The Rand Paul and Fauci Spat Perfectly Parallels Our Political Divide
The essence of the disagreement is a collision between the common good and individual rights and freedom
The recent public feud between Senator/Doctor Rand Paul and Dr. Anthony Fauci highlights politics’ opposite views. Dr. Paul is a vocal and robust libertarian. He believes strongly in our country’s protection of individual rights and freedoms. On the other hand, Dr. Fauci is a stout proponent of sacrificing individual rights for public health. This televised feud on wearing masks after vaccination highlights their beliefs. Even if vaccinated, you may not be protected by new Covid-19 variant strains, argues Dr. Fauci. Dr. Paul challenges him to show studies where this is true. Dr. Fauci cannot but warns with the new strains we don’t know this for a fact, and therefore it is prudent to continue mask-wearing. But Paul refutes this, saying there is no science to say re-infections with variants have led to hospitalizations and or deaths. He further inflames Dr. Fauci by accusing him of mask theater wearing two masks weeks after being vaccinated.
I believe Dr. Paul is correct. He points out that vaccine hesitancy could be improved if we told people they could quit wearing their masks after vaccination. Otherwise, what is the point of having the vaccine if nothing about our individual lives changes afterward? And herein is the rub. Dr. Fauci is focusing on our collective lives improving. The two doctors are debating society as a whole versus the individual. President Biden echos the collectivist view in a recent speech by saying, and I do paraphrase here, “If you all are good and follow our recommendations, you can have a BBQ with your friends July 4.”
The other practical dilemma is knowing who has received the vaccine. A mask-adverse individual can say he had a shot. Israel, which has vaccinated more citizens than any other country, is experimenting with “vaccine passports” to prove you have been injected. Forgeries are a real threat, and this shouldn’t be ignored. But I am okay with requiring this for travel or admission to stadium sporting events and concerts.
I can see both sides of the argument, but I believe Dr. Paul’s case is more convincing. After one year of the pandemic, over 1 million people in the US have been vaccinated. That is only 3% of the population but doesn’t consider the 30 million known cases, and likely millions more exposed. All of these people have natural antibodies. My wife and I were vaccinated in February, and next week will visit our grandchildren in Atlanta. Other than during travel, I do not plan to wear a mask in their home. I will hug and kiss them. If required in a store, I will wear a mask.
At some point, we have to trust our fellow citizens to do the right thing. Except for a few states, viral case rates are down. Hospitalizations and deaths are falling. It is time for schools and all businesses to re-open with some precautions. However, our rights end at the door of a business, be it an airline or coffee shop. Like “No shoes, No shirt, No service,” a private enterprise may make any rules it wishes to operate with the public. We all should comply. Otherwise, you have the “right” to take your business elsewhere.
The struggle between the individual and collective world view will not end with this pandemic. But the stresses and strains of our public health disaster have exacerbated and highlighted those differences. I don’t think these two doctors will ever agree on this issue.
If you enjoyed reading this, or found it interesting, please follow me on Medium https://medium.com/@davidmokotoff/, Facebook, or contact me at email@example.com. More about me: https://tinyurl.com/y7bjoqkd