Speaking Of Florida…

Speaking of Florida…

Ron DeSantis–the delusional and dangerous governor of Florida–is evidently doubling down on his insistence that government has no business protecting the public health via vaccine mandates.

According to The Week,

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Thursday stepped up his fight against the White House over COVID-19 restrictions, calling for a special legislative session so the state’s Republican-dominated Legislature can block President Biden’s vaccine mandates. “We have an opportunity here to take additional action, and I think we have to do it,” said DeSantis, who also has vowed to challenge Biden’s mandates in court. “I think we have got to stand up for people’s jobs and their livelihoods.” Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls said his office had not received details on the plan for a special session. Biden in September said his administration would impose vaccine mandates on federal workers and businesses with more than 100 employees, prompting criticism from Republicans who said getting vaccinated should be a personal choice.

I don’t have any special insight into whether DeSantis is really as stupid as he sounds, or whether he has decided that his political future rests with the delusional Trumpian base of the GOP, but this latest bit of theater is driving rational observers over the edge.

The hypocrisy is bad enough. This sudden libertarianism is jarring, coming as it does from Republicans who have waged culture war on behalf of government’s right to dictate everything from citizens’ right to smoke weed to who they can marry and and how they must reproduce.

What is especially infuriating, however, is the insistence that protecting others from serious illness and possible death should be a matter of “personal choice.”

As most readers of this blog are aware, I spent six years as the Executive Director of Indiana’s ACLU. I came to that position as a libertarian Republican (a category that no longer exists in the GOP, despite these sudden dishonest exhortations about “personal choice.”) I was–and am–a believer in what is called the libertarian premise, the  Enlightenment construct that says citizens are entitled to pursue their own telos, their own life goals–in today’s jargon, entitled to “do their own thing” and make their own “personal choices”–so long as they do not thereby harm the person or property of a non-consenting other, and so long as they are willing to accord an equal liberty to others.

The legitimacy of government action rests on those caveats.

There can certainly be arguments about what constitutes sufficient harm to justify government rules and regulations. Those arguments have been especially relevant to so-called “victimless crimes.” We distinguish, for example, between the guy who gets drunk in the privacy of his own home and the guy who gets drunk and takes to the road in his car. People who smoke in their own homes and cars are free to do so, but we have regulated smoking in public places ever since medical science discovered that passive smoke  endangers others. We argue whether the gambler who sustains losses poses a threat to others sufficient to legitimize laws against gambling, and whether the driver who doesn’t “buckle up” endangers anyone but himself.

The argument that vaccination is a “personal choice” doesn’t fall into that category.

Previous epidemics have not spawned similar, widespread debates about government’s right–actually, government’s duty–to protect public health. American courts, including the Supreme Court, have upheld both vaccination and quarantine mandates, because they are most definitely not matters of personal choice. A decision to forego vaccination for a non-medical reason is a declaration of disregard for ones fellow-citizens. Period.

If today’s insane Republicans want to risk their own lives in order to make a political statement, I’m fine with that. When they want to risk the lives of other people, not so much.

In Florida, a large percentage of the population is composed of elderly folks who are particularly vulnerable to the pandemic, That makes DeSantis’ opposition to vaccination especially heinous. He isn’t protecting “personal choice;” he’s signaling his willingness to add to the 59,000+  deaths the state has already suffered from COVID.

He has made a “personal choice” to elevate politics over morality.He’s despicable.


  1. Governor Insantis is a Harvard graduate, proof positive that even the best educational institutions cannot treat stupidity.

  2. DeSantis is dangerous, but he is not delusional; he knows exactly what he is doing. He is intentional about sacrificing the health and well-being of the citizens of Florida for his own personal and political advantage.

  3. Okay, what is the basis of their argument about abortion?

    Don’t they argue that the mother is murdering a defenseless human?

    If you have AIDS and have sex with another human without telling them, isn’t that also considered murder?

    So, how is a deadly virus any different? If you could eliminate the capacity to carry the virus by taking a vaccine, but you choose not to, aren’t you guilty of premeditated murder?

    The reason I pose these questions is I believe the Republicans and their corporate masters have already set themselves up by quietly granting immunity to corporations who insist workers return to work at a place they may get sick and die. Why did corporations need immunity from prosecution?

    Methinks they boxed themselves into a legal corner by quickly granting immunity to their corporate masters. Democrats also joined them in allowing this workplace immunity. Why did they do this if there isn’t a danger of contracting the disease from another at work? And, why did immunity come before employers forced employees to get the vaccine or be fired?

    Sorry, but I have more questions than answers at this point because the arguments don’t match the actions being taken.

  4. Stupid and delusional as DeSantis and the entire GOP may be; they continue to have the upper hand in government at all levels and are to be feared. We all, as Todd claims, have more questions than answers. My primary question is why are the Democrats continuing their infighting and back-biting rather than trying to strengthen their slim majority by finding common ground for the nation than making names for themselves to gather votes and donations?

