Papers, Please

There are many lessons to draw from the government’s response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. One of them is that “temporary” government measures have a way of turning into permanent features of our lives. One feature of these “temporary” measures is that they’re usually little more than knee-jerk reactions to events—reactions that don’t do much to accomplish anything other than to brutalize and humiliate normal people. Take the example of the Transportation Security Administration. 

Private airport security was abolished after the attacks and replaced with this central federal agency assigned with securing America’s air transportation infrastructure. But Congress’ motivation for establishing the new agency was less about securing air travel and more about rescuing the airlines from civil lawsuits. 

Fact is, there were no airport security breaches at any of the airports on 9/11—federal regulations at the time permitted air passengers to carry on box cutters. If Congress had actually been moved to prevent similar acts of terror, it would have taken on the FBI, which ignored reports that some devout Muslims were paying cash to flight schools to learn how to fly airplanes but not to land them. 

Well, 20 years later we still go through the security rituals every time we fly. Standing in long lines. Taking off shoes (risking fungal infection in the process). Getting irradiated by imaging machines. Getting yelled at for such offenses as having a sealed bottle of water in your bag. And that’s the best case scenario. 

More serious abuses also occur, like in the case of the Denver TSA scandal, where one TSA agent would signal to an accomplice operating the security scanner when an attractive male passenger would enter; his accomplice would then input that the passenger was female, triggering the security system to identify an anomaly with the passenger’s genitals, which then allowed him to to carry out a hands-on grope-down search of the passenger’s genitals. Or like the case at LaGuardia Airport, where a TSA agent took a 19-year-old foreign exchange student to a restroom for a “screening” where he then sexually assaulted her

Is this indignity the price we pay for safe air travel? No, because we don’t even get security out of the arrangements. 

Year after year, the Department of Homeland Security has found that undercover agents were able to get explosives and loaded weapons through TSA checkpoints undetected, with detection failure rates reaching as high as 95 percent. The bureaucracy knows. The politicians know. The media knows. We know. And nothing happens. The beast rumbles on, consuming government dollars and molesting American passengers, by force of sheer inertia, because that’s just the way things are now, and there are no powerful special interests groups with a vested interest in changing it. There is no mass public outcry because the public has simply gotten used to it. 

I had gotten somewhat used to it myself, until I began traveling outside of the United States in places like Colombia and Brazil. Airport security checkpoints in those countries are typically unobtrusive and take no more than a few minutes. You can leave your shoes on and your dignity intact. Air travel there retains the feeling of leisure and adventure. Now when I fly in America, the difference is palpable. The atmosphere of the airports here is tense and heavy. Travel becomes something to be endured, not something to enjoy. If in 2001, we had peered into the future and foresaw what effect our panic response would have, things may well have been different.

Time is a flat circle. We are once again locked in crisis mode, this time for a crisis of much longer duration, and a new set of knee-jerk reactions are leading to more temporary-but-actually-permanent policies doomed to failure. Only this time they are even more ineffective and invasive. Joe Biden says that his patience is wearing thin. Mine ran out a long time ago. 

The public-health establishment has continued to utterly fail in every decision they’ve made to address a problem they created, doing nothing but repeating failed short-term interventions while ignoring the solutions that could actually crush this disease. The sane approach would be a two-pronged one—securing access to safe and effective early treatments to minimize deaths in the short term, while finally taking seriously the problem of chronic disease and obesity to make our population more healthy and resilient in the long term. 

Nearly two years in and we have yet to hear the first thing from the government or media about the importance of getting in shape or cleaning up our toxic food supply. Instead, there is a near-total reliance on gimmicks, safety theater, and questionable pharmaceuticals. The only systemic effect these have is to boost the profits of drug companies and increase the power of those who seek to control and enslave. The latest of these is vaccine passports and mandates, the only effect of which has been to create a large population of vaccinated super-spreaders that put others at risk of infection. 

The pandemic is now worse than before the vaccine was available, with more cases, hospitalizations, and deaths than at this point last year. High caseloads in southern states over the summer was not a function of low vaccination rates but of seasonality. As winter approaches, the spread has moved northward, with surges now underway in Michigan and heavily vaccinated Vermont. It could be a dark winter indeed. 

