Biden Administration

The Red Flags in Biden's State of the Union Address

Plus: Is the coronavirus vaccine the most libertarian vaccine yet?

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This Monday, Matt Welch, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Peter Suderman, and Nick Gillespie dish on their least favorite parts of President Joe Biden's State of the Union address and the messaging around the newest coronavirus guidelines. Plus, The Reason Roundtable answers a listener question about the ties between self-proclaimed libertarians and people against the coronavirus vaccine.

Discussed in the show:

1:36: Biden's SOTU address takeaways.

22:34: The government's newest coronavirus guidelines.

36:56: Weekly Listener Question: The current anti-vax sentiment within a significant portion of the libertarian world has me questioning everything. Weren't we the folks who, a mere couple of years ago, were saying "Get the FDA out of the way so big pharma can cure things?" That literally happened, and now a significant number of libertarians are kvetching about how quickly the vaccines were developed. How can I have faith in the rationality of libertarianism when there is a significant portion of the movement that is so breathtakingly wrong on vaccines?

48:52: Media recommendations for the week.

This weeks links:

Send your questions to roundtable@reason.com. Be sure to include your social media handle and the correct pronunciation of your name.

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Audio production by Ian Keyser.
Assistant production by Regan Taylor.
Music: "Angeline," by The Brothers Steve.


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71 responses to “The Red Flags in Biden's State of the Union Address

  1. >> so breathtakingly wrong on vaccines?

    jury totes out on this vaccine, so who’s breathtakingly wrong? hope your eyes don’t fall out just in time for 2024 election.

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    2. It can take years to assess the effects of a vaccine. You could use mercury as a vaccine against syphilis and succeed at killing the bacteria on your skin but you’ll find years later that the mercury vaccine destroyed your health in other ways. I support your right to test immature vaccines but I oppose forcing people to take vaccines to attend college or retain a job in Texas as a nurse or doctor.

      1. So you honestly think that the odds of getting hurt by a vaccine which has been taken by hundreds of millions of people with only very rare side effects observed are worse than the odds of getting hurt by a virus that’s killed millions of people?

        What do you honestly assess your odds of getting hurt by the vaccine at and how would you come up with those odds?

        I do support your right to not be vaccinated; I’m just trying to understand your decision process. I don’t understand how one could interpret the published data and conclude that not getting vaccinated is the safer choice.

        1. It can take years to assess the effects of a vaccine.

          Literally his first line of argumentation and you didnt understand it.

          1. I understand his argument – I think it’s stupid. I think Brophy and apparently you are technically ignorant and just can’t understand there are methods of assessing long term safety that don’t take 20 years.

            Basically his argument is that it’s impossible to make any inference about long term results from short term results.

            Sorry but I’m an engineer and I can tell you that there are many products that are tested for short periods of time to assess long term effects. Either you test a whole lot of products, or you test them under extreme conditions, or you use analysis and math. There are ways to assess the effectiveness and safety of products that must be used for years that don’t actually take years to do.

            There have been HUNDREDS of MILLIONS of people that have been vaccinated. What are the chances that with modern medicine there is actually some side effect that nobody has thought of and that doesn’t show up in any one of HUNDREDS of MILLIONS of people, but will somehow mysteriously occur at some point in the distance future – like a magic spell? When the fuck has anything like that happened after the amount of testing and analysis that the vaccines have gone through.

            1. “There have been HUNDREDS of MILLIONS of people that have been vaccinated.”

              You mention that as if it addresses Brophy’s argument; it doesn’t.
              It’s like saying the fall didn’t hurt the guy before he contacts the ground. Either by design or ignorance, you’re ignoring the time dimension.
              To be clear, I am vaccinated, but I certainly understand those who have reservations, and those include effects which might appear beyond a 6 month horizon.

              1. I’m vaccinated too (J&J). What worries me is that all these vaccines will soon be ineffective against future strains. Have a bad feeling that the new one is already brewing in India/China/Brazil right now and by this summer, will show up here in vaccinated people, and it we won’t have the beginners’ luck in developing the next vaccine.

            2. Everyone thought thalidomide was safe.
              For a while.

              1. It was given a seal of approval.

                1. More doctors smoke Camels!

      2. Actually it only takes a few months to assess the hazards of vaccines. Negative side effects have always shown up within three months at worst. Always. Readers are free to search the literature and try to find an example that disproves that timeframe. And with respect to mRNA vaccines: they are biologically simple. All of their molecular components have short lifespans in the body.

