wear my seat belt. But seat belt laws are absurd. To pass a law making an adult into a criminal just because he doesn’t buckle a piece of nylon over his body when in a moving vehicle – because by failing to do so, he fails to raise his chance of surviving a given drive from 99.99999% to 99.999999% – is utterly ridiculous. But how were these laws justified? By appealing to hypothetical absolute nation-wide numbers and neglecting individual freedom. This will save thousands of lives a year!” the social justice warriors breathlessly proclaimed to the legislative assemblies. Conveniently ignored was the fact that we – who are over the age of 17 – are not children, and the government is not supposed to be our mommy and daddy. It is not the government’s job to require adults, under pain of fines or jail, to incrementally increase their “safety.” The government has no right to violate the principle of subsidiarity on account of the number of lives allegedly saved each year by doing so. Yet, decades ago, we rolled over to it doing precisely that. Now, we are reaping what we have sown by our apathy. Today, collectivism and utilitarianism are sovereign philosophies in political discourse, and no one who questions them is even allowed into the discussion.