Your son is about to start his second year at college. You get a notice from the school saying that he must, every morning, jump up and down 12 times, three times facing north, three facing south, three east, and three west, in that order. If he does not agree to do that, he will not be allowed to return to the college.
What do you do? Kick yourself for not having sent him to Hillsdale, perhaps. But it’s too late now, especially if you’ve already paid the tuition for next fall — and most especially if you borrowed to pay the tuition.
What’s the point of the college-mandated jumping up and down? Can colleges make unreasonable demands on students as conditions for matriculating? It probably says somewhere in some manual the schools have put out that students must … follow orders. But surely there’s an implication that the orders must be sensible. And necessary.
And if they aren’t sensible and necessary, don’t students riot? Isn’t that what students do? (We know they can’t read, or just don’t, many of them.)
Harvard used to require students to pass a swimming test in order to graduate. But as more and more students who were unlikely to fall off the Saltonstall’s dock on the North Shore got admitted, Harvard’s requirement became dated and was eliminated. And however unreasonable the requirement may have seemed, it was on the books for decades — which is to say, before most students in the modern era (whenever that began) matriculated, so the students of that era and their families were at least on notice before their trustees had to clip the coupons to pay the tuition.
Today, or this fall more precisely, the requirement imposed by many colleges is not to be able to swim but to have been vaccinated against the Chinese Virus. Why?
And why are so many other organizations requiring vaccinations and other unnecessary actions as conditions for doing business with them? Particularly reprehensible are the private clubs that have imposed conditions on their members. They have done so, one supposes, because the state or municipality has ordered them to do so. But where is the Spirit of ’76? Lost, one fears, in the spirit of ’19 — the lies of the anti-American 1619 Project.
All the world can be divided into two categories: those who should get vaccinated and those who need not. Those who should are older people — 65 and up. Their mortality rate from the Chinese Virus is high, we are told. We’re not sure what the actual mortality rate is, because politicians (including the CDC) have lied and lied, and listed people who have only died with the Chinese Virus as having died from it. Still, old people, even those who are not obese, would be rolling loaded dice not to get vaccinated.
But that is not true for younger people. They are not at serious risk of dying from the Virus. Oh, one or two, here and there, may die from it — as one or two students may fall out a fraternity window now and then. But those are the exceptions. A vibrant society doesn’t make draconian rules for all (“block up all college windows”) in order to protect a few.
Young women, on the other hand, may be at risk, not of dying from the Virus, but of having the vaccine interfere with their getting pregnant or carrying a baby to term. We just don’t know, and we certainly don’t trust the government to tell us the truth.
Here’s the only sensible rule: once everyone who wants to be vaccinated has been (which will certainly be the case by September, if it is not already), there’s no further need for any rules at all. Period. No masks. No “social distancing.” Nothing. Any rules that are imposed are fascist if imposed by government and scandalous if imposed by private bodies — and perhaps also in violation of common carrier rules if imposed by airlines and other organizations that have obligations to serve all customers.
But who will lead the charge against the fascism of overreaching governments? High on the list should be private clubs, especially tony social clubs that cater to the rich. Cadwalader Wickersham Cromwell may like to eat lunch at his club, but he doesn’t have to. Clubs may be able to support their staffs if government shuts them down, but the local hair salon or fitness center almost certainly cannot. Those businesses are mostly run by struggling middle-class entrepreneurs, regular Americans, including a lot of people who weren’t admitted to Harvard.
Clubs also tend to be able to afford to pay lawyers to fight government, and they have a civic duty to do so. And they also have the ability to arrange, and pay, to have all their staff members who so desire to get vaccinated.
Someday our children and grandchildren will, we should hope, look back at us, and wonder, incredulously, how we could have been bamboozled into doing the stupid things we are being required to do today in response to the Chinese Virus.
But the people who stand up and object will be added — by our children and grandchildren, and theirs — to the pantheon of Americans, headed by the Founding Fathers, who took the risks that kept the nation free.
May 21, 2021
The American Spectator