There are a number of problems with contemporary conservatism. One involves its near universal voluntary surrender of public office over the last 30 or so years to its enemies. Another is its fatal mistake of thinking that culture was downstream of politics, not vice versa. But the mistake I want to concentrate on today is its usual surrender to what it believes is now inevitable. Nothing encapsulates this better at present then Tom Elliot on 3AW Drive ‘conceding’ that we just have to prepare for vaccine passports and the two-tiered life that this will involve in the near future. Go to the 1:33:00 min mark and listen to the short exchange between Tom and a caller.
Beyond the ridiculous argument that the vaccine greatly reduces the chance of transmitting COVID at a large public event (the absolute risk reduction (ARR) is 1.3% at best; people that focus on relative risk reduction (RRR) and not ARR are being tendentious because the chance of catching it and getting sick are already quite low) you see him suggest at the end of the exchange that vaccine passports is ‘just where we are headed’. And if you think that being fully vaxxed means two doses now, sorry to inform you, passports will likely require you to keep up date, which means regular boosters, to remain valid.
Returning to our friend, Tom Elliot, earlier in the program he referred to the French experience, but he never raises the fact that this decision by Macron has led to large on-going protests in Paris and beyond for the last two months. The same is true in Germany, Italy, and the UK.
So why this rush to surrender to the inevitability of vaccine passports rather than pleading the case incessantly against them and other ill-considered COVID restrictions? I think it has something to do with overweening pragmatism. Elliott is so focused on ending the lockdowns that any policy that may end them is being seriously entertained no matter how ill-thought out. None of the jurisdictions with vaccine passports is experiencing zero community transmission; new cases as of yesterday in France and Germany, were 3795 and 6805, respectively. The problem in Australia, is not vaccine coverage, it is the absurd requirement of zero community transmission; vaccine passports will not prevent zero community transmission and therefore will not prevent further lockdowns.
So, even at the level of practicality, the inevitability canard is ineffective. It concedes a great deal and returns nothing. Which leaves us with problem of principle or the lack thereof. A two-tier system (vaxxed and unvaxxed) of public life for the foreseeable future is not a reasonable and principled solution to the problem of forever lockdowns. Added to this is the precedent/ premises it establishes for future purported emergencies and they are as tremendous as they are pernicious.