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Vaccine Passports Raise Some Very Serious Concerns

Biden wants to permit businesses, local governments, etc. to condition some of the freedoms that Americans enjoy on whether or not they choose to vaccinate.

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Americans are free to debate the effectiveness of the newly released Covid vaccines. They are also free to decide whether or not to get vaccinated. As Americans, they have the freedom to make these choices for themselves and for their young children. The decision that they make relative to the Covid vaccine should not dictate/govern the level of freedom that they enjoy as Americans. This would run afoul of the very notion of freedom that Americans so deeply cherish. Notwithstanding, President Joe Biden recently proposed the use of vaccine passports, which could tear a gaping hole into the freedoms that Americans enjoy and lead Americans down a dangerously steep and slippery slope to the abyss.

As reported by US News:

“The Biden administration and private companies are working to develop a standard for a ‘vaccine passport’ that could be used as the country tries to reopen in the coming months.”

The passports are expected to be free and available through applications for smartphones, which could display a scannable code similar to an airline boarding pass, the Post reported. Americans without smartphone access should be able to print out the passports, developers have said.

In other words, Biden wants to permit businesses, local governments, etc. to condition some of the freedoms that Americans enjoy on whether or not they choose to vaccinate. If they are unable to provide proof of vaccination, they will be unable to participate/engage in certain types of events/activities. There are many potential problems with Biden’s proposal.

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For starters, while some Americans will undoubtedly and voluntarily choose not to vaccinate, others might not be permitted/allowed to do so due to some underlying medical condition, age restriction, etc. Are such individuals barred from engaging in various activities because they are unable to provide proof of vaccination? Do they simply give up their personal freedoms?

What about the potential privacy (i.e. personal and medical) concerns associated with such passports? Are we, as Americans, expected to waive our privacy rights and to share our personal and medical information with “strangers” in order to exercise and enjoy our freedoms? Who would be in charge of this information? What measures would be in place to ensure that such information is not stolen or improperly disclosed? This could create dangerous precedent whereby our personal freedoms and privacy rights are slowly but systematically eroded.

Another concern with this policy is the fact that it could impact people or groups of people differently. For example, some people in smaller cities and towns might not have the opportunity to vaccinate due to the unavailability of vaccines in their area(s). Others might not have access to smart phones. In other words, the “vaccine passport” might not apply equally to all people and could discriminate among different groups of people. As reported by Townhall:

According to the ACLU, an exclusively digital passport system is a “nonstarter because it would increase inequality.” Those who are poor, disabled, homeless or seniors would be greatly impacted. Those demographics are the least likely to have smartphones, which would be necessary for digital passports. Digital passports would create a burden on those demographics.

As reported by Business Insider,”In the US alone, the vaccine rollout has been disproportionate among minorities and poorer populations, who have received fewer doses of the COVID-19 vaccine despite often being at greater risk for contracting the disease.” The requirement for such passports could also encourage fraud and result in a black market for people seeking “fake” vaccine passports.

With few exceptions, a vaccine passport would, in essence, make the Covid vaccination mandatory. While Americans are encouraged to get vaccinated, compelling them to do so in order to enjoy certain freedoms will likely lead to legal challenges.

According to Seema Mohapatra, Associate Professor of Law and Dean’s Fellow, IUPUI, while there is some precedent for passports and/or vaccination cards, “immunity passports” could run afoul of certain laws, such as the ADA.

Additionally, unlike vaccinations for highly contagious and lethal diseases like Smallpox (which the Supreme Court addressed in the case of Jacobson v. Massachusetts in 1905), Covid is not nearly as lethal and has a very high survival rate. In Jacobson, for example, the Supreme Court did not necessarily impose a vaccine mandate, but ruled that a person could be fined and punished if he/she refused to do get vaccinated. In an article in Reason, constitutional law professor Josh Blackman states:

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court observed, “[i]f a person should deem it important that vaccination should not be performed in his case, and the authorities should think otherwise, it is not in their power to vaccinate him by force, and the worst that could happen to him under the statute would be the payment of the penalty of $5.”

Later, in 1927, the Supreme Court decided the case of Buck v. Bell. There, Carrie Buck, who was deemed a “feeble minded woman,” was institutionalized. This “condition” had been present in her family for three generations. Shortly after Buck had a baby, Virginia passed a law allowing for the sexual sterilization of inmates of institutions to promote the “health of the patient and the welfare of society.” In light of this law, Buck was forcibly sterilized by the government. In upholding the government’s conduct, and citing Jacobson, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. stated:

The judgment finds the facts that have been recited, and that Carrie Buck “is the probable potential parent of socially inadequate offspring, likewise afflicted, that she may be sexually sterilized without detriment to her general health, and that her welfare and that of society will be promoted by her sterilization,”

We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives. It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by those concerned, in order to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. It is better for all the world if, instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes. Three generations of imbeciles are enough.

