COVID-19

Bureaucracy Has Gone Off the Deep End in the Age of COVID

Written by T. Logan Dayne

As the shadow of vaccination mandates looms ever darker, state and local governments wishing to enforce this on their constituents turn to one of their most powerful allies, private businesses. Those businesses met with resistance for not becoming an enforcement agency are met with penalty, fines, and closure. This is the case in San Francisco, where In-N-Out burgers has been shut down refusing to become an enforcement agency of the city. In-N-Out has been temporarily closed in the once beautiful city of San Francisco for refusing to force customers to show their vaccination status, at this point an act of pure theater. Enforcing and ensuring such things becomes impossible without the violation of personal privacy as the small piece of cardstock is hardly difficult to fake, especially with all the selfies plastered over social media with filled out vaccination cards in full view.

However, this just becomes another opportunity for these state and local bureaucracies to exercise their problem solving capabilities. If experts say more secure ways to show vaccination status are needed, then who is anyone to argue? Vaccination passports could easily be combined with drivers licenses. Employers can be forced to have employees release all personal medical documents to them. Databanks can be used to verify an individual’s eligibility to participate in certain activities, where they can shop, where they can work, and what they can buy. An all in one card that tells people around you what privileges and activities you’re allowed to do in society. Something that would be difficult to forge and mimic. A convenient, centralized way that your superiors can keep you safe all in the name of public health. 

This is a dystopian nightmare or a utopian dream depending on where you stand. “Follow the The Science”, “Trust the experts” and other slogans have permeated the public talking space but these slogans only distract from what is actually being discussed, that is, how much control can a state or local government exercise over individuals. The amount of action any state or bureaucratic institution has is limited by its legitimacy to do so. As such legitimacy becomes a tool for the justification of exercising power. Whenever any of these bodies wants to exercise its power to its fullest, to whatever ends it may, it needs only to legitimize it and today it is legitimized in the name of “Public Health”. 

Photo Cred: Fredric J. Brown/ Getty Images