An Unpopular Position

Contributed by “The Ed”

As you’ve seen in many of my previous posts, I am uncompromising in the belief that freedom and responsibility should be joined at the hip.  Sometimes it puts me at odds with the majority.  Sometimes, my view about the bond between freedom and responsibility can be viewed the same way as interracial marriage was once viewed – as misogyny.  Sometimes it makes me a target of obstreperous argument.  So be it.  Hit me with your best shot. 

Hit me with your best shot(photo credit)

One of the places where I find myself under fire is my belief that vaccines should never be mandated, coerced or otherwise pushed by the state onto unwilling individuals.  Vaccination should be a matter of informed consent. 

I personally will never get a vaccine again, and if I had it all to do overInformed consent is essential to freedom, none of my children would have been vaccinated.  I won’t belabor this article with my reasons.  This is an article on freedom.  I ask the reader to accept that I have done my homework, waded through the pseudo-science of both sides and reached this decision.

(photo credit)

My daughter, on the other hand is getting her children vaccinated.  I do not agree with this decision.  But it is not mine to make.  My grandchildren are her and her husband’s responsibility, not mine.  No matter what happens I will not hold their decision against them.  She and her husband will bear the consequences of vaccine injury should it occur, even though the state coerces her by not allowing her children in day care or public schools without a full vaccination schedule.

What I don’t like is the medical community’s position.  The 1986 Vaccine Injury and Compensation Law exempts the drug companies that produce the vaccines from any civil lawsuits that would otherwise come from vaccine injury.  State laws exempt hospitals, doctors, nurses and clinics from vaccine injury lawsuits.  Parents with vaccine-injured children may get compensated if they can get on the docket, prove that their child was afflicted with a vaccine injury that is on the list provided by the 1986 law and last long enough in the system to get compensated.  It takes 2 to 3 years to get through the process and only a third are compensated.  The medical community bears no consequence.

Erosion of parents rights(photo credit)

But that is not enough for the medical community.  They work the system so that parents are mandated or coerced into getting their children vaccinated.  The common forms of coercion come in the vaccination requirements for daycare and for public school attendance.  Some pediatricians will not see patients that are not vaccinated.  You might ask what is wrong with that?  The pediatrician has that right.  I agree.  The pediatrician does have that right.  So what’s wrong?

The choice of whether or not a child is to undergo a medical procedure, including vaccination, belongs to the parents.  They are the ones who have the responsibility to care for the child should the child get sick.  (The pediatrician is hired help, not the responsible caregiver.)  The parents bear the consequences of possible sickness if the child does not get vaccinated and the consequences of vaccine injury if the child does get vaccinated. 

Make no mistake about it.  The medical community pushes the laws that force parents to vaccinate their children.  That puts them in the position of taking the freedom from the parents while leaving them with the responsibility to bear the consequences of having their children vaccinated.  This is so wrong.  Freedom and choice belong to the persons who bear the responsibility.  The medical community does not bear the responsibility.  The medical community is exempt by law from responsibility.  Therefore they should not have anything to say about whether or not a child gets vaccinated.

I know that for many, this is sacrilege.  Many believe in vaccination just as fervently as an evangelist believes in religion.  Some may say that I do not have the right to spread disease.  I don’t have that right.  I have the responsibility to isolate myself so that I do not get others sick.  Do you feel I should be excommunicated for this?  Are you telling me that there are times when freedom and choice should not belong to the person bearing the responsibility?  Where does that end and who is the elite person who gets to decide?

Sometimes supporting the union of freedom and responsibility will put me in an unpopular position.  In this case most parents either support vaccine mandates or feel indifferent and don’t want to hear arguments from either side.  I believe in freedom with responsibility.  I have to be against vaccine mandates.

I hope I have hit a nerve (no pun intended).  The marriage of freedom and responsibility should never be rent asunder, not even for the greater good.

