Evslin: What should be mandatory, and what not

Masks and vaccination, yes. Reusable shopping bags and recycling compost, no.

by Tom Evslin

Government should not use its authority to mandate promiscuously. Personal freedom does demand respect and deference. Overuse of mandates – especially mandates which aren’t or can’t be enforced – causes disrespect both for government and for those mandates which are essential. Moreover, to be effective mandates must be tailored as narrowly as possible.


After a reasonable wait to see if voluntary actions would be enough, Governor Phil Scott imposed a limited mask mandate on Vermont. We have the lowest infection rate in the nation, which fact, interestingly, can be used as an argument for or against a mask mandate. The problem with our mask mandate, though, is lack of enforcement. I think our mandate should be only for enclosed places other than homes because that’s where there’s the most danger. The primary burden of enforcement should be on the owner of the space.

Accepting the limit on personal freedom of a mask mandate to reduce transmission rate is one way to allow us to increase risk by the necessary action of resuming in-person school.

Store owners will object, reasonably, that they don’t want to be in the business of turning away customers and that some customers will react with extreme anger. However, these arguments don’t stop us from having stores enforce the minimum age for purchasing tobacco and alcohol (both too high in my opinion), no-smoking prohibitions, and various health department regulations.

Plastic bags

To make things easier on the stores and reduce their burden, we should re-allow them to give their customers plastic bags if they want to. During the early days of the pandemic we reasonably forbade store clerks from packing possibly contaminated reusable bags. Then we allowed a ban on non-reusable bags passed earlier to go into effect. The ban was a meaningless symbolic act even when it was passed. Our plastic bags don’t end up in the horrible Pacific plastic gyre; ocean currents don’t work that way. Our trash still goes to the dump in thick plastic garbage bags; the big plastic bags are full of all the long-lasting Styrofoam and plastic that individual food comes packaged in. The take home bags were reusable, especially as poop bags. Now I buy thicker bags for this purpose. Stores used to accept bags for recycling.

During the pandemic the ban on disposable bags is not just silly but also harmful. Virus belongs in the dump. Reusable bags are a possible vector for disease. Moreover, since the clerks can’t and shouldn’t help load customer bags, each checkout takes longer, and we spend more time together in stores.

Food scraps

Similarly the ban on food scraps in the trash never did make much sense. Food waste in a dump doesn’t last forever; it decomposes. When it decomposes, it releases methane which is a powerful greenhouse gas; however, many dumps including Vermont’s only commercial dump in Coventry burn the methane to produce “organic” electricity which goes into the grid. My home composting does not capture methane or produce any useful energy nor do most composting sites.

Now that food scraps can’t be bundled with the other trash, new services are being offered for curbside pickup. I applaud the entrepreneurs setting up these businesses; however, the local bears and racoons are very entrepreneurial also and often get to the food scraps before pickup and take them away free. Since the extra trips to composting sites aren’t all being done in EVs; greenhouse gasses result from the extra transportation.


When there’s a Covid-19 vaccine, it should be mandatory for going to school, day care, or college for both adult supervision and children just as masks are (medical exceptions only). Probably should be mandatory for taking public transportation as well, at least for a while. Individual freedom is preserved. You can home school your kids if you don’t want them vaccinated; you can drive if you don’t want to take public transportation. What you can’t do is freeload on the herd immunity earned by other people getting vaccinated and expose everyone else to your possibly infectious self. The societal reward for this mandate is huge and includes the quick end to other mandates like masks and prohibitions on large gatherings.

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While we don’t have a C19 vaccine, this year’s flu vaccine should be mandated in the same way. The flu is now more dangerous societally than it was pre-pandemic. Since symptoms for the two respiratory diseases are the same, flu cases threaten to both cause unnecessary alarm and overwhelm test facilities needed for a possible Fall resurgence of C19. Medical facilities can be overwhelmed by cases resulting from the two different viruses; and it seems likely that people weakened by flu will be more prone to C19 and in more danger should they get infected.

Flu vaccine is available now. There is no reason to wait for a mandate to get your shot.

Let’s lose the unnecessary mandates while we enforce mandates on what is necessary.

(Republished from the 8/31/2020 “Fractals of Change.” Opinions not necessarily those of Vermont Daily. Comments welcome.)

