Vaccinations

Letter 1

From: R Huff

Subject: Forced vaccination questions and quarantine breakers as The Undefendable in need of defense

Dear Dr. Block,

I always enjoy hearing your thoughts on issues where it’s not clear how we would apply libertarian principles.  I usually find myself in agreement with you.  However, I strongly disagree with the argument you make in favor of forced vaccination.

In a recent article on the LRC Blog, you link to responses to several letters regarding forced vaccination, including one from a libertarian physician (“letter 3”) who said some of your assumptions were not realistic.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/02/walter-e-block/forced-vaccinations/

Reading your responses, I believe your argument is flawed on at least 3 counts.

Count #1: Dr. Block, you and I and “Typhoid Mary” and everyone else on the planet are already “guilty” of murder, if we extend your logic in light of the following facts:

1) Each year tens of thousands of people (just in the US) die of seasonal flu.

2) Many, many more people each year contract flu viruses and are asymptomatic or experience only mild symptoms and thus become “carriers.”

3) Countless carriers of the virus unwittingly pass the virus to countless other people, who, in turn, become carriers themselves or become ill.

4) A percentage of people who become ill end up hospitalized.

5) A percentage of hospitalized people end up dying, although the vast majority had co-morbidities that contributed to their demise.

Thus, if you have ever been exposed to any number of seasonal viruses (which you have) or have ever been sick with the flu, there is a very high likelihood (approaching 100% certainty) that you, at one time or another, participated in a causal chain of events that ended in someone else’s death.

Do you believe that everyone is a murderer, given these facts?  Would you count yourself among the murderers?

Count #2: In response to letter 5, you use the analogy of the rancher whose cows may wander off and damage a farmer’s property. However, this analogy fails to accurately reflect the dynamics of virus transmission.

For instance, how do I “own” a virus in the same way a rancher owns his cows?  Unlike the rancher’s cows, the virus invaded my property—my body—without my permission, presumably launching an attack on me from some other body it had previously invaded and colonized (and without that person’s permission either).

I do not see the similarity to cattle ranching.

I do not “own” the virus that trespassed on me, without my knowledge or consent. It is not mine to give or let loose on anyone else.  Therefore, I cannot be held legally responsible for damages caused by something I do not own or control (e.g., someone else’s viral infection).

Count #3: Furthermore, I would not hold that other person (the previous “carrier”) responsible for my getting sick.  In a world full of viruses, sickness is an ever present possibility. In such a world, I have to take responsibility for my own health.  Each of us implicitly understands and accepts this: There is a level of risk we accept every time we go outside and mingle with other people during flu season—in the same way we understand and accept the risks involved in driving cars or having sex without condoms.

How many times have you heard someone in the office say, “Yeah, there’s something goin’ around”?  People nod in agreement.  No one ever shouts, “Bloody murder!”

Everyone understands the nature of viruses: They go around every year and people get sick.  And every year, tens of thousands people die of flu-related illnesses. Yet, we still go about our business, because we accept the risks involved, like two boxers stepping into the ring. (If you can’t stand the thought of getting punched, then stay out of the ring.)

Meanwhile, there are also risks associated with not going outside and avoiding contact with other people, since the strength of our immune systems depends on our frequent exposure to viruses, as determined by human evolution. (This is another cost of universal lockdowns that government “experts” do not take into account: Our immune systems grow weaker and more vulnerable the longer we isolate ourselves in lockdown.)

It is also worth pointing out that herd immunity is the way we have overcome every other virus that has now become part of the seasonal “viral load” we face every year—and accept. Vaccines are no guarantee, and if they work at all, it is because they facilitate herd immunity.

So we want healthy, low-risk people to get exposed to the virus to increase population (herd) immunity, if we’re ever going to get back to normal.  This means universal lockdowns must end now, and the preposterous idea of “contact tracing” and quarantining asymptomatic, healthy people needs to be abandoned.

The people who break quarantine In the “new normal” Orwellian police state, so they can work and feed their families—and, in the process, bring us closer to herd immunity—are the unsung heroes who will lead us back to normal—perhaps “The Undefendable” in need of defense!

