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Megan McArdle on Vaccinations

She takes a look at the whole Gardisil controversy tripped up Rick Perry during the debates. In addition to that she asks whether libertarians can be in favor of mandatory vaccination.

I am not against public health efforts when the behavior of one person puts another at direct physical risk.  You cannot drain your toilet directly into the local water table even if it all happens on your property, and you do not have a right to expose others to tuberculosis.  Similarly with vaccines.  The government does not have a right to mandate vaccination for your own good.  But it does have a right to do so when being unvaccinated is a physical threat to others who engage in normal behavior.

This is one area I wander way off the libertarian reservation on, since I generally understand the requirement that children be vaccinated against communicable diseases before they enroll in public schools. I wouldn’t even, on principle, have an issue with mandatory vaccination in the middle of an outbreak of a communicable disease that was killing large number of people.

So I don’t hold it against Perry that he required the Gardasil vaccine for Texas school children. HPV is a communicable disease, and no matter how much social conservatives fret about it, high school aged, and sometimes even middle school aged kids have sex. The consequences of HPV for women is cervical cancer, which can be quite deadly. This is a disease which is bad enough that our goal, from a public health viewpoint, ought to be its eradication, much like what happened with smallpox. In order to accomplish eradication, everyone has to be immunized.

Libertarians would argue that the state can’t force individuals to subject themselves to even the extremely rare risks posed by the vaccine. In regards to most other subjects, or in regards to diseases that also rarely kill people, or are uncommunicative, I would agree. I would not, for instance, want to see mandatory flu vaccines, unless it was a particularly deadly strain of flu. But when you are potentially heading off a disease that can you could potentially spread to other people, which stands a strong likelihood of killing them, I think the public need outweighs the individual’s sovereignty.

It’s much the same principle that underlies the government’s power to compel military service, which is another area I wander off the libertarian reservation over.

40 Responses to “Megan McArdle on Vaccinations”

  1. dustydog says:

    The moral quandry I see is forcing boys to get vaccinated against HPV, because the vaccination is a slight risk and no direct benefit (not infecting women, such as their future spouses, is the indirect benefit).

    Similarly, I have no issue with compulsory military service, but drafting somebody and then ordering them on a suicide mission – there is a moral issue there. If the state has the right to sacrifice your life for the greater good without compensating you, then then they have the right to disarm you and you at at risk (or murder, rape, and mayhem) for their benefit.

    I think the proper reading of the 5th amendment’s clause, “nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation” should be that life, health and liberty cannot be taken by legislation without a case-by-case review. Also, life and health must be considered private property such that public taking of life or health requires just compensation.

  2. Mobo says:

    I can understand mandatory vaccinations for airborne diseases, but HPV doesn’t just float around in the air. You can’t catch it during the normal course of a school day doing normal school day activities. That’s where the line should be drawn.

    As for mandatory military service, it can only be justified to repel an actual invasion, not some bullshit like Vietnam. Even at that, my feeling is that if we can’t find enough volunteers to defend our homeland, then we don’t deserve a homeland in the first place.

  3. Mobo says:

    BTW, as a personal choice, I would prefer my kids get the vaccination. As a personal choice, mind you….

  4. Greg says:

    A note on the HPV vaccine- it doesn’t vaccinate against all the common strains of HPV, but just a couple. So getting the vaccine doesn’t really prevent you from getting HPV, just lessens the likelihood depending on the strains your partner has.

    Given the fact that the common way of getting HPV is by sleeping around, it doesn’t seem to provide much benefit- we may eradicate 3 strains, but the rest will just take their place, or even gain ground because people think they are “immune to HPV” now.

  5. “high school aged, and sometimes even middle school aged kids have sex. ”

    Minor correction, based on living in California:

    middle school aged kids, and sometimes even elementary school aged kids have sex.

    There are many legitimate arguments against the mandatory nature of Gardisil, especially because there was not a lot of actual data at that point. But one problem is that a lot of parents have no idea how early their kids are having sex. Certainly, by eighth grade where we lived in California, kids that were not regularly having sex were considered weirdos. There was enormous social pressure about this.