  2. Deliberately catching cowpox was and always will be the most libertarian vaccination.

  3. In other news, Melinda Gates apparently finally figured out what a lowlife scumbag her husband is. What the hell took you so long, lady?

      1. Depending on how the proceeding shake out, let’s just say it will either be:

        The Bill and Hookers and Blow Foundation, or
        The Cabana Boy and Melinda (nee) Gates Foundation.

        1. Or they’ll just switch genders and marry each other again. She doesn’t look like she has far to go.

    1. There was a running joke that Microsoft was her name for Bill Gates’s penis.

      1. The original software came on floppy disks…

      2. She wasn’t satisfied with his 3 1/2 inch floppy?

      3. JFC how did I not see that before?

    2. love n $$$ is blind. butt-hole, sucker-boyos woman- thing is vastly richer than he is?! n then there is the NetFlix divorce show; Linda/billy are done with it all. how much will she get $$$?!

    3. I’m sure glad Bill Gates cares so much about climate change. If he didn’t care then he’d probably live in and consume energy to heat, cool and maintain a 166,000 sq ft house not a 66,000 sq ft house.

      1. You also never hear about the tons of electricity (produced by coal and natural gas) MS servers use, Amazon too. Would love to see what would happen to them if they have to run only on solar and wind.

  4. Actual libertarians are just as skeptical of big business (including Big Pharma) as government.

    Since when do libertarians pine for being controlled by megacorps? Yet that seems to be what endorses. It’s okay for Big Tech and Big Pharma to control our lives, because they aren’t the government. Never mind they work hand in hand with, and constantly share people with government.

    1. There was a time when it felt like libertarians were for freedom, and the right of a corporation would sometimes be defended in service of the larger freedom. But now there seems to have been a shift to cheer on Trillion Dollar Silicon Valley corporations in WHATEVER they do, just as long as we can continue to order weed by drone, and as long as that ‘WHATEVER’ didn’t demonetize a sex-worker somewhere.

      1. Touche. I couldn’t agree more. It’s a sad degeneration, where “libertines” now get to identify as “libertarians” because of some narrow or superficial similarities. Unfortunately, they have a loose grasp, at best, of the fundamental principles and holistic philosophy of classical liberalism – which *is* what it means to be genuinely libertarian in political philosophy. Freedom… you point to the heart of the idea. But every real freedom is attended by a corresponding duty (responsibility). Unfortunately too many so-called “libertarians” today are borderline anarchists in the worst sense of the term, who focus exclusively on the “freedom” half of that equation while neglecting to acknowledge the necessary responsibility / duty half of it. A fact for which I am often saddened. A “purist” of any ideology is a zealot, and makes poor architect of any variety of public policy. Also a valid assessment of those whose political perspective suffers from one or another form of myopia.

    2. One of the vaccine companies, Pfizer, is like a Hollywood rendition of an evil big business with all of the lawsuits, some of them ongoing, against them.

    3. Apparently the Reason foundation gets considerable funding from Charles Koch, chairman of Koch industries.

      1. Queue OBL…

    4. For a long time the main critique of the FDA and CDC is that they are too cautious and prevent viable treatments reaching market for years. And we saw the same excessive caution in this vaccine rollout, Eg temporarily banning the J and J vaccine over some extremely rare side effects. So it’s certainly weird that many libertarians are now saying they’re not being cautious enough. Believe me, if the vaccines were some government plot to harm us they would have been approved MUCH sooner than they were and we’d have much more incidence of harmful side effects.

  5. 36:56: Weekly Listener Question: The current anti-vax sentiment within a significant portion of the libertarian world has me questioning everything. Weren’t we the folks who, a mere couple of years ago, were saying “Get the FDA out of the way so big pharma can cure things?” That literally happened, and now a significant number of libertarians are kvetching about how quickly the vaccines were developed. How can I have faith in the rationality of libertarianism when there is a significant portion of the movement that is so breathtakingly wrong on vaccines?

    This is probably the absolute wrong way to analyze this issue.

    1. Yeah, seems like a pretty stupid take.
      Making experimental drugs available to anyone who wants them is great. Massively propagandizing and pushing everyone, even people who almost certainly have nothing to gain from taking it, to take a brand new experimental drug or face increasing difficulty getting around in the world, maybe not so great.

      1. Pushing? Seems more like FDA had to be dragged kicking and screaming to allow people to take it.

    2. “Since when is libertarianism about opposing the government when they pick winners?”

    3. The government is paying for the advertising of the vaccines. After paying for the doses, and controlling the distribution. Not my idea of a libertarian vaccine.

