The Generalist

Respond to the Moral Error

I like Del Bigtree. His show, The Highwire, and the organization behind it, the Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN), are educating people and fighting for justice. They’re really doing it. They report on the news, they discuss the issues, they keep the pressure on, and they remain positive about it. I think the positivity is what is most attractive to me. So many people who I follow are good at pointing out the horrors of what’s going on. But, they are not so good at keeping my spirits up. Del is. “Winning!” he exclaims joyfully, whenever a there’s a positive outcome to one of his organization’s many court cases. I also think that he’s thinking and growing in his understanding of the events unfolding in our world today. Most people don’t do this. They believe what they believe, and they never reflect on anything. It is for this reason that I think Del will understand my criticism here and hopefully not take it too personally.

At times, Del has shown examples of people who do not understand moral principles. Recently it was Neil deGrasse Tyson, who’s reaction to a discussion regarding vaccines went viral. Del shows the video and discusses some of the assumptions made regarding the facts about the vaccines, but he does not mention what I consider to be the most important error: deGrasse’s biggest problem is NOT that he doesn’t understand how vaccines work, that he imagines that these current vaccines can stop transmission, that he does not take into account side effects, or that he doesn’t understand that vaccines can pressure viruses to mutate into variants. His biggest problem is a moral one. In deGrasse’s mind there is a “social contract”, and one should take vaccines in order to protect other people. But deGrasse has it precisely backwards. One protects other people by not infringing on their personal responsibilities to their own health and happiness. One should never expect others to sacrifice themselves for his benefit. And if someone doesn’t want a vaccine for whatever reason, it means taking it would be a sacrifice. No man has a moral claim upon another man’s life!

My issue with Del isn’t that he talks about how the vaccine works or doesn’t work. I think these are important subjects. But they exist within this moral context. You might want to know if the vaccine works in such a way that your taking it will protect your dearly beloved grandmother, who’s existence is of personal value. You might be willing to do what appears to be a sacrifice in this case because you love your grandmother. For this reason, it would be nice to know whether this tradeoff is even necessary. So, in this regard, Del’s discussion is most welcome.

However, in cases like this, rather than simply arguing within the parameters given and thereby accepting the implied moral error, I would like to hear Del at least make this point – It doesn’t matter one whit whether the vaccine actually works or not. It is still wrong to expect, demand or force any person to take it.

I think Del already knows this, even though he has not articulated it. I think he knows it because he behaves like someone who knows it. So, Del, if you happen to read this, I ask just this: Let’s not simply play with the cards our evil overlords deal. Let’s correct the moral failings they are teaching our children. Let’s respond to the implied moral elephant in the room. Then, after we’ve done that, let’s go on and talk about the details that people need to know in order to make that personalized calculation they need to make for themselves. I think this is the greatest lesson you can give to your audience and especially any children who watch your show. Make sure they know that they are responsible for own their health and happiness and by taking this responsibility seriously and not demanding sacrifices from others they will be doing precisely what deGrasse thinks he’s doing but isn’t – protecting other people.

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