  6. Sigivald says:

    which stands a strong likelihood of killing them?

    Half the population has it, she says. It kills 4,000 women a year, likewise

    Assume 300M people in the US (for easy math); assume half are women. Half of the sexually active ones have-or-will-have HPV, then.

    Call it maybe 50 million infectees, then? Though realistically, since they’ll all be or have been sexually actgive, within rounding error – lifelong virgins and nuns being ver’ uncommon, it’s really more like 75 million.

    4 in 75,000, or about 5.5 per 100,000 – the flu kills over three times as many people* by rate, but affects both sexes, for over 10 times the total casualty rate.

    (Or if we assume 4 in 50,000 that’s still 8 in 100,000 – half the mortality rate of influenza.)

    So why aren’t you for a mandatory flu vaccine? It’s not only more deadly, but spread via airborne means, and thus far, far more easily and rapidly.

    I suppose my point is, if we’re going to be for mandatory vaccination because “it kills more than N percentage of people”, we should start with the things that kill the most people, and are more easily transmitted.

    Frankly, I’m not sure the death rate for either is high enough to justify mandatory vaccination rather than optional.

    [eg. measles, which is said to have a mortality rate of 100 per 100,000 in the First World – 20 times that of HPV, as well as being more transmissible.]

    * Says the CDC (PDF), as of 2007.

    (On conscription, using Nozick’s critique of the free-rider problem, we can actually justify conscription in existential defense, as a last-ditch requirement.

    Happily it doesn’t really matter, since existential defense from invasion is staggeringly unlikely.)

  7. Sigivald says:

    (Oh, and even if we lump in “the ones that got non-fatal cervical cancer, mostly from HPV” with the fatalities, we still come in at about a third of the number of people who die from influenza…)

  8. btr says:

    Now, wasn’t there an “opt out” of the vaccination?

    So it wasn’t even mandatory.

  9. Yu-Ain Gonnano says:

    I don’t really have a problem with your reasoning in general regarding vaccines.

    When simply passively being near someone means you can contract the disease (and thus if you are sick, being near others puts them at risk) I see mandatory vaccination the way I see mandatory Auto Insurance. You have a liability to those *you* cause harm. You wreck your car and put yourself in the poor-house, boo-hoo for you. You wreck someone elses car and put them in the poor-house, that’s a different story.

    But when you have to actively engage in a known high risk behavior to contract the disease, I don’t think you get to fairly point the finger at the *other* person. You sign up for a Demolition Derby (or sign your child up for one) without insurance and get hurt. Well, sucks to be you.

  10. A Critic says:

    “I wouldn’t even, on principle, have an issue with mandatory vaccination in the middle of an outbreak of a communicable disease that was killing large number of people.”

    You should never ever describe yourself as “libertarianish”. You aren’t. If you are willing to force people at gunpoint to undergo medical procedures that have the potential of killing them – you are not even remotely libertarian.

    “But when you are potentially heading off a disease that can you could potentially spread to other people, which stands a strong likelihood of killing them, I think the public need outweighs the individual’s sovereignty.”

    There is no “public need”. You are willing to enslave people and risk their lives because you are POTENTIALLY heading off a disease that could POTENTIALLY spread to other people which could POTENTIALLY kill them. So you are willing to make other people obey you by threat of violence because of a triple layered possible event.

    Since prohibiting religious services POTENTIALLY prevents people from being radicals who POTENTIALLY might turn to violence that POTENTIALLY could kill other people – if we apply the fundamental principle that underlies your support of gun enforced immunizations, the government can ban religious services. Or anything else.

    Since prohibiting the sale and possession of guns POTENTIALLY prevents the irresponsible and criminal minded people from POTENTIALLY getting them and POTENTIALLY killing people – the government can ban guns if we accept your principle (or lack thereof).

    Anything and everything is up for grabs once you embrace the principle of statism/totalitarianism/power.

    “It’s much the same principle that underlies the government’s power to compel military service, which is another area I wander off the libertarian reservation over.”

    Yep. It is sad but not surprising to see you support enslaving people in order to coerce them into committing mass murder and other mass crimes.

