Justice Amy Coney Barrett is a rock-ribbed conservative

Refusing to block a school's vaccine mandate is conservative, and vaccine refuseniks are acting like snowflakes.

The junior member of the Supreme Court, Justice Amy Coney Barrett got the task of reviewing a petition by eight Indiana University students seeking to block the institution’s vaccine requirement for attendance. She, acting alone, refused the petition, and the other Justices remained silent.

Meanwhile, on Twitter, self-described “conservatives” described her with disdain, using air quotes around the word. They are acting like snowflakes.

How is it conservative for SCOTUS to tell a university what their health policies will be? That’s not under any definition or banner of “conservative” as I understand it. In fact, blocking the requirement for vaccination falls under the same activist court opinions as judges messing with pro-life groups, or carving out special protected classes for transgenders. It’s far more conservative to stay out of these decisions.

But the agenda of people who mock Justice Barrett is not to be conservative. Their agenda is to support anyone who feels threatened by incentives or disincentives involving vaccination. They have this agenda not because they are conservative, but because they are deeply distrustful of everything and everyone who doesn’t think like they do.

Proof of this is in the followup tweet.

On Twitter, @barnes_law is Robert Barnes. Barnes is a Las Vegas attorney fishing in the same pond as Lin Wood. He took a defamation case for 10 anonymous Covington Catholic students, but did not represent Nick Sandmann, who got huge settlements from media outlets who defamed him. But you wouldn’t know that from Barnes, who pumped Sandmann as if he was a client. Sandmann’s legal team included Wood, but not Barnes. Sandmann punched back.

Barnes is committed to providing ammunition to vaccine refuseniks and anti-vaxxers who want to spread their own manure, and use the courts to support their poor choices. In reality, I think Barnes is doing it for the money. If I had to bet, I’d say Barnes has gotten his shots, which makes him all the more an unprincipled sham.

Barnes’ Twitter feed is filled with retweets of Alex Berenson, a vaccine skeptic. At least Berenson’s objection isn’t based on Bill Gates microchips, “666” fantasies, or mind-control Jew lasers. Berenson believes that the vaccines simply don’t work.

For now, vaccine advocates are clinging to the hope that even if the vaccines do not protect against infection, they still provide some protection against more serious illness and death. I think the jury is still out on that question, but again it is largely irrelevant for this conversation - the Covid wards are filling in Israel, and most people in them are older and vaccinated. If the vaccines do offer any help after a few months against serious illness, it is far less than the 95-99 percent protection that advocates have claimed.

To be clear: I don’t agree with or believe the statistics show what Berenson claims. I believe the statistics I’ve seen comport with the 99.8 to 99.999% effectiveness figures that have been published, including by CNN. Far more sick people in hospitals, or people with positive tests for that matter, are unvaccinated.

I think the long-term answer as to vaccine effectiveness is still unknown, as in neither the drug manufacturers, health professionals, the CDC, China, or skeptics know the ultimate answer. But we do know that the vaccines right now have saved a hell of a lot of lives. Falling back on “aha!” moments when certain predictions about boosters don’t match up against original medical advice proves nothing in the decision of whether to take the vaccine or not.

Going back to Barnes, he’s a lawyer and doesn’t care about statistics or mRNA or anything but padding his name and making money. So tweets like this one word “risky” describing CDC’s recommendation for pregnant women to get vaccinated, are offered without evidence.

Barnes and the online cohorts who are mad at Justice Barrett because she wouldn’t force a university to allow unvaccinated students to spread COVID-19 on campus are not acting like conservatives. They are acting more like the snowflakes who demand “safe spaces” and segregated meetings because they are triggered by the presence of a rock that was described in a single 90-year-old article using a racial slur.

These people who, for their own reasons, don’t want to take the vaccine, also want there to be no real consequences for their actions. They want to mix in with vaccinated people along with other unvaccinated people, which simply gives the virus more opportunity to spread. Then they point at some of the vaccinated people who get sick and yell “See! The vaccines don’t work.”

It’s so ignorant and the opposite of conservative. Measles vaccines don’t work either when 20 percent of the population refuses to take them. They’d rather have measles, I guess. It’s not like the phrase “herd immunity” hasn’t been tossed around for 20 months.

Do you want to know what a conservative does in this case? What Justice Barrett did. You let the adults who run the school make their own health policy, and let the students make their own choice. If they choose not to get vaccinated, then they choose not to attend classes.


Detritus and triviata

I got a lot of flack after suggesting yesterday that all social media suppression should simply end. I stand by that opinion.

First of all, the bots and algorithms that block content are imperfect. They, more often than not, throw out the baby with the bathwater, and therefore serious arguments over treatment, vaccine effectiveness, and statistical errors are blocked, while people who report on that for a living find themselves in the penalty box or with “strikes” against them toward permanent banning.

For someone who makes a living on YouTube revenue, this is terrifying, and these people frequently have no recourse, because their appeals fall to the same bots and algorithms that made the initial decision.

Second, the presence of contrary actual opinion, like from Alex Berenson, who I quoted above, keeps the actual people who are doing research on the virus, and those who make health policy, accountable. When decisions are made in a groupthink echo chamber because all opposing views are censored, we end up with poor decisions or a wishy-washy flip-flop of opinions by people unqualified to decide what the public “can handle” (meaning Fauci, who is a good research administrator, but a very poor communication strategist).

Third, the presence of crackpot opinions, grifters, snake-oil salesmen, unqualified pundits, and political opportunists, is not stopped by social media bans. People will find ways to get opinion and information they agree with, true or false. One commenter noted that the lies about vaccines are so easy to disprove. I agree. If they are so easy to disprove, why is it proving so hard to convince people?

I think it’s best to take the shackles off and let the idiots roam free, spreading and eating their own manure. I think in the end, it will allow these people and their bad ideas to perish under a wave of truth, giving them no cover as some gnostic knowledge that “they don’t want you to know.”

You may not agree, and that’s fine. But look, we’re not making a whole lot of progress getting otherwise sane and level-headed people to take the vaccine. I know of at least one person in their 60s who just got COVID-19 and never took the vaccine. I can’t tell you how disappointing this is—that person is not a raving lunatic, or a MAGA-hat wearing MTG voter. Just a normal person who is reaping a poor decision.

Suppressing the bad opinions only harms us from highlighting the good ones. As Jesus said, let the tares and the wheat grow up together.

One more thing: Legislatures are now beginning the task of redistricting, including in Georgia. The headlines are all focused on how changing demographics are making “white” people a smaller part of the population, and increasing diversity. Great. I think the media believes this will make it harder for Republicans to hold on to seats without massive gerrymandering.

I think they’ll find that the demographics don’t support their contention. A more diverse population in Georgia will favor Republicans just as much as a “white” one. That’s because on issues like crime, taxes, and social programs, Democrats can’t keep public opinion on their side, especially in the immigrant community.

Republican lawmakers would be making a mistake trying to carve out “white” districts. Diversity is not the enemy of the GOP.

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