Being Dumb is Unfair to the Rest of Us


Whenever this Covid maze seems to be straightening out, and the way to the exit is clear, another intersection appears, usually with sharp corners that are hard to see around.

Despite all the false stops with one brand of vaccine or another, the vaccination program starts to pick up speed here in Germany. Almost 30% of the country has had at least one dose, and about 10% are fully vaccinated. The priority system is opening up, finally, and people in Group 3 can make vaccination appointments, which is still a far cry from America, where anyone can rock up and get a shot; however, it is still good news.

But now we arrive at the newest intersection: fairness. Is it fair that public society can start to re-open for fully vaccinated people while others, willing to be vaccinated, have to wait to go to shops, theaters, and restaurants and all that public social life has to offer until their turn comes for the jab?

I wonder, what’s fair? Is it fair that I have to stay home, isolated, so I can protect others from a Covid infection in me that I am unaware of? Sure, that’s part of being a good person and wishing society can flourish, if only through my small effort of self-regulation. We have all had to wrestle with the unfair approach the government has had with schools, offices, and public transportation. Our leaders allowed doctors to legitimately write “no mask” prescriptions to those politically sensitive to air molecules, and they never considered closing church services in fear their political lives would faint and die a gasping breath, all the while thousands were doing just that in ICUs across the country. If life were fair, nobody would need to worry about an infection because we would all be at home while wealthy employers and the government paid us not to infect each other. Political leadership has made terrible decisions that have emperiled all of us unfairly.

But now we get the “truly” offended people who feel that others might have some slight advantage, that others might be able to have some brief reentry to public life, while they are still restricted – but at no fault of their own. No matter that vaccine distribution is on a priority basis. No matter that, any upward economic activity will help millions of service workers desperately trying to get back to work. Let them be dammed until everyone who wants the jab is ready to burst out of the house and into the pub!

This belief in some abstract fairness doctrine is the opinion of entitled madness. If people can safely reenter the public space, then hats off to them and let them go and ride that horse. Get people in the seats as fast as possible, but with some prudence, of course. Outdoor dining is an obvious first step, with still some spacing in ordinarily crowded places. Being prudent at first will pay dividends and get us to a full re-opening faster. We need to re-open in steps, not all at once. Turning on the economy and public life slowly with vaccinated people first is the right decision.

If you think that approach is unfair, to bad for you. Suck it up. On the bright side, remember that your teeth grinding, foot-stomping, and angry fist-shaking are good exercises while you are still restricted to the house until your vaccination turn comes.