These cases emphasize another potential and critical problem with the vaccine passport and the idea of mandatory vaccinations, which is the possibility of government overreach. Such overreach could result in a dangerous and slippery slope whereby our personal rights and liberties are systemically eliminated. Realizing such dangers, various lawmakers are fighting back by way of executive action banning such passports. As reported by The Hill, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, recently stated, “It’s completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply participate in normal society.”

Americans will have to wait and see how this ultimately plays out.

Mr. Hakim is a political writer and commentator and an attorney.  His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, American Greatness, The Algemeiner, The Western Journal, American Thinker and other online publications. 

https://thoughtfullyconservative.wordpress.com

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A License to Have Children

Bringing a child into the world is a serious matter. If you’re shocked by the title of this article, do not pre-judge: read it the whole way through.

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If you’re shocked by the title of this article or have some preconceived notion about what it contains, do not pre-judge me or the article: read it the whole way through.

A growing number of individuals are beginning to think it’s time to require that people get a license before having children. If the idea sounds absurd or highly impractical to you, I can empathize, as I once felt the same way.

If there were but one or two sound reasons why a license for bringing a child into the world is a good idea, perhaps we could let the issue rest for another decade or so. Actually, there are dozens of compelling reasons, the top half-dozen outlined here, for our society to organize itself in a way it never has before and in a manner that was perhaps unthinkable a generation ago.

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Not Everyone Will

Before turning to the six big reasons for requiring a license to have children, let’s skip ahead to a time in which it is the law of the land.

As with licensing in other aspects of society, such as driving, not everyone who is supposed to get a license does so. Some people simply drive without one. Presumably, they proceed until they are caught for a traffic violation. ome people drive after their license has been suspended. Similarly, people will have children without the slightest regard for getting a license. As we’ll discuss, there are still compelling reasons for proceeding with the process.

Regardless of whether prospective child-rearing adults were to file for licenses, some people would always argue that requiring a license smacks of Big Brotherism.

“Haven’t people always conceived babies without a license?”
“Why do we need to impose this now?”
“Isn’t this one more bit of burdensome government regulation?”
“Isn’t this unconstitutional?”
“What agency will administer and oversee the process?”
“Will we be creating greater bureaucracy?”
“Why should the government get so involved in my private life?”

These points are worth considering; cause for alarm, however, is premature. There need not be one iota of Big Brotherism in the process. Licensing procedures don’t have to be designed so as to exclude anyone. Racism, favoritism, or any other “ism” need not gain any foothold here. No one plays God and decides who has children and who doesn’t. Rather, licensing, as argued here, would be available to anyone who applies. It could be as simple as registering to vote and the costs would be minimal if piggybacked on to an agency that already administers licenses.

Considering that many people will not seek to obtain the license, and that licensing itself will not be denied to anyone, why bother to have it at all? I’m glad you raised the question.

Six Reasons

1. Greater Lead Time
We are a nation where too many babies are born out of wedlock. Among African Americans, the figure is nearly 70%; among Native Americans, above 55%; among Hispanics, 52%; and among whites, 28%. In recent decades, we’ve witnessed dramatic increases in the numbers of teenage pregnancies, single mothers, abandoned or abused children, and even children murdered by their own parents.

Will licensing childbirth save even one child? Easily.

With the nine month average term of pregnancy, and nearly every mother able to determine if she’s pregnant at least seven months before term, the licensing process has a seven month lead time. Thus, each state or local jurisdiction’s social support and family services, as well as other community services, would have a greater capacity for population planning and dispensing of care, counseling, and other services. Pediatrics divisions of hospitals could plan more soundly to meet the needs of the surrounding community. So, too, could those who dispense critical services, such as birthing classes, educational videos, and counseling.

In short, licensing would increase the probability that more newborns have happy, successful early childhoods.

2. Restoring Sanctity to Birth
Licensing holds notable potential for restoring some semblance of sanctity to the birth process. Some parents seem to not realize that having a child is not something you do on a lark to get out of school, to cure boredom, or to better secure the affections of a partner. When the sanctity of childbirth across the broad swath of humanity is someday restored, the number of out-of-wedlock births will decline. Licensing is a means towards this end.

Ideally, a child comes into the world because a husband and wife are in love and wish to have a family. They give the matter careful consideration. They are cognizant of the need for years of endless sacrifices and financial outlays. Gary Becker, Ph.D., of the University of Chicago, was awarded the Nobel Prize for demonstrating that higher-income, educated married couples intentionally have fewer children than average so as to optimize the nurturing, education, and upbringing of each child.

