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While teaching at a seminary in Kentucky I read a story in the paper about two men being found dead on opposite sides of a creek behind rocks where each had bled out from a gunshot wound. Since no one was present to see what actually happened, the Sheriff pieced together this story.

The men had been engaged in a long-standing argument over the lines between their adjoining mountain properties. Somehow they happened upon each other in a remote area of their properties, argued, and then started shooting. In the ensuing battle each seriously wounded the other. They were found dead the next day.

There are several things that could be said about what happened between these men, among them that their actions perfectly fit the categories of the juvenile and the absurd. In other words, two grown men died because they never grew up.

Green Bay Packers quarterback, Aaron Rogers, made me think of that story last week, an exceptional football talent and intelligent guy who spoke about not being vaccinated and contracting Covid, forcing him to sit out last Sunday’s game.

He said his trusted friend, Joe Rogan, color commentator for the Ultimate Fighting Championships, advised him to take Ivermectin, and other substances that would immunize him from Covid.

There are several things that could be said about that as well, but the thing I keep wondering about is who acted more juvenile, Rogers or the two Kentucky men.

Rogers is not alone, of course. I recently saw a report that said 8000 unvaccinated Republicans are dying every ten days from Covid.

I confess I have mixed feelings about that news, but the best side of me says that people dying needlessly, even unvaccinated Republicans, is something that should never happen.

There is no serious debate about the effectiveness of the Covid vaccines. They serve to provide good protection against contracting the virus, and, if we do, they will likely keep us from needing to be hospitalized or dying (break-through hospitalization cases are still less than 1% of Covid patients).   

So dying from Covid because you choose not to be vaccinated strikes me as about as senseless as anything I know. I wonder how many thousands of people who are dying of cancer, heart disease, or other illnesses would trade places with the unvaccinated and gladly get a shot.   

Put in a larger context, the unvaccinated are setting radical individualism over against community welfare. It’s all about individual rights regardless of how those rights affect anyone else. It has been a major influence in American life since the Plymouth Colonies.

Contrast that with the fundamental truth to which the English poet John Donne gave expression in his poem, “No Man Is An Island,” in the 1600s:

“No man is an island, Entire of itself/Every man is a piece of the continent/A part of the main…Any man’s death diminishes me/Because I am involved in mankind/And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls/It tolls for thee.”

Radical individualism ignores this truth about life, thriving instead on catchy phrases like “government overreach” and “mandates are signs of encroaching socialism,” all of which are political expressions of raw selfishness.

Common sense is all you need in order to know that everyone’s behavior affects everyone else.

Rogers should ask his Green Bay Packers teammates if his decision affected them last Sunday when they lost to a poorly performing KC Chiefs team they would have likely beaten had he played.

It is destructive to any group, community, city, state, or nation to believe it can survive if citizens embrace radical individualism.

Our founders discovered it didn’t work when the government they formed based on the Articles of Confederation failed completely, leading to the writing and ratification of the Constitution that has served us since.

None of that matters, though, to radical individualists, so what can we do?

At least one thing. We can demand that they take full responsibility for their actions, and there is a very specific way in which we can do just that. 

It’s called The Unvaccinated Advance Directive.

Unlike a Living Will that allows you to tell what treatments you want or don’t want if you are dying or permanently unconscious, an Advanced Directive allows you to express your decisions about end-of-life care ahead of time to avoid any ambiguity about your wishes.

That is what we should begin demanding the unvaccinated do in case they contract Covid, sign a statement that under no circumstances are they to be taken to a hospital or receive any kind of medical treatment beyond what they can do for themselves. 

If they really believe in radical individualism as they say they do, the least they can do is take full responsibility for their decision. If they refuse it will expose them as frauds unwilling to stand-up for what they say they believe.

At the moment every unvaccinated person who goes to the hospital or receives medical treatment for Covid is saying they don’t honestly believe in radical individualism after all, that what they did really was juvenile, an act of rebellion, for which they take no responsibility.

If they are sincere they need to show it. The Advance Directive is the way they can do just that, demonstrate they are willing to take responsibility for their decision even if it costs them their lives. 

So the message to the unvaccinated is this: “Sign The Unvaccinated Advance Directive that says you do not want to receive any medical treatment if you get Covid.” (I also think insurance companies should require the unvaccinated to pay the cost of any and all Covid tests they have.)

The truth is unambiguous. No one lives in a vacuum, no one is an island unto themselves, no one lives in a bubble. We are connected whether we want to be or not.

The least the unvaccinated can do is to grow up and take responsibility for their lives and stop expecting the medical professionals for whom they show such little respect to save them from themselves.