The idea that you could face murder charges if you do not submit to the totalitarian New Normal Order is a dubious and dangerous idea. I hope you will reconsider your position.

Warm regards,

Rodney

Letter 2

To: R Huff

Subject: RE: Forced vaccination questions and quarantine breakers as The Undefendable in need of defense

Dear Rodney:

We are talking at cross purposes. You are making empirical claims. You know way more about this sort of thing than I do. I make no empirical claim whatsoever. I’m making, instead, a theoretical claim. IF the vaccine worked 100%. IF there was ZERO chance if it having bad side effects with those who were innoculated with it. IF there were innocent people who would die if Mr. Smith, who would be fully safe, but refuses to get vaccinated, were not vaccinated. There are several other IFs floating around too, but its late and I can’t think of them. THEN would it be a violation of the NAP to compel Smith to be vaccinated? Are there NO scenarios within our imagination where this could be true?

I am trying to counter the widespread claim, held by many libertarians, that compulsory vaccinations NECESSARILY violate the NAP, under ALL conceivable circumstances.

Best regards,

Walter

Letter 3

From: R Huff

Subject: Re: Forced vaccination questions and quarantine breakers as The Undefendable in need of defense

Dear Dr. Block,

I appreciate your response to my letter. I understand what you are trying to do, but I do not think your argument is compelling.

If your “conceivable circumstances” under which forced vaccination is permissible consist of a series of increasingly unrealistic (if not false) assumptions (e.g. risk-free vaccination), then why would the theoretical conclusion you reach be compelling or even useful?

(I know that in answering purely economic questions, it does make sense to posit unrealistic assumptions, e.g., all other things being equal, to isolate phenomena being logically deduced (e.g., the effect of inflation on prices).  But what we’re talking about is not a purely economic question. It’s a political question that involves moral considerations, medical knowledge, and empirical claims.

Unconstrained by reality, I could make a series of unrealistic assumptions and imagine circumstances under which the hypothetical hamburger you just ate is murder, making you a murderer. Granted my assumptions, you would have to concede that anyone who has ever eaten a hamburger is a murderer (or an accomplice after the fact), even though the “guilty” party has no mens rea.

Theoretically, I can imagine a world in which 2+2=5. It’s conceivable. I can also imagine a world in which the Keynesians are right and Austrian economists are wrong. That’s conceivable too. I just imagined it.  In fact, there’s virtually no limit to what I can imagine. In which case, we would be wrong to oppose the statists who rely on Keynesian econometrics to centrally plan the economy. Would you find that scenario theoretically compelling?

Isn’t the point of these thought experiments to find some “real world” application for our principles? If so, what utility is there in basing your argument on unrealistic or false assumptions, circumstances that don’t actually prevail in the real world?  Does it not make sense to check our assumptions against reality?  Otherwise, aren’t we just engaging in intellectual parlor games for amusement?

If you are on shaky ground when it comes to making assumptions involving medicine, then why not firm up those assumptions by doing some research? Ron Paul is a doctor. Why not talk to Dr. Paul or the libertarian physician who contacted you (letter 3) and see if your assumptions are realistic?

I don’t think you fully engaged my critique.

For Count 1, I simply extend your logic, using your assumptions. Yes, I throw in some empirical claims (which you can check), but these are relevant facts that make up the real world in which we live and apply our principles.

For Count 2, I examine the rancher analogy you use to defend your position. That analogy does not hold up, because viruses that invade my body are nothing like cows owned by the rancher.

Count 3 is really an extension of Count 1. Here, I simply apply the Golden Rule as I would do in the real world, not in some hypothetical fantasy land where anything conceivable is actual.

Again, I appreciate the food for thought.  Thank you for your reply.

Many thanks and cheers!

Rod

Letter 4

From: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

To: R Huff

Subject: RE: Forced vaccination questions and quarantine breakers as The Undefendable in need of defense

https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/vaccinations-part-ii/

Walter E. Block, Ph.D.

