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Good people, bad people
On her first day in office, Alberta’s Danielle Smith became the first Canadian premier to say what everyone already knows, but will not admit. She noted that the unvaccinated were “the most discriminated-against group” that she’s ever witnessed. We saw this through a coordinated political and media campaign that included regular reminders of the unvaccinated’s excommunicato recapiendo status, open and enthusiastic segregation, and general disdain and derision. Not to mention aggressive calls for the denial of health care for the group. In short, not only were the unvaccinated discriminated against, but the discriminators enjoyed doing so.
Listen, people discriminate, that’s a fact of life in everything from the dating market to the court room. I could at least understand the people who admit there was discrimination if their justifications weren’t so weak. But there are actually people in this country that pretend there was no discrimination.
Broadly, these people come in two types: the ones that argue being unvaccinated is a choice and the ones that claim some whataboutist argument to make themselves feel better.
One would imagine the first argument is not a road these people want to go down. There are many protected choices in Canada. Religion is the prime example, but there are other protected cases that involve, to some extent, choice including marital status, sex (in regards to childbirth), gender identity or expression, and creed (in most Canadian provinces). Additionally, the right to refuse care purportedly exists in the Canadian health care system. Given the recent increase in Medical Assistance in Dying, the system’s attempt to skirt around this right should cause people to pause.
The claim that discrimination cannot occur in the presence of choice requires a devotion to postmodernity that is a ubiquitous feature of the new normal that ensnares us. We’ve seen new definitions of old language in other phases of the pandemic. The most obvious of these examples has been the repurposing of the word “lockdowns” to mean an act where we all isolate, in perpetuity, as part of a worthy self-sacrifice in society’s effort to eradicate the virus. Prior to 2020, lockdowns were primarily used in prison when the occupants were bad. In the end, there isn’t much use arguing with people that are frivolously redefining words, and understanding their motives is even more difficult. Suffice it to say, they are committed to the cause, and the cause does not require truth to be true.
The second argument is even more ridiculous. See this tweet by the leader of Alberta’s opposition party, Rachel Notley:
In short, Notley is saying that concern over the state-sanctioned discrimination of the past is mutually exclusive to concern over contemporary state-sanctioned discrimination. She doesn’t believe this, of course, and would be happy to point to any slight, real or imagined, against a political class that aligns with the current thing. Indeed, many of the high-minded, true believer types routinely use this argument at every opportunity.
The argument usually begins with some straw man event to show that someone, somewhere, at sometime has had it worse than the unvaccinated. If we were to follow the logic to its conclusion, there has only been one discriminatory event in human history because nothing else is discrimination unless it meets the pre-requisite of being the worst situation in human history. The worst situation in human history is whatever is on the first line of the last history book they read.
Fascinatingly, the high-minded types don’t really try to disprove the occurrence of discrimination; rather, they are concerned with minimizing it to the point where the unvaccinated look petty to complain. Concurrently, the high-minded types showcase what good people they are (pretending to be).