Most people willingly participated in the compulsory COVID-19 lockdown to “flatten the curve” of infection — that is, slow down the rate at which people became ill — to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. That worked, and now, steps are being taken to get back in gear.
But once technocrats taste the power to dictate behavior, they don’t want to give it up. Writing in Oxford’s Practical Ethics, influential bioethicist Alberto Giubilini urges that governments force us to download a phone “contact tracing app,” currently being tested in a voluntary trial on the Isle of Wight. Here’s how the app works, according to The Guardian:
(1) Person A downloads the contact tracing app and enables Bluetooth
(2) Her phone logs distance data with any phones that are nearby.
(3) Data is anonymous for A and everybody she comes in contact with.
(4) If person A falls ill she notifies the app that she has symptom
(5) The data gathered by her phone is uploaded to a central server.
(6) People who have been in close contact with her are sent an alert and further advice
In other words, the government and/or tech company would always know where we have been and everyone with whom we have interacted.
How does Giubilini justify such a dictatorial mandate?
Temporarily suspending some privacy rights would prevent some much greater harm (in terms of economic loss, unemployment, mental health, etc., in case we need to return to the lockdown, and in terms of higher number of infections or deaths if we exit the lockdown without an effective contact tracing mechanism).
Don’t you hate the smell of utilitarianism in the morning?
If people want to voluntarily participate in such a system, fine with me. But mandatory? Absolutely not. Anyone who believes that “strict guidelines will protect against abuse” in such a system has paid no attention at the “social credit” tyranny China is constructing using technology such as this, AI, and facial recognition.
And how many readers believe such a contact tracing program would remain “temporary” or be limited over time to COVID-19? I sure don’t.
The bioethicist also wants to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations once one is developed. How is this justified?
Unless one thinks that bodily integrity is a quasi-sacred value, it is unreasonable to think that the breach of bodily integrity represented by injecting a vaccine through a thin needle or the small risks of vaccine side effects outweigh the harms of the virus and those of compulsory lockdown.
Actually, bioethicists like Giubilini and his ilk have long told us that bodily integrity (autonomy) is a “quasi-sacred value.” After all, isn’t that the very justification for abortion as a purported fundamental right?
Besides, he sniffs, people agreed with the compulsory lockdown, so why not this? One thing always leads to another with these guys.
We shouldn’t be surprised that Giubilini wants everyone forced to receive inoculations. Ezekiel Emanuel, Joe Biden’s chief health adviser, has urged that every child in America be legally required to receive a flu shot every year because between 34 and 186 children die a year from influenza. He has also opined that doctors should be forced to perform abortions even if it violates their religious beliefs. Unsurprisingly, Giubilini has too.
Yup, bioethicists love their mandates. And there is no better opportunity for technocrats to grab power than during a health emergency.