To: ‘R Huff’

Subject: RE: Forced vaccination questions and quarantine breakers as The Undefendable in need of defense

I try to answer all polite letters. In this and in so many other ways, I try to model my life after my friend, my mentor, my guru, Murray N. Rothbard. However, I can’t engage in too many back and forth letters on any one topic. I get, oh, about 200 e mails every day, and I have to economize on time in some way.

Walter E. Block, Ph.D.

Letter 5

From: R Huff

Subject: Re: Forced vaccination questions and quarantine breakers as The Undefendable in need of defense

Dear Dr. Block,

Thank you for the link. I appreciate your reply and can only imagine the amount of time you spend corresponding with friends and foes alike. Please count me among your friends, despite our disagreement.

I think the reason why so many libertarians are hostile to your thought experiment regarding forced vaccination (or, to be more precise, the conclusion you draw from it) is that you seem to be inadvertently providing intellectual ammunition to our enemies.

Please hear me out. This is the impression I get when I read your critics.

I’m sure you’ve noticed the stealth communist revolution underway (to quote Peter Schiff).  And I’m sure you’ve noticed that the authoritarians justify their actions by using propaganda phrases such as “saving lives.”

The authoritarians have made it clear that “saving lives” means “contact tracing,” which is a euphemism for Big Brother “pre-crime” surveillance. And they’re dropping hints that forced vaccination may also be necessary.

Big Brother surveillance and forced vaccination will likely form the central pillars of the medical martial law they are foisting on us.  Anyone paying attention can see this coming.

In order to justify medical martial law, the authoritarians will make pre-crime arguments similar to yours (they already have implicitly), and perhaps even cite you favorably in this regard to reinforce the false impression of consensus. They can say (disingenuously), “Look! Even Libertarians agree with us!” (The NYT has way of pouncing on you and twisting your words, so this is quite possible.)

Of course, they will also lie about the safety of the vaccine they’re now rushing to market, cutting corners along the way.

Which brings me to the exchange you had with Kenn, your buddy and coauthor.

It appears Kenn got the upper hand when he showed that vaccination is inherently risky, by definition.  This means that your assumption of a risk-free vaccine is not just unrealistic; it’s a logical contradiction (a risk-free risk), which puts it in the same category of “impossible” with 2+2=5.

What I think bothers your critics most is that, while you seem preoccupied with esoteric thought experiments and hypothetical impossibilities, your critics are grappling with the very real threat of medical martial law being imposed by a totalitarian government, here and now. Society is sweeping toward destruction, and you seem to be out to lunch.  (I’m not saying this is the case, but your critics seem to have this impression.)

This seems to be the thought process behind the hostility of your critics:

The natural tendency of any State, given the resources, is total control. And here we are on the brink of totalitarian government controlled by technocrats taking their cues from the World Health Organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and other globalist institutions. (I don’t think it was hyperbole when Peter Schiff said we are witnessing a stealth communist revolution.) This is the big game! The authoritarians are conditioning us to accept our own subjugation by telling us transparent lies about this virus and the need for forced vaccination.  We need all hands on deck to resist the “new normal” tyranny — to expose the scientific fraud, lies, and propaganda.  We need Ron Paul (here!), Daniel McAdams (here!) Tom Woods (here!), Lew Rockwell (here!), Thomas DiLorenzo (here!), Gene Epstein (here!), Professor Block… Professor Block?

(cough cough) Bionic Mosquito (here!), Becky Akers (here!), Dave Smith (here!), etc.

Again, these are impressions I get when I read your critics. I’m not saying this is the case. I don’t know what keeps you up at night.

What keeps me up at night and writing letters to the editor is this “new normal” Orwellian police state.

Attached are three (very short) letters I’ve written to various newspapers in my area.  The first one got published.   I’d be honored if you’d read them and provide feedback.  Of course, I understand if you don’t have the time.

Many thanks and cheers!

Rodney

Letter 6

Dear Rodney:

I think your explanation of the hostility hits the nail on the head.

Best regards,

Walter

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3:57 pm on July 15, 2020

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