Many years ago, in a freshman philosophy class at my old university, a professor asked a disturbing question. “If a train were about to hit your friend,” he said, “would you risk knocking someone else into its path to reach the friend in time?”
For the record, nearly everyone gave him a flat “no.” It was the kind of moment that strengthens one’s faith in the idea that man was made in the image and likeness of God, rather than being the brutish tribal creature advocates of strict government control over belief. But if we are rational beings and not animals, we need to address my professor’s old question – this time with regards to vaccine mandates, thus: can we knowingly kill the few in order to (theoretically) protect the many?
Over the weekend, Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin went on Fox News to highlight a glaring fact: according to the official government reporting system, VAERS, no less than 16,766 Americans have died from taking a Covid vaccine. That doesn’t include the number who have been injured. Even assuming these vaccines are effective (the senator also questioned that) forcing people to take them means a substantial number, including those at low risk from Covid, will die to protect others (who can get their own vaccine if they choose).
Watch Senator Johnson on Maria Bartiromo’s show here:
No one has the right to force another to risk their life in order to assuage their own fears. It’s easy to say (as many officials have) that the chance of a person dying from a Covid vaccine is less than one in a thousand. When that number remains abstract, it seems almost acceptable.
But would we be so willing to line up 16,000 innocents and execute them if it put an end to the pandemic? I’d like to think that we’re more like those innocent, wide-eyed freshmen I once sat around a table with – unwilling to sacrifice one member of the group to save another.