The most successful and wisest parents among us actively choose to limit the size of their families.

Why should a society deign to offer indicators to anyone that bringing more children into the world, even one child, for whom you cannot adequately provide care, is socially acceptable or even tolerable? I wouldn’t even vaguely suggest that anyone be denied the opportunity to have children, even many children, independent of their educational, financial, or marital status. I am strongly against any notion of one person or group of people deciding who shall have children, how many, and who shall not. Rather, I argue for the maintenance of social standards which licensing would aid.

Having a license to bring a child into the world might help to sanctify both human birth experience and the ensuing human life experience. Currently, both pro-choice and pro-life advocacy groups need to re-examine and perhaps re-formulate their views regarding the sanctity of human life. While it can be argued at length that abortion is sometimes necessary, and that bringing an unwanted child into the world is itself morally reprehensible, abortion has never been an ideal answer to family planning.

While pro-life advocates appear to acknowledge the sanctity of birth, they have indicated less concern about the life a child brought into this world experiences. They need to focus additional concern on the next year to 80 years after a child is brought into the world.

3. More Accurate Census Count

Seemingly not as lofty as the issues discussed thus far, requiring people to have a license to bear children will be of enormous aid to the U. S. Bureau of the Census, all government agencies, and all institutions concerned with population and planning. This is no small benefit. Congress would be better able to allocate funds with population estimates that are closer to reality than are currently derived. Our institutions would be better able to meet the needs of citizens.

At all levels of government, better planning could be undertaken in the areas of education, health care, transportation, and housing.

Demographers, sociologists, and economists would have more robust primary data for the population projections and studies they undertake. In turn, leaders, administrators, boards of education, professors, students, and anyone else to whom population data is critical would be better informed and better served. (Note: not to say that licensees’ names would be available to commercial vendors. We all receive too many unsolicited offers now as it is.)

With vastly improved Census data, the long-term result would be improved prospects for childbirth and child-rearing among the masses, a desirable result for all aspects of society.

4. Better Child Support

Since the mid-1970s, an increasing number of children have been raised by a single parent – in most cases, the mother. Often, even when the mother and father are married when the child is conceived, the parents could be separated, temporarily or permanently, by the time the child arrives. When prospective parents understand that they’re required to get a license, there is an increased likelihood that, in the event of the demise of the relationship, the infant will still be afforded adequate resources during its childhood. Licensing would tend to decrease the incidence of cut-and-run fathers.

Some fathers who plan to be on hand when the child is born find that seven or eight months later, they don’t feel the same way. Having been part of a licensing procedure improves the odds, even if only slightly, that fathers will be on hand at the child’s birth and thereafter. If licensing resulted in a 1% decrease in the number of cut-and-run fathers, it would well be worth it.

5. With Greater Forethought

Lawyers must pass the state bar before practicing law. Some people get their driver’s licenses long before buying a car, or even driving regularly. Some potential parents – and it’s hoped that this is a large percentage – might seek to apply for a license before they attempt to conceive a child.

Having to get a license to get married is for the social good. Some people who are better off not married discover this after getting a marriage license but before heading down the aisle.

Any increase in the likelihood that prospective parents will give an added measure of forethought – or any forethought – to conceiving a child is for the social good.

In most states, when marriages are in trouble the partners can’t divorce at once; they have to endure a proscribed period of separation. In North Carolina, for example, 12 months of separate residency are required before the parents may file for divorce.

Similarly, a socially pervasive notion and legal requirement to get a license to bring a child into the world will, for some parents, serves as an incubation period. It would enable some parents to better determine whether having a baby is, in fact, what they wish to do at this time. Again, if even a tiny fraction of those who might have otherwise had a child end up not doing so, all parties benefit:

* our society that certainly doesn’t need another unwanted child,
* the parents who perhaps were not prepared to have child now, and
* yes, even the child who would have been.

If you doubt the last point, can you think of one person, if given the choice before birth, who would prefer to come into the world under any other circumstances other than being totally wanted, sufficiently loved, and adequately cared for?

6. Part of our Social Evolution

The tobacco growers in North Carolina are still scratching their heads and wondering why so many people are against what they grow. After all, their forefathers grew tobacco, and it’s always brought in healthy revenues for the state. Why upset the apple cart?

What was good for people 100 years or a generation ago isn’t what’s necessarily good for them today, or what’s good for society in general. If we were to keep things as they were, some people would be slaves. Some people wouldn’t have the vote. Fortunately, we overcame decades- and centuries-old dispositions and realized that we had to move forward. As our society becomes smoke-free, we all have the opportunity to witness social progress on a grand scale that some thought could not happen.

