445. Return (VI)
Why do right-wing people care so much about vaccine mandates? Personally, I never got into the drama about vaccines and I am actually vaccinated—as to the science, I have no idea; at worst, I suspect the vaccine does nothing. I never got into the performative aspect of anti-vaxx thought, though I oppose mandated vaccination—probably most rightists on social media who claim to be unvaxxed are engaged in a virtue-signal to build social credibility; it is easy to lie about.
However, the basic point about mandatory vaccines is correct and there is nothing new about it. As Hoppe observed, objection to compulsory vaccination was integral to 19th-century classical liberalism. The basic point: compulsory vaccination is coerced cooperation—i.e. against liberty and sub-optimal. If you accept the principle of compulsory vaccination, you accept everything the state and left compels you to do: nationalised health service, conscription, and so on. Whether vaccines are good or bad in themselves is immaterial; compulsory vaccination establishes a precedent that will inevitably be misused to create a tyranny.
Traditional Christians often liken vaccines to “the mark of the beast” and they are not far wrong—the beast’s mark is “666”; in esoteric terms this stands for worldly success and rule, i.e. the state. Although 666 is not always a negative number, the Christian sense that the state—“the beast”—marks us with a vaccine is apposite. Really, the state mandates vaccines to show that you do not even own the most elementary property there can be, your own body—the one thing a pauper and a millionaire can both lay claim to. If the state owns your body, there can hardly be private enterprise or families or clubs—or anything outside the state.
A secondary rightist objection to vaccines, in the line of Herbert Spencer, is that vaccines protect the unfit; ultimately, as with all our medicine, we will pay the price for allowing dead weight to survive—just as our antibiotics become more ineffective by the year, being, in one respect, agents that select against the weakest bacteria; eventually only the bacteria that are untroubled by antibiotics will survive and—unless we have developed a new medical technology, far from certain—there will be a reckoning for all those whose ancestors “cheated Darwin” with antibiotics. Vaccines do much the same thing; and, besides, given that we do not always know what vaccines do to a person—perhaps the latest vaccine will turn us into pigs or make us all sterile—it is wise to keep a “natural” unvaxxed reserve population in case we have accidentally poisoned ourselves.
What about a neoreactionary or reactionary case for mandated vaccines? What would a powerful king or chief executive who owned a city-state do? To answer this question, I imagined myself as a king. My first thought was to mandate vaccines, but after some further thought I realised that this was just because it gave me a warm glow to think I saved all those lives—in other words, narcissistic satisfaction. On reflection, if we assume a vaccine works, it makes no odds if some people—probably a small minority—refuse it. At worst, they hurt themselves and perhaps their children; but since they are not my slaves it is not my concern—they are free men who obey me as monarch because I observe the laws of nature, and it is against nature to introduce unprovoked coercion upon free men; if I deviate from the laws of nature I will become a tyrant, other men will see that it is legitimate to aggress against me and seize my crown.
As a rational monarch or CEO, I know that to rule by compulsion will produce sub-optimal results; if my kingdom is to truly thrive I must only use compulsion against external enemies and traitors—if I want my kingdom vaccinated, I must lead by example, as all good leaders do, and take the vaccine in public with my family. I can do no more.