Exclusive–Rand Paul: Persuasion Is the Hallmark of a Free Society

Kevin Dietsch/Pool via AP

Ultimately, perhaps we will all hunker down in our own ideological space, hoping to find respite from the mob, whether it be the metaphorical cancel culture, the CNN mob, or the real-life mobs running loose in our cities.  Why confront mindlessness when it’s safer and less painful to avoid it?

But for now, let’s suppose there are some thoughtful individuals left.  A CNN opinion maker recently accused me of making wildly inaccurate comments about a coronavirus vaccine.

My supposed sin was saying the left wing mob would likely forcibly vaccinate even individuals who already have immunity like myself.

CNN argues against both the concept of immunity for survivors of coronavirus and the premise that no one would ever be forcibly vaccinated.

So, let’s look at the science. Studies show that monkeys infected with COVID-19 can’t be re-infected. Antibodies from humans who’ve survived coronavirus inhibit viral infection of human cells in vitro. Human antibodies from people recovered from coronavirus have been shown to hasten recovery when transfused into acutely ill COVID patients. Vaccine “success” is measured by comparing antibodies produced by a vaccine with antibodies naturally generated by surviving coronavirus.

It seems that the preponderance of scientific evidence argues for immunity after surviving coronavirus. In fact, there are NO studies that support the notion that coronavirus survivors do not have immunity. This is in accordance with everything we have learned about infectious disease in the last 100 years, from chicken pox to the flu strains — having recovered from the disease confers immunity for at least a period of time.

Even the ever-so cautious Dr. Fauci admits that some form of immunity after infection is very likely.

Perhaps CNN might send some of their ‘journalism’ majors back to college to take at least one science course before they broadcast fear and confusion.

But what about assertions that people can get coronavirus twice? Well, most of those stories have been debunked, but an outlying case of reinfection doesn’t disprove the fact that antibodies confer immunity — only that, in rare cases, immunity may be insufficient to prevent reinfection.  But so far that is the exception, not the rule.

With regard to CNN’s assertion that no one is currently mandating vaccination, I would encourage them to read a little history. In Jacobson v. Massachusetts, Cambridge Pastor Henning Jacobson was forced by an early 20th century segregationist Supreme Court to be vaccinated, despite the fact that he had already been vaccinated in Sweden. The court couldn’t be bothered with the facts. The same lame court that voted for separate but equal ruled that the collective took precedence over both individual rights and the specific facts of the situation.

As noted in a 2019 Congressional Research Service report’s discussion of the issue, and which explicitly references the aforementioned case, “The states’ general police power to promote public health and safety encompasses the authority to require mandatory vaccinations.” This has been used by the states in mandating vaccines in children.
CNN may scoff at my concerns about the government’s ability or willingness to mandate vaccination, but I would point to the forced shutdown of the entire economy, the unconstitutional bans on church services and funerals, and the arrests of citizens for everything from giving haircuts to surfing in the face of draconian state-mandated lockdown orders.

We are living in an era of grave government overreach and control over the daily lives of law-abiding citizens, while at the same time our government shirks its most important responsibility: the maintenance of civil peace, the safeguarding of property, and the protection of life itself. The explosion of violence in our cities has resulted in the deaths of over a dozen children, and yet our leaders spend their time painting murals on the streets and finger-wagging about masks.

As I have repeatedly stated, I am pro-vaccine, have vaccinated my children, and would likely encourage my parents and others at risk from COVID-19 complications to take a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available. That said, in a free society, individuals will be persuaded to vaccinate by good results combined with the risks of the disease itself. George Washington was so persuaded that he asked Martha not to visit him until she took the smallpox vaccine. Likewise, the polio vaccine results were so overwhelming that people voluntarily lined up by the millions to get the vaccine.

I, for one, will always advocate for public policy that is consistent with liberty, such as persuasion and education, if and when a coronavirus vaccine emerges.

Dr. Rand Paul is a U.S. Senator from Kentucky.


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