So, too, we each could witness social progress on a grand scale by requiring a license to have children.

Precious Lives

Each child who comes into this world is precious. Each one deserves the opportunity for an abundant life. It is not a civil liberty to have children any more than it’s a civil liberty to buy an automobile, practice medicine, or open a restaurant. Having a license to drive indicates to everyone that driving a motor vehicle is a serious affair. There are rules of the road to which we must all adhere.

Requiring a license of medical practitioners tells both physicians and their patients that the practice of medicine is a vital and serious profession, one not to be left in the hands of those who are untrained and unskilled. Even requiring restauranteurs to have a license before serving people signals that not merely anyone can serve anything to anybody. Standards exist when it comes to food preparation, sanitation, and cleanliness. All of these examples are regulated because of the connection with others – patients, diners, other cars. Having a child who will become a citizen, go to school, an interact with other for decades is the ultimate connection to others.

Raising children is perhaps the most important undertaking on earth. When having a license to have children is the law of the land, all parents – everyone – will receive a continual message that bringing a child into the world is an important and serious matter, a message which is not fully grasped by enough adults in our society.

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In-N-Out Burger Serves Customers, not San Francisco

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In-N-Out
Photo credit: Andrew Weibert

In-N-Out Burger just served San Francisco an everything burger, animal style. It’s heartening to see an iconic restaurant chain stand up to government overreach—and in an ultra-liberal enclave, to boot.

Here’s how it went down. San Francisco issued an edict to force bars and restaurants to verify customers’ COVID vaccination papers before allowing entry.

In response, In-N-Out Burger dutifully posted the city’s vaccination requirement on its windows. This placed the onus where it belongs—on their customers. This is as far as a private company need go.

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However, San Francisco sees things much differently. They closed down the city’s only In-N-Out Burger location, on Fisherman’s Wharf. As a result, the burger chain issued this statement:

“Local regulators informed us that our restaurant Associates must actively intervene by demanding proof of vaccination and photo identification from every Customer…. We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government. We fiercely disagree with any government dictate that forces a private company to discriminate against customers who choose to patronize their business.”

San Francisco’s beef shouldn’t be with In-N-Out Burger—it should be with its unvaccinated citizens. If the city chooses to order an unconstitutional vaccination requirement for bars and restaurants, they should enforce it, not the bars and restaurants. They’re private businesses, not COVID cops.

Burger bouncers

In-N-Out Burger trains their associates to cheerfully ask customers if they’d like to add fries and shakes to their meals, not to question them about controversial vaccination mandates. Additionally, they shouldn’t be required to make their associates act as bouncers to eject unvaccinated customers.

As an aside, America is one of the only nations on Earth that requires vaccination passports. Most if not all other countries require immunity passports, which include the vaccinated and those who are unvaccinated yet have degrees of natural immunity after being infected with the coronavirus.

The San Francisco In-N-Out Burger mess perfectly illustrates what should be happening all over America. Private business is not an arm of local, state or federal government. We’re all dealing with the pandemic—why compound the problem by attempting to force private businesses to enforce governmental mandates?

It makes one wonder how San Francisco leaders failed to see this coming. Can any serious person imagine cheerful, smiling, In-N-Out Burger associates making effective burger bouncers? It’s ridiculous for any city to expect restaurant employees to provide vaccination enforcement.

This smacks of more than mere incompetence. Did the city truly expect bars and restaurants to comply? If so, this seems like autocratic (and dangerous) arrogance.

If San Francisco wants to enforce vaccination inspections, they should do it themselves on the sidewalk in front of bars and restaurants. Closing restaurants that don’t force their employees to act as muscle for the city is poor leadership.

Given In-N-Out Burger’s wild popularity, it’s safe to say that most customers want their locations open. If some side with San Francisco in closing the restaurant and forcing associates to be vaccination police, they can get lesser burgers elsewhere.

Smart business

It’s called freedom. And clearly, it’s in short supply in places like San Francisco. Kudos to In-N-Out Burger for making a stand.

Here’s hoping other private businesses will take heart in In-N-Out Burger’s sound and smart business sense and stand up to one-size-fits-all autocrats. If they do, it’s likely that most of their customers will continue supporting them and they may even gain new ones.

Smart and principled businesses take risks for the right reasons. In-N-Out Burger is right to defy San Francisco. Prediction: By refusing to discriminate when serving its customers, they’ll sell even more burgers, fries and shakes in the City by the Bay and in their other 368 locations across America.

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