Monday, March 24, 2008

Parents Ordered: Vaccinate Kids or Go to Jail (A violation of principles)

"It is becoming more and more common to see stories where parents are being attacked by government agencies for choosing not to vaccinate their children. Independent of the merits of their choice, contrary to the conversations that usually ensue when this subject is discussed, to the “Brain-On” Free Capitalist the real issue is the proper role of government and the use of force in civil society.This story is about parents in Belgium refusing the polio vaccine. On one side is the government and medical establishment, “The Belgians have a right to take some action against the parents, given the seriousness of polio, but the question is, is a prison sentence disproportionate?” The other side: the hard line ‘thought leaders’ arguing, “Nobody has the right to unfettered liberty, and people do not have a right to endanger their kids (FC Aside: unless you work for the government). What’s missing? The parents, any comments representing their choice, anyone being asked about the larger issues of health, parental choice, child welfare from a parent’s perspective, etc.

There are bigger issues at stake in this story, they too are omitted.

Key Points:

Only 1,000 cases of polio are reported world wide. (Source: CDC/WHO)

In Belgium, Dr. Victor Lusayu (head of Belgium’s international vaccine centre) claims that polio has been entirely eliminated from Europe. (Source: Cheng Article)

In the US, all cases of paralytic polio since 1979 have been caused by the oral polio vaccine. (Source: DHPE)

In the last 10 years, “vaccine caused” outbreaks have occurred in Nigeria, Dominican Reublic, Haiti, Phillippines, Madagascar, China and Indonesia. (Source: AP)

It appears that the only substantial cause of polio in the civilized world is now - the vaccination.

Dr. David Heymann, the World Health Organization’s top polio official admits, “It would be nice if we had a more stable oral polio vaccine, but that’s not the way it is today.

Despite the emotional content this issue is not about whether or not its a good idea to have children vaccinated. that is a separate discussion. The issue is whether or not the government ought to be authorized to use force to override a parents choice for their children.

Parents have self-interest in their children’s well being. Certainly no government bureaucracy is going to have more self-interest in children than parents. Government workers don’t get some magic new formula for wisdom and sound decision making just because they get a paycheck from the government.

The marketplace of ideas cannot be controlled by force. Freedom and liberty made it possible for the discovery, development and implementation of the vaccine 50 years ago - there was no “law” required.

Health professionals admit they “want” a better vaccine, but if you are in the business of producing the current vaccine, what is your motivation to innovate, take risks, etc., when its a criminal offense not to buy your product?


It may be a good idea or a bad idea to have your child vaccinated, but it is certainly an unprincipled and therefore bad idea to empower the government (any government) to use force to compel parents to inject a dangerous disease into the body of their child. The only defense of the ‘tribalist’ mentality (which always argues that individual choice is dangerous to the public - as if the public is something besides the aggregate of individuals) is that the government “knows better” how to care for children. While this may be the case in a few isolated circumstances, it is certainly not the case in general and the law does not and cannot exercise rational judgment - only people can, and the people most interested in the health and well-being of children are their parents.


Should the government encourage awareness? Sure. Promote education, yes. Provide protection of individual civil rights? That is the less obvious implication of the issue - but the answer is obviously, “of course.” Oh, by the way, if you were in charge of selling the polio vaccine - do you think you could sell a lot or a little in the “free” market? It seems to me it would be like selling shoes, pencils, shirts, towels, hammers, nails, or even cell phones - not exactly a hard sell. To a well trained participant in the BOC - thoughts like these never come to mind. To the BOC, no law requiring vaccine’s means instant mass stupidity, rapid disease spread, and the abandonment of reason and self-interest.

The Point:

It’s not about polio. It’s not about vaccines. It’s not even about parental choice (though that’s close). This issue is about liberty and the proper role of government. Government is force, and force is only rightly used to protect rights, not to advance social change.

The tools of a Free Capitalist are persuasion, long suffering, ingenuity, innovation, vision and often patients. The socialists draw the gun, point it at your head and give ultimatums where their view is challenged. In which camp are you?

Action Steps:

Research the legal requirements for vaccinations in your community / state. Identify your options.

Identify individuals or groups in your community concerned about the issue. Learn their positions.

Discuss the issue with interested community members, your State Representative and/or State Senator.

Post your opinion online or write a letter to the editor of your statewide newspaper.

Discuss the issue and your legal options with your spouse and mature children. Decide in advance how you will respond if this becomes an issue that ever directly affects you and your family.

Suggest a Community Action Item to your local Free Capitalist Community Council.
If appropriate, suggest an amendment (in writing in detail) to the existing law to your state legislature.

Calendar a time to review / revisit the news on this issue in 90-days.

Keep your brain on, ideas flowing, and remain engaged in your community.

Email your friends and associates about your thoughts and planned action items."


Date: Wed March 12, 2008
Source: Yahoo News - Parents may be jailed over vaccinations
Author: Maria Cheng, AP Medical Writer
MRFC Principles: (3, 4, 11, 12)

Direct Source:

{On a personal note, here's an article I found interesting...}


No comments: