Ethics, Medical Mandates, and Statistics
There is a crucial ethical distinction between incidental harm and death and mandating harm and death.
When mandates are issued for interventions that carry a non-zero probability of death or severe harm, we can not simply compare statistically the number of lives that one believes will be affected by harm from the disease and those that will be harmed by the imposed treatment.
Imposing a mandate implies an individual is no longer free to select their exposure to possible harm. Someone else is making that decision for them.
If this is justified by appealing to the probabilistic safety of the individual, it is an ethical non-starter. It is never ethical to impose possible harm on an individual by citing protection of that individual (except in the case of guardianship where decisions must be made on behalf of an individual who is unable to make them).
If, however, an imposition is justified by appeal to the protection of others, or of society at large, there may be an ethical case to be made for imposition. That is, in the case of disease, if a treatment that carries lesser risk than the disease reduces the propensity to spread the disease, there is a potential utilitarian gain in the mandated imposition of said treatment.
If the reduction in propagation is enough to eliminate the disease altogether, there may be a strong case for a mandate. If, however, that reduction is not enough for elimination, if the disease continues to circulate, any case made for mandates becomes much weaker.
The ethical situation, albeit not necessarily the statistical situation, devolves to the risk of incidental exposure and that of forced exposure.
In the first case, incidental exposure, agents retain volition in terms of what they choose to engage in and how they may be exposed. In the latter case, forced exposure, all choice is eliminated.
The reduction of choice to zero is not something that should be done without strong justification. How many lives, statistically, are worth this tradeoff? The answer is not clear. And that is an essential point: we should not posture as if it is clear. A crucial component of ethical behavior is in acknowledging uncertainty.
But I am confident in saying the ethics of this uncertain situation are not exhaustively covered by utilitarian statistical calculations. They may be used to build a case, but not to determine an answer. We enter here the realm of questions such as ‘what is good?’, ‘what makes life worth living?’. Ultimately, these are philosophical and theological questions. Certainly most would agree a marginal increase in lifespan would not justify being enslaved — but where do the thresholds lie?
When one supports mandating what amounts to guaranteed harm and death for some number of other people, even if one makes a case for the protection of others in so doing, one must tread very lightly. Else one flirts with evil.
Compellingly clear and coherent. Irrefutable. Therein lies the tension at play: it is morally inadequate to deny an individual’s sovereignty even if doing so is supported by statistical outcomes for the group at large. It is mind blowing that free world leaders dismiss or ignore this base reality of all humanity.
In addition to general considerations of mandated treatment vs not, more than general principles have to be considered, as the outlines are full of abstract mostly relative, few absolute boundaries. Particulars of the situation at hand have to be thoroughly considered, too, and adjusted as more is known. No-exception mandated treatment"vaccine" for anything, in this case
vaccines, cannot be justified, for instance re: anyone who has history of allergy to any component of the treatment/"vaccine", anyone who has had Guillain-Barre Syndrome after a vaccine in the past, documentation previous infection with resultant immunity to X virus, etc. I'm omitting the case of religious exemptions, but they are important, too, for people serious about their religion, such as Roman Catholics and Jehovah's Witnesses (there may be others), as the moral injury to them if subjected to forced vaccines is grave. In the instance before us, I am offended/shocked/outraged that those in charge of policy refuse to recognize prior infection as a reason for waiver of mandate. I do umpteen pre-employment physicals for RNs going to work in big medical centers, ERs, etc. The comprehensive pre-employment evaluation includes drawing blood to test for antibodies to measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, and hepatitis B. If the resultant antibody titers indicate immunity no vaccine or booster is required. Why are they treating Covid differently? Makes no sense, and suggests agenda other than public health. Furthermore, all Covid vaccines currently available in the US are still under EUA (Emergency Use Authorization). True informed consent is required by US law for anyone to be treated with experimental drugs/vaccines. It is legally and factually impossible for ANYONE to give true informed consent under threat of loss of livelihood/job, and in the case of these "vaccines", true informed consent is actively blocked. This crucial requirement is also a part of the Nuremburg Code, which sadly most of which was not incorporated into US law.
Now that there is cumulative 2-years experience with Covid, and a little over 1-year experience with the so-called "vaccines", we sadly know at the very least that the available vaccines have marginal benefit and for very brief time, that the available vaccines neither prevent infection nor transmission, so should be reclassified as (possibly) temporary partial prophylaxis. As a physician for 55 years, my alarm bells went off early, when there was coordinated, fierce, condemnation against clinical use of Hydroxychloroquine or Ivermectin early in course of Covid infections, with immediate threats by licensing boards across virtually all 50 states against any doctors who would dare to try such early treatment. And the ridiculous fear propaganda on all main-stream-media warning that for instance, that Hydroxychloroquine is a "dangerous drug!" and could cause serious cardiac problems (that is only true in massive doses). Rheumatologists Rx Hydroxychloroquine like candy for their patients with inflammatory arthritis, lupus, sometimes sarcoid, without a second thought nor requiring cardiology clearance, Rx'd for its safe non-steroid antiinflammatory properties. So much of the early and continuing propaganda was so clearly bogus, but so many doctors were afraid to speak up because of threats against their licenses should they dare to talk about or (gasp) try a course of Hydroxychloroquine early in someone with Covid. Later the same boom was lowered against any doctor who dared to talk about or Rx Ivermectin, also with outlandishly hilarious propaganda across all main-stream-media formats, again with many doctors silenced having been warned that their licenses to practice were at risk. I've never seen any such campaign against repurposing known, legal, safe medicines. I once had to Rx Ivermectin or almost 100 inmates at a minimum security prison because of rampant crusting scabies unresponsive to the usual topical creams. It cured everybody's scabies and no one has any side effects (and many had chronic diseases from cardiac, to diabetes, HIV, Hep C, autoimmune diseases). I'm not afraid to speak up or write a response such as this one. liberated by the fact that I'm 85 y/o, have retired twice, and currently do some work just in Occupational Medicine (trucker physicals, pre-employment physicals, minor work injuries), and I have less to lose than younger doctors, and if I get fired for speaking out, so be it. Serious conflicts of interests in many areas have yet to be seriously explored: Who owns whole or partial patents on the viruses and the "vaccines"? Who among those "in charge" own stock in Pfizer, Moderna, or J&J??? I mean at the level of Congress, the NIH, NIAD, relevant universities such as UNC, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, various Univ-cum-private researchers who who stand to profit, too. Who is getting funding from Pfizer, Moderna, J&J, the Gates Foundation. It is already so clear that the CDC and FDA have been captured by the industries they are supposed to regulate, I don't know if they are salvageable. So when analyzing the pros and cons of treatment/vaccine mandates very narrowly and abstractly, much of the big picture will be missed entirely. And, last but not least, since the "vaccines" were granted EUA status after such a short time without adequate testing of enough numbers with a control group, nobody, I mean nobody knows whether or what any long term harms from these "vaccines" will be, if any.
One thing enforcing strict vaccine mandates will do, very cleverly, whether intended or not, is to eliminate any significant "control" group, thus foreclosing the ability to compare the "treated" group with the untreated. From a future legal defense standpoint, that must make the legal departments of all the potential defendants very happy.