    Didn’t you recently say something about the government not picking winners and losers? You obviously didn’t mean it since you are all about the government deciding who wins and who loses, so long of course that the government is picking the winners and losers you want by the rules you want.

    Dying from disease is part of life. It sucks for those who die from it and those who don’t, but it sucks a whole lot less than the consequences of establishing a state that tries to prevent this essential and natural part of life. Remember that Ben Franklin quote – those who trade essential liberty for security deserve neither? It applies here.

  11. Sebastian says:

    Critic… fine, then I’m not a libertarian. If you ever want to understand why the Libertarian Party has a hard time hitting 1% on the vote counts in a good year, now you understand why. Libertarians are really best at defining people out of libertarianism.

    I never really liked the term anyway. I’m more of a classical liberal, or really a republican, in the Madisonian sense. But if yo tell people you are those things, people can’t really put you in context. Perhaps I should just say I’m a Whig.

  12. Sebastian says:

    I am also done debating you, because you suffer from an absolutism that is not debatable. Just understand that only an infinitesimally small fraction of the population agrees with you. In truth, I’d rather live in your ideal world than the ideal the world the communists envision, because it is at least more in line with human nature. But I don’t see much of a difference between the two. Both are unachievable because they deny human nature.

  13. Skullz says:

    I understand your argument, but I can’t agree with it. I also wonder if there is a potential that you are unintentionally biased to something like this, since you lost your mother to cancer.

    I think it is as simple as this: No one should be able to force you to put anything into, or not put anything into, your body. Unless there is a direct correlation that your decision will directly negatively impact another person’s health or well being.

    I know that another person has already taken it to the nth degree, but there is some logic there.

    When I was in medic school, one of my professors explained tot he class that had treatments never been developed or delivered to treat diabetes, the disease would have died out and there would be no more diabetics. As diabetics were developing the disease earlier and earlier in life, there would not have been the chance for diabetics to procreate. I have not researched data (this class was 18 years ago) to back this up – but lets say, for arguments sake it’s true. Should we have never treated the disease? Or, to take it a step further, should we consider neutering diabetics? The disease would be wiped out – right?

    Should we limit people pre-disposed to genetic traits like hypertension, cardiac issued, and breast cancer from having children?

    None of this means that some of our tax money shouldn’t be used to research and develop new medications, vaccines, and treatments for health issues. non of this means that our physicians shouldn’t recommend vaccinations that may prevent the spread of disease.

    But… the final decision to inject / ingest something (or not inject / ingest something) into my body or my children’s bodies is mine (and my significant other’s in the case of children).

    I might believe that vaccinating against HPV is stealer idea, and I might tell all of my friends that it’s stellar idea – but I will never tell someone they MUST.

  14. A Critic says:

    “If you ever want to understand why the Libertarian Party has a hard time hitting 1% on the vote counts in a good year, now you understand why. Libertarians are really best at defining people out of libertarianism.”

    I’m a libertarian, not a Libertarian. Once when I was young I was excited to learn of the Libertarian party’s existence, then I read their platform, and have never had any further interest in them.

    People are really good at defining themselves out of libertarianism. It’s a really simple concept, but very few people are willing to live their own lives and not other peoples. They say they would like to, but their actions say otherwise.

    “I am also done debating you, because you suffer from an absolutism that is not debatable.”

    You never began! You would have to address my points in order to debate me, and in order to do that you would have to refer to your own inconsistent logic and principles.

    “Just understand that only an infinitesimally small fraction of the population agrees with you.”

    True, and nearly everyone agrees with you – there must be a state to run peoples lives. It’s a popular fallacy.

    “In truth, I’d rather live in your ideal world than the ideal the world the communists envision, because it is at least more in line with human nature. But I don’t see much of a difference between the two. Both are unachievable because they deny human nature.”

    There is nothing in human nature that requires slave masters and slaves. It is true that it is part of human nature to tend to want to be a slave master, and another part to tend to want to be a slave, but there is no reason that these baser parts must always and inevitably overrule the part that wants to be free and the part that wants others to be free. There is nothing in human nature that says we must always remain primitive barbarians ruled by even more primitive and even more barbarous members of our society. While resistance to change is part of human nature – so is the drive to change and improve. The history of our kind demonstrates that the latter is ultimately stronger than the former.

