The position of Libertarians as it relates to the variously available COVID-19 vaccines is that we must take them so long as we are physically fit and able to do so. We should do so not because of any mandates by the state, nor from any coercive measures by the mechanization of capital. We should do so because we, as free people, must accept that only we, as responsible members of society, can reduce the harm caused by the plague that has taken so many of our loved ones.
The great Libertarian philosopher Mikhail Bakunin said,“In the matter of boots, I defer to the authority of the bootmaker; concerning houses, canals, or railroads, I consult the architect or the engineer.” ("What Is Authority?," 1871). Therefore, it follows that in the matter of public health and vaccines, one must consult the scientific authority of doctors and public health professionals. No person who is a layperson can claim to know the effects of vaccines on the inner workings of the human body. This knowledge belongs to the specialists, and to their knowledge we must defer - not because of government or business mandates, but because we are a free people capable of managing society ourselves.
We should show those who would seek to use the crisis to impose a deepening authoritarian bend in our society that their hunger for power and control is unwarranted because we are a capable, responsible community able to manage and direct our own affairs and to deal with various crises as they arise. To those who draw skepticism to the vaccines because of propaganda online: remember that those in control of the authoritarian mechanisms of society have just as much reason to end the crisis as do the working classes - even though theirs may be because they wish to continue enriching themselves from our labor, while ours is a genuine interest in the protection of our community. Nonetheless, the interest is there, and so we should place our trust, just as our masters have, in the specialists and their cures.
So I call on Libertarians of good conscience to make the right choice, and to get the vaccine. Do it as responsible, free people, do it to spite authoritarians if you must, but do it you should, so that we may continue on with our lives.
Brandon Wald lives in Fargo.
This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.