    The words of our first Republican president, President Abraham Lincoln, stated it succinctly; “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” He was referring to the party, the House and Senate and all Americans. “United we stand, divided we fall!” is more true today than it has ever been. Florida and DeSantis are not the only guilty parties; the Democratic states and elected officials are just as guilty.

  5. We moved to Florida last Summer, so I have had limited exposure to our esteemed governor, but from his nearly daily press conferences and “grand openings,” it is clear to me that all of this nonsense is based partly on his desire to avoid discouraging tourists from coming down for the winter and killing the economy – so his chances for being re-elected next November will not be hurt, and partly on his calculation that he needs to pander to the Trumpists in the nation to be a viable presidential candidate in 2024. The lives of those of us living in the state don’t matter. We are just collateral damage.

  6. I’m sick of reading about the crazy, evil and corrupt people that constitute the Republican party. Ron DeSantis is just another example of how those three elements combine to create another destructive force to our democracy.

    May they all burn in Hell.

  7. I’m sick of reading about the crazy, evil and corrupt people that constitute the Republican party. Ron DeSantis is just another example of how those three elements combine to create another destructive force to our democracy.

    May they all burn in Hell. Why are Republicans so set on ruining lives? Oh. Right. Their corrupt donors tell them what to do.

  8. As a part-time Florida resident I can tell you that, “whether DeSantis is really as stupid as he sounds, or whether he has decided that his political future rests with the delusional Trumpian base of the GOP,” are not mutually exclusive.

    As for Republican hypocrisy, as Michael Gerson has pointed out, hypocrisy first requires a standard.

  9. Lately when Flori-duh is mentioned, I think of the area around “The Villages.”

    Where the most Republicans live and I want to avoid like the plague, lol.

    A friend posted a photo of the sign “The Villages” and called it the STD capital of the World.
    Ha ha ha

    Superspreader events held every weekend and not just covid. Lol

  10. Make sure you get your vaccines and then sit back and watch the anti-vaxxers die off. If they keep this up, they’ll be an even smaller percentage of the population than they are now.

  11. Since our country’s government was formed it has been controlled by white men. They have continued to maintain their power and wealth because they are white males. However, during the past few years those positions of power have become more and more threatened by women and people with darker skin who continuously prove themselves to be far superior intellectually.

    As more deserving and intelligent people chip away at the power and wealth that was given to them for being white males, they have become desperate. They prove to us daily that they care only about themselves – not what is in the best interests of our country. They shamelessly use whatever despicable means they can devise in order to maintain their power and wealth. There appears to be no limit to their lying and abuse of power. Many of them even shamelessly claim to be Christians while speaking and behaving in the most satanic fashion.

    They are self-serving traitors who have never truly cared about this country.

  12. This is a wonderfully concise summary of the “liberal” aspects of “liberal democracy” that our Constitution and Declaration of Independence were based on. “Citizens are entitled to pursue their own telos, their own life goals–in today’s jargon, entitled to “do their own thing” and make their own “personal choices”–so long as they do not thereby harm the person or property of a non-consenting other, and so long as they are willing to accord equal liberty to others.”

    Why do Republicans want to replace freedom with their power? because they are not willing to accord equal liberty to others. That is the essence of authoritarianism based on belief in the entitlement of some to make rules for others who do not consent to them because the rules harm their person or property.

  13. Someone should look up the narrative that was used by government leaders in the 50’s encouraging everyone to get the polio vaccine.That would have been the only sort of narrative that would convince them that it is their patriotic duty to get the vaccine. Trump could have but did not use a narrative that encouraged his cult to get the vaccine that was similar to the persuasive narratives of the 50’s.

    Vaccine mandates follow the transcendent ethical principle of the Golden Rule. Ethics often calls us to a higher standard than some of the amoral principles of legal institutions.

    I have to wonder what sort of fragile self-esteem the anti-vaxxers have. They don’t love themselves enough to protect themselves against a potentially fatal disease. They would rather martyr themselves to help ensure that a narcissitic sociopath would win the presidential election in 2024. I wonder what percentage of them are alcoholics. Maybe a large portion are codependent as well. Either way they have attached themselves to someone who does not care whether or not they get what they need from the federal government.

    DeSantis reminds me of George Wallace who resisted the federal mandate to desegregate schools. His racism was in the spot light and everyone could see it. Sadly, many people in Florida do not see that DeSantis is willing to sacrifice many of his constituents to COVID for his own political gain. His lust for power makes me wonder if he is not a servant of Sauron. DeSantis is going to test whether or not the feds can put regulations in place to protect the public health of citizens. I hope he loses. Too bad someone cannot sue him for manslaughter or genocidal behavior.