Beware of strangers bearing gifts(photo credit)


About Necessary and Proper

Jeff believes in the Individual's ability to excel when liberty and freedom of choice are protected. Also believes in the Community's ability to take care of the vast majority of its own issues and needs when the federal government leaves the Community's resources and sphere of control alone. State and local choice produce better results than centralized federal control.
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12 Responses to An Unpopular Position

  1. Naphtali says:

    I agree that the government should not tell any of us what to do. We are not stupid people. No one can ever tell me the Flu shot does not give people the flu. The only time I ever caught the flu was a few weeks after I had my first flu shot.


  2. The Ed says:

    Naphtali, thanks for the validation. I could launch into a diatribe about vaccination, but I won’t. This blog is about freedom and responsibility. If the state makes decisions about what the medical community will do to us then we are not free. For that reason alone all vaccine mandates should be repealed.


  3. tannngl says:

    I agree that responsibility and freedom are conjoined twins.
    The vaccine thing? I was a child before polio vaccination. And I have cared for infants with whooping cough who couldn’t breathe. Sometimes there is a standard that needs a requirement.
    But many times there is not. Gardasil.


    • The Ed says:

      Government has too much control over our lives. Vaccine mandates are just like Obamacare. When we are forced to vaccinate our children we are forced to pay for it even if the bill is passed to our insurance companies. We should not be forced by law to buy a product to get our children into public school. We have already paid for public schools with our taxes.


      • tannngl says:

        Government does have too much control of its citizens.
        However, should we scrap laws on murder?
        Should we allow parents to abuse their children?

        Can’t think of any other moral law that would make us buy something so you have that point on vaccination.

        But, and I’ll leave it here, for all practical purposes, we wiped out polio with vaccinations. People saw the horrible growing prevalence of polio around them and knew they needed to vaccinate their kids in the 50’s and 60’s. If you’ve never seen a child with this or some of the other diseases, you just don’t know. Polio had a 20% fatality and left large numbers of people paralyzed, mostly kids, unable to breath and in iron lungs. So, do you allow kids to go unvaccinated? They become a carrier threat to others who are not vaccinated and are a real threat to themselves.

        We have too many laws. I think the line for laws vs freedom should be drawn slightly further out than I understand you do.


  4. Grumpa Joe says:

    Jeff: I agree with you most of the time, but on this one I must say you are misdirected. Vaccinations are like most treatments for ailments. In the case of a vaccination it is against the possibility of an ailment. The judgement one has to make is, does the benefit outweigh the risk? I am a polio survivor having contracted the virus at age fifteen before a vaccine was available. I lived through the period of history when hospitals were flooded to overload with polio victims. I can tell you from my own experience that I do not wish this disease upon my worst enemy. With the onset of the vaccines polio has been eradicated in most of the world. Its reappearance is testimony that the virus is still active and working against us.
    I am one who encourages parents to get their kids vaccinated. I witnessed too much suffering by polio victims to think otherwise.
    Thanks for an insightful discussion on a serious subject.


  5. I will contribute my thoughts here, but will also do my best to stick with Ed’s intention to avoid drilling down into the medical pros & cons of vaccination….

    Ed wrote this article following a general theme he’s used in previous contributions: The direct relationship between freedom and responsibility. But another lens his Unpopular Position can be viewed through is the INVERSE relationship between individual freedom and general public safety. What do I mean by inverse? If you want more of one, you must give up some of the other. As Tannngl implied, each of us draws their personal line of balance between freedom and security differently. Further, many of us probably move that line around a little on a case-by-case basis, using pragmatic judgment rather than blind dogmatism…right? We’re free to choose our own personal freedom/security balance, and we’re also free to change our mind any time we wish.

    Whether by accident or on purpose, Ed chose a particularly thorny example with parental rights to choose or refuse vaccination for themselves and their children. This is one of those cases where freedom and security crash directly into each other in a society, because there are private risks inherent in accepting vaccination and there are public risks inherent in refusing vaccination. When a libertarian exercises his perceived right to refuse, the consequences may affect others. It’s not a clear-cut matter of “live and let live.”

