Peter Singer’s article defending the idea that vaccines for COVID should be made legally mandatory is yet another (unintentional) illustration of the intellectual and moral collapse of academic philosophy in recent decades.
Professor Singer argues from analogy. Disanalogies should begin coming to mind more quickly than they can be written down.
The first is that you put a seat belt on when you drive a car (or ride as a passenger), and when you’ve gotten where you are going you take it off and get out.
You can’t do that with a vaccine.
Seat-belts are also not one of the products of a trillion-dollar cartel consisting of several of the most powerful corporations in the Western world.
On the other hand, neither are seat belts portrayed as “free,” as are the COVID jabs. When powerful people offer you something for free and tell you that it is “in your best interest” to “serve the greater good,” and then start introducing layers of inconveniences one by one when you decline and your better judgment tells you that something is amiss with this picture, maybe you ought to listen.
An additional disanology is that seat belts and other safety features in automobiles have been developed over years, and are known to save lives. The COVID vaccines were developed in a matter of six months or so and then foisted on the populations of the world. Do they save lives? While some will dismiss the accounts as anecdotal, I read accounts every day of people who were “fully vaccinated” and got COVID anyway. If one searches for information on, e.g., COVID vaccinations in Israel, one learns that Israel has one of the highest rates of vaccination in the world, and they still have enormous problems with COVID.
“Safe and effective.” Truth? Or propaganda?
For there is the question of catastrophic risk, which we know with a seat belt is absolutely minimal. Can the same claim be made for these experimental mRNA COVID vaccines?
I don’t know. No one else has convinced me that he/she knows, and that’s just the problem. There is no way anyone can know this about something produced at “warp speed” (a science fiction concept) and then rolled out and given only emergency authorization by the FDA (not the same as full approval).
People are refusing the COVID vaccine not to be obstinent or contrary, but because they aren’t buying what the Establishment is selling (for free, yet!).
Some will call this “vaccine misinformation.” My response: turn off CNN and turn on your brain!
For one thing, there have been preventatives and cures for Covid other than these experimental vaccines, such as hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and ivermectin. The former is an anti-malarial agent known for 60-odd years to be safe. Suddenly, last year, the drug was demonized by Fauci, his cronies, and The Science. Those prescribing it, usually with great success, were threatened with the loss of their medical licenses. Their evidence was scrubbed from all the major online platforms. All of a sudden, according to The Science, there was no evidence.
One study of HCQ was done in the context of its prospects as a preventative / cure for Covid. It was methodologically botched (on purpose?) and had to be withdrawn.
Is the opposition to such cures based on the fact that they can be dispensed cheaply, so that the pharmaceutical giants cannot reap billions in profits? Is it because such cures would have been capable of ending what pandemic there was in a matter of months, which was not what wealthy and powerful people wanted?
We aren’t supposed to ask such questions in public. Presentations on, e.g., the known safety and effectiveness of HCQ are scrubbed from the Big Tech owned Internet platforms. Why? What are all the corporate media talking heads and Big Tech censors afraid of?
Some will call this a “conspiracy theory.” That buzzword again!
Anyone at this point who doesn’t realize that there is more to this “pandemic” than meets the eye (or is reported in corporate media) doesn’t WANT to realize it.
We come back to: the analogy Singer draws between seat belts, known quantities, and these COVID vaccines, the long term effects of which are a complete black hole. His analogy disintegrates when we put it under the spotlight and look at it in detail.
And incidentally, how many patents do Fauci and his cronies, which include Bill Gates who isn’t a doctor or a scientist, have on vaccines generally, on which they have all made billions in passive income?? There are conflicts of interest all over the place here, and it should astound us that someone touted as one of the major moral philosophers of our era would simply overlook them!
That brings me full circle to my first paragraph.
There is also evidence all over the place that academic philosophy has pretty much collapsed intellectually despite all the seeming activity (blogs, podcasts, you-name-it) — and morally as well. This is an era that produces academic “superstars,” after all. Peter Singer is certainly that! This is, after all, the same Peter Singer who once made the bullet-biting argument that infanticide (not just abortion) is sometimes morally justifiable, especially in cases in which an infant was born with clear physical disabilities. For this he was understandably (and rightly) castigated by that community.
I suppose he would say that “my body, my choice” only applies to what liberals and lefties euphemistically call “women’s reproductive rights.” Another of those phrases indicating the extent to which “language has gone on holiday” (Wittgenstein) despite well over a hundred years now of philosophical analysis, and how we are now going backwards, not forwards.
Steven Yates has a PhD in philosophy and is the author of What Should Philosophy Do? A Theory (Wipf & Stock, 2021). This article is an expanded version of a comment I penned for the comments section under Singer’s article.