  15. mobo says:

    I think it comes down to this: If I am justified as an individual to use force against you in order to prevent injury to myself, then we are justified as a political community to organize a collective use of force for the same purpose. Anything beyond this line is an abuse of power. (I’m basically paraphrasing Bastiat’s “The Law”, for those of you unfamiliar with this line of reasoning).

    Any time the question of whether it is appropriate to use government coercion comes up, you should ask yourself if you would be morally justified in taking the same action as an individual.

    Since HPV is not something that can be caught by casual, everyday contact with other people, I can’t find any justification for forcing others to take a vaccine for it.

  16. A Critic says:

    “Any time the question of whether it is appropriate to use government coercion comes up, you should ask yourself if you would be morally justified in taking the same action as an individual. ”

    Well said.

    Now let’s say hypothetically there is no government, and your neighbor hasn’t gotten a TB inoculation. Would you be morally justified in going over to his house and holding a gun to his head so you can vaccinate him?

  17. ruralcounsel says:

    The problems really begin when you start thinking about vaccines that aren’t that well tested, or have a significant risk factor, and maybe aren’t all that effective. And whether the disease they are supposed to prevent is preventable by other means, or perhaps doesn’t have permanent long lasting effect to most who contract it.

    Lots of gray areas, lots of ethical ebb and flow. And no easy answers.

    Sure, some people want to draw a line in the sand and state unequivocally that they would or would not tolerate getting/avoiding the vaccine. But I don’t think it’s as easy as just saying you are or aren’t a libertarian or anything else. Getting the vaccine might save you, it might kill you. Not getting it might mean you kill someone else…also not very libertarian in my view.

    And not everyone wants to do the “right” thing; there’s always someone who wants to be a free rider.

    Life wasn’t made to be that simple or easy.

  18. emdfl says:

    The real problem of vaccinations is that pretty much zero study has been done regarding the cummulative/interaction of multiple – by that I mean the 15+ different – shots given to infants under a year old before their immune system has begun to develop.

  19. J says:

    Libertarian ideology applied within the U.S. requires that citizens have an amount of self-government, discipline, and non-self destructive behavior that most don’t have. It would be ideal to NOT have things like a draft, but would enough step up in time of need? or mandatory vaccinations, but would enough parents be responsible to make sure it happens? Personal freedom requires enough responsibility that too many aren’t used to having that it would take a slow, incremental process (at least a generation) to get the people in this country to appreciate it. I’m not sure that enough people want it.

  20. Sebastian says:

    I think Mill’s use of force doctrine that defines libertarianism is a good guideline for a free society. But I’ve never met any rule that always made sense when applied to every case. Vaccination is one of those cases where there’s enough externalities that I think it can justify government coercion of the individual.

  21. Sebastian says:

    I also wonder if there is a potential that you are unintentionally biased to something like this, since you lost your mother to cancer.

    Not really. I would be defending Perry’s action if it were an HIV vaccine too.

  22. Sebastian says:

    I think the difference between the flu and HPV is that we can pretty readily identify the at risk population for flu and vaccinate them. There is also no possibility we’re going to eradicate influenza.

    One of the reasons I support intervention in this case is because if you get everyone, or very nearly everyone, vaccinated, you can actually eradicate the disease and eliminate the need for future vaccination. This is what we have done with Smallpox, and very nearly Polio. If surrendering a bit of liberty was the price to be paid for future generations to live in a world without those two diseases, I think it’s worth it.

    As to HPV specifically, it is true that the vaccine only immunizes against a few strains, but its those strains it immunizes against that are known to cause cervical cancer.

  23. BadIdeaGuy says:

    Sebastian, in Pennsylvania (Chester County hosp) I was unpleasantly surprised when after we opted out of the Hepatitis B Vaccine for my first son, and the nurse came into my wife’s room at 1:30 a.m. and talked her into doing it anyway.

