Calculated Risk

Those who’re anti vaccine mandate, or anti public health lockdown provide the best support for broad scale public health measures; they’re privileged enough to be alive to prosecute their case, in spite of their ability to interpret the dangers of a dead possum in the water tank.

We’re now in the second year of endless arguments about the ‘public’ in ‘public health’, defining once and again, both the ‘precise tragedy’ and the exact dimensions of ‘the commons’. Fighting, time and again, about who has the right to swing their fist and who should move their nose.

Those who’re anti lockdown, or anti vaccine are arguing that there is no such thing as the collective, no sum that is greater than its parts. Many historians have argued that the first governments emerged as a direct response to disease – the need to organise people in accordance with a rationale that was not immediately understood by those on the ground. It required a new thing called ‘trust’.

And it’s in short supply, blah blah, we’ve heard it all before.

But the real question for the ‘freedom warriors’ is what is the endgame? What if SarsCov2 was as fatal as MERS, or smallpox? What if it only killed children? How many ‘warriors’ would support vaccine mandates and lockdowns? None? All? How many would go to their righteous graves? How many would be chastened?

This is the real question. If your answer is ‘never’ then you’ve given up on the collective altogether. For you, personal sovereignty looks like those adults in those religious sects in the US who watch their children die from the most excruciating conditions, because the government, other people, can’t intervene.

And let’s be clear, the next MERS is probably within my lifetime. We will face this question again.

Where does ‘the public’ in public health kick in?

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