Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, July 9, 2021
Citing the need for “collective obligations” to take precedence over “individual rights,” a CNN political analyst and Princeton University professor says America must move toward implementing mandatory coronavirus vaccinations.
“It is time to impose vaccine mandates and passports,” Julian Zelizer writes in an astonishingly honest authoritarian opinion piece published July 8 at CNN.com.
“Both political parties have made the mistake of framing vaccines within the tradition of individualism,” Zelizer asserts. “Even President Joe Biden, who has demonstrated his comfort with a muscular role for government, keeps appealing to individuals to make the right and patriotic choice when it comes to receiving their jabs.”
“Zelizer has been one of the pioneers in the revival of American political history,” his official Princeton bio declares. Apparently, one of the lessons he has taken from his deep dive into U.S. history is that American citizens cannot be trusted to make the right decisions for themselves.
“[C]itizens must… not see this as an optional inoculation,” Zelizer proclaims. “Biden and other political leaders need to start thinking about the good of the collective and not just the rights of the individual. Doing so is not some sort of move toward socialism, as conservative critics inevitably argue. Thinking of the common good is as American as apple pie.”
The esteemed history professor rejects the argument that mandatory vaccinations are somehow socialist, and then, just a few sentences later, reinforces his call for collectivism.
“Collective obligations have always been part of what actually makes America great and we need to start talking about vaccines through this vital lens,” Zelizer writes.
It would be fruitless to try to point out to this Ivy League prof and big-box media “analyst” that not every American agrees with what has been settled inside his own mind. Zelizer has shown his impatience with those who don’t see the urgent need for immediate bold action on other issues that he sees as “pandemics” or “crises.”
In a Jan. 23 tweet, he put “racial justice,” climate change and gun control on the list of things too important to be left to the whims of political division:
The urgency of dealing with the pandemic is far more important than the urgency of trying to achieve illusory bipartisan unity on Capitol Hill. Same with racial justice, climate change, gun control, and more. Filibuster-based obstruction will extract enormous costs on our nation.
— Julian Zelizer (@julianzelizer) January 24, 2021
The headline CNN attached to his vaccine op-ed speaks volumes. “Enough: It’s Time to Make Vaccinations Mandatory.”
The word “enough” says it all. Zelizer and his fellow institutional elites are willing to tolerate, and even humor, Americans’ God-given individual rights up to a certain point. Just don’t take it too far.
Make no mistake, Zelizer relishes his appointed role as an authoritative figure.
Zelizer has been hailed as an “expert” of various sorts for years. “[R]eporters… increasingly regard him as a go-to expert in American political history, quoting him often,” a Boston University article stated in 2005.
Zelizer is an “expert on public policy,” Reuters exclaimed in 2017. The Los Angeles Times labeled him a “presidential expert” that same year.
A navel-gazing article posted on Princeton’s website in 2008 hails him as being part of a “new generation of scholars revitalizing the field of political history by blending the study of politics and policy with social and cultural analysis.”
“I’m a true historian, but I never like to be confined by boundaries,” he said at the time. “I’ve learned from social science, political science, social history. To do it right, it has to be done without any rigid disciplinary boundaries.”
Given this mindset, it was inevitable that Zelizer would blur the line between scholarly opinion and imposed view. Disturbingly, this imposed view comes as those in positions of actual power are moving closer to embracing the mandatory vaccinations he is calling for.
Military Times reported July 1 that “Veterans Affairs employees could be required to get the coronavirus vaccine to keep their jobs, under a plan being considered by department leadership.”
“We are making sure we understand the full range of options we have, not only the current legal environment… and our existing legal authorities,” VA Secretary Denis McDonough is quoted as saying. “It would be negligent to not be considering the full range of opportunities we have to ensure we’re taking every step possible to protect veterans.”
McDonough stressed that he feels he has the right to make vaccinations mandatory for VA employees.
“I believe I am permitted to compel people to take the vaccine, but we’re taking a look at all of our options as we watch [the nationwide spread of] the Delta variant,” he said.
Universities are also primed to coerce students to get the jab. “All George Mason University students are required to submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination by Aug. 1, 2021. This policy does not apply to students who take online courses only and do not come to any campus, or to individuals who have an approved medical or religious exemption,” a May 26 posting on the GMU website reads.
Robin Parker, GMU interim vice president of Communications, stated that unvaccinated students who claim an exemption must wear a mask while attending classes and subject themselves to regular testing, the Fairfax County Times reported July 2.
“As of June 14, 2021, George Mason University, the largest public university in Virginia with over 37,000 students, reported two student positives and zero employee positives in the past 14 days,” local attorney William J. Olson stated last month, the County Times reports. “Indeed, it is our view that this coercive policy is contrary to law, contrary to science, and out of line with how other institutions are handling this issue, and therefore flawed from its inception.”