Vaccinations? Quarantines?

From: Otar Matchavariani
Sent: Saturday, May 09, 2020 6:53 AM
To: Walter Block <>
Subject: Vaccination and Quarantine

Dear Prof. Block

Hello once again, hope you are doing well. I have two questions, one is quite straightforward regarding vaccinations and whether or not they should be mandatory? I was thinking that  people who do not vaccinate endanger not only themselves, but also people they communicate with and thus break the NAP and should  be punished accordingly, Additionally I was interested whether parents/guardians should be forced to vaccinate their children?

Second question I have I think is more complicated. I agree with your previous response that quarantines are justified in some circumstances. Now I’m interested in your opinion about lockdowns and their economic consequences. I know your position about the existence of the government itself, but my question is given the existence of the government is enforcing lockdown better way of dealing with coronavirus than keeping everything open. I’m not talking about lockdowns with indefinite time periods that will greatly harm the economy and will have a more severe impact on people, than the virus itself. In my opinion since this economic crisis is caused by the health crisis, we should first deal with the health issue. If left unattended coronavirus may have serious consequences like we see in a big part of Europe. If we take a closer look at the situation in Italy. I think  that an outbreak such as that will have more severe social and economic consequences, than enforcing the lockdown for a brief period for example one or two months, in order to contain the disease. Then slowly reopen the economy with  caution and new experience that was gained from the initial encounter with the illness.

looking forward to hearing back from you.

Best regards,

Otar M

Dear Otar:

Regarding question 1, yes, I think there could be circumstances in which compulsory vaccination would be required by law (let’s forget about who imposes them; well, governments for minarchists, private defense agencies for anarcho-capitalists), and parents should be required to vaccinate their kids. After all, as you quite rightly say, “people who do not vaccinate endanger not only themselves, but also people they communicate with and thus break the NAP and should  be punished accordingly.”

As for question 2, this is not a matter in which libertarians have any particular experise, as I see things. Rather, this is a matter for prudential judgement: which technique will minimize the deaths of innocent people. My own thought on this, not speaking as a libertarian, is that the government has done a reasonable job in warding off the virus, but that soon, more like days than weeks, we ought to be opening up things gradually, and the elderly, those with immune problems, should be very careful, continue to wear masks, don’t get out and about too much.

In saying this, I am abstracting from issues of governmental exaggerations of Covid, their use of this disease to reduce our liberties, the fact that vaccinations may well not work, may harm those who are forced to take them, etc.

You may be interested in this material:

Block, Walter E. 2013A. “Libertarianism and Compulsory Vaccinations.” January 19;

Block, Walter E. 2013B. “Forced Vaccinations.” February 4;

April 29, 2015. Marc Clair [] evictionism, Rand Paul, vaccinations; Marc Clair Editor In Chief;; (203) 558-8342; Skype is MarcMadness8780;;

February 11, 2015. Sam Seder debates Walter E. Block. The Majority Report [] The Majority Report with Sam Seder. Live M-F 12:00 NOON ET.; Ring of Fire Radio. With Sam Seder, Mike Papantonio and Bobby Kennedy Jr. Weekends.; Resolved: “laissez faire capitalism is the best system known to man”; 646-257-3920; topics: vaccinations, a reprise of our min wage discussion, your email sign off “If it moves, privatize it; if it doesn’t move, privatize it. Since everything either moves or doesn’t move, privatize everything.” and if it’s ok, a listener wanted me to ask you to explain the difference between consequentialist and deontological libertarianism;

February 11, 2015 Debate with Leftist Sam Seder on libertarianism, Non-aggression, property rights, retributions and libertarians, Native Americans, homesteading, property in America, Rand Paul and Vaccinations with Sam Seder on The Majority Report (

Block, Walter E. 2020. “Quarantines.” March 10;;

April 13, 2020. Debate on the Coronavirus Quarantine the post-debate correspondence:

Best regards,



3:04 am on May 10, 2020