When I see posts that belittle the intelligence of people because their conclusion was to not get vaccinated, I usually dismiss the post out of hand as fast as they’ve dismissed any arguments against taking the vaccine.

There are a number of arguments against being vaccinated and with few answers to rebut those arguments in a compelling way, the government and its supporters have engaged in a multi-front PR campaign, including ad hominem attacks against those who’ve come to a different conclusion then they.

Medical science as a practice is still closer to the Wild West than to other sciences, such as physics or chemistry. And I’m old enough to have lived through a number of “settled science” health recommendations from the government that turned out to be bullshit from the get go. The biggest being the underlying driver of today’s obesity crisis.

Those who choose to pump the brakes just a bit, when failed by the government, corporations, and the elite power structure many times in the past, shouldn’t be vilified. I mean, these same people will let you die for any number of reasons just to simply preserve profits or maintain power. (See current insulin market in US as an example.)

However, I’m glad to see some on the left in the US beginning to embrace personal responsibility as a construct. I hope they remember that when the upcoming financial meteor hits.

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I am acting perfectly responsibly by living a healthy lifestyle. As someone in my 20's, it is nonsensical for me to get a vaccine when the side effects might be worse than the actual virus. I don't get flu shots either, because the perceived benefits are non-existent. I don't change my behavior based on hysterical media reports, and where I live, hysterical media reports were the primary, if not the only, evidence of a pandemic.

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I agree with a lot of this, but I really don't like mandates. For businesses I tend to think its legal, though I don't like employers asking about my medical history, and I'm not sure I want to allow that, and as a customer I'd prefer to use businesses that don't ask if I am vaccinated. First, and probably most clearly true, asking if I am vaccinated imposes a cost on the vaccinated, who as you say are at basically 0 risk, and so stand to gain very little from dealing with this question. I also think if I have been vaccinated or been infected by something before should be private medical information (how would people feel about sharing if they have had the HPV vaccine, or have acquired immunity), and I'm especially concerned about this setting a precedent. It seems obvious of your three options live with restrictions forever should be out, but I'd really like to understand why you seem to prefer forcing people to get vaccinated to getting rid of restrictions and letting people live with the consequences of their actions? Do you simply think its not possible because some people don't have the stomach for it, or is there another reason?

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I agree that the 9/11 reaction was ruinously costly and not justified, but you do leave out one significant "steelmanning" point: that the pro GWOT crowd believed that if we didn't do the GWOT the terrorists would eventually nuke us. "We can't let the smoking gun be a mushroom cloud" was the slogan. And of course given the massive scale of death and destruction that would have resulted from a nuclear attack, if GWOT measures had actually reduced the likelihood of that substantially, the cost/benefit calculus would have been quite different. Of course the vast majority of GWOT, TSA, etc measures large and small did absolutely nothing to reduce that risk, but that's an important fact to adduce when making the anti GWOT, TSA, etc argument.

I think the analogous tail risk to consider in the COVID case is the risk of a "full vaccine escape" variant, or a variant which has significant mortality rate for kids, evolving. The notion that we need to continue restricting people's liberty to reduce that risk is probably also not justified when you run the numbers, but we do need to run the numbers.

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“People that behave irresponsibly”. If they are young and healthy it may be a very logical decision not to get vaccinated given the unknown long term risks. If those risks turn out to be large, all the non vaccinated might be right. I’m 62 and overweight, taking the vaccine seemed a good risk benefit to me, but as a biochemist who has followed the outer edges of vaccine data if I was a young, healthy woman wanting to have children I wouldn’t touch it.

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Just want to point out that it's possible/non-contradictory to believe that at least some people who are poor don't "deserve" to be so, and yet oppose people being forced by the government to redistribute wealth to anyone. Such a person may also believe that the right solution is voluntary redistribution instead.

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By some estimates TSA's security theater kills approximately 500 people per year due to people deciding to drive instead of fly. https://www.wired.com/2012/04/is-airport-security-killing-500-people-a-year/

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So why do we have to check our shoes? Is it because one guy every 30 years wants to blow a plane up? No there's plenty of people who want to blow up planes. But since everything is checked, pulling it off is hard. Hence we almost never hear about hijackings or bombings of planes post 9/11. If tomorrow we stopped checking shoes, why wouldn't multiple people try to bomb planes? Yet this dynamic thinking is missed by people who write stupid things like:

"So even though Richard Reid failed to kill a single person, he levied a tax that is the time equivalent of 14 lives per year."

Tomorrow stop checking shoes and let one Reid pull off a bombing and you'll kill more than 14 people in one shot AND cause millions to stop taking planes.....which will be a 'tax' much more than 14 lives per year in terms of longer travel times, more accidents on the road, forgone travel etc.

Now if you said "manually checking everyone's shoes costs 14 lives a year in time, let's come up with some type of mat that can automatically scan shoes so no one has to take them off", I'd say go for it. But make no mistake, you're incurring a real opportunity cost. The people who create the scanning mat could have been working on a scanner to detect cancer early or helping Musk figure out how to get self driving cars to finally work. Once the scanner is invented, it may feel 'free' but it isn't. It does, however, SOLVE the problem.