      1. The government also paid for the development of the Moderna vaccine and they get royalties. Dolly Parton should’ve insisted on royalties, too, rather than giving away her money.

    4. Even the people that get picked for the listener question at Reason aren’t real libertarians.

  6. The current anti-vax sentiment within a significant portion of the libertarian world has me questioning everything. Weren’t we the folks who, a mere couple of years ago, were saying “Get the FDA out of the way so big pharma can cure things?”

    Get your experimental vaccine and leave me the hell alone, Karen.

    1. Seem to be forgetting about the part of libertarianism where everyone gets to make their own decisions and assess their own risk tolerance.

      1. The definition of risk has changed.

        It’s changed from the risk taker being the one being denied the experimental medicine to the one who declines the experimental medicine.

  7. If I could shoot up the novovax, pre-approval, right now. That would be a libertarian vaccine.

  8. Those red flags were being waved by the AFT commies pulling Biden’s strings.

  9. Considering that leftists are strident that you cannot rejoin society without a vaccine (except you must still wear a mask) I’d say this is no libertarian vaccine and those pimping it are illiberal authoritarians.

    GFY Sunny Hostin you bitch.

    1. If only those not rejoining were not forced to fund it.

  10. Wow — pretty prescient, predicting and reacting to the content Biden’s first State of the Union address something like nine months in advance (his recent speech was not a State of the Union).

    1. Maybe they were thinking he won’t be upright that long.

    2. SleepyJoe giving the speech was the real red flag.

  11. More like the Estate of the Union.

  12. From the lead (above): “36:56: Weekly Listener Question: The current anti-vax sentiment within a significant portion of the libertarian world has me questioning everything. Weren’t we the folks who, a mere couple of years ago, were saying “Get the FDA out of the way so big pharma can cure things?” That literally happened, and now a significant number of libertarians are kvetching about how quickly the vaccines were developed. How can I have faith in the rationality of libertarianism when there is a significant portion of the movement that is so breathtakingly wrong on vaccines?”

    Is this person for real!? For one thing, I – who definitely identify as little-“l” libertarian in philosophy, though not in party affiliation (I affiliate with no party) – have NEVER said “Big Pharma can solve our problems.” Agreed, getting the FDA to take a backseat role – or go the way of the Dodo altogether – is a net positive, but looking to “Big Pharma” to solve our problems out of the goodness of their corporate hearts, with no imposition of free market checks nor any meaningful legal liabilities whatsoever to guide their corporate practices, is a kind of stupidity that is only surpassed by the naivety and/or special interest opportunism of the Progressive Left. Market forces that might otherwise offer some degree of protection to ‘consumers’ are not operating in any meaningful sense on the Pharma companies that have produced these vaccines. These companies are *still* shielded artificially (incidentally by their cozy corporatist relationship with Big Government) from one shred of legal liability for the damage their vaccines may cause, either now or years down the road. These two reasons alone are more than ample reason to toss this listener’s perspective in the circular file and reject their Swiss-cheese sort of reasoning about what it would take to have “faith” in the thought process of libertarians. But if that’s not enough, try this on for size: for TWENTY YEARS, Moderna tried to create an mRNA vaccine that was “safe.” And for TWENTY YEARS, every one of Moderna’s mRNA vaccines wound up killing the vaccinated animals in animal trials who were subsequently exposed to the pathogen the inoculation was designed to safeguard against. Deadly ‘Enhanced Antibody Responses’ were the bane of their efforts, and they never once produced a single vaccine that did not kill the host when the pathogen was reintroduced subsequent to vaccination. Twenty years… think about that. And we’re expected to believe that suddenly, when the whole world is in the grip of this novel Coronavirus pandemic, not one, but three or four different companies have miraculously “gotten it right” now?? Sorry, call me a non-believer, but I’m skeptical as hell about that claim. Especially when BILLIONS of dollars were on the line for these companies, who face NO legal risk should they produce something that ultimately ends up killing millions of people. THAT is NOT a “free market,” FDA involvement or not. So you trust Big Pharma… with their cuddly convergent relationship with that Big Government that still exists, even if it let the FDA stop back for a minute? Good for you. As P.T. Barnum said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Some of them, unfortunately, show up in otherwise “libertarian” circles. :/

  13. You know which other leader gave a speech to his nation’s legislature which was full of red flags?

  14. “The Red Flags in Biden’s State of the Union Address”

    Gee, if only wee could have had some warning prior to the election!

