Drawing the Line on Mandates in North Idaho

Josef S. is 101 years old. He served as a guard in the SS Nazi militia. He is now on trial, charged with accessory to 3,500 murders almost 80 years ago. At the time he was young, and just following orders. This young man, in his position, could not have stopped the Holocaust. He may not have even been able to save a single life. If he refused to help in the murders, he would have lost his job and been punished, ridiculed by his peers, and someone else would have stepped in.

I have a situation. Mine is not life and death, but consider this: Was the Holocaust able to occur because one day Hitler convinced a bunch of Germans to murder the Jews? It started out small, hardly affecting the Jews. But at each incremental step more of their humanity, dignity, and rights were taken away. Not enough good men stood against the incremental removal of their rights.

. . .

I thought we’d be safe in Sandpoint, Idaho. I thought businesses in Idaho could stand up to this. But on Monday my employer made it known to me that they’ll enforce the vaccine mandate starting January. My issue is not the vaccine. There are pros and cons to the Covid-19 vaccines, but overall, vaccine technology is a good advancement that has saved many lives. Like any tool, you can hurt yourself if you don’t use it properly, and it can be used for good or evil. The issue I have is people have rights. Forcing people to take it or tracking this data is a violation of those rights. If the President is allowed to issue a mandate like this, the least of our worries is Covid.

Now, I’m not writing to debate the merits or perils of the Covid-19 vaccination and whether or not it contains some form of birth control, causes your body temperature to drop by 1 degree to help fight global warming, will give you superpowers, converts your body into a 5G antenna, or alters your DNA eventually turning you into the Borg–that’s all true*. What I am writing about is the President does not have the constitutional right to mandate a vaccine, and employers don’t have the right or obligation to force employees to get vaccinated. I hold to a principle of subsidiarity. Health decisions are made at the family unit level. Not the employer or state level.

But it’s for your own good. – C.S. Lewis.

I actually don’t care about the politics surrounding Covid-19 or vaccinations at all, I really don’t. I find the topic quite uninteresting. I’ve got better and more enjoyable things to focus on such as my wife, kid, dogs, church, friends, and server rack than discuss Covid topics all day. Now, I recognize that Covid-19 is dangerous like many other diseases. But it is nowhere near the leading cause of death and certainly not something I think about very often.

But somebody needs to stand up to mandated vaccinations. And somebody is me. The line must be drawn here.

At the time, he followed the crowd. But now, Josef S. is being tried for complicity in murder. He didn’t stand alone for good when it was unpopular. It doesn’t matter that a hundred other men complied with him. The trial is not about them. He didn’t do what was right.

Now, let’s not forget that he was put into that position at all because many men before him did nothing to stand up to lesser evils. Josef S. could not have stopped the murders by himself. That was out of his control. But he could control his participation. I can’t stop the vaccine mandate. But that doesn’t mean I have to help it. I don’t have to help a tyrannical government enforce it–that won’t stop it–but at least it won’t be by my hands.

If we stand as individuals alone and let ourselves be picked off as the line moves nearer and nearer to evil, we’ll fail. But if we agree on where to draw the line and stand together, this can be stopped before it devolves into re-education camps.

You might be in a position where you can not enforce the $14,000 fines, not freeze bank accounts, not fire employees, maybe you are in a position to ban the ADP app tracking employee’s vaccination data from the Google Play store. Maybe you can avoid buying things from companies that are forcing the vaccine mandate on their employees and go to small businesses instead. Remember, that regardless of whether or not you are just following orders from those above you, you are responsible for your actions. Be mindful. You have a God-given brain. If enough good men stand up, this won’t continue.

You are men and women, not robots. Don’t do something against your well trained-conscience because you’re just following orders.

Those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end. Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. – C.S. Lewis

8 thoughts on “Drawing the Line on Mandates in North Idaho”

  1. Hi Ben,
    We differ on this, but Godspeed in following your convictions.

    Both various kinds of vaccine mandate and also opposition to those mandates are old American traditions by now. I think we’ll make it through!