    Ed’s fervent commitment to the marriage of freedom and responsibility compelled him to include this passage: “Some may say that I do not have the right to spread disease. I don’t have that right. I have the responsibility to isolate myself so that I do not get others sick. Do you feel I should be excommunicated for this? Are you telling me that there are times when freedom and choice should not belong to the person bearing the responsibility?”

    That’s the thorn, right there.

    When Ed contributes articles for me to publish here, I don’t censor him. But as I published this one, I recognized that the flash-point of freedom vs. security lies squarely in that passage. You all don’t know Ed personally like I do. I completely trust Ed to fulfill his responsibility to quarantine himself if he gets sick after refusing a vaccine. But this isn’t just about Ed, or other ultra-ethical libertarians like him. The inconvenient truth is that it’s about overall public policy for a whole society. Not everyone who refuses a vaccination would also self-police their own quarantine if they subsequently got sick.

    So which is worse for society? Infringing on the rights of RESPONSIBLE libertarians, or risking a dangerous epidemic of a contagious disease due to the negligence of self-centered UNPRINCIPLED mavericks?

    This is a doozie of an example of the tradeoff between freedom and security. There are multiple VALID viewpoints on this. There are NO PERFECT answers to this dilemma. I believe pure collectivism is a utopian fantasy. But I also believe that pure libertarianism is a utopian fantasy too. Yes, respect for personal freedom should be paramount when there are no potential consequences (intended or unintended) to others. But when there ARE potential consequences to others from the society-wide application of a libertarian-inspired policy, then I believe personal freedom cannot be held sacrosanct. In those cases, societies must venture into the grey zone and reach a workable compromise, with which the dogmatic collectivists and the dogmatic individualists will inevitably disagree. Sometimes simultaneously.

    Where would I fall in that grey zone? I agree with Joe. I just see no viable way that 100% individual prerogative can be guaranteed 100% of the time. Real life occasionally defies pure libertarian theory. Thankfully those painful tradeoffs are rare.

    Also, thankfully, all those who commented here are earnestly respectful of each other. I really appreciate my followers, and my contributors, for this!

    – Jeff


  6. The Ed says:

    I should add one other thing. Vaccine injury is real. The legislation to immunize the medical community was written not just for perceived injury. I have personally seen skill losses from vaccination. In spite of previous injury there are those who would have my son receive any additional vaccines that the medical faceless committees would add to the vaccine schedule – for the greater good. There is no epidemic going on and still they would throw him back into the bonfire of vaccine injury.
    For me the proper balance is informed consent. If there is a plague parents will be running to get their vaccinations. If the threat is like the chicken pox, not many parents are going to worry about getting their children vaccinated. It is my opinion (and you are free to disagree with me) that this is how it should be.


  7. Wyoming J says:

    Being “The Ed’s” son-in-law, I have to say that we are vaccinating the children. The reason is that we basically have to. To avoid vaccinations would mean drastically changing our lives or moving far away. We do our best to minimize the risk of vaccination injury by adhering to several “The Ed” suggested safeguards.

    On the subject of freedom and responsibility, one cannot truly exist without the other. A major portion of our country (see presidential election results) now believes that they are entitled to equal outcomes with no hint of responsibility. Amazing potential for success and happiness are associated with freedom, but success must be earned and freedom guarded. Increasingly the beneficiaries of this freedom have no skin in the game and/or do not bear the consequences of their decisions. The result? Inevitable degradation of both, unless the course is reversed.


  8. The Ed says:

    I am happy that you understand the issue of freedom and responsibility. I know that you will teach this principle to your children so that they do not have to figure it out for themselves.


  9. The Ed says:

    BTW Wyoming J, I do understand why you are vaccinating your children. I am not condemning you or Wyoming L over your choice. The important thing is that you bear the responsibility. The choice belongs to you.


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