To the Editor:
One factor slowing our progress in getting people vaccinated against COVID-19 is a misunderstanding of the nature of freedom. For some, if the government tells them not to jump off a building, they will jump just to prove they are free. If told to jump, they won’t even if the building is on fire and rescue crews are below. But, if you really are free, in your mind and spirit, you will not feel the need to prove anything.
Joseph Heller captured this in his World War II novel Catch-22. The scene is a heated debate between a rather cocky young American soldier and an old Italian man:
“Because it's better to die on one's feet than live on one's knees," Nately retorted with triumphant and lofty conviction. "I guess you've heard that saying before."
"Yes, I certainly have," mused the treacherous old man, smiling again. "But I'm afraid you have it backward. It is better to live on one's feet than die on one's knees.”
False pride leads to false choices. Get vaccinated and live on your feet.