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Opinion: On vaccine passports


There is a disturbing trend on the rise termed “woke capitalism.” We have seen an alarming increase in concentrated power in corporations that are “too big to fail.”

A recent example of this would be the case over the recently passed Georgia voting law. Companies that, traditionally, merely sought to engage in commerce have now become powerful tools for those who seek to subvert our civil liberties and control our institutions of government.

State Rep. Adam Schnelting

We have seen other examples of state governments caving to outside pressure when powerful commercial interests oppose various measures passed by the people’s elected representatives of the respective states.

James Madison points out in Federalist 51 that “ambition must be made to counteract ambition.” 

Missouri should band together with some of these states to ensure the concept of “separation of powers” lives on in American thought and politics.

The concept of ‘separation of powers” is usually used in reference to government institutions as our founders intended. However, the concept can apply to powerful commercial interests that seek to subvert the will of the people by coercing the state legislatures. 

Corporate America is evolving into a quasi-fourth branch of government — one with an alarming volume of power.

The extreme special interests have grown shrewd. They understand that we Republicans fight for property rights, free enterprise, and free market principles. They have learned to use this to their advantage in their fight against our own civil liberties and way of life.

The majority of state legislatures in our union are under Republican control. If the extreme left in Washington, D.C., wishes to consolidate power, usurp states’ rights, and circumvent the states legislatures, they may look no further than their ties to corporate America.

When corporations with commercial footprints make up nearly all of the commercial options that our citizens may have — particularly, in more urban and suburban areas — these companies have a monopolistic advantage. 

We see this with big tech’s censorship of conservatives. Their monopolistic advantage can fuel a top-down effort at enforcing conformity upon our citizens — conformity of thought and ideology, as in the case of big tech’s censorship practices. Going further still, a stifling of competition as we saw with the Parler debacle.

Tyranny is not to be found only in government. It can make its unwelcome advances in whatever sector it finds most amenable to its growth.

What happens when corporate America decides it will begin requiring mandatory vaccination passports? One critic of my proposal claims that this is unlikely to happen. Of course, a simple Google search can disprove that claim.

If you would have told me a year ago that masks would be required in order to go buy groceries, I would have considered it a far-fetched notion. Covering our faces in order to shop is now something to which we have become accustomed. 

In my part of the state (which holds the bulk of our state’s population), you cannot grocery shop without a mask. In fact, most grocery stores have posted “doorkeepers” to ensure compliance.

I propose that Missouri ban mandatory COVID-19 vaccine passports altogether. We cannot allow corporate America to violate our citizens’ right to privacy.

Since when has it been a “private property right” to demand the private medical records of our citizens? What precedent is there for such an allowance? Can businesses demand you show your other vaccination papers before entering? Of course not. Historically, companies do not practice this nor should they. 

Furthermore, we know that COVID-19 has variants. What other medical information will they eventually require you to update on your passport? What nefarious purpose could this medical data be used for? What a data grab for big tech!

Neither government nor business should require mandatory vaccination passports. Your medical records are none of their business.

For people — like my constituents — who have no option but large chain stores, requiring grandma to obtain a vaccine passport in order to buy groceries or get her prescriptions is simply an indirect way to mandate the vaccination itself as she has no other commercial options. It is a violation of the right of conscience.

If we wish to discuss private “property rights,” we cannot forget James Madison’s eloquent words when he said, “Conscience is the most sacred of all property.”

One critic claimed there will be other stores willing to take our citizens who do not wish to be forced to get vaccinated; therefore, our constituents can shop there.

In more rural areas, this may be the case, but for how long? The cancel culture in which we are now living is enthusiastic about conformity and control. They relish the opportunity to boycott and intimidate smaller businesses into submission or out of business — less competition for the thought police.

Is it constitutional to get involved?

If government has no authority to involve itself in commerce, then when did this begin?

  • Should the Reconstruction Congress have opposed the former Confederacy’s Apprenticeship scheme, the “Black Codes?”
  • Should Missouri ever involve itself in labor relations like right to work?
  • Should companies be allowed to sell hard-core porn to minors? What about cigarettes or liquor?

As one who is consistently awarded the Award for Conservative Excellence by the American Conservative Union and the Business Champion Award from the Chamber, I am a strong supporter of our small businesses. That is readily ascertainable by a search of my voting record.

The government has always been involved in our mixed economy. The question is always “how much involvement is appropriate?” That is a question that requires wisdom and foresight — that requires we legislators to decide. 

I propose we protect our citizens’ right to privacy by prohibiting both government and corporate America’s ability to mandate these intrusive passports. 

As you’re aware, for debate sake, this week I proposed an amendment that we perfected on a House bill. Awareness is now raised. Now that the conversation has begun I urge my colleagues to support my endeavors as I continue to press this issue this session.