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Brandon Rutherford was recently presented with a dilemma in an Ohio courtroom: get vaccinated or face incarceration.
The 21-year-old was sentenced to two years probation for fentanyl possession by Judge Christopher Wagner of Hamilton County, Ohio on August 4, but his sentence came with a twist: he was ordered to get a COVID vaccine as a condition of his probation.
Should Rutherford fail to comply, he could be sent to jail for up to 18 months.
“I’m just a judge, not a doctor, but I think the vaccine’s a lot safer than fentanyl, which is what you had in your pocket,” Wagner told Rutherford.
Wagner gave Rutherford 60 days to get vaxxed and said, “You’re going to maintain employment. You’re not going to be around a firearm. I’m going to order you, within the next two months, to get a vaccine and show that to the probation office.”
The judge only knew Rutherford’s vaccination status in the first place because he questioned him when he arrived in court wearing a mask—a rule Wagner put in place for any unvaccinated people in his courtroom.
Rutherford was outraged by the mandate.
“Because I don’t take a shot they can send me to jail? I don’t agree with that,” he said. “I’m just trying to do what I can to get off this as quickly as possible, like finding a job and everything else. But that little thing (COVID vaccine) can set me back.”
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The judge’s order created a stir, prompting Wagner to issue a response.
“Judges make decisions regularly regarding a defendant’s physical and mental health, such as ordering drug, alcohol, and mental health treatment,” he wrote in a statement. He also said it was his responsibility to “rehabilitate the defendant and protect the community.”
Wagner is not the only Ohio judge to take such actions. He joined judges in Franklin and Cuyahoga counties who made similar demands.
As Rutherford’s case vividly demonstrates, in the wake of COVID-19, the world is grappling with the question of how much control an individual should have over their own body.
Bodily integrity, also commonly referred to as bodily autonomy, is a longstanding principle of human rights and individual liberty. In recent years, discussion on this topic has centered around the #MeToo movement regarding sexual harassment and abuse in many of our institutions. It is obvious that violating another person’s body is inherently wrong; no one questions this premise when discussing matters of sexual violence.
Yet, for too many those clear-cut lines become blurred with other issues, especially when the conversation turns to medical bodily autonomy. And history shows there is a long, troubling tradition in the US of violating the bodily integrity of Americans, particularly the marginalized and disadvantaged.
As an example, a Tennessee judge and sheriff launched a forced-sterilization program for inmates around 2017. They allowed people in jail to shorten their sentences by 30 days if they agreed to the medical procedures. They were, thankfully, sued over this and the program was overturned on constitutional grounds. The attorney who obtained justice in this case, Daniel Horwitz, said at the time, “Inmate sterilization is despicable, it is morally indefensible, and it is illegal.”
Forced sterilization among inmates isn’t the only medical crime against bodily autonomy in our past either. In 1932, the Tuskegee Experiment was launched and ran for decades. The United States Public Health Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted the study, during which they lied to the 600 black male participants about their syphilis status and told them they were receiving free healthcare. In reality, they were given placebos, ineffective treatments, and denied penicillin—even as it became widely available as a treatment for syphilis. The particular case elevated the issue of informed consent in medical procedures and highlighted how far the country still had to go in respecting inalienable rights, including “The right of the people to be secure in their persons,” as articulated in the US Constitution.
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Globally, human rights advocates have fought a long and uphill battle to assert these basic principles of bodily autonomy and informed consent in society.
In 1948, the United Nations passed its Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 3 of this Declaration states, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”
The timing of this Declaration is key as it came at the heels of World War II, a period during which arguably the greatest violations of human rights in modern history were committed, including forced scientific and medical experimentation on human beings on a mass scale. The subsequent Nuremberg Trials—held between 1945 and 1949—resulted in the Nuremberg Code of 1947, a set of 10 standards that confronted questions of medical experimentation on humans. The Nuremberg Code established a new global standard for ethical medical behavior. Within its requirements? Voluntary informed consent of the human subject.
Then, in 1966, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights declared in its Article 7: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In particular, no one shall be subjected without his free consent to medical or scientific experimentation.”
Forced medical procedures are an especially monstrous violation of the fundamental right of bodily integrity and autonomy. This lesson was hard-learned through the course of the 20th Century. But it seems to have been unlearned amid the panic over COVID-19.
The cases in Ohio are especially troubling because they involve defendants whose bodily autonomy is being violated not only once, but twice by their government.
Our justice system routinely puts bodies in cages over what the owners of those bodies choose to put in them—whether an actual crime results from that consumption or not. That’s thanks in large part to the immoral and unjust War on Drugs, as well as the wide range of non-violent offenses we currently criminalize in our country. Now, on top of arresting the defendants for choosing to put a substance in their bodies, we have judges threatening further incarceration to coerce those same people into putting a different substance in their bodies.
In both instances, this is an egregious violation of an individual’s bodily autonomy. But many progressives who regularly express outrage over mass incarceration and the War on Drugs are noticeably either silent on vaccine mandates or advocating for them.
