Dying in the Name of Vaccine Freedom

Here’s the context to a sobering newly-released video from The New York Times:

In the video above, Alexander Stockton, a producer on the Opinion Video team, explores two of the main reasons the number of Covid cases is soaring once again in the United States: vaccine hesitancy and refusal.

“It’s hard to watch the pandemic drag on as Americans refuse the vaccine in the name of freedom,” he says.

Seeking understanding, Mr. Stockton travels to Mountain Home, Ark., in the Ozarks, a region with galloping contagion and — not unrelated — abysmal vaccination rates.

He finds that a range of feelings and beliefs underpins the low rates — including fear, skepticism and a libertarian strain of defiance.

This doubt even extends to the staff at a regional hospital, where about half of the medical personnel are not vaccinated — even while the intensive care unit is crowded with unvaccinated Covid patients fighting for their lives.

Mountain Home — like the United States as a whole — is caught in a tug of war between private liberty and public health. But Mr. Stockton suggests that unless government upholds its duty to protect Americans, keeping the common good in mind, this may be a battle with no end.

Sobering indeed…

Related Content 

How the COVID-19 Vaccines Could Be Created So Quickly: Two Animated Videos Explain the How mRNA Vaccines Were Developed, and How They Work

MIT Presents a Free Course on the COVID-19 Pandemic, Featuring Anthony Fauci & Other Experts

Mattel’s Barbie Turns Women of Medicine, Including COVID Vaccine Developer, Into Dolls

A Biostatistician Uses Crochet to Visualize the Frightening Infection Rates of the Coronavirus

by | Permalink | Comments (8) |

Support Open Culture

We’re hoping to rely on our loyal readers rather than erratic ads. To support Open Culture’s educational mission, please consider making a donation. We accept PayPal, Venmo (@openculture), Patreon and Crypto! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (8)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • Harmon says:

    “And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

    – Thomas Jefferson

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”.

    – Declaration of Independence

    Liberty is not a ”private right”. It is our fundamental right. The primary duty of government is to preserve liberty, not to preserve “public health.” As dangerous as Covid 19 is to many people, it does not threaten the survival of the country. But the elevation of “public health” above liberty does.

  • Daniel says:

    With “sobering” you mean that liberty is put into question — in “the land of the free” — don’t you? With overly emotional (tragic) cases of only unvaccinated people shown sick or dying. After all, showing vaccinated suffering as well would not fit the message. BTW, did the other people who were shown survive? And what about all those who had Covid and survived — without the vaccine?

    I don’t see much “seeking understanding” in the video but lots of emotional manipulation and a disregard for individual rights for a vaguely-defined overall “public health” goal (which doesn’t fly when it’s the unvaccinated who are shown suffering).

    Personally, I agree with the person who did die. If that sounds insane and beyond consideration, you are not “seeking understanding”. Freedom is worth a lot, and it naturally comes at a high cost. When people decide for themselves, they will have to shoulder the consequences, good and bad. That’s part of freedom and that is part what gives it its value. The alternative is turning people into cattle.

    In the case of Covid this can mean getting it and likely surviving it, or getting it and (depending on comorbidity) rarely or very rarely dying from it. And sure, the later would suck and you might have survived with a vaccination. You might have also still died from it. Or you might even have adverse side effects now, or in the future.

    Health decisions are complex and personal — and it’s the freedom of every individual to make that decision.

    And yeah, I get that you (and the makers of that video) have the best intentions, but you also know where that road leads.

  • William Mullaney says:

    Here is some Enlightenment thoughts. Social contract political philosophy which is part and parcel to the foundation of American freedom, clearly states the need for humans to give up certain personal freedoms found in natural law in order to create a society that benefits all who participate in that society. This contract will by necessity evolve with the society. Nobody is being threatened with loss of liberty unless of course, you include those who must be isolated in hospitals due to Covid. In times of national emergency, Americans have been called upon to make sacrifices for the good of the nation. A pandemic that has already been responsible for more deaths than any war or other disaster to ever strike America certainly qualifies. The problem here is the inability of too many Americans to be willing to do what Americans in the past have done in order to meet a nationwide threat. They too often do this while labeling themselves patriots. This is misguided and indicates a serious misunderstanding of our history and the philosophical underpinnings of America.