  14. “…but we have regulated smoking in public places ever since medical science discovered that passive smoke endangers others. ”

    Okay, let me push back on this claim. I was one of the attorneys involved in the local lawsuit to stop the imposition of the smoking ban on numerous mom and pop bars which had the effect of crippling their business. In that role, I probably saw every epidemiological study on the health effect of passive smoke. Epidemiologists use “relative risk” to determine causation, employing a basis of 1. If the relative risk is .9 it is a 10% negative association. If it is 1.1, that’s a 10% association. But association is not causation. Epidemiologists say relative risk needs to be about 1.95 for them to conclude their is causation. That’s because there are so many associative factors such as hereditary, dietary habits, etc., that you have to have 1.95 to ensure your not confusing association with causation. For the record, smokers have a risk factor of getting lung cancer which is about 9.5.

    No epidemiological study has passive smoking’s risk factor anywhere near 1.95. Epidemiologists have concluded that passive smoking causing cancer or heart disease has a risk factor of about 1.3 from looking at a plethora of studies. But to even get that high, the epidemiologists had to deliberately disregard some very credible studies (because of perceived flaws) that show smoking risk factor just over 1 and probably the most credible study of them all which showed a negative association, below 1.

    I think the bans on public smoking was spurred more by the fact people’s attitude toward smoking changed. People increasingly view smoking to be smelly and disgusting, an annoyance they shouldn’t have to tolerate in public. Unfortunately that negative attitude toward smoking had the effect of pushing the science. There was such public pressure that the surgeon general issued a report on the dangers of second hand smoke, even though the epidemiological studies were not there. Then you have the all the anecdotal stories of people being around smoking and getting cancer. Never underestimate the power of anecdotes. Anecdotes are not science, however.

    For the record, I agree DeSantis is a moron. Can we please stop assuming that people who graduate from Ivy League schools are smarter than the rest of us? We could make a long list of morons in the Trump orbit who graduated from Ivy League schools including Donald Trump and three of his idiot children.

  15. Re Paul Ogden’s post about the smoking ban –
    As a person with asthma I am overjoyed that the tables were turned on the selfish air polluting smokers who felt it was their right to inflict their harmful disgusting stench on those of us with lung problems. Over the years there became fewer and fewer places that I and so many other people could safely enter, both for eating or entertainment.

    Your claim of mom and pop bars being crippled by a smoking ban is laughable. Local bars and restaurants in my area of Indiana were making that same claim – without any evidence that it would actually happen.

    After the smoking ban took place those whining bar and restaurant owners were happily surprised to see their establishments busier than ever. The large number of people that stopped entering the doors to their businesses, due to the overwhelming stench of smoke, returned along with many new customers.

    The current radical right wing media BS that has been created to incite anger and defiance in gullible GOP voters is similar to the ‘supposed damage’ that a smoking ban was going to cause, yet it is much more dangerous.

  16. If we keep the pressure up maybe he will kill off enough of his base to turn the state blue.

  17. The Brazilian legislature has recommended that the President should be charged with “crimes against humanity” for trying to achieve herd immunity with the population of Brazil. I wish the US Republican “sheeple” would break away from the herd and do the same here.

    To get back the Smoking issue. Imagine going into a department store and being assaulted by a perfume salesperson by having your clothes sprayed with perfume. It would not be long before lawsuits would be filed, and laws passed regulating this practice. Smoking in public places has similar externalities. Remember when you used to visit a bar or restaurant and the clothes you wore had to be washed before you could wear them again. You would have to wet and towel your hair to get rid of the stink. Also, that non-smoking section would be sort of like a “non-peeing section” in a public pool. Yes attitudes have changed, and for the better.

  18. So now we are back to “Their studies are flawed but mine aren’t” last resort, or “Their studies are based on anecdotal evidence but mine aren’t ” etc. Tobacco kills, and second hand tobacco kills, and if one person dies from either first or second hand inhalation irrespective of how we define causation, that’s one too many. Thousands have died and we rightly ended not smoking but rather its spread in public places.

    I live in Florida but haven’t been there since the spring of 2020, all due to DeSantis. I am thinking of a quick run down there to sell my house on the lake, also due to DeSantis. I will if still a voting citizen be voting absentee against him come ’22 for his opponent, whoever his opponent may be; and should he be the Republican candidate for president in ’24, likewise. He is trying to out-Trump Trump and to date his criminal negligence has ended the lives of some 59,000 Floridians and tourists – and counting. Since it appears we will not be prosecuting either him or Trump, I think both of them should be tried in the World Court in The Hague.

