Salvo 01.26.2022 10 minutes

Defeat the Mandates by Overcoming Dependency


Americans must regain trust in their own capacities to understand the world.

This past Sunday, thousands of people in Washington D.C. and other cities around the world participated in the “Defeat the Mandate” protests opposing vaccine mandates, vaccine passports, and other Covid restrictions. These protests coincided with Mayor Bowser’s order to impose vaccine passports, which went into effect that weekend.

What made these protests different, particularly the main one in Washington D.C., was the people who organized and led them. These were not the usual veteran activists or civic leaders marching for a well-known cause, like the March for Life that happened the day before; these were high-profile medical scholars calling for sanity and fairness in public health. These were experts defying the “experts.”

Robert Malone, inventor of mRNA vaccines and perhaps the most prominent critic of mandates, focused his speech on the children who are forced to risk serious injuries from the vaccine “in order to protect the elderly from a virus.” Besides needlessly injecting them with a potentially harmful substance, Malone cited the many other Covid-related policies that have wrought havoc among young people: “Self-harm, suicide, and drug abuse in children have taken off around the world.”

Other scientists, like Peter McCullough, Pierre Kory, Ryan Cole, Jessica Cole, and Chris Martenson joined Malone in condemning the vaccines and the disregard for individual freedom, along with the medical industry’s refusal to utilize cheap and effective early treatments. Many of these people have either been banned or had their videos cancelled on large online platforms for making this argument. 

The “Defeat the Mandates” protests make a compelling case that public health policy for the last two years has been more about governments and pharmaceutical corporations seeking power and profit than about keeping populations healthy and free. Nothing else can explain mandates for receiving expensive largely ineffective vaccines and covering one’s face with a useless mask.

Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that those in charge will change their minds on what needs to be done. Already, the event has been characterized as a disappointing gathering of uninformed kooks and belligerent Trumpkins daring to question supposedly settled science. And doubtless, many people who have internalized the messaging on Covid and vaccines will continue to cast opponents as criminals deserving harsh punishment.

Our culture of dependency has resulted in today’s Covid regime that dominates individual autonomy and the right of people to think for themselves. Even if the ostensible experts are wrong time and again, the majority of the population will submit to their judgment all the same.

William F. Buckley spoke to this issue over 60 years ago in his essay, “Why We Don’t Complain.” He argued that Americans are increasingly unwilling to complain about problems, even ones with easy solutions, because they feel like they can’t: “I think the observable reluctance in the majority of Americans to assert themselves in minor matters is related to our increased sense of helplessness in an age of technology and centralized political and economic power.”

One potentially great thing to come out of the Covid regulations is awakening in people the awareness that the cult of expertise is fallible. Unlike in Buckley’s time, nearly everyone can do this because of the internet. They can learn about the virus, the vaccines, and the data and studies used to support various policies.

There is an obvious question of whether there is any point for conservatives to hold events like the Defeat the Mandate protest. One participant at this year’s March for Life said that the goal of these events is not about directly changing policies, but about changing the culture; Andrew Breitbart, channeling Gramsci, is famous for saying “politics is downstream of culture.” The idea that we need to focus on cultural change is appealing, though the Left controls all major cultural institutions and can silence or ridicule opposition, and its idea of politics is to criminalize the opposition. This gives the Right little recourse beyond public protests, which are still legal, and alternative media.

Protests will not change the way governments work, but the solidarity and courage they display can encourage normal people to start reading and thinking for themselves. Instead of mindlessly acceding to propaganda, they can at least personally reject this messaging, if not publicly refute it.

As the old saying goes, “Knowledge is power,” which is why Big Tech will continue playing whack-a-mole with dissidents. But they can’t silence everyone, especially those willing to put themselves out in the open to oppose obvious tyranny. All Americans, even those on the political Left, should take note of what these brave souls are doing. They don’t necessarily have to put their trust in them—putting trust “experts” and “heroes” is what causes problems in the first place—but they do need start trusting themselves.

The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.

The American Mind is a publication of the Claremont Institute, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to restoring the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life. Interested in supporting our work? Gifts to the Claremont Institute are tax-deductible.

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