Even worse, the selection pressure on the virus created by these flawed and often harmful vaccines has driven the evolution of ever more infectious and aggressive variants. Because the vaccines do not prevent infection and transmission, requiring vaccination to eat out, attend a concert, or go to work will not have any positive impact on the actual pandemic other than to remove those with natural immunity who would otherwise mitigate the spread by breaking the chain of transmission. 

The practical outcome of vaccine passports and mandates will be that you’ll have to show a vaccine record every time you enter a restaurant, grocery store, movie theater, or any other public establishment for the rest of your life. A TSA experience at every coffee shop. Your HR department will have a foothold into your personal medical records. It will be yet another tool for bureaucrats to harass you. 

Worst of all, it will desensitize the public to the construction of a system of massive social control and coercion that will be like China’s social credit system, but somehow more fake and ridiculous.  The precedent is terrifying. If they can coerce you to take one pharma product, after all, they can coerce you to take any pharma product. From here it’s a quick jump to mandatory flu vaccines, then who knows what else? Is there a pandemic of toxic masculinity? Why not mandatory estrogen injections for those deemed to be suffering from it? 

This is not hyperbole—a Pennsylvania legislator just introduced a bill to require all “inseminators” to undergo vasectomies within six weeks of having their third child or 40th birthday, whichever comes first. The slippery slope is not a logical fallacy, it’s how policy in America works. But we don’t even have to look to the future to see the hell that these policies are unleashing, the price is being paid here and now, not in dollars but in people’s lives.

People like Jessica Berg Wilson, a 37 year old mother of two who died of COVID-19 vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia. From her obituary:  

She had been vehemently opposed to taking the vaccine, knowing she was in good health and of a young age and thus not at risk for serious illness. In her mind, the known and unknown risks of the unproven vaccine were more of a threat. But, slowly, day by day, her freedom to choose was stripped away. Her passion to be actively involved in her children’s education—which included being a Room Mom—was, once again, blocked by government mandate. Ultimately, those who closed doors and separated mothers from their children prevailed. It cost Jessica her life. It cost her children the loving embrace of their caring mother. And it cost her husband the sacred love of his devoted wife. It cost God’s Kingdom on earth a very special soul who was just making her love felt in the hearts of so many.

Some of the most pernicious mandates are those targeted towards young people whose risk of dying from COVID is minimal, like the one put in place by California Governor Gavin Newsom, which requires all California schoolchildren to be vaccinated as soon as it is approved for their age group by the FDA. Other school districts around the country are moving forward with plans to force student athletes to get vaccinated in order to participate in sports. This will only lead to more tragic cases like that of Roy Butler, a young Irishman who died of a hemorrhagic stroke just three days after taking the Johnson & Johnson vaccine so that he could travel with his soccer team. 

And the human cost of these mandates is not just limited to the risks from the vaccine itself, but to the strain it puts on our healthcare system, which was already short-staffed. We are in the midst of a severe shortage of nurses, and tens of thousands are being fired for not taking the vaccine. People who were hailed as frontline heroes last year are treated like dirt today, along with hospital support staff, paramedics, firefighters, police, and the essential workers our supply chains depend on. 

There is no question about whether or not vaccine mandates are acceptable. They’re not. There is no question about whether vaccines pass the risk/benefit test for low-risk groups or those with natural immunity. They don’t. There is no question about whether or not our leaders are acting in good faith. They aren’t. 

The only question that remains is, what are we going to do about it? 

People all over the world are standing up courageously. They’re sacrificing their careers and comfort to take a stand. It’s a tough thing to do, something that is unfeasible for many. And it’s not just those who are unvaccinated, some who are vaccinated are taking a stand for freedom too and are refusing to comply. In Italy, vaccinated protestors have been burning their vaccine passports in solidarity. 

But as strong as this popular movement is, we need support from those in a position to rally mass strikes and acts of civil disobedience, people with huge followings like President Trump or Joe Rogan. And politically, we need those in positions of power to leverage that power to shut down the mandates. The most proximate levers of power to accomplish this are the spending bills and debt ceiling increases in Congress. My message to Senate Republicans is simple: your stated opposition to the vaccine mandates is not enough; get rid of them by any means necessary—including sovereign default—or be prepared to lose your next primary. 

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