While some employers had already implemented their own vaccination and testing requirements, this changes the situation. It is one thing for an employer to impose requirements on their employees and another for the federal government to use its coercive power to compel employers to compel their employees to get vaccinated or tested. Since I have already written about the ethics of employers requiring vaccination, I will focus on the ethics of the state requiring employers to require vaccination or testing. I will leave the legality of the mandate to the lawyers.
Determining the ethics of the mandate is a matter of sorting out the legitimate limits of the coercive power of the state. That is, what the state has the moral right (or perhaps even obligation) to use its power to acc0mplish. The evaluation should be done in a consistent and principled manner, as opposed to (for example) deciding based on what one happens to mad about at a given moment.
Aside from the anarchists, most political theorists agree that a basic function of the state is to protect its citizens from harm. For those who value liberty, the actions taken in support of security need to be weighed against the cost of the imposition. While there are many ways to approach this, a basic utilitarian approach is generally a sensible starting point. In the case of Biden’s mandate, the idea would be to weigh its harms and costs against its benefits in protecting citizens. This approach is obviously nothing new. To illustrate, after 9/11 and after almost every terrorist incident since then, the United States has purported to act to increase security against terrorism. These always come with the cost of increased. . .
News source: A Philosopher’s Blog