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Archive for February, 2015

Vaccinations

It’s a good thing Jenny McCarthy is pretty, because she’s a moron. Despite reams of evidence to the contrary, she continues to believe that vaccines cause autism. She’s a latter-day flat-earther unconvinced by science.

But I completely support her right not to vaccinate her children. And I support her right to be a moron, as I support anybody’s right to be a moron. The world is full of them, America has its percentage, and there’s a long string of Supreme Court decisions guaranteeing that right.

I also support the right of any parent to opt out of vaccinating their child. No one, anywhere, anytime, should be forced to take medicine against his will. Surprisingly, that idea rankles a lot of people.

There are a lot of people who believe that all children should be vaccinated, regardless of their parent’s wishes. They cite things like “herd immunity,” pandemics, epidemics, school attendance, etc. There are those that claim that since the schools can ban peanut butter, that they should also have the power to compel vaccinations.

In the interests of full disclosure, and to forestall retorts that I am opposed to vaccinations, let me state up front that I have been vaccinated against more diseases than most of you. Thanks to the Marine Corps, I am immune to cholera, yellow fever, the plague, and smallpox, among others. My children were vaccinated against all the usual childhood diseases. I believe that all children should be vaccinated. What I oppose is the idea of a government mandated vaccination program; in the same way I oppose mandatory helmet laws. I always wear a helmet when I ride my bicycle or a motorcycle, but I reject the idea of making it mandatory.

If a parent doesn’t vaccinate their child, it is they and their child that suffers. I’m vaccinated; a measles outbreak would leave me untouched. It would, in fact, only touch the unvaccinated. Likewise with polio or mumps. The disease can only spread as far as the unvaccinated.

There are some who claim that their child is unable to be vaccinated for one medical reason or another, and therefore, everyone else should be, for the safety of their child.

There are some who claim that the cost to society dictates mandatory universal vaccination.

But as C.S. Lewis said, “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.” If we are to order our affairs by allowing government to compel that which is good for others, then we must be prepared to sacrifice our liberty for the good of others. To do so out of charity, or nobility, or love is certainly virtuous. To be forced to sacrifice for others is neither virtuous nor good.

If we are to order our lives by government fiat because that produces the least economic distress on society, then we must be prepared to sacrifice all our liberty to the dollar. If cost to society is the measure of what the government can and should do, then be prepared to do without McDonalds, Starbucks, and Oreos. Be prepared to eat only approved foods, and attend mandatory exercise sessions. After all, heart disease is a leading cause of death in America. If societal cost is the measure of government power, then it’s power is limitless.

That is not to say that choices are consequence-free. I have no problem with saying that unless your children are vaccinated, we will not allow them in our public schools. If a private school wishes to allow unvaccinated children, fine; if a private school wishes to disallow them, fine. Some doctors are refusing to see unvaccinated children, good for them. Private enterprise rules.

Vaccinations are good, government mandated vaccinations are not. We should never come to think that necessary evils are positive goods.

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