  2. If people were have done the no cost, safe, logical, community friendly decision and have taken the vaccine there would have been no need of mandates and comparison with Nazzi guards…..

      • That seems to be because you’re position comes from a place of selfishness (whether that is intentional or not, its just our culture) and not from a public health perspective. The overall goal is to protect people from dying and we cannot do that when each time at each area an outbreak occurs, the ICU fills up. We don’t have enough medical staff in to take care of all these people that come to the hospital with not just Covid but other life threatening issues. While it is my position that we didn’t need the mandates and I would much prefer we don’t waste resources saving those that couldn’t get the vaccine in the first place, I can see exactly why we need the mandate in the first place. My wife is a family practice medical provider and has many patients that choose to believe made up nonsense over her advice, there is way too much misinformation. So while I really wish we didn’t come to the point where mandates were a necessity, it’s not being a sheep to not stand up. Why don’t you consider the opposite viewpoint? What if those of us who just went and got vaccinated in the first place because we knew it was the right thing to do, we understand it is our patriotic duty to help our neighbors and contribute to society by not spreading disease around? Also, I am not sure how you can compare the government’s response to save lives during a public health crisis to the beginning of the Holocaust where a specific group of people was targeted for their religious views and exterminated but you probably should ponder that a little bit and try to learn a little more about 1910-1930’s Germany.

        • absolutly agree with Greg G. here

          comparing this crisis with nazi germany is pure ignorance of the situation and a really distasteful comparison that only someone so blind in their beliefs could use to justify their point of view.

          You as a christian should consider how unchristian it is to endanger those around you by having a higher chance of getting & transmitting covid. As Greg G. pointed out this speaks true selfishness or just for the sake of opposing.

          I hope you agree that you and anyone else who refuses the shots should absolutely be refuse any medical treatment incase you catch it and need to get into the ICU.

  3. I’m a bit late to the party, but it looks to me like the respondents have missed Benjamin Bryan’s point. I think his point is that this is a question of personal rights and a vaccine mandate is tyranny. It may be a small tyranny but it is a step in the direction of tyranny and if it stands there will be plenty more to follow. If you think this is tyranny, you should stand against it.
    It is a separate question as to whether the “vaccine” is a good idea or not. If it worked and you took it, you shouldn’t be worried about someone else getting sick since they couldn’t infect you; isn’t that correct? If it is a good idea why are members of congress exempted from having to get it? Why do so many healthcare workers not want to take it? Why do so many Blacks and Hispanics in New York City resist it? Why has the government gone to such lengths to suppress ivermectin, monoclonal antibodies and other therapeutics from use for Covid? And why would the current regime allow over 100,000 illegal immigrants to cross the southern border each month –
    un-tested and prossibly carrying Covid and who knows whatever else. I’m not sure that the phrase “no cost, safe, logical, community friendly decision” is accurate, that is not a given I would automatically accept. And when thinking about these topics – the phrase Qui Bono comes to mind – looking at Who Benefits might be a useful exercise when answering some of these questions.

    • Gregory,
      The state has always asserted broad public-health powers, like quarantine, even when they limit individual freedom. And the Supreme Court upheld a (local) vaccine mandate in 1905 (Jacobson v. Massachusetts). It just seems like your slippery slope argument fails because the slope hasn’t been that slippery in the past?

      I will say that I think the federal mandate extending beyond federal contractors is an unconstitutional overreach and I hope it is not upheld by the courts. But that same concern doesn’t apply to states (Jacobson v. Massachusetts) or employers (at-will employment, besides which vaccines have been mandatory in schools and health care settings for a long time now). It wouldn’t really help Ben if the federal mandate gets struck down and his employer says “get vaccinated anyway”. My own employer is using the mandate as cover for something they clearly already wanted to do, so it will probably have a large effect on business policy even if it is ultimately stuck down.

      On Ivermectin, I thought that this was a good read: https://astralcodexten.substack.com/p/ivermectin-much-more-than-you-wanted


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