Steve A. Stone
Fighting fire with…more fire?
By Steve A. Stone
December 4, 2021

Dear Friends and Patriots,

We’ve all heard the old saw about fighting fire with fire, right? That saying has been around since Noah was a rookie seaman. It has a clear meaning and works great in certain applications. When firefighters are working large forest fires they often resort to setting “back fires,” in front of the main fire line. The back fire is meant to burn in the direction of the fire line, consuming fuel the main fire would otherwise use. When it works it goes a long way to halt large swaths of a big blaze. In medicine “fire v. fire” is the strategy used for vaccines (real vaccines, at least). It energizes and strengthens the immune system and “teaches” it to recognize a future attack by the pathogen of interest. It’s also a strategy used in the theory of nuclear war. Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) – it’s nothing more than fire v. fire taken to the ultimate extreme. (Thank the Lord above we’ve never implanted it!) It would seem fire v. fire has many valid applications, but not all applications are equally valid.

I submit that fire v. fire is a tactic and sometimes a strategy, but never a principle. That’s something to keep in mind if we think to use it in a political context. If we’re not careful we can burn our “house” down. Today we see fire v. fire being used in a negative way, and if people don’t wake up and get smarter it’s our house that will end up on fire.

The recently-born Health Freedom Movement is gaining traction all across the world. People everywhere understand the intrinsic danger of allowing any government to mandate medical procedures. The history of such things is well-known and has always had a deadly end, even when the original intent wasn’t deadly. It’s another case where individual people are far smarter than governments. We understand our needs, and if we believe we need a medicine or medical procedure we’ll try to get it. We don’t need any government to impose it on us by its own will. That’s almost a classic case of tyranny. Besides, because governments are very bad at figuring out who should be subjected to their will and who truly shouldn’t, they always break out their broadest brush and impose their will on as many people as possible. Arbitrary broad-brush imposition of will – yes, that’s the tyranny we’re contemplating.

Let’s just consider the case of the United States of America. The rest of the countries of the world have their own political, social, ethical and legal problems to consider. We have enough trouble figuring out ours. We have all similar social and ethical issues, but our political and legal situations are a very different. Most people everywhere believe everyone should have a choice when it comes to anything that deals with our carcasses. We all generally believe such choices to be up to us and our deities – decisions with spiritual implications. No one likes it when governments tread there. Humans seem most content when the “how, why, and if” questions regarding their existence are theirs to contemplate and decide – not government’s. That leaves politics and the law as the main variables that make America different.

It fascinates that the Women’s Rights Movement has always championed “My Body – My Choice” as a core principle of their activities. Of course that principle only works if there’s only one person to consider, which leads inevitably to the need for those in the Women’s Rights Movement to champion the philosophic point of view that a baby is not a person. One would think the principle of “My Body – My Choice” would apply without reservation to the subject of forced medical procedures, but it evidently doesn’t. The very same people who are on the front lines of the Women’s Rights Movement appear to be in the tank for vaccine mandates. Evidently they view the principle as their wholly owned property and refuse to loan it out for other applications.

A lot has been uttered regarding The Nuremberg Code and its application to the current situation. Principle 1 of that code states, “The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. This means that the person involved should have legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, overreaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightened decision. This latter element requires that before the acceptance of an affirmative decision by the experimental subject there should be made known to him the nature, duration, and purpose of the experiment; the method and means by which it is to be conducted; all inconveniences and hazards reasonably to be expected; and the effects upon his health or person which may possibly come from his participation in the experiment. The duty and responsibility for ascertaining the quality of the consent rests upon each individual who initiates, directs, or engages in the experiment. It is a personal duty and responsibility which may not be delegated to another with impunity.” Sounds definitive, doesn’t it? Is there any doubt that vaccine mandates violate The Nuremburg Code? But, understand this – The Nuremburg Code has no legal standing anywhere – not in any nation. Citing the Code is as effective and meaningful as reciting Mary Has a Little Lamb. If The Code has no legal standing, what does?

Our federal law does make such ethical considerations, and The Nuremberg Code was used as a reference in its formulation. Our Code of Federal Regulations. Title 45, Part 46, paragraphs 46.111(4) and 46.111(5) require medical researchers to obtain and document informed consent prior to conducting any experiment on a human subject. Paragraph 46.116 gives comprehensive guidance regarding informed consent, while Paragraph 46.117 gives the necessary guidance on documenting consent. These are the correct legal citations, not The Nuremberg Code.

The key word in the discussion is “experiment,” in any form. The argument to use is simple. Any medical procedure that has not been successfully demonstrated in animal trials and standardized human trials should be considered experimental. Consent of the subject is a basic requirement to conduct any human experiment. Because the so-called vaccine for COVID 19 has not gone through any animal or complete and standardized human trials it is logical to assume the current application of the so-called vaccine is itself experimental. Federal law, as cited in the previous paragraph, requires informed consent. The word “informed” means having full knowledge of the product, procedures, and risks involved. “Consent” implies a conscious choice made by the subject of the experiment. To not obtain informed consent is a clear violation of existing law.

The current actions by the federal health bureaucracy to approve so-called vaccines does not mean they are no longer experimental. It only means the government approves their use. Consider it mostly a transfer of legal liability for the use of the drugs. Without longitudinal, controlled, double-blind test studies of efficacy and side effects a drug has to be considered experimental. The current moves by the National Institutes of Health are attempts to provide legal cover for the government’s mandates. They should not withstand court scrutiny.

Consider this, also. When you’re dealing with your personal physician you always retain the right of consent. If your doctor proposes a treatment you don’t want you retain the right of refusal. The same principle applies when you go into a hospital for treatment. That’s why you sign all the forms when you go through Admissions. If you took the time to read the forms you’d see you’re signing away a lot of your right of consent. You voluntarily grant the hospital the right to treat you according to the dictates of their internally approved practices and the orders of your medical team. In other words – you legally grant the hospital certain rights of legal guardianship when it comes to your medical treatment. You can still refuse treatment, if you’re aware of what they’re doing. But, they don’t have to ask you, and in most cases they neither inform nor ask you before taking an action. There are certain limitations that apply, which is why there are so many pages to the documents you sign. The main point to consider is when you enter a hospital you have to sign away many of your rights as a condition to receive treatment. Once you’ve entered into their care they can perform experiments on you without your knowledge, assuming your physician approves. You and/or your legal proxy are the only ones who can stop that, but you do have to know such things are happening.

I believe I’ve given enough of the legal and ethical considerations regarding the vaccine mandates. You should understand the principles in play. You should understand it as several aspects of your rights to choose how to live your life, manage your own health, and control your own physical destiny. You should comprehend that if any governmental authority can force you to allow one substance to be injected into your body there is little to stop them from forcing you to have any other substance similarly injected. The substance is not pertinent to the principle. It doesn’t matter if that substance is glucose, a saline solution, or cyanide – it’s the abuse of governmental authority that violates your right to control your own life and pursuit of happiness.

Before we get carried away we need to consider a principle encompassed by our right to pursue happiness, as stated in our Declaration of Independence. The principle includes how you earn your living. If it makes you happy to own a small business, the law acknowledges your natural right to do that. Another principle is one commonly considered a core principle of the US Constitution – that people and the entities they create should largely be free of any government intrusion. That’s part of the bottoms-up idea applied when our government was formed. It’s the notion that the citizens are sovereign and the government is our servant – not the other way around. The vaccine mandates intrude upon all those rights and notions – but not directly.

Allow me to return to my opening paragraph concerning strategies. If we can all agree the vaccine mandates are a violation of fundamental American principles, then we need to consider mandates in all their form. We need to consider the truth of the anti-mandate laws recently passed in Florida. We need to understand them for what they are and what they do.

Florida’s anti-vaccine mandate laws seek to punish any employer who terminates the employment of a worker who has not complied with the federal vaccine mandates. This takes a bit of understanding. The first is – there is no individual mandate. We may think there is, but there isn’t. That’s the diabolical thing to the whole situation. No government has ordered any individual to do anything. There’s no law or regulation in existence that forces any individual to get vaccinated. Our freedom of choice is intact. At least, in the legal sense it is. No one is pointing a gun at our heads. The current emphasis of the mandates is to allow businesses with over 100 employees, federal agencies, and a few other select undertakings to terminate any employee who is not fully vaccinated. To emphasize the federal government’s “concern” the administration has directed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to impose fines on any such company or other covered entity that doesn’t enforce its mandate rules. So, the administration’s efforts do not direct any individual, but is coercive because it threatens their ability to make a living. It similarly threatens the existence of covered business entities due to the fines that could be imposed. Now, … I ask you … what is the principled response?

The Tenth Amendment acknowledges state sovereignty. Because none of the mandate provisions are codified directly into law any state can challenge them as Florida has. Any state can refuse to allow business entities within its borders to comply. The question isn’t “Can they?” and not “Should they?” but “How?” This is where the notion of fighting fire with fire comes in.

If vaccine mandates are a violation of the rights of individuals and businesses, then what makes anti-vaccine mandates that impose sanctions for following federal dictates less so? Understand the plight of a business. Florida just put all the covered businesses in the state in a “damed if you do, damned if you don’t” position. If they don’t comply with federal dictates they are subject to federal fines. If they do comply those same business entities are subject to state fines. Is there anyone out there who doesn’t grasp that fighting fire with fire does not work when principles are involved? What just happened to the “small and minimally intrusive government” principle that conservatives always tend to yammer about? What happened to the individual company owner’s ability to pursue happiness? Is there any happiness when no matter what you do one government entity or another is going to fine you into oblivion? Understand what’s going on. The federal government is wrong. So is the Florida government. So is any state government that would punish a business when they have done nothing other than act in their own best interest.

