As bad as it is, the ultimate tyranny is not NSA incessant spying on us and the surveillance state. It is not the loss of our personal external space. The ultimate tyranny is the armed state telling you that you cannot — or must — put something into your body. It is the ultimate destruction of selfhood, the end of what it means to be an autonomous entity, and for the religious it is the state forcibly occupying the most intimate space between Man and God. The forced psychiatric treatments under previous tyrannies are rightly recalled by most as among the most objectionable manifestations of total state control.
One wonders, in this case, why the self-professed proponent of “free minds and free markets,” Reason, would print an article titled “Refusing Vaccination Puts Others At Risk” with the Nazi-esque sub-title “A pragmatic argument for coercive vaccination.” What next, “a pragmatic argument for preventative detention”? For forced sterilizations? It’s all pragmatic, only the irrational object.
In the article, author Ron Bailey argues that “[p]eople who refuse vaccination for themselves and their children are free-riding off herd immunity.” But, as Bailey himself points out, there is no “herd immunity” because vaccines often do not work. And, though he does not say it, even when immunity is present there is no reason to automatically credit vaccines. Therefore, there is not necessarily a direct causality between the (non-existent) “herd immunity” and the dangers to the “herd” (an appropriate term for his argument) presented by the unvaccinated.
His illogical argument, therefore, is that the good socially responsible people who did their duty but were nevertheless not made immune would not be vulnerable to the spreading germs of the unvaccinated if everyone is forcibly vaccinated. But if vaccines work, why do they not work? What about the vaccinated who get sick and infect other vaccinated? What should their punishment be?
The great interventionist error in foreign policy is to believe that total security is possible if we neutralize all current and potential future threats. Just a few more drone strikes, a few more preventative wars overseas, a few more trillion dollars spent on the military and we will enjoy paradise on earth. The great interventionist error in public health policy is to argue that the same total security is possible if we only can force those “threats” to be neutralized, be it through forced vaccinations, forced diets, forced psychiatric treatment (“your right to be crazy ends at my nose”), etc. In each case the proponents cannot make watertight arguments that their prescriptions for an earthly paradise actually work and are not in fact counter-productive. Theirs is the logic of madmen and their treatments are worse than the disease.
I am on Twitter.10:17 am on December 7, 2013 Email Daniel McAdams