Commentary: Reagan Reed
One of the biggest problems I had with how Texas Governor Greg Abbott and other governors handled the Covid-19 pandemic was how they used the power of government to forcibly close private businesses last year, causing countless people to lose their livelihoods through no fault of their own. Driving through town and seeing all the businesses that never reopened is truly heartbreaking. It is especially tragic since there are responsible ways to mitigate Covid-19 without taking away the incomes of millions of people.
Fortunately we now have a vaccine, which is by far the most effective way to mitigate Covid-19. I am unabashedly pro-vaccination, and got my two shots of Pfizer as soon as it was available. Operation Warp Speed, which expedited the development of the vaccine was truly a historic achievement, and is one of the greatest accomplishments of the Trump administration.
However, as strongly as I personally support vaccination, I am philosophically opposed to the government mandating it. A federal vaccine mandate or vaccine passport would be blatantly unconstitutional. State and local mandates would also set a very bad precedent, and would almost certainly be counterproductive. The government should not mandate people’s personal medical decisions. To do so would be an infringement on people’s individual rights and liberties.
However, contrary to some seriously misguided voices on the “New Right”, vaccine requirements by private businesses are not an infringement on your rights. What’s the difference between government vaccine mandates and private businesses requiring vaccination?
The constitutionally protected right to freedom of association.
Private companies have the right to hire and fire whomever they want, and set their own policies. You have the right to decide whether you want to work for them do business with them.
You are not entitled to work for a particular company, and they are not obliged to hire you, especially if you refuse to comply with their policy. You are not entitled to shop or enter a private business. If your private employer had made the decision to require employees to get the vaccine, and it’s that big of a deal for you, then you should find another job. If a store requires proof of vaccination to enter, just take your business elsewhere. No one’s forcing you to shop there.
There is no provision in the U.S. Constitution that entitles you to work for a company if you choose to violate their policy. There is no constitutionally guaranteed right to enter a private property.
Just as the government would be overstepping it’s authority to mandate vaccines, it would also be an overreach of government power for it to dictate how private companies run their business. To do so would violate the First Amendment right to freedom of association.
Big government interfering with the free exchange of goods and services and freedom of association is the ideology of the Left. The constitutionalist and conservative position is to let business owners decide how they run their own companies, regardless of whether you agree with their decisions.
If a corporation does something you disagree with, then you can boycott them. Don’t work for them. Work through the Free Market. Use your First Amendment right to speak out against them. But don’t use the heavy hand of government to impose your will on them.