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Discussion Starter #1
I've been reading (I'm a librarian, reading is obligatory) a book called: <i>Modern Liberty and the Limits of Government</i> by Charles Fried, 2007, and the theme is raising all sorts of interesting questions for me about vaxing, although he doesn't address it in the book.<br><br>
The public arguments about vaxing break down into two streams, roughly speaking. One argument is about safety, effectiveness, necessity to prevent epidemics, ingredients, public health policy, science, truth and all the rest of that stuff. This side is debated very vigorously on this forum, and to some extent, in the public square. The other argument is whether the government or the medical establishment or a combination of the two, should be able to decide what constitutes correct medical practice and impose it upon patients and practitioners. I guess the question of epidemics and public health policy should appear in both arguments, as they are both scientific questions and rights questions.<br><br>
Let us pretend, for a moment, that the science of vaxes was perfect. Side effects were as rare as claimed, vaccines were as effective as claimed, there were no contaminants or nasty ingredients in vaccines and all that. However, I'm not willing to rewrite the history of epidemiology, so I won't go so far as to buy into the inflated role of vaccines in saving lives, but will accept, in some cases, that vaccines reduced the incidence of disease. In this case, would the government be justified in mandating vaccination? Why or why not? And to what extent? Would religious and philosophical exemptions still be justified? On what basis?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well, through most of history it has been the guys with the guns (or spears, knives, axes, swords or whatever). The idea that individuals have a right to their own body and autonomy is a fairly new and radical one, going back, at most, a few hundred years.<br><br>
See, the problem is, when we argue the science, we may be right, but we don't have the peer-reviewed papers (well, not always), we don't have the authorities, we are mostly just regular people, so why should anyone believe us? However, if we have a clear philosophical line of reasoning, grounded in law and custom, then it doesn't matter about the science.<br><br>
We need a philosopher and some lawyers on our side, along with the occasional doctors and scientists.
 

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I've thought about this before, and it's just a really tough question. When I take the morality of the question and apply it to other health related scenarios, I can have a kind of sympathy for the totalitarianists. For example, I don't think MGM or FGM should be legally allowed because of the religion or philosophy of parents. And the radical provax side thinks not vaxing kids is abuse in the same way I think operating on infant sex organs for preventive/religious/whatever reasons is abuse. So I don't know how to answer the question in a way that can escape hypocrisy.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mamakay</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7942318"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I've thought about this before, and it's just a really tough question. When I take the morality of the question and apply it to other health related scenarios, I can have a kind of sympathy for the totalitarianists. For example, I don't think MGM or FGM should be legally allowed because of the religion or philosophy of parents. And the radical provax side thinks not vaxing kids is abuse in the same way I think operating on infant sex organs for preventive/religious/whatever reasons is abuse. So I don't know how to answer the question in a way that can escape hypocrisy.</div>
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This doesn't really correspond, IMO. Genital mutilation is an invasive procedure. Vaxing is an invasive procedure. Leaving people uncut and unpunctured is not invasive.<br><br>
But I do see the problem of the provax side seeing not vaxing as equivalent to child abuse. I think it would be possible to develop a philosophical/legal basis for refusing medical treatment, particularly <span style="color:#00FF00;">preventative</span> medical treatment. Nuremburg comes to mind, for example.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Deborah</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7944217"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">This doesn't really correspond, IMO. Genital mutilation is an invasive procedure. Vaxing is an invasive procedure. Leaving people uncut and unpunctured is not invasive.<br><br>
But I do see the problem of the provax side seeing not vaxing as equivalent to child abuse. I think it would be possible to develop a philosophical/legal basis for refusing medical treatment, particularly <span style="color:#00FF00;">preventative</span> medical treatment. Nuremburg comes to mind, for example.</div>
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But what about preventive healthcare in really extreme cases? I forget what the rate of transmission to newborns is with HepB, but what if (hypothetically) it was 90% in the absence of the immune globulin? At what point should the state have the right to say "Sorry, but your beliefs are just too dangerous for your child"? How do you draw that line?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Deborah</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7941749"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Well, through most of history it has been the guys with the guns (or spears, knives, axes, swords or whatever). The idea that individuals have a right to their own body and autonomy is a fairly new and radical one, going back, at most, a few hundred years.</div>
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But the idea of vaccination is only about 200 years old <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">. And the reasoning behing abandoning the idea of mandatory vaccination (wