When the no-fly list was instituted in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it was to keep dangerous people from using planes as weapons.
Now, a former Obama administration official is pushing for unvaccinated people to be added to the no-fly list on domestic flights, saying it “will change minds, too.”
In an Op-Ed for The Atlantic this week, former Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security Juliette Kayyem said that if President Joe Biden’s administration won’t adopt a national vaccine mandate, it should stop people who haven’t been vaccinated from boarding planes via the Transportation Security Administration.
“The White House has rejected a nationwide vaccine mandate — a sweeping suggestion that the Biden administration could not easily enact if it wanted to — but a no-fly list for unvaccinated adults is an obvious step that the federal government should take,” Kayyem wrote.
“It will help limit the risk of transmission at destinations where unvaccinated people travel — and, by setting norms that restrict certain privileges to vaccinated people, will also help raise the stagnant vaccination rates that are keeping both the economy and society from fully recovering,” she continued.
“Flying is not a right, and the case for restricting it to vaccinated people is straightforward: The federal government is the sole entity that can regulate the terms and conditions of airline safety. And although air-filtration systems and mask requirements make transmission of the coronavirus unlikely during any given passenger flight, infected people can spread it when they leave the airport and take off their mask.” [Emphasis added.]
That’s right, even though Kayyem admits there’s little connection between vaccination status and the spread of the virus onboard a plane, she still says it’s time for a no-vaccine-no-fly list.
“For the privilege of flying, Americans already give up a lot: We disclose our personal information, toss our water bottles, extinguish our cigarette butts, and lock our guns in checked luggage. For vaccinated people, having to show proof of vaccination when flying would be a minor inconvenience,” she continued.
Her reasoning — that “infected people can spread it when they leave the airport and take off their mask” — is a bit flimsy.
The real reason becomes a bit clearer two sentences later: “Beyond limiting the virus’s flow from hot spots to the rest of the country, allowing only vaccinated people on domestic flights will change minds, too.”
Kayyem noted that “vaccine holdouts have a variety of motivations,” from what she saw as people with legitimate concerns to MAGA types who just want to “stick it to the libs.”
Citing a recent poll, however, she said that no matter what the motivation may be, restricting a basic right — freedom of travel if one doesn’t pose a clear and present danger — is a good way to achieve her desired public health result.
“Tellingly, 11 percent of those adamantly opposed to vaccination would also be motivated by a travel ban — a larger effect for these respondents than full [Food and Drug Administration] approval or the ability to get vaccinated at their doctor’s office would have,” Kayyem said.
“More than another recitation of statistics about vaccines’ benefits or yet another appeal to the common good, the deprivation of movement will win over doubters. Some unvaccinated Americans in areas where vaccination seekers face scorn among their peer group may even be happy to have an excuse to protect themselves.”
Yes, apparently, people would be happy to have the decision made for them by a government willing to punish them if they persisted in their ways.
If it occurred to either Kayyem or her editors that these “vaccination seekers [facing] scorn among their peer group” didn’t have to tell their friends and family they were getting the jab — thus negating the entire argument that a “no-fly” list would provide a push to those unvaccinated due to peer pressure — they apparently didn’t think Atlantic readers would realize the contradiction.
And keep in mind the tone of this vaccine power-grab screed has been muted a bit from its original form.
According to Fox News, the first headline was “Unvaccinated People Belong on the No-Fly List.”
Perhaps realizing a headline that grouped the unvaccinated with suspected terrorists and extremists was taking things a bit far — especially since Kayyem admits “air-filtration systems and mask requirements make transmission of the coronavirus unlikely during any given passenger flight” — it’s since been changed to “Unvaccinated People Need to Bear the Burden.”
Kayyem’s other main argument — that allowing unvaccinated people to travel around the country would help variants spread — also doesn’t hold water.
Remember, we’ve been told over and over again that variants can be transmitted by those who have been vaccinated.
Even if the unvaccinated managed to spread it at their destination, this would be no different than had a vaccinated person spread it.
No, the title gets it right: If you don’t do what those who push for universal vaccination want you to do, you’ll bear the burden. This is all about creative ways to make this happen, not just an urgent need to slow the spread.
This isn’t to say getting vaccinated is bad or that refusing to get vaccinated as a sign of defiance is a proper form of resistance.
However, you have the right to make your own medical decisions. The no-fly list was never intended to make those decisions for you, no matter what Juliette Kayyem or any other liberal might want Biden to use it for.
And if you think it’s going to stop there if they get their way, you’re wrong.
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