The economist Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) had a lot to say about governments interfering in what individuals choose to consume. In his book Human Action he wrote the following:
“Opium and morphine are certainly dangerous, habit-forming drugs. But once the principle is admitted that it is the duty of government to protect the individual against his own foolishness, no serious objections can be advanced against further encroachments.”
This is applicable to the War on Drugs, which was gaining steam around the time of Mises’ death, but it is also relevant to the current pandemic policy. Whether or not it is prudent for a person to get vaccinated for their own health is not the correct question. It is not the government’s duty to protect individuals against their own folly. Mises went on to write:
“A good case could be made out in favor of the prohibition of alcohol and nicotine. And why limit the government’s benevolent providence to the protection of the individual’s body only? Is not the harm a man can inflict on his mind and soul even more disastrous than any bodily evils? Why not prevent him from reading bad books and seeing bad plays, from looking at bad paintings and statues and from hearing bad music? The mischief done by bad ideologies, surely, is much more pernicious, both for the individual and for the whole society, than that done by narcotic drugs.”
As is the case most of the time, when liberty advocates object to a public policy that big-government advocates believe to be “common sense,” we are not doing so simply over the immediate implications but rather because we know where such policies can lead. If the government can force me to get a vaccine for my own good, what else can it force me to do? The proverbial can of worms is open, the legal precedent set, and any student of history knows it only goes downhill from there. Mises continued:
“These fears are not merely imaginary specters terrifying secluded doctrinaires. It is a fact that no paternal government, whether ancient or modern, ever shrank from regimenting its subjects’ minds, beliefs, and opinions. If one abolishes man’s freedom to determine his own consumption, one takes all freedoms away. The naïve advocates of government interference with consumption delude themselves when they neglect what they disdainfully call the philosophical aspect of the problem. They unwittingly support the case of censorship, inquisition, religious intolerance, and the persecution of dissenters.”
Strong words, but earned ones. And highly relevant today, as governments are rapidly progressing from “we must mandate public health measures” to “we must censor and persecute those who defy and speak out against our public health measures.”
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Those who advocate for the government’s ability to deprive humans of their freedom on the basis of consumption in effect promote a wide array of injustices and human rights violations. There is simply no gray area here.
Human Action wasn’t the only place Mises appears to be writing from the grave for our modern times. In his work, Liberalism he says the following:
“We see that as soon as we surrender the principle that the state should not interfere in any questions touching on the individual’s mode of life, we end by regulating and restricting the latter down to the smallest detail. The personal freedom of the individual is abrogated. He becomes a slave of the community, bound to obey the dictates of the majority.”
Think how this applies to the increasingly intolerant conformity culture we see mounting in the age of COVID. He continues:
“It is hardly necessary to expatiate on the ways in which such powers could be abused by malevolent persons in authority. The wielding, of powers of this kind even by men imbued with the best of intentions must needs reduce the world to a graveyard of the spirit. All mankind’s progress has been achieved as a result of the initiative of a small minority that began to deviate from the ideas and customs of the majority until their example finally moved the others to accept the innovation themselves. To give the majority the right to dictate to the minority what it is to think, to read, and to do is to put a stop to progress once and for all.”
It is interesting that those who fancy themselves “progressives” are pushing for the world to come to an abrupt stop and for all individuals to bend their will to the national narrative they have chosen in this time.
Finally, from Mises:
“Let no one object that the struggle against morphinism and the struggle against ‘evil’ literature are two quite different things….The propensity of our contemporaries to demand authoritarian prohibition as soon as something does not please them, and their readiness to submit to such prohibitions even when what is prohibited is quite agreeable to them shows how deeply ingrained the spirit of servility still remains within them. It will require many long years of self-education until the subject can turn himself into the citizen. A free man must be able to endure it when his fellow men act and live otherwise than he considers proper. He must free himself from the habit, just as soon as something does not please him, of calling for the police.”
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We do not have to like or condone another person’s actions. We don’t have to associate with them. But we must endure other humans acting and living as they see fit without going full Karen and calling the cops. When you argue for government force to violate an individual’s bodily autonomy in any manner, you stand on the side of gross injustice and human rights violations—just ask Brandon Rutherford who now faces jail time over his decisions about what he will or will not put in his body.
“I’m not taking the vaccine,” Rutherford told CNN. And he ought to have every right to make that decision.
This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.
The Dangers of Speaking the Truth Diminish If We Work Together
It’s becoming harder and harder for patriots to ignore the deep suppression of truth that’s happening in America today.
In all of my years in journalism, I have never received as many threats or been attacked by big companies like Google and Facebook as I have in 2021. I’d say that ever since we started covering widespread voter fraud, government-endorsed Pandemic Panic Theater, vaccine cover-ups, Critical Race Theory, and the various Neo-Marxist and Satanic agendas at play, I’ve been targeted more in months than the entirety of my life prior.