  • Lynn says:

    With “rights” and “freedoms” come responsibility and accountability. Otherwise, you are operating from a childish stance of, “I want what I want when and how I want it.” There’s no maturity or reciprocity or the obligations of an adult citizen. In a -society-, where we live together in -community-, the government is burdened with seeking the highest good for ALL, which unfortunately may interfere, from time to time, with our selfish and self-centered immediate wants and desires. But as grown-ups, we learn that sometimes we have to sacrifice our desires for the good of the many. When YOUR actions, (or lack thereof) namely, demanding not to be vaccinated, impinge on MY health, and MY freedoms and those around you/us, and your concern remains YOU and you alone, the government may step in as one would with a recalcitrant, obstinate, and defiant child who seeks only his own best welfare (and not even that). Unvaccinated people are spreading this virus and creating an environment for more virulent strains. You and people like you are the ones keeping this economy from opening up more freely and creating a feeling of safety so that my family and friends and I feel safe to travel and go to restaurants and live life more normally. How you think ANYONE -enjoys- wearing masks and not living life as we once did is DELUSIONAL! Really? I just don’t want to die like my cousin did, my friend from childhood or my husband’s partner in the police department just this last week. You are the one twisting reality to suit your narrative. Try working in an ICU unit or the ER for a month and come back to us spewing about your “rights” and liberty. How about the rights of nurses and doctors to not have to treat the 95% of patients sick with the variant who refused the vaccine that would have prevented their care. The selfishness of anti-vaxxers boggles the mind. We’re supposed to unify on such crises—the UNITED States. You are only about YOU. Together we stand, divided we fall, and all that. And we are falling.

  • Sylvia says:


  • Tulin Demirmen says:

    Well said..but how do you reach to those unvaccinated, selfish people before another and even stronger variant comes along? Their behavior is something I cannot comprehend. Maybe they should not be given priority at ICU’s instead of the heart attack, or accident or cancer patients. I don’t mean to be heartless but something has to be done. I don’t want to be a statistic because of them.

  • Art S. says:

    Maniacs. Doesn’t matter that the “vaxxed” are more likely to be infected as non, there are already 13,000+ deaths from them just in the U. S. (which actually indicates 100,000+ to 1,000,000 deaths, according to Harvard studies on the VAERS reporting system), the Pfizer CEO openly says he doesn’t want a “vaxx” since he’s “59 and in good health,” “vaxxes” worsen ADE, those of us who’ve had “COVID-19” already have better natural immunity than those who’ve been “vaxxed,” the “vaxxed” have more breakthrough cases, the “vaxx” doesn’t stop the disease or its transmission, it’s linked to miscarriages/prostate problems/infertility/permanent heart damage, that these “vaxx” companies are known violators and killers who’ve paid out billions in fines in the past, that Israel’s COVID cases surged after mass “vaccinations,” that Big Pharma pays for 75 percent of the FDA’s budget, etc. etc. etc. Are you that gullible? It’s like living with people permanently stuck in “I BELIEVE THE FAUCI GOD” mentality. All for what? A virus that 99.7+ percent survive–with the median age of “COVID deaths” (openly known as WITH “COVID,” not FROM “COVID”) in the 80s. Such people are simply desperately clinging to a crackpot religion and cannot be reasoned with. When they believe that masks actually stop viruses, and that the elites aren’t affected by “COVID” and therefore can do without locking down, masks, social distancing, etc.–their brains are hopelessly short-circuited. Totally bonkers.

  • Jeff W says:

    The Pfizer CEO has been vaccinated. You’re referring to a social media post that is a flat out lie. The Pfizer CEO delayed a trip to Israel because he was waiting on his second shot. The reason he hadn’t already had the second shot was because he didn’t want to “jump to the front of the line”. Look it up. Do your research before you spout off. Any correlation between Harvard and VAERS is a lie. Do your research. The VAERS website collects anecdotal reports. Anyone can post anything they want. The VAERS website does not provide the results of a study. It’s a public bulletin board. Do your research. Do your research. Just because something is posted on social media it doesn’t mean it’s true. It means it was posted by someone. Ask yourself who posted it and what are the sources for their assertions. I’m a pastor. I had 2 non-vaccinated parishioners die or Covid last week. Do your research. Do your research. Do your research. Who told you these things? Who are they? What are their credentials? Just because someone posts something in Facebook, Twitter, or some wack-a- do website it doesn’t mean it’s true. We pay too much for drugs. No doubt. But “Big Pharma” doesn’t need to start a pandemic to make money.

    Anyone can claim anything to be true. That doesn’t mean it’s true. The anti- vaxxers talk about sheeple. I do funerals for the non- vaccinated.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.