Two Tuesday Thoughts: Vaxxports and Reparations

Pain. Suffering. Agony.

"Papers, Please" - First as Tragedy, then as Farce (or, Why Vaccine Passports are Stupid)

This tweet recently got floated by a member of our esteemed Blue Checkmark class:

Ignore the vindictive, petty tone for a moment (we'll get there), these dorks have a bigger issue: Vaccine Passports are stupid and wouldn't work.

First, it should already be clear that the geographic distribution of vaccine acceptance is not uniform. Vaccine passports are redundant in New York City and irrelevant in rural Florida.

Second, you really think that governments that can barely enforce mask mandates are going to be willing or even able to enforce vaccine passports? Do you think people will care? Masks are at least highly visible. Any realistic vaccine passport scenario will be as stupid as bars near colleges "checking for ID."

Certainly one can play Devil's Advocate and argue that a vaccination passport preventing you from traveling on airlines or otherwise making you a second-class citizen will incentivize you to get the vaccine, but that seems far more likely to cause serious protest than anything else. There are a million different ways to incentivize vaccines, almost all of which are better than this plan. And you think people can't convincingly forge paper vaccine passports? Really? Again, the college bar scene is proof enough this idea was concocted by a bunch of dorks who wouldn't know what a party was if they were dragged to one.

So besides being a "pragmatic" bootlicker, why would someone support this?

The Vindictive Answer: Punishment

Friend/Enemy politics strikes again.

It should be clear these people view those who reject Science as being heretics and therefore being "lesser" in some meaningful way. Obviously they must be punished for their heresy. Of course, these Good People don't have the stomach for violence, so they decide to do what their little inner Hall Monitor loves doing: creating a bunch of regulations and rules that let them feel cool while keeping the kids who made fun of them in middle school outside the new "cool kids table."

The Answer Worthy of Empathy: A Need for Control

I could easily say this answer is worthy of pity instead of empathy. I will reject that response. Pity is a way of making yourself feel superior to someone else. A need for control, even when pathological, is generally an understandable response to one's conditions and experiences. It deserves empathy, not pity.

In that sense, whether or not masks do anything is irrelevant. Whether or not the vaccines work is irrelevant. What matters is that the wearer of the mask or the recipient of the vaccine feels like they've regained some control. It soothes them. In the face of the tremendous amount of uncertainty and chaos in today's world, when we are daily confronted with/by systems so immensely complex that not even the "experts" of those symptoms understand their full workings, the need for control is an entirely understandable response. (And perhaps it is more understandable why deferring to experts is so common - far more comfortable to convince yourself the “Adults are in the room” then it is to acknowledge the Adults have no idea what they’re doing)

Racist Reparations (or, Oakland, buddy, what are you doing?)

If you haven't been caught up on this particular news story, Oakland has decided to pioneer a brand new kind of Basic Income program: Universal Basic Income for the poor....as long as they aren't White. Oh boy. Of course, the press reported on this in a largely positive light:

I've talked about my disdain for the "Dems are the REAL racists!!!" rhetoric but god DAMN. Oakland is really out here trying to test that resolve.

Might I recommend, instead of limiting UBI based on race, you apply it across income levels. Might I then recommend a two-pronged approach (both sides are necessary) to combatting the inequality in the distribution of economic opportunity:

  1. Pass anti-gentrification laws to prevent people from being priced out of their communities and replaced by the soon-to-be-PMCs (Look, I don't trust Oakland or any other American government to write good anti-gentrification laws. I will delve into this issue at a future point. Simply understand that you don't want to focus on building up the prosperity of an area only to have the people who built that prosperity kicked out of their own community by a bunch of outsiders simply on the basis those outsiders can pay a landlord an extra $250/month).

  2. Focus on extending dedicated lines of zero-interest credit to members of these "preserved" communities to expand production (factories and businesses, not credit cars and auto loans). Again, I can already see the complaints about it costing too much money or it being unrealistic. I understand that (to an extent). I am presenting a model to work towards. And I continue to ask people that they do not allow "pragmatism" to blind them to the wide range of possibilities we have out there.

Now, if this is really too much, allow me (the resident Native American) to present an alternative:

Every woke white person must surrender their land, possessions, and wife to me so that I may form my Neo-Algonquin Empire. The based among you (including, of course, you my faithful reader) will receive honorary Native American status. The rest will be dropped into the ocean.

Or you could just subscribe ;)

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