    Hepatitis B is such a relatively low risk that there’s no point to giving the vaccine to anyone but people of some South Pacific heritage (who have a genetically low immunity to it). Others affected by it are IV drug users and people who have unsafe sex.

    But in the 90’s, a group called the center for vaccine safety or something like that (funded by Hep B Vaccination mfr Merck) lobbied for this vaccine to be mandatory, leading to a $30 or $40 shot for each baby born in PA.

    The nurse that spoke to my wife had no idea what she was talking about and had no idea how low the risk of Hep B was.

    It’s just funny because the nurse said “why would this be compulsory if it wasn’t important” and the answer is good lobbying.

  24. A Critic says:

    “But I’ve never met any rule that always made sense when applied to every case. ”

    It’s a principle, not a rule. Rules always have exceptions. Principles never have exceptions.

    It is also true that if you eat well and exercise and don’t use drugs to excess your immune system is much better than if you eat poorly, don’t exercise, and use drugs (including alcohol etc) to excess. If your immune system is doing poorly, you are more likely to get sick and thus potentially more likely to infect others and potentially they could die.

    Ergo, the state must prohibit eating poorly, not exercising, and using drugs of any kind unless prescribed by a doctor.

    There is no distinction in principle between that and injections at gunpoint.

    “If surrendering a bit of liberty was the price to be paid for future generations to live in a world without those two diseases, I think it’s worth it.”

    That’s not your choice to make. You have no right and no legitimate power to act as king over your fellow man to force them to get on their knees and obey your dictates. You are a thief of liberty – you are willing to steal the rights of others, and destroy the rule of law – and all for what? A small measure of relief from death and illness. Once you as an individual and once “we” as a society embrace the principle of totalitarianism there are no limits. There is no line in the sand. You complain about violations of liberty on a routine basis – yet you support their very cause.

    It is the violation of liberty and the rule of law that is the crime, but it is the inconsistency that is my pet peeve. The illogic of supporting immunizations, taxation, war, conscription while opposing onerous gun laws, crony capitalism of the “green” variety, et cetera (or vice versa) really bothers me.

    Why don’t you (or your “opponents”) consistently support the state and all of it’s crimes against humanity? The answer so far as I can tell is because all human beings at heart desire to be free, and none except those directly in the throes of power can tolerate a vision of the world in which every facet of freedom is crushed. In order for a human being to function as such there must be some area or remnant of liberty remaining to sustain ones tortured soul.

  25. A Critic says:

    “Not really. I would be defending Perry’s action if it were an HIV vaccine too.”

    And if it turned out that within ten years those injected with a vaccine ten percent died and another ten percent suffered debilitating side effects – what would you say then? Would you continue to support treating human beings as lab rats with the next vaccine?

  26. Mobo says:

    I should also point out that you can’t effectively eliminate HPV for future generations by immunizing everybody within the boundaries of a single state. People move in, people move out, and others pass through.

    And there is an important distinction to be made when discussing the proper role of government: that of the general government and that of the states. While I would oppose a mandatory HPV vaccine here in PA, it’s really none of my business what they do over there in Texas. I think it would be a stretch and a half to say that the general government has a legitimate power to make the vaccine mandatory across all states.

  27. Sebastian says:

    And if it turned out that within ten years those injected with a vaccine ten percent died and another ten percent suffered debilitating side effects – what would you say then? Would you continue to support treating human beings as lab rats with the next vaccine?

    I would not be in favor of mandating an untested vaccine. This is why drugs are tested before they are approved for use. It’s also why it takes a decade or so to bring a drug to market.

  28. Sebastian says:

    It is the violation of liberty and the rule of law that is the crime, but it is the inconsistency that is my pet peeve. The illogic of supporting immunizations, taxation, war, conscription while opposing onerous gun laws, crony capitalism of the “green” variety, et cetera (or vice versa) really bothers me.

    That is because you are ideologically rigid and inflexible. I don’t view it much differently than some of our opponents who think it is always wrong to kill someone as a principle, and can’t see understand who believe there can be exceptions to that.

