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Politics & Policy

Max Weber Would Make Covid Vaccination Mandatory

At least that’s how I understand the German sociologist’s exhortation to take responsibility rather than just hide behind convictions.

All signs point to vaccination.

All signs point to vaccination.

Photographer: Joe Klamar/AFP via Getty Images

Here’s a real-life trade-off I want you to ponder. Say you’re a policymaker and, like me, a classical liberal — that is, somebody who generally puts a premium on individual freedom. You’re now dealing with another wave of SARS-CoV-2 infections and looking at scenarios your advisors have placed before you. 

In one, you’re keeping vaccinations against Covid-19 strictly voluntary, to safeguard the freedom of people to make their own decisions, sound or unsound. But the statistical models say that this path leads to insufficient uptake and a spike in hospitalizations that would overwhelm clinics and require doctors to make brutal triage decisions.