News & Politics

Ron DeSantis Shoots Down the Idea of Vaccine Passports and His Reasoning Is Pitch Perfect

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Today, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held a press conference after signing a bill to protect businesses from liability related to COVID-19. DeSantis also said he would be taking executive action to prohibit vaccine passports in the state of Florida. He stated his position clearly:

We are not supporting doing any vaccine passports in the state of Florida. No one was more aggressive about getting this out. If you look at all the different points throughout Florida, whether it’s a hospital, county health department, a retail pharmacy, a drive-through site, church sites, all this stuff, it’s important. But we’ve always said we want to provide it for all but mandate it for none. Now, with something that while it was advised to take, particularly if you’re vulnerable, we were not going to force you to do it. So, there was never under discussion any mandates to take vaccines. We will not have COVID vaccines mandatory in Florida.

The flip side of that, though, with these vaccine passports, 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. You want to go to a movie theater, should you have to show that? No. You want to go to a game? No. You want to go to a theme park? No.

So, we’re not supportive of that. I think it’s something that people have certain freedoms and individual liberties to make decisions for themselves. I also wonder it’s like, okay. You’re going to do this and then what? Give all this information to some big corporation? You want the fox to guard the henhouse? I mean, give me a break.

I think this is something that has huge privacy implications. It is not necessary to do. You know, we’re going to have hit three and a half million seniors that have gotten shots sometime this week. Likely 75% of seniors and it’s important to do it. But at the same time, we are not going to have you provide proof of this just to be able to live your life normally. And I am going to be taking some action in an executive function, in an emergency function here shortly.

But I’ve spoken, I just spoke with the Speaker about it and I’m telling [Senate President] Wilton [Simpson] publicly, so I hope he agrees with me. But we do need, we need the legislature to come in and just say this is not happening in Florida. And I think that would provide a lot of certainty for a lot of people. I understand kind of how some folks can embrace the idea and I’m not saying it’s all necessarily done for bad purposes. But I think ultimately it would create problems in the state. It’s not necessary to do and so we’re going to look to do it. We’re going to do some action this week.

This perspective is precisely correct. A primary role of government is to prevent your rights from being infringed. This obligation includes protecting freedom of association and movement. It may be near religion in some right-wing circles to say that private businesses can do whatever they want. This is simply not the case. When a private company seeks to interfere with your inalienable rights, it is incumbent on the government to step in. DeSantis and the Florida legislature have already protected businesses from COVID-19 liability in legislation signed today:

“We don’t want to be in a situation where people are scared of being sued, just for doing normal things,” DeSantis said. “And so, we worked very early on to look at to see ways that we could provide some certainty for both businesses, and healthcare providers. This was obviously a top priority for many of us up here. And I think that the legislature has been able to deliver today.”

On what planet should businesses with this protection be able to deny entrance without proof of vaccination? It is up to individuals to engage in activities they feel are safe using rational decision-making based on their vaccination status, risk, or recovered status.

This argument about the government’s responsibility to intervene when individual rights are in jeopardy from private business is an argument for intervention with the tech monopolies as well. DeSantis has already vowed to take on censorship on behalf of Floridians. Unless conservatives want to have to build an entire civilization in parallel to the one we already have, the perspective on the government’s obligation to protect our God-given rights from actors in the private sector needs to change. DeSantis is on the right track, and more Republican-led states need to follow his lead.

Do you think a bank should be able to deny you a loan if you buy a car with a gas engine? Do you believe an insurance company should be able to deny coverage to a gun manufacturer engaged in a legal industry? Should a bank be able to require you to install solar panels on the home you would like to buy? All this and more is coming under ESG—environmental, social, and government—standards. You may be familiar with Operation Chokepoint, created under the Obama Justice Department. Global collaboration on ESG criteria from the world’s leading financial institutions via the World Economic Forum is the next iteration. Merrill Lynch is already assigning customers an ESG score.

It is a social credit score by another name being implemented by private businesses. Government intervention is the only way it will stop. Global governments in liberal democracies are standing aside while private companies seek to interfere with your fundamental rights in a way the government simply cannot. And unless we demand that our government protect those rights, they will vanish. DeSantis should be lauded and emulated on this front.

WATCH ESGs explained in this interview and see the score from Merrill Lynch: