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Worthwhile Italian initiatives


Obviously, anything like this legal regime would be impossible to get past Presidents Manchin or Kavanaugh, but it’s nice to dream:

At this complicated stage of the pandemic, the lives of unvaccinated people are in major flux, at the mercy of decisions made everywhere from courts to workplaces. But their lives are changing most dramatically in a handful of countries in Western Europe, including Italy, where governments are systematically reducing their liberties, while beginning to return the rest of society to a state of normalcy. And while regular testing, until recently, was permitted as an alternative to vaccination, even that option has now been largely removed as countries harden their mandates. For people like Ronco, the choice is to get inoculated or face exclusion.


“We’re flat-earthers,” Ronco said, describing the view of people like himself that has taken hold. “With total disrespect for the system and humanity itself.”

But Ronco says leaders are overlooking how their moves are cleaving society into two groups, one accepted and one not. As Italy, over months, built up its Green Pass rules — first for indoor dining, then for workplaces, then for public transit and much more — Ronco turned his Facebook page into a mix of Torah passages, cello movements and fiery claims about government overreach. He re-shared the testimony of various vaccine skeptics and in the process lost roughly 1,500 of his 5,000 followers, only to find new friend requests pouring in — presumably from people who were more like-minded.

Although the story goes miles out of its way to be sympathetic to the anti-vaxx protagonist, Runco’s justification for not being vaccinated is just pure contrarian gibberish:

Faced with the direct question of why he is unvaccinated, Ronco again has stories — many of them. Over hours, he talked about potential medical consequences of the jab and alternative methods for boosting the immune system. He touted Vladimir Zelenko, a New York doctor tending to a Hasidic Jewish community, who became world famous for devising an experimental treatment that included hydroxychloroquine. He raged about the new divisions in society and even invoked the Nazi-era Aryan passport document.

But Ronco also made it clear that his resistance comes naturally. It fits with the story he’s set for his own life: an unconventional performer.

A willingness to go one’s one way is an admirable trait in a musician. When it comes to exposing others to a deadly virus and intentionally prolonging a pandemic, that’s another story. The belief that you’re entitled to both materially antisocial behavior and the full benefits of a society that depends on collective action to keep people out of the hospital is completely incoherent. Vaccine passports present the best balance between freedom and the needs of society.

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