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Categories: Opinion

7 replies »

  1. How many people know the truth about vaccines? Do many people know that Bill Gates, the primary architect of our pandemic response and the organizer of event 201 in Nov of 2019 to prep for a pandemic, stake holder in covid patents ( which, if a naturally occurring virus would not be subjected to a legal patent), now barred from India for vaccine harm he occasioned there, will multiply his fortune through the mandates? Why would you want to risk the children? What’s wrong with you? Vaccines are NOT without harm, and they are not all equal. Us elders had only about 3 in our youth. The vaccine industry was getting sued right and left, then congress kindly made them immune and set up a 4 billion dollar vaccine harm fund- paid for by us. The rise in autism and the rise in vaccines are in sync. But you can’t prove it because they are immune! I just spent the last two weeks with a wonderful 30 year old woman helping to give her respite while campaigning, and her mother swears she was vaccine harmed. Only a singular person cannot fight big Pharma who is the primary contributor to Congress. The covid vaccines will leave the harmed no recourse whatsoever, not even to the vaccine harm fund.
    What is wrong with people! To subject the children to this! Its a crime to even suggest this. Believe me, there are lawsuits in the prepping to prevent the further harm of mandatory vaccines made with questionable and toxic ingredients. Just #ExposeBillGates.
    Vermont’s low covid rate may have nothing to do with he lockdowns and more to do with our natural lifestyle, no ventilators and hospitals that weren’t gaming the system for maximum covid gains. The protocols themselves were in violation of the Gov’s emergency powers act, go read it for yourself! Other places nearby certainly followed protocols in a tighter fashion, yet they have more covid. Remember the germ theory is just that, a theory that supports all of Big Pharma’s evil profiteering. Perhaps that’s why censorship of the terrain and exosome theory (bruce lipton) and doctors that do not promote the Big Pharma narrative have not been covered or even examined for their positive experiences reducing deaths.
    Here is a good statement made by an aware local: Eugenicists agree, mandate vaccines.

  2. I must add, because the writer of this opinion piece Tom Evslin, has SUCH flawed logic the following: #1, to mandate vaccines to protect those that have gained herd immunity is an oxymoron.#2 to suggest that everyone can homeschool to avoid a mandatory vaccine is basically ignorant of the real financial circumstance of too many families where both parents must work. #3 the rate of autism used to be 1 in 10,000 in the 50’s and earlier, it is now 1 in 38 and Big Pharma is grinning all the way to the bank. The children now face over 70 vaccinations in the first years of life, whereas baby boomer had 3, how have we survived life?!! Tom Evslin, have you ever had to care for an autistic child? I have. Better safe than sorry. These vaccines are rushed to market under questionable circumstance, and Big Pharma, Walmarts. Amazon et all have gained in this pandemic, main street has been broken. By design or accident? These billionaires didn’t get towhere they are by being nice and looking out for everyone else! Bill Gates has gotten in trouble before…….. for similar rigging of markets. Take a look see. Tom Evslin you would throw our children under the Big Pharma bus!? That’s just plain poor judgement. D you know how much kids with special needs are costing us? Thats why schooling costs go up while pupil numbers go down.

  3. Individuals should make the decision whether or not to be vaccinated or wear a mask. After all, the only people assuming the risk are those who choose to do neither. Be it small pox or covid-19 or the flue, if you’re vaccinated and wearing a mask, your protected. Allowing government mandates opens the door to an infinite variety of oppression.

  4. Re: “You can home school your kids if you don’t want them vaccinated; you can drive if you don’t want to take public transportation. What you can’t do is freeload on the herd immunity earned by other people getting vaccinated and expose everyone else to your possibly infectious self.”

    This is an example of elitist sophistry – false dichotomies resulting in oppression.

    First: Why do only the unvaccinated have to homeschool or drive themselves? If anyone is afraid of being exposed, let them get a vaccination…or homeschool, or ride the bus, or drive.

    Second: Who’s freeloading? Just being vaccinated isn’t ‘herd immunity’. “Herd immunity (or community immunity) occurs when a high percentage of the community is immune to a disease (through vaccination and/or prior illness), making the spread of this disease from person to person unlikely. Even individuals not vaccinated (such as newborns and the immunocompromised) are offered some protection because the disease has little opportunity to spread within the community.”

    What happens when a vaccine doesn’t protect a person from a mutated virus but exposure does? What happens when a parent can’t afford to homeschool because their discretionary income is consumed by the property taxes funding the public school monopoly that is subsidized, to the exclusion of homeschooling, by this oppression?

    What happens is tyranny.

  5. with his corporate background it’s no wonder Evslin is a stooge of Big Pharma

  6. Both David and Scott want mandatory vaccines. I will stand up for our rights to choose whatever goes into our bodies and our childrens, according to the health wisdom we subcribe to. As a constitutional unalienable RIGHT! www,emilyepyton.com