No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.
– Friedrich Nietzsche
Whenever the state acts, its inherently coercive character raises the question that most of us are unwilling to pursue, namely, do we own ourselves? From our earliest childhood days, we were conditioned in the belief that others enjoyed the exercise of authority over us. We were expected to be obedient to our parents, teachers, policemen, school-crossing guards, and various other adults who had the “rightful” power to make decisions for us that we were expected to obey.
As our lives segued into adulthood, we found ourselves subjected to additional authorities: employers, abstract agencies such as governments, professional licensing boards, judges, and other bodies we learned to accept as being entitled to our obedience. Even though we were never asked to voluntarily do so, we have been forced to pay taxes, been conscripted into the military to fight in wars not of our making, conscripted to serve on juries, and compelled to attend government approved schools usually for twelve years.
The Wizards of Ozymand... Best Price: $9.99 Buy New $2.99 (as of 02:50 EDT - Details) The state does not confine its actions to individuals who have engaged in criminal acts against innocent victims; but mandates a wide range of behavior that men, women, and children are expected to perform. One of their most dehumanizing practices is the compulsory vaccination of children. While such decrees are usually defended on public health grounds, the reality is otherwise. Any parent who desires his or her child to be vaccinated and protected against such communicable diseases as measles, polio, whooping cough, mumps, chickenpox, et.al, can find them readily available throughout America. So why the governmental directive for children to be so vaccinated?
Persons who desire to understand the purposes behind government action would do well to turn to a phrase well-known to ancient Romans. If a Roman official was assassinated, the first question asked was “cui bono?” Who benefitted from such action? The same question can be asked regarding any proposed statute, judicial order, or ruling by an administrative agency. Who would benefit from a $15 per hour minimum wage law? Certainly not an employee making less than that amount, whose marginal utility to his employer is less than $15 per hour. People who understand economics know that trying to raise hourly wages to a level higher than the marginal utility of employees will – as numerous studies have shown – result in increased unemployment. If this is not so, why limit the legislated generosity to a measly $15 an hour? Why not $100 an hour, or $100 a minute?
Who would benefit from all children being legally compelled to be vaccinated against childhood illnesses? Who produces and sells such vaccines? Might the pharmaceutical industry have an incentive to increase sales of their products by exponential rates; a result certain to follow if the state was to force all children to be vaccinated? Before answering this question, consider this hypothetical: if someone discovered that eating rutabaga would reduce arthritis, would rutabaga farmers – like Big-Pharma – be motivated to get Congress to enact legislation ordering consumption of their crop? Probably so, but would Congress support such a measure, given that a small group farming a marginal crop enjoys far less political influence than does Big-Pharma?
One of the most arrogant statist acts occurred 12 years ago when the governor of Texas, Rick Perry, issued an executive order mandating that all girls be vaccinated with Gardasil HPV. Gardasil is produced by the Big-Pharma firm, Merck, who that same year had contributed $6,000 to Perry’s political campaign. Additionally, Merck funded an organization Women in Government. The Texas state representative of WIG was Dianne White Delisi, the mother-in-law of Perry’s then chief-of-staff. Merck’s Texas lobbyist at the time was Mike Toomey, Perry’s former chief-of-staff and one of his most important fundraisers. E-mail exchanges among members of Perry’s administration acknowledged that the only company to benefit from this executive order would be Merck. When it became evident to Perry that voters objected to the order, he withdrew it.
A legal issue that was not raised in this matter involves the possibility that Governor Perry might have violated laws that prohibit persons who are not licensed physicians from practicing medicine. On the assumption that Texas statutes prohibit such actions, and that Governor Perry is not a Texas-licensed physician, his order might have potential criminal implications.
In Restraint of Trade:... Buy New $19.00 (as of 06:35 EDT - Details) Nor can we overlook the advantages enjoyed by the state in having a legal monopoly on the use of force. In a 1905 U.S. Supreme Court case, the court struck down a New York state statute that limited the number of hours employees could work in bakeries. In his dissent to the majority opinion, Justice Harlan wrote that working beyond the maximum number of hours spelled out in the statute could “endanger the health and shorten the lives of the workmen, thereby diminishing their physical and mental capacity to serve the state” (emphasis added). Rationales for the enforcement of compulsory vaccination laws for children have been offered on similar collective grounds rather than just the benefits they might provide for individual children.
State-required vaccinations raise other problems for licensed physicians called upon to vaccinate a patient without getting the consent of the patient to do so. Perhaps the oldest ethical standard for persons working in any profession is found in the “Hippocratic Oath,” probably written in the 4th or 5th century B.C. While often attributed to the ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates, born in the 6th century B.C., there is no evidence that he wrote it. The Oath – which new physicians are, by custom, expected to take – contains a number of specific prohibitions, the best known being “First, do no harm.”
If giving vaccinations is part of the practice of medicine, and if a physician forcibly (i.e., without the consent of the patient) vaccinates a patient because the state requires it, has he/she violated the Oath to “do no harm”? If the argument on behalf of the mandate is that the “harm” must come from the vaccine itself (e.g., a physical injury, illness, or death), and if none of these consequences occurred, would the physician have a defense to the Oath-violation charge? But what if the harm arose solely from the violation of the will of the patient? What if the nature of the harm was considered a “battery,” a long-standing tort defined in terms of “the slightest unconsented touching of another”? In a day in which the slightest sexual touching is considered a harmful – even criminal – offense, is it unreasonable for intelligent minds to regard an unconsented vaccination as an equally personal wrong for which remedies of monetary damages, and injunctive relief should be available to the person thus “harmed”?
The powers of the state to forcibly direct the lives and actions of individuals have expanded to such a degree that increasing numbers of people have begun inquiring into the nature of individual liberty from the premise of whether we enjoy self-ownership of our lives. The concept of “property” is not confined to real estate or other tangible interests, but to such broader questions as “who gets to make decisions about what?”
The nature of liberty and slavery are less informed by lawyers than by poets. Thus:
Of virtuous soul commands not nor obeys,
Power like a desolating pestilence
Pollutes what’er it touches; and obedience,
Bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth,
Makes slaves of men, and of the human frame
A mechanized automaton.
– Percy Bysse Shelley
Queen Mab, Canto III