Speaking the truth is getting harder with so much censorship and suppression rampant. Prior to 2020, I was not a “conspiracy theorist” or an “anti-vaxxer,” but if there’s one thing the onslaught of exposed lies have taught us in the last 18 months, it’s that we cannot take what we’re told by the “arbiters of truth” at face value. There’s an agenda behind every message, a narrative driving every story, and a series of gigantic cover-ups designed to keep the masses in the dark.
This is why we’re building a network of news outlets that are willing to go against the narrative and expose the truth. We need help. We’re establishing strong partnerships with like-minded news outlets and courageous journalists. Even as Big Tech suppresses us, the honest messages they’re trying to quash are finding their way to the eyes and ears of patriots across the nation. With the help of new content partners like The Epoch Times and The Liberty Daily, we’re starting to see a real impact.
Our network is currently comprised of nine sites:
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- NOQ Report
- Conservative Playlist
- Truth. Based. Media.
- Freedom First Network
- Based Underground
- Uncanceled News
- American Conservative Movement
- Conservative Playbook
- Our Gold Guy
Some of our content is spread across all of these sites. Other pieces of content are unique. We write most of what we post but we also draw from those willing to allow us to share their quality articles, videos, and podcasts. We collect the best content from fellow conservative sites that give us permission to republish them. We’re not ego-driven; I’d much rather post a properly attributed story written by experts like Dr. Joseph Mercola or Natural News than rewrite it like so many outlets like to do. We’re not here to take credit. We’re here to spread the truth.
I’ve said much of this before. From time to time I reframe this request for assistance by taking the most relevant message of the day and adjusting the story accordingly. We’ve discussed this network in previous articles. Now, it’s time to talk about help. First and foremost, we need financial assistance detailed below. But we could also use more writers who are willing to volunteer their thoughts for the sake of spreading the message. Those who are interested should contact me directly.
As far as money, we’re looking better than we have in the recent past, but we are currently experiencing a gap between revenue and expenses that cannot be overcome by click-ads and MyPillow promos alone (promo code “NOQ” by the way).
To overcome our revenue gap and keep these sites running, our needs fluctuate between $2200-$7800 per month. May, 2021, for example, was amazing and we almost broke even. June, revenue was sluggish at best and we had to make up a big difference out of our pockets. But we’re not just trying to get out of the red. If and when we start getting enough contributions to expand, we will do just that. Very few get into journalism to try to get rich and we’re definitely not among those who do. Our success is driven by spreading the truth, profitable or not.
The best way you can help us grow and continue to bring proper news and opinions to the people is by donating. We appreciate everything, whether a dollar or $10,000. Anything brings us closer to a point of stability when we can hire writers, editors, and support staff to make the America First message louder. Our Giving Fuel page makes it easy to donate one-time or monthly. Alternatively, you can donate through PayPal or Bitcoin as well. Bitcoin: 3A1ELVhGgrwrypwTJhPwnaTVGmuqyQrMB8
Time is short. As the world spirals towards radical progressivism, the need for truthful journalism has never been greater. But in these times, we need as many conservative media voices as possible. Please help keep NOQ Report and the other sites in the network going. Our promise is this: We will never sell out America. If that means we’re going to struggle for a while or even indefinitely, so be it. Integrity first. Truth first. America first.
Thank you and God Bless,
Yes, We Need Your Help
I hate being “that guy” who asks people to donate because I think our conservative news network is so crucial, but here I am…
When I left my cushy corporate job in 2017, I did so knowing that my family would have to make sacrifices. But I couldn’t continue to watch the nation slip into oblivion and was inspired by President Trump’s willingness to fight the good fight even at his own personal expense. What I didn’t realize then is that conservative media would be so heavily attacked, canceled, and defunded that the sacrifices would be extreme.
Many in this nation are struggling right now even though we weren’t struggling just a few years ago. I’m not alone. But I wake up every morning and operate the sites we’ve been able to build because there’s really no other choice. I refuse to be beholden to Big Tech like so many other conservative news outlets, which is why you won’t see Google ads here. With that said, it’s often challenging to pay the bills and it’s even harder to expand so we can get the America First message out to a wider audience.
The economic downturn has forced me to make a plea for help. Between cancel culture, lockdowns, and diminishing ad revenue, we need financial assistance in order to continue to spread the truth. We ask all who have the means, please donate through our new GiveSendGo. Your generosity is what keeps these sites running and allows us to expand our reach so the truth can get to the masses. We’ve had great success in growing but we know we can do more with your assistance.
We currently operate:
- NOQ Report
- Conservative Playlist
- Uncanceled News
- Based Underground
- Truth Based Media
- Five other conservative news sites
I would even be willing to entertain investments and partnerships at this stage. I’ve turned them down in the past because editorial purity is extremely important. I’ll turn them down again if anyone wants us to start supporting RINOs or avoid “taboo” topics like voter fraud, vaccines, or transgender supremacy. But I’d talk to fellow America First patriots who want to help any (or all) of our 10 news sites. Hit me up at jdrucker (at) substack (dot) com if you’re interested.
For those who have the means and just want to help keep the mission of spreading a conservative, Christian message to the nation, please consider a generous donation.