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A COVID-19 vaccine may not bring a solution to the pan­demic. | Wiki­media Commons

“I want to feel free again.”

This seem­ingly innocuous statement in a recent com­mercial from Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Ser­vices rep­re­sents the most sig­nif­icant casualty of the COVID-19 era: Reality.

In the com­mercial, Michigan HHS asked a series of people why they chose to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. While most of the inter­viewees answered pre­dictably, like the boy who wanted to “go to school dances,” the last woman fea­tured in the video revealed the unspoken truth behind each answer. “Feeling free” has become more important than actual freedom. 

Our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of hap­piness are God-given. Many of our fun­da­mental rights, such as freedom of assembly, have been stripped away over the past 18 months in the name of public health— not to mention basic human neces­sities like the ability to socialize and move about freely. Vac­ci­nation, therefore, seems to many like the only way to resume “normal” life. But receiving a vaccine in exchange for human rights is ridiculous on its face, and is ulti­mately just a Band-Aid for a much bigger problem. 

In our increas­ingly secular world, people believe that the gov­ernment, not God, grants rights. If God bestows human rights, no gov­ernment, no matter how pow­erful, can take them away. But if the gov­ernment is the source of rights, it can also strip them away — and that is exactly what hap­pened in the COVID-19 era. 

Another aspect of our increas­ingly bizarre world is that many people, like those in the Michigan HHS com­mercial, don’t want the vaccine to protect them­selves from con­tracting the virus. They take the vaccine in order to par­tic­ipate in school func­tions, inter­na­tional travel, indoor dining, and other everyday activ­ities. These are the wrong reasons to get a vaccine. The point of a vaccine is to protect you against an illness. If you already have natural anti­bodies or are not at risk for the disease, why would you take it? Forcing people to undergo the jab in exchange for par­tic­i­pation in society is unprece­dented and concerning. 

Even more bizarre is the fact that main­stream media dis­misses and demo­nizes alter­native treat­ments for COVID-19. According to The Hill, podcast host Joe Rogan reportedly con­tracted COVID-19 on Sept. 1, took an anti-par­asite med­ication called iver­mectin, and regained health in under a week. Despite the medicine’s effec­tiveness, Rogan was ridiculed by media outlets for taking an alter­native to the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Reality (and real results) are not important. Regardless of real effec­tiveness, getting the vaccine is the “right” thing to do. Regardless of losing our actual rights post-COVID-19, “feeling free” is enough for many people. 

Like the classic example of the frog in the boiling pot, Amer­icans who think that the gov­ernment will allow them to resume normal life after taking the vaccine are in for a nasty sur­prise. Com­plying with despots won’t make them go away.