  19. I see the patients are running the asylum today on this blog. Only those who are blinded from the truth see DeSantis’ work as evil. Each day more and more revelations of the intentions and motives of those on the left are exposed. As America deal with the Build America Worse agenda run by a demented corrupt man and his incompetent administration, their eyes are being open to the truth that Trump warned them about. Once you see the Left’s hypocrisy and self-serving intent, you can’t UNSEE it – reflecting the plummeting poll numbers every day. You may still win a few battles but you have LOST the WAR!

  20. I wish Becky would stick to discussing issues instead of name-calling. What doesn’t she like about the Build Back agenda, which is becoming radically change each day? What does she see that I don’t?
    Also, thank you Sheila for clarifying the views of libertarians. The best description I have heard for a while. I think I might become one. If so, it will not be a big shift in my political thinking.

  21. Hey Bill – just following Sheila and the gang’s format on the “name- calling” – I am much kinder with words than they are.
    Here’s some issues for you: Biden’s too busy to go to the border – too many naps, I guess .
    Fauci’s lied about the
    “Gain of Function” research. Basically America funded the CV.
    No one wants to talk about covid “natural immunity”. Florida’s covid numbers are dropping exponentially
    while some of the highest vaccinated states are soaring with infections. Pete B forget he was actually suppose to work as head of DOT – while the port is backlogged for weeks and CA gov Newsome created a new trucking rule based on the age of vehicle shutting out independent truck drivers making the situation even worse while DeSantis is opening up Florida’s port for cargo ships. We were energy independent when Trump left office, but now Joe is
    begging OPEC to deliver more oil ….. the poorest among us is taking the biggest hit in high energy costs and gasoline prices and with rising food prices. Inflation at a 30 yr high.
    The Taliban in Afghanistan just beheaded one of the female Olympic volleyball players.
    Parents wanting to make sure their children are not taught a radical agenda of CRT are considered “domestic terrorist” by Merrick Garland. The left who “claims” to be the party of science believes there are 50 genders and we all must speak their pronoun language whuke teachers are fired for not complying.
    They believe A baby at full term is still not considered a person and the mother should have the right to kill it – yes, they pushed the abortion agenda so far to the extreme in the name of “woman’s rights” why wouldn’t the majority of America’s NOT support that genocide. Oh, but big bad Texas.
    The Great Barrier Reef is expanding …. But oh climate change is going to kill us.
    They rail on white men and evangelicals so Christians are white suprematists yet they hope DeSantis burns in hell.
    I actually pity the miserable people on here.

  22. OK – let’s start on second hand smoke – the smoker is still blowing smoke in my face.
    I lived in an elevator building – I stopped using after shave because some of my neighbors said they were “allergic” – I enjoyed the aroma, but I would not IMPOSE my preference upon my neighbors
    I still smoke an occasional cigar – in my own home only.

    Now, for the virus – everyone is (correctly) discussing the spread of the virus by the unvaccinated, but they are missing the important point.

    The unvaccinated are walking bio-weapons laboratories. Even if the unvaccinated person has no symptoms, and even if they do not pass on the symptom causing virus to others, the Delta Variant my mutate slightly in the Psi Variant, only slightly different from the Delta Variant, but a second point mutation or two may later turn Psi into the Omega Variant, which is able to evade the immune system and is 70% lethal. A few million people might die, worldwide because to these anti-vaxxers.

    Remember, the Delta variant arose, and hit us, because we have failed to vaccinate the world.

    Also remember – May 8, 1980 – the day that smallpox was totally eliminated from the world, or as DeSantis calls it “the day the evil liberals committed virucide on the innocent Variola virus (smallpox).

  23. Becky, regards the border. I think Biden is following the same policies as Trump except for building a wall. I agree there should be some movement toward finding a better solution to the southern border. I think this is a long-standing problem that has never been addressed by a unbiased bipartisan commission.

    Fauci lied. Do you want to talk about who lies? Seems to me we could find many in that category.

    I think many have talked about natural immunity and the US choose to go with vaccinations. Remember 
“warp speed”? I think Trump was on board for that. Everyone was on board with vaccinations until the actual practice started. Perhaps we made the wrong choice. Would we have had fewer deaths?

    The energy independence started under Obama didn’t it? Clearly we need to decide on whether we will carbon footprint the nation to destruction or attempt to turn around climate change. This is a serious issue and will not be solved buy continuing to burn fossil fuels.

    Let us be honest. Study school curricula. No one has been teaching Critical Race Theory in public schools. 50 genders? Guess I had better update myself on that matter.

    Abortion is a long-term issue which I have had to face myself and chose against it. But, come on, no one is aborting a full-term fetus. Nearly all abortions are chemical now and we should be able to decide on a reasonable time when they are an option.

    I think we have a small group os white suprematists and few Christians want to do anything other than befriend their fellow-person.

    I see no need for the people on here to be pitied. I have great respect for Sheila.

  24. I could not agree more. DeSantis is very dangerous to the American public at large.

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