What doesn't solve the problem is saying "do less because we will only have one Reid every generation, and he wasn't even able to get his shoe bomb to work!". Maybe but odds are once you get another Reid you'll end up with a lot more since such things seem to breed copy cats.

"I’ve been highly critical of the Republican Party. But perhaps having a party that is more skeptical of vaccines is the price you pay for having a party that distrusts experts enough to not mask their children forever for no good reason"

I notice this line of argument a lot. People making crazy assertions are to be tolerated because maybe it is our own fault for getting X Y or Z wrong. Here's the thing, though, no one has ever proven kids cannot get and spread the virus. Every child lives with at least one adult and every child in school interacts with adults. It's not unreasonable to wonder if schools can be sparks for new outbreaks esp. in populations where the forest is very dry (i.e low vaccination levels and spreading virus).

I can imagine a nightmare case where schools are open in low vaccination states, outbreaks are increasing and a sizeable portion of parents start saying they will pull their kids out....AND various Republican governors declaring they will not offer online options because "something something freedom". We are also one variant away from a mutation that is better at evading immunity and we are all set back to where we were a year ago.

So I'm not going to say close schools or even necessarily demand student masking everywhere but I see a pattern where every time cases go up we get a chorus of "do less" and that does not solve the problem but sets us up for yet another round of it.

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I agree mostly with this post, but take issue with your characterization of people choosing not to vaccinate, especially given your acknowledgement of the low risk of COVID19 for most people. I don't think a person's intelligence should be belittled for not trusting a vaccine that relies on novel (vaccine) technology and an accelerated approval process, and which has not yet been approved by the FDA (if that matters). Given how quickly it moved through testing, how can we possibly know with certainty the magnitude of long term effects?

When you consider the very limited risk of COVID19 for most people, which you've noted, a CBA-informed decision making model for individuals taking the vaccine is extremely sensitive to our assumptions about the vaccines long term safety. Again, given the inevitable uncertainty about long term safety, I don't think we should be so harsh to judge people for whom projection of uncertain risk outweighs the limited personal benefit for them of the vaccine.

Factor in the incredibly partisan (https://mtracey.substack.com/p/media-promotes-fake-vaccine-hesitancy) and dishonest (https://slate.com/technology/2021/07/noble-lies-covid-fauci-cdc-masks.amp) public health messaging, and you've got a recipe for rationally not trusting public health communication on risks (as your article makes clear).

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Your second graf is inane. Try this: "Consider that Pearl Harbor killed 2,403 people." Wars always kill more people than the specific violent events that mark their beginnings. It's fatuous on its face to complain that "fewer people were killed before the war started." Duh! And just as fatuous to suggest that fact alone means the war in question is an "overreaction."

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Great article but why are you belittling those who don’t want a vaccine that hasn’t even received full FDA approval? Choosing not to be injected with an experimental vaccine doesn’t seem that crazy.

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The author neglects a few things: 1) The COVID vaccines are not effective--data from CDC studies, and also from Israel, is showing that the vaccines have efficacy of about 40 percent, similar to recent flu vaccines. Therefore, universal vaccination will not stop the spread of the virus.

2) The COVID vaccines are not safe. The U.S. Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) has over 11,000 reports of death associated with COVID vaccination for the first 6 months of 2021. In a typical year, VAERS shows less than 200 deaths associated with all types of vaccination for about 70 different vaccines. There has never been anything like what we are seeing reported with the COVID vaccines, and in a sane society, we would have stopped the vaccine roll-out long ago while we investigated what was happening.

3) There are alternative treatments for COVID19 that are quite effective and do not carry the risks of the vaccines. Treatment regimens that include Ivermectin are one example, and have been used successfully in many countries, as well as in the U.S. It is not a case of getting vaccinated or nothing.

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I've noticed a lot of people simply recycling their 2020 arguments for the current situation, not taking any notice of the possibility that the facts may have changed in the interim.

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Though, yes, I see dem tendency to discount of free trade economics, and as you point out, their over valuing of masks fairly similar to republican tendency to discount of climate change, and vaxing.

I'm not liberterian but I really like Jason Brennan idea of epistocracy.

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"price you pay for having a party that distrusts experts enough to not mask their children forever for no good reason."

No, no, IMHO.

repubs distrust experts when and if they dont align to thier pre-existing values, but not the other way around. Perhaps Democrats are similar but at least they didn't deny the vaccine science.

Also, while democrats and republicans have allowed airport tsa to exist, republicans created it, and they seem a bit more willing to give it power.

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"For the extra spending to have been justified using conventional tools of cost-benefit analysis, assuming a 75% reduction in risk, it would have needed to prevent an otherwise successful 9/11-level attack every two years, or a 2005 London bombings-level event every few weeks."

Was this not precisely what was accomplished? AA Flight 63, Brooklyn Bridge plot, PATH tunnels, plot, 2006 transatlantic airline bombings plot, 2007 JFK plot, the Christmas underwear bomber, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_unsuccessful_terrorist_plots_in_the_United_States_post-9/11

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