“Vaccine passport, comrade?” | Ben Weller


All too often, fringe American Republicans can be seen calling anything that isn’t a gun, a burger, or coated in stars and stripes, “communist”. Many have little understanding of true socialist doctrine. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic the communist accusations have not waned, instead getting stronger, however, for once, they may have a slight basis to their otherwise inept arguments. A key bastion in socialist theory, common humanity, is creeping into the everyday of post-lockdown life, even in states branded as “conservative.”

In short, common humanity surrounds the idea that society is an organic body, rather than a collection of individuals. Personal short-term aims are disposed of in favour of the “common-good”, as all actions must be done for the benefit of those around you, rather than an individual’s gain. Vaccine passports and the rhetoric used to justify them are perfect examples of this ideology being enforced.

On both sides of the political spectrum such a thing is evident, so even those aforementioned American Republicans aren’t a wholly innocent party. Thus, whilst little surprise is garnered from Labour peer, Baroness Helena Kennedy, voicing her desire for the NHS COVID Pass, slightly more shock is understandable when a figure such as leading researcher for the Adam Smith Institute and self-described “classical liberal”, Matthew Lesh, spouts ideas of common humanity during a recent interview with GB News, in which he fed the monster that is identity politics by citing the “duties we have to others in society” and the “benefit to the community [being] overwhelming” in his monologue as to why vaccine refusal is a “selfish” feat. These ideas of common humanity are so vastly juxtaposed to the ideas of individualism and harm-principle so often ascribed to classical liberals like himself, who tend to be at home within the corridors of the ASI. If the ideology denoted on Lesh’s Twitter bio carries any weight, he should have no trouble in understanding that it is the rights of the individual that take precedence in a truly liberal society. 

Whilst the same view on vaccine passports is less of a shock from anybody who pegs themselves to the Labour party, Baroness Kennedy’s view still shouldn’t just be dismissed as expected tosh, as her excuses for common humanity, like Lesh’s, are riddled with holes used spectrum wide. In her interview with Julia Hartley-Brewer on Talk Radio she, like everybody in the warped vaccine passport debate, talked of COVID passes in the education sector being necessary to alleviate the anxiety of a few, with her rhetoric continuing when responding to Hartley-Brewer’s support of anybody to reject vaccination whatever the reason, in which Kennedy replied that she had “departed from” that view, and that “too many people are going to suffer”, words Hartley-Brewer rightfully found worrisome when Kennedy’s preferred option includes people who have exercised their right to choose being denied their right to education, the majority of those ‘dissidents’ being from smaller religious groups or ethnic minority backgrounds. Of course, the Baroness, like others, said she had departed from the side of freedom due to the UK being deep in a “crisis”, another flawed point to a flawed argument. The UK is not in a health crisis. An economic one? Yes. A health one, absolutely not. At the time of writing, average daily deaths from COVID-19 in the UK sat at 70, and whilst a figure unseen in any major outlet, means that (using data from Worldometers) per day only 0.0001% of the UK population is killed by the coronavirus, with only 0.2% seeing their demise at the hands of the disease since the pandemic’s beginnings. Too often in history a crisis has been professed when in reality, life was just running the way in which it was destined. The Bolshevik’s saw wealth and faith as a crisis that was detrimental to society, which to them warranted the execution of the Russian Royal family, proving the point exactly. Both crises and the “common good” are subjective, with the biggest barrier to common humanity being a plural society.

Feeding from this point, for such an idea as common humanity to be successful in creating a consensus throughout society that all in it work as part of an organic engine rather than the individual brain, drastic measures are required to obtain the idealistic androgyny. The aforementioned plurality is not an option. In many authoritarian socialist states this meant seeing one’s demise at the barrels of a firing squad, which whilst an unlikely resort in a “liberal” democracy like that of the UK, is in some respects comparable to the ostracization of the “unvaccinated” as a sub-group of society from the debate, and an education. It’s rare for many libertarians to see common ground with Tony Blair’s social policy, but “education, education, education” is a necessity. With those who aren’t sheep to the vaccination flow being removed from lectures, creating yet another channel for divisive identity politics, it’s clear this barrier to the classroom will thin out the ideological diversity of future leaders, quashing the dreams of many in a similar manner to Soviet pistols. It is this common consequence of common humanity that strikes fear in many, the idea that soon they will be cast out of society after failing to respond to the question, “comrade, where is your medical history?”

The media is playing on the innate goodness within a large portion of society that we as citizens must fulfil the “duties we have to others”, melting hearts like butter, and making vaccination seem like the only moral choice, and indirectly creating an air of acceptance for medical apartheid in the more benevolent of people in UK. Good people are being moulded from simply exercising their right to feel they are aiding their neighbours, to seeing that as a minimum which if not surpassed warrants ostracization. Divisive identity politics have ruined lives in the past, yet nobody seems to be listening to George Santayana’s “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” as already all four corners of the political compass are enthralled in ideas of rescuing their comrades from a non-existent crisis.


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