Consider another thing. Consider that private businesses have the right to hire and fire at will. They don’t have to give any reason. It doesn’t matter if the reason is a downturn in business, poor performance, or that the owner just doesn’t want a particular person around. The business has the right to control its workforce as it sees fit, with certain exceptions that are codified in law. Most of the exceptions are found in the Civil Rights statutes and Equal Employment Opportunity regulations that are meant to prevent overt discrimination. Many occupations have specific medical criteria that involve the ability to lift, carry, move, communicate, and sustain certain levels of physical activity of specified durations. Many occupations already require certain vaccinations as conditions of employment. It’s always been considered the right of the employer to impose such requirements as a part of their own risk-mitigation strategies. What is different now?

There are differences, but we tend to get carried away with them and forget – in private industry – no one has the right to a job. To state that in different terms – jobs are owned by the employer, not the employee. The employer always retains the legal right to hire and fire; to create and abolish jobs – as long as such things are done within the confines of existing law. It’s a terrible thing that the federal government would impose its will upon private employers and impose fines for not firing unvaccinated employees. It’s just as terrible for any state to fine a private employer who does fire such an employee. But, neither of those truths should infer the employer shouldn’t have the unilateral right to create an employee requirement to be fully vaccinated against COVID 19. The employment requirement itself does not impose a requirement upon an employee. The employee still retains personal choice. The last time I looked – no one in America is a slave. The employee still retains the right to refuse a vaccine. The employee’s right to choose is retained. Because the employee never has the right to a job in the first place there’s no violation of personal rights involved. Many will not like coping with those truths, but that doesn’t make them less true.

For the purpose of clarity I’ll summarize my arguments. First – mandates such as the current federal mandates regarding COVID 19 vaccinations are illegal, unprincipled, and in any other respect wrong. Second – any state law that would have the effect of punishing any individual or business entity for following a federal mandate is itself a mandate and is similarly wrong – for the same reasons. Third – any law, regulation or imposition by any government entity that intrudes upon the rights of any business to create employment rules are illegal, with exceptions noted that apply to non-discrimination policies. A private business has the right to create a requirement for full vaccination as a condition of continued employment under current statutes. Such requirements may constitute personal hardships and dilemmas for affected employees, but do not in themselves violate an employee’s rights to make choices in their lives. Fourth – jobs are owned by employers – not employees. Because that is true, other than in cases where the employer is bound by existing law or a contract (e.g., a collective bargaining agreement) the employer has the unilateral right to alter terms of employment.

Having laid all this out to you, I’m certain your question to me is, “So, who should be doing what?” To me it’s almost clear-cut. In keeping with our founding principles, the states should be exercising their Tenth Amendment-acknowledged sovereignty and issuing state laws that allow businesses to use their own discretion in moving forward – to ignore federal vaccine mandates if they choose, or to create new medical requirements for vaccinations if they believe them necessary. States should offer businesses a shield from federal impositions, not add to those impositions.

Fighting fire with fire makes sense. Fighting viruses with other viruses makes sense. Fighting mandates with more mandates … that’s just wrong on every level. I know it doesn’t make any affected person happier, but the truth is the truth. We either live according our principles or we have none. Understanding principles may not put food on the table, but it does make the truth easier to live with.

Note this discussion does not touch on government-imposed shutdowns. If anyone out there believes such things were justified by any legal, moral, or principle-based concept, please contact me. You’re in bad need of an education.

Now that I’m through with this discussion from the legal, ethical, and principle points of view, allow me to make a personal statement. I am not vaxxed. I don’t plan to ever be vaxxed. I do not judge those who have been jabbed, and similarly ask that I not be judged. Each of us is free and sovereign. We all have our lives to lead, each with its own complexities and requirements. I don’t encourage anyone to vaccinate. I have reasons, which I freely discuss. The overarching purpose of this communication was not to discuss why I won’t vax, nor why anyone else should or should not. It’s meant to state that much we see and hear today from both sides of the argument are neither law nor principle-based. When we go astray from those anchor points we risk being consumed by our own fires.

In Liberty,


© Steve A. Stone


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Steve A. Stone

Steve A. Stone is and always will be a Texan, though he's lived outside that great state for all but 3 years since 1970, remembering it as it was, not as it is. He currently resides in Lower Alabama with a large herd of furry dependents, who all appear to be registered Democrats. Steve retired from the U.S. Coast Guard reserves in 2011, after serving over 22 years in uniform over the span of four decades. His service included duty on two U.S. Navy attack submarines, and one Navy and two U.S. Coast Guard Reserve Units. He is now retired after working as a senior civil servant for the U.S. Navy for over 31 years. Steve is a member of the Mobile County Republican Executive Committee and Common Sense Campaign, South Alabama's largest Tea Party. He is also a member of SUBVETS, Inc., and a life member of both the NRA and the Submarine League. In 2018, Steve created 671 Press LLC as his own marquee to publish his books under—he does it his way.


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