‘Vaccine Passports?’ Hell No, We Won’t Go!

March 30, 2021 Updated: April 1, 2021


Do you have your “passport?” No, I am not talking about the kind issued by the State Department to facilitate travel outside the country. Rather, the Biden administration and elements of Big Tech and other private sector companies are conspiring together to require us all to carry “vaccine passports” proving that we have received a COVID-19 inoculation.

By envisioning vaccine passports, the Biden administration is attempting an end-run around the normal constraints on governance. Our system is one of checks and balances that make radical government action difficult. A bill mandating universal vaccination would face dim prospects in Congress, at best.

Certainly, such a bill would spark a filibuster in the Senate that would be almost impossible to overcome. And even if such a statute could be passed in theory, it would take so much time that the pandemic would probably be on the wane before the law could take effect.

What if the Biden administration attempted to promulgate a regulation, say, out of the Department of Health and Human Services, requiring universal vaccinations? Again, checks and balances would kick in. Promulgating rules requires an administrative process, starting with an existing statutory authority. I am not sure one exists.

And even if a relevant law could be found to hang authority for an order requiring universal vaccination, promulgating the mandate would take many months, requiring the drafting of the proposal, time for public comment—of which there would certainly be millions. Even then, any rule (or statute) requiring us all to be vaccinated would have to pass court muster, unlikely given the current makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court.

What if Biden attempted to just issue an executive order requiring us all to have the vaccine? It would surely be stillborn. Our presidents govern, they don’t rule. Biden knows that such an order would be enjoined before the ink on the parchment was dry.

Which explains why the administration is seeking to enlist the private sector to do its dirty work. White House press secretary Jen Psaki put it this way: “A determination or development of a vaccine passport or whatever you want to call it will be driven by the private sector. Ours will more be focused on guidelines that can be used as a basis, and there are a couple key principles we’re working from.”

In other words, the insidiously clever goal is to sidestep the usual governing means of enacting public policies and to instead rely on the private sector to coerce vaccination compliance through “free market” mechanisms.

How would the vaccine passport system work? As described in The Washington Post, we would all have to download a vaccine “passport app” onto our smartphones—i.e., a scannable code that would prove we had been vaccinated (or for those without a phone, such a code could be printed).

Once the system was operational, if you wanted to fly on a plane or get on a train, you would have to show your “passport.” Ditto, when you attended a concert or sporting event. Eating dinner in a restaurant might also require proof of vaccination, perhaps even shopping in a mall or grocery store.

And if you object and criticize the “passports,” you just might get kicked off social media. In other words, your vaccine passport would be the key to living a normal life—and the beauty part for the administration is that, technically, the government wouldn’t be “forcing” anyone to do anything.

And don’t think it would stop there. Once the biggest companies attained that kind of power—essentially, a corporatocracy—they would be unlikely to relinquish it after the COVID-19 crisis faded.

Fauci has already warned we have entered a “pandemic era” and, therefore, that we will have to “remake the infrastructure of human existence.” Talk about a never-ending agenda! The Davos types are also making noises that corporate public policies of the kind imposed during COVID-19 would be a splendid means of fighting climate change. There is no end to the potential herding power posed by the threat of commercial ex-communication.

The libertarian response to this brewing crisis—essentially, that businesses can do what they want—is both naïve and inadequate when the private sector is motivated as much by the power of control and ideology as it is in making a profit. I mean, being unable to engage in most commerce without proving you were vaccinated is no less authoritarian than if the government ordered you to take the jab.

So, what to do? Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made a good start the other day by promising to sign an executive order prohibiting vaccine passports in his state, saying, “It’s completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply be able to participate in normal society.”

Amen to that! We need more of that kind of grit from our political leaders.

Let me be clear. This isn’t about the vaccine, which I have received. It’s about maintaining individual human liberty, both now and in the days beyond COVID-19.

So, when it comes to proposed vaccine passports, let’s tell the Biden administration, “Hell no, we won’t go.” We reject your corporatocracy.

Award-winning author Wesley J. Smith is chairman of the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.