While most people were enjoying their Sunday yesterday, conservative social media was locked in a war of words over Ron DeSantis’ latest move to sanction cruise lines that demand so-called vaccine passports. DeSantis made the move after the cruise lines cited the discredited CDC’s guidelines as a reason to do so.
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Meanwhile, the same contingent that was already looking for a reason to hate DeSantis sprung into action.
Well, it’s stupid to call it a vaccine passport, I’ll give you that. But a private business, particularly a cruise line, should be perfectly free to require passengers be vaccinated. Even if the cruise line is wrong who the f is the Governor of Florida to say otherwise? https://t.co/LOsVUpGzcy
— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahDispatch) May 31, 2021
“Particularly a cruise line,” why? What’s the limiting principle there given the argument against DeSantis is literally an appeal to free-market principles. After a year of lockdowns, how some ostensibly on the right are still stumping to give the left an inch because they wouldn’t dare take a mile is a mystery to me. Vaccine passports are not going to stop with cruise lines and everyone knows it. Besides, there is little data to show cruise lines are uniquely vulnerable. Give the amount of asymptomatic, untested spread in the United States, you could easily be looking at an infection rate 3-5x what we have officially logged in the country. That would actually be more than the infection rate on Diamond Princess, for example, which was 25% after testing every single passenger last year when it docked.
There’s some serious hypocrisy mixed into this, too, because as far as I can tell, every single one of these “conservatives” speaking against DeSantis supported lockdowns and mask mandates. If one is going to oppose DeSantis on free-market and libertarian grounds, where were these supposed principles when the government was crushing businesses with the threat of arrest based on “science” we now know was misguided at best?
*govs tell businesses they’ll go to jail for opening their doors*
Conservatism Inc: “Just do what they say, we’re all in this together!”
*gov tells business they can’t require vaccine passports*
Conservatism Inc: “OUTRAGEOUS, PRIVATE BUSINESS, THIS ISN’T CONSERVATISM”
— Oilfield Rando (@Oilfield_Rando) May 31, 2021
Sorry, but you don’t get to feign principle to oppose DeSantis using his power to protect individual rights when you weren’t in the trenches fighting against draconian, ineffective lockdowns and mask mandates throughout 2020. That’s not how any of this works, though, it is a perfect representation of the impotence of the establishment GOP that led to much of Conservative Inc. being sidelined as thought leaders.
Individual freedom is individual freedom. It doesn’t become any less important if it’s a private business in cahoots with the government that is seeking to crush it. The modern Republican movement recognizes that and sees the asymmetry of the current cultural battlefield for what it is. Step back and ask yourself what hill any of these people have been willing to defend over the last half-decade besides tax cuts? The problem with not defending the hill you are on is that pretty soon, you’ll run out of hills. DeSantis understands that.
Conservatism is not just an abstract idea. It is supposed to seek to actually conserve things, and that includes the rights of individuals to patronize businesses freely without being asked for their papers or forced to get a vaccine. Natural immunity is real and long-lasting for millions of Americans. Those that are still fearful of infection can go get the free vaccine and then it’s really none of their business what other people do. After all, they are protected, correct? I mean, if you are going to say the vaccines work, then act as if they work. That doesn’t seem like a difficult concept to me.
Life is always about balancing risks. We are long past the point where the government or major corporations need to be dictating to individuals what they should or shouldn’t do in regards to COVID. The vaccines are developed, they’re free, and they’re widely avaiable. Everything else should be an individual choice at this point.
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