    1. What we need is a class of people, maybe call them “The fourth group” or “fourth wing” or something, that could spend all of their time looking into what someone like Joe Biden and his party would do if they had power, and tell the voters about it. Just a thought I’ve been kicking around.

      1. You mean rather than parroting the press releases?
        My goodness, where could we possibly find people with some minimal interest in investigating claims with a degree of skepticism?
        Perhaps they could even appear on TV and provide information without obvious bias and emotional appeal!
        Maybe I could raise unicorns, too.

        1. Or if they were lazy, a quick look at the SleepyJoe website would have spelled out the impending disaster for them.

    2. Wouldn’t matter – we got rid of MEAN TWEETS! The Reason crew is happy now !!!

  15. Right. So Libertarian. The Federal government working hand in hand with pharm corps to pump this vaccine out. You don’t take something in the middle and ignore the cause and affect of how it got there.

    1. Vaccines are actually an interesting edge case. Coronavirus actually tiptoes up to some of the more interesting aspects of the edge.

      The greatest benefit accrues to the elderly.. yet the spread and possible mutations occur among the adult population that is not at risk. With vaccines that are only 90% effective, failure to vaccinate the populous puts 10% of one group at risk.

      But let’s posit something even more stark, for illustrative purposes.

      What if there was a virus that effected different groups very differently? Let’s propose a deadly smallpox like virus that attacks certain blood groups that vary by ethnicity. It kills very frequently across all age groups… Up to 20% die immediately and another 20% are debilitated for years.

      There is a vaccine, but it only works on the people from the ethnic group that is not harmed by the virus. They are carriers. The other ethnic groups are not carriers.. but they are susceptible…

      Now you have a dilemma. The people who can carry the disease see no benefit from the vaccine. Others will die if they do not get completely vaccinated.

      What do you do?

      What would be the results if the government didn’t force them to get vaccinated? Let’s say it is a minority group.. about 10% of the population. Would you see mass genocide by the majority of vaccines were not forced on the minority? What about the reverse? What if 90% were not susceptible, but 10% risk death?

      Vaccine policy makes for great fodder for libertarian principle debate.

  16. Libertarians, small or capital L, should be tolerant of others making different decisions. Plus, it’s a government sponsored injection for chrissakes!

    Get vaccinated if you want, nobody’s stopping you, and actual libertarians don’t give a shit about your personal decision.

  17. Supporting deregulation does now mean you want or need everything deregulation brings about.

    1. The biggest problem I see with the vaccine is the government has given these companies, making billion of US taxpayers, no liability. If you are injured, or a loved one is injured or dies from the vaccine, you are all on your own. Why? Every vaccine/medicine comes with a stated percentage of people the vaccine/medicine will injure or kill in some way, that is just a fact, but the rest all have some liability. Considering the small chance of dying from the virus itself, I can understand why some people chose not to take these vaccines.

    2. The biggest problem I see with the vaccine is the government has given these companies, making billions off US taxpayers, no liability. If you are injured, or a loved one is injured or dies from the vaccine, you are all on your own. Why? Every vaccine/medicine comes with a stated percentage of people the vaccine/medicine will injure or kill in some way, that is just a fact, but the rest all have some liability. Considering the small chance of dying from the virus itself, I can understand why some people chose not to take these vaccines.

  18. Don’t the Democrats already have a massive disinformation task force?

  19. If the vaccines are a government conspiracy, why were people like Cuomo imposing huge fines on doctors for giving them to the wrong people? Why were progressives trying to prioritize young BIPOCs over elderly whites?

  20. “Hundreds of thousands of people have been given antibiotics.”

    You cite it as though it answers Brophy’s argument, but it just doesn’t.

    It’s like claiming the guy wasn’t affected before he hit the ground. You are neglecting the spatial component, whether by choice or by accident.

    To be clear, I am vaccinated, but I understand others that have misgivings, which also include side effects that may appear beyond a 6-month time frame.author:essay writing services

  21. It can take several years to test the performance of a treatment. You could use mercury as a syphilis vaccine and kill the bacteria on your skin, but you’d discover years later that the mercury vaccine harmed your health in other ways. I support your ability to test youthful vaccinations, but I am concerned to requiring people to take vaccinations in able to join college or maintain their nursing or doctor in Texas.
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  22. It can take years to examine the effectiveness of an immunization. You could use arsenic as a venereal vaccine and kill pathogens on your flesh, but you’d discover years later that the mercury vaccination harmed your health in other ways. I support your freedom to test embryonic vaccination, but I am opposed to requiring folks to take vaccines in order to join college or keep their work as a nurse or doctor in Texas.
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