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Glenn Greenwald: The ACLU, Prior to COVID, Denounced Mandates and Coercive Measures to Fight Pandemics

re: The Bizarre Refusal to Apply Cost-Benefit Analysis to COVID Debates
re: Big Tech Censorship of COVID-19 Discussion (Glenn Greenwald)
re: Glenn Greenwald

Real science is never settled, and anyone who has certainty on such things is not qualified to discuss it.

The ACLU stopped being an organization worth supporting years ago, having abandonded its objectivity and original mission.

Glenn Greenwald: The ACLU, Prior to COVID, Denounced Mandates and Coercive Measures to Fight Pandemics

by Glenn Greenwald, 2021-09-07

In a New York Times op-ed this week, the group completely reversed its views, arguing vaccine mandates help civil liberties and bodily autonomy "is not absolute."

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) surprised even many of its harshest critics this week when it strongly defended coercive programs and other mandates from the state in the name of fighting COVID. “Far from compromising them, vaccine mandates actually further civil liberties,” its Twitter account announced, adding that “vaccine requirements also safeguard those whose work involves regular exposure to the public."

If you were surprised to see the ACLU heralding the civil liberties imperatives of "vaccine mandates” and "vaccine requirements” — whereby the government coerces adults to inject medicine into their own bodies that they do not want — the New York Times op-ed which the group promoted, written by two of its senior lawyers, was even more extreme. The article begins with this rhetorical question: “Do vaccine mandates violate civil liberties?” Noting that "some who have refused vaccination claim as much,” the ACLU lawyers say: “we disagree.” The op-ed then examines various civil liberties objections to mandates and state coercion — little things like, you know, bodily autonomy and freedom to choose — and the ACLU officials then invoke one authoritarian cliche after the next (“these rights are not absolute") to sweep aside such civil liberties concerns:

[W]hen it comes to Covid-19, all considerations point in the same direction. . . . In fact, far from compromising civil liberties, vaccine mandates actually further civil liberties. . . . . 

[Many claim that] vaccines are a justifiable intrusion on autonomy and bodily integrity. That may sound ominous, because we all have the fundamental right to bodily integrity and to make our own health care decisions. But these rights are not absolute. They do not include the right to inflict harm on others. . . . While vaccine mandates are not always permissible, they rarely run afoul of civil liberties when they involve highly infectious and devastating diseases like Covid-19. . . . 

While limited exceptions are necessary, most people can be required to be vaccinated. . . . . Where a vaccine is not medically contraindicated, however, avoiding a deadly threat to the public health typically outweighs personal autonomy and individual freedom.

The op-ed sounds like it was written by an NSA official justifying the need for mass surveillance (yes, fine, your privacy is important but it is not absolute; your privacy rights are outweighed by public safety; we are spying on you for your own good). And the op-ed appropriately ends with this perfect Orwellian flourish: “We care deeply about civil liberties and civil rights for all — which is precisely why we support vaccine mandates.”

... [ACLU, 2008]: “The law enforcement approach to public health offers a rationale for the endless suspension of civil liberties,” they explained. Using post-9/11 expansions of state power as its framework, the group explained that “the ‘Global War on Terror' may go on for a generation, but the war on disease will continue until the end of the human race. There will always be a new disease, always the threat of a new pandemic. If that fear justifies the suspension of liberties and the institution of an emergency state, then freedom and the rule of law will be permanently suspended.

...

WIND: the ACLU stopped being an organization worth supporting years ago, having abandonded its objectivity and original mission of fighting for constitutional and civil rights.

Now we’re living with public acceptance of the idea that your right to work, travel, eat, shop can all be shut down by the government for just about any reason.

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