Dr. Skoly appears to be receiving a lesson “to encourage the others” as the saying goes.
When I worked with the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity, we would periodically get tips from people about problems or corruption in our state, but the tipsters would very rarely volunteer to step forward. They feared, with good reason, audits, safety reviews, property inspections, and other forms of government harassment. Silence and toleration has long been a constant and low-level concession that we make to get by in the Ocean State.
When we require government approval for a huge percentage of our life and work activities, its officials have many screws they can tighten to force us to comply with their wishes, to accept their corruption, and to make an example of us. The smell of this state of affairs is very strong in the case of Cranston dental doctor Stephen Skoly.
With a test proving that he had natural immunity to COVID-19 and a policy of taking extra precautions during the pandemic, Dr. Skoly declined to be injected with one of the new vaccines. So, the state shut down his practice, depriving his patients of care and his employees of their jobs.
Now, the state Department of Health (DOH) appears to be working with the state Department of Labor and Training (DLT) to deprive Dr. Skoly, himself, of unemployment benefits, despite his having long paid into the system:
The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity has obtained copies of notices from DLT to Dr. Skoly, citing “Voluntary Quit” and “potentially fraudulent activity” as reasons why his claims for unemployment benefits were “disqualified” … even though another government agency was directly responsible for Skoly’s unemployment status.
It was initially communicated by a DLT official that Skoly’s original benefit denial was in error … and would soon be remedied. However, it appears RI DOH has since over-ruled the DLT, as part of its effort to destroy Dr. Skoly for daring to exercise his first-amendment rights.
In some ways, this unreasonable, even fanatical, treatment has defined much of the government’s response to COVID-19. A fearful constituency very much wants to know that government has the power to force people to comply. Another powerful incentive can be found in officials’ need to reinforce their prior decisions with all subsequent ones so they can’t be challenged and create an aura of blame.
If we could expect that the lesson being made of Dr. Skoly will mean that the impositions go no further than the vaccination he refused, that would be bad enough, but nobody should trust that to be the outcome. More likely, the logic of power will dictate that individuals will have to make greater and greater concessions until we’re all wishing we’d stopped the process at an earlier milestone, like the persecution of a Cranston dentist.
Featured image of Dr. Skoly’s office building from Bing Maps.