A History Lesson About Petty Tyrants & Vaccine Mandates
By Frank Miele Vaccine mandates are nothing new. Nor are petty tyrants. Nor is Joe Biden the first person to try to use the police powers of the state to compel Americans to violate their own personal convictions and take a vaccine they find to be unnecessary if not dangerous. More than 125 years ago, a Brooklyn, N.Y., commissioner of health named Z. Taylor Emery demanded that two men who worked in delivery services be locked up until they “submitted to vaccination” for smallpox. William Smith and his employee Thomas Cummings had no known exposure to smallpox, but they were nonetheless put into a weeks-long quarantine lockdown by Emery, whom they promptly sued for false imprisonment.
The facts of this 1894 case (read here, starting at original page 325) provide a fascinating mirror in microcosm of what we as a nation are undergoing today. Not too many months ago, President Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci agreed that vaccine mandates were immoral and unconstitutional, but since then they apparently have realized that medical mandates are also the easiest way to corral and control the American public into obedience.
Forget that vaccination doesn’t protect you from becoming ill from COVID-19. Forget that CDC data shows the vaccine itself has caused thousands of deaths and countless injuries. Forget that the latest variant of the virus — the so-called omicron strain — actually appears to be considerably less severe than the prior versions. (Symptoms are about equivalent to that other famous virus, the common cold!) None of that matters as long as free people can be trained to line up dutifully like Pavlov’s dogs every time the government rolls out a new booster shot. Woof! Woof!
Fortunately, after a month of victories in lower courts, the proponents of liberty and specifically medical autonomy have the upper hand. The Biden administration’s arbitrary mandates have all been temporarily halted, but as the story of Dr. Emery’s crusade against smallpox warns us, what one court forbids, another will happily allow.
Here are the frightening details that remind us how easily, with the help of self-appointed Big Brothers, even 1894 can be transposed into Orwell’s authoritarian “1984”:
Brooklyn was in the midst of a smallpox epidemic; Smith and Cummings were not vaccinated against the disease; and yet they chose to continue working in Brooklyn despite the health risk to themselves. When Emery, the local health commissioner, heard about the pair, he took drastic steps.
“It appears that the said commissioner had confined them in the building where they carried on their business by stationing at their door police officers who prevented them from coming out or anyone else from going in,” wrote Judge William Gaynor in his ruling as he took aim at Emery.
Gaynor framed the case for medical autonomy perfectly: