An NBA Star and New York's Governor Show That Liberal COVID Discourse is Devoid of Science

The view that the unvaccinated are all stupid, primitive and ignorant is getting more difficult to sustain, especially as liberal policy contradicts its own core premises.

It is virtually a religious belief in the dominant liberal culture that people who do not want the COVID vaccine are stupid, ignorant, immoral and dangerous. As large sectors of the population continue to question or disobey their COVID decrees, they have begun to make more explicit this condescending view.

Liberals feel free to disparage them as "stupid” notwithstanding long-standing (though diminishing) racial disparities among this group. A CNN headline from last month told part of the story: “Black New Yorkers may have the lowest vaccination rates, but community groups refuse to give up.” Citing data from the city's health agency, the network reported that “citywide, just 28% of Black New Yorkers between the ages of 18 and 44 are fully vaccinated. The Hispanic community is the second-least fully vaccinated population in that age group, with 49% being fully vaccinated.”

Two weeks ago, Bloomberg reported that while some of the unvaccinated are unable to get the vaccine (due to work pressures or health conditions), most of them are vaccine-hesitant by choice and continue to reflect racial disparities. Under the headline “U.S. Racial Vaccine Gaps Are Bigger Than We Thought: Covid-19 Tracker,” the news outlet reported: “the White vaccination rate is not as bad as it had seemed and Hispanic communities are lagging more than previously thought.”

Yet liberal elites continue to call anyone who is unvaccinated "stupid,” ignorant and immoral. On Sunday, New York's Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul, when announcing her intent to use National Guard soldiers to replace health care workers fired for refusing the vaccine, told her audience: “yes, I know you're vaccinated, you're the smart ones.” She then said those who refuse to get the vaccine are not just stupid but have turned their back on God: “there's people out there who aren't listening to God and what God wants.” Gov. Hochul added that the vaccine “is from God to us and we must say, thank you, God,” and said to her "smart” vaccinated supporters: “I need you to be my apostles.”

On September 16, CNN host Don Lemon maligned those who have chosen not to be vaccinated as "stupid,” "selfish,” filled with “ignorance,” and “not acting on logic, reason and science." He then issued this decree: “it’s time to start shaming them or leave them behind.” When controversy erupted over the lavish indoor gala former President Obama threw for himself, at which his guests were unmasked while the servants were masked, New York Times reporter Annie Karni explained on CNN that while some of Obama's neighbors on Martha's Vineyard objected, many believed that a maskless party was fine because “this is a sophisticated, vaccinated crowd." Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel suggested the unvaccinated should be deprioritized for health care in hospitals, while Howard Stern recently lambasted the unvaccinated as “imbeciles” and “nut jobs” and argued they should be denied health care and be left to die.

That the unvaccinated are inherently primitive and stupid troglodytes was always a claim as baseless and offensive as it is counter-productive. Although I personally took the vaccine the first day it was available to me — as I repeatedly said I would in every forum where I speak, including Fox News — it was always clear that there were cogent reasons why those with different circumstances and risk factors (age, health, prior COVID status) might assess their own risks differently and reach a different conclusion. And what made me most comfortable about my choice to get vaccinated, or to decide whether my kids should, was precisely that it was my choice, after informing myself: the idea of forcing someone to do it against their will, or condition people's rights and privileges on vaccine compliance — as both President Biden and the ACLU astonishingly advocated — always struck me as inconceivable.

The attempt to equate being unvaccinated with stupidity and ignorance suffered a massive blow on Wednesday night when NBA star Jonathan Isaac was asked why he was hesitant to take the vaccine. Like many unions, the NBA's player union has refused a vaccine mandate, and Isaac, the 23-year-old player with the Orlando Magic who previously had and recovered from COVID, gave a stunningly compelling, informed, well-reasoned and thoughtful exposition on his rationale for not wanting the vaccine. Isaac also defended the right of individuals to make their own choice. One need not agree with his ultimate conclusion on the vaccine to see how groundless (and obnoxious) it is to claim that anyone who chooses not to take the vaccine — like him — is stupid, ignorant and primitive. I really encourage everyone to watch his two-minute master class in demonstrating why such a choice can, depending on one's circumstances, be perfectly rational:

Is there anyone who can argue with a straight face that Isaac sounds stupid, ignorant or evil? One can cogently dispute the wisdom of his conclusion: while it is true that most people who recover from COVID (as he did) enjoy "natural immunity” in the form of antibodies — indeed, one major study found that “the natural immune protection that develops after a SARS-CoV-2 infection offers considerably more of a shield against the Delta variant of the pandemic coronavirus than two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine" — some studies conclude that immunity is stronger still with the vaccine.

Nonetheless, Issac is indisputably right that the risk of dying or becoming seriously ill from COVID is extremely low for someone like him: early 20s, healthy and with natural immunity. In fact, during the entire course of the pandemic, the total number of people aged 15-24 (Isaac's age group) who have died of COVID — in a country of 330 million people — is 1,372: fewer than the number in that age group who have died of non-COVID pneumonia. Add onto that Isaac's physical fitness and the fact that he already had COVID once, and it is clear that his risk from contracting the virus is vanishingly small.

It is true that the long-term effects of COVID are unknown, but that is also true of the long-term risks from these new vaccines. Isaac is also right ….


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