  29. Sebastian says:

    BadIdeaGuy:

    I wouldn’t classify Hep B as a relatively low risk. It kills about 3000 people a year in the US, but the real danger is that for a not small percentage of people who become infected, turns into a chronic disease, that can result in significant liver damage over a lifetime, as well as increasing the risk of liver cancer.

  30. Pilgrims Pride says:

    Firstly, there is no such thing as a “vaccine” against a virus. Vaccines are for bacteria; use of the scientific term with respect to viri is merely analogy or even semantic shift according to popular abuse of the mother tongue.

    True vaccines work. They induce the body to destroy the target bacteria. These so-called virus vaccines merely diminish their effect somewhat. So let’s just get those facts straight gong forward.

    Now let us turn to the issue of the State versus the Sheople.

    Sebastian holds a very Roman Catholic/Old Europe perception of power and the comparative role of rulers and ruled. While he seems to allow for “election” of strongmen, rather than merely an old fashioned “fight to the death” among contenders for Grand Poobah, he invests the victor with absolute Imperial powers over subject persons. The only limitations, according to his model, are arbitrary and at the list of the Poobah.

    Secondly, he misses the point entirely of the “republican” systewm! A republic does not exist to impose its will on its citizens. A republic exists to determine a mutually satisfactory means of self-government.

    This is to say, there are no “spoils of war” in the republic. Yet America has not been a republic for a very long time, a problem exacerbated upon the importation of tens of millions of European peasants who understand only feudal rule and imperial diktat.

    Freedom and Liberty — for which my American forefathers suffered, sacrificed, shed and spilled blood — was not about “Who gets to call the shots” or any other brutal vulgarian concept of “rule”.

    They did so explicitly as Christian freemen, to enforce their God-given right to live in peace and self-determination in a state of beneficial cooperation with a very exclusive set of neighbors and countrymen.

    So Sebastian, in my family’s 400 years on American soil, I find it is only now that ancient sins of lust and covetousness have risen such that seemingly decent persons such as you argue in favor of reducing your status to serf-slave.

    I forbid this. In the name of our God Most High forbid!

    *You* have no right and *I* and millions like me will never allow you to lord it over us — whose fathers invented America and built it with their bare hands — return us to a state of enslavement to the State.

    I humbly pray you consider your motivations and our purpose on earth. It is not to indulge your — or anyone else’s — boneheaded ideas or what is good or best for anyone but yourself.

    Humbly,
    A Descendant of the Mayflower Pilgrims and American Patriots who killed men for less interference than this.

  31. Sebastian says:

    You’d think I was advocating strapping people down and giving them a shot, or throwing people in jail. When we say “mandatory” in this country, it means as a condition of your kids attending public schools. Your kids don’t necessarily have to attend public schools, as you can home school.

    When I speak of mandatory vaccinations, I’m not talking about locking people up. It’s kind of like mandatory evacuations during hurricanes.

    As to the term vaccine, considering it was first developed by Edward Jenner against smallpox, which was a virus, and considering the term vaccine derives from the term vacca, meaning cow, because it was the cowpox virus that was the source of the vaccine against smallpox, your assertion is ridiculous and wrong.

  32. Sebastian says:

    I should note that I find “A Critic” a reasonable individual. I may not agree with his philosophy, but I think he’s reasonable. I can’t recall any comment by “Pilgrim’s Pride” that wasn’t rambling insanity that would make your average wookie suiter blush.

  33. Pilgrims Pride says:

    You are quite right about my idiotic brain fart. I am wrong. Completely wrong. Mea culpa.

    But you remain a petty tyrant who would impose his selfish will on others at the point of a gun.

    That makes you evil. (And dangerous.)

    Of all possible character faults I should much rather be wrong than evil.

    Good day to you sir, in your personal Hell such as it is.

  34. A Critic says:

    “I would not be in favor of mandating an untested vaccine. This is why drugs are tested before they are approved for use. It’s also why it takes a decade or so to bring a drug to market.”

    Mistakes happen. Create political power, such as the power to use violence to force people to make medical decisions as you think is fit, and mistakes are sure to happen.

    “That is because you are ideologically rigid and inflexible. I don’t view it much differently than some of our opponents who think it is always wrong to kill someone as a principle, and can’t see understand who believe there can be exceptions to that.”

    It’s always wrong to commit an offensive criminal act, that is to steal, from someone. The same action in a defensive context is right. There is a direct threat to your life from someone trying to kill you.

    With forced inoculations, you aren’t defending from the actions of a person, but from the actions of a disease organism. There is no direct threat to your life from someone not being immunized. There is no right to coerce others because of the possibility they might get sick.

    “You’d think I was advocating strapping people down and giving them a shot, or throwing people in jail.”

    That’s the logical inevitable outcome.

    “When we say “mandatory” in this country, it means as a condition of your kids attending public schools.”

    Due to the level of liberty and independence once found in this nation it is necessary to use incrementalism to slowly turn up the heat. People are used to the requirement of vaccination for “free” access to the indoctrination system, Perry introduces the “opt-out” HPV vaccine, and sooner or later the SWAT team is going to be breaking down doors because someone didn’t get their HIV vaccine.

    “It’s kind of like mandatory evacuations during hurricanes.”

    Don’t you recall the little ol’ lady with a revolver in New Orleans who was tackled by the cops for not obeying the mandatory evacuation?

    Power is like Pandora’s box – once you create it you can’t stop it from expanding to the inevitable conclusion.

  35. mobo says:

    “I think Mill’s use of force doctrine that defines libertarianism is a good guideline for a free society. But I’ve never met any rule that always made sense when applied to every case. Vaccination is one of those cases where there’s enough externalities that I think it can justify government coercion of the individual.”

    I’m pretty sure Bastiat’s “The Law” predates Mill’s “On Liberty”, and he seems to have come to pretty much the same conclusions a decade earlier. Not that either of these guys invented these universal ideas….

    All that aside, you’re right. There is no way to make a general guideline apply perfectly to every situation in the real world – which is why every individual should ask themselves these hard questions and look for distinctions.

  36. counsel says:

    Requiring the shot makes no logical sense if you do not require the flu shot. Annually, the CDC states Flu kills about 36,000 people.

    With the the talk of risk due to having sex. We should require virginity as a requirement for public school?

    Perhaps I should point out that the disease only affects those that do not get immunized or that guns can kill people… perhaps forcing a “no gun ownership” rule to get a driver’s license should be proposed? No… foolishness…yet we have this…

    I don’t want or need a Big Brother.

  37. Yu-Ain Gonnano says:

    A Critic,

    There is no right to coerce others because of the possibility they might get sick.

    I think you misunderstand Sebastian (agree with him or not, one should understand his argument). He is not advocating for vaccination because of the possibility they might get sick, but because of the possibility they make *other people* sick.

    The point of mandatory vaccinations is not to protect you from yourself, but to protect others from you.

    This probably doesn’t change your conclusion, but as I said, I think it’s important that critiques are of his actual argument, not a strawman.

  38. A Critic says:

    “The point of mandatory vaccinations is not to protect you from yourself, but to protect others from you.”

    No, the point is to protect others from disease organisms that you may or may not carry at some point in the future. It is a form of positive law that attempts to coerce people into preventing a possible future event.

    As with all positive laws that try to prevent the future the negative consequences outweigh any benefits.

  39. Yu-Ain Gonnano says:

    But it is to protect others, and not you. Whether it’s you or the organism you carry. It is to protect the other person.

    Whether such measures are worth the negative consequenses I was not addressing.

  40. NUGUN says:

    Please realize that MANDATORY means more than you think it does. I cannot even send my kids to a private school.

    While holding education hostage isn’t mandatory. It’s pretty damn close in a society for which education is necessary to partake of.

    HepB. What is the risk of infection for 2-10 year olds. Exclude those over 10 who might be sexually active. And exclude newborns who contract during birth. That leaves nearly a zero risk factor.

    What are the risks? Unknown.

    Laboratory tests do not eliminate risks. They merely suggest a low risk within controlled conditions.

    Children’s cough medicine was tested numerous times. Took one mom refusing to accept a SIDS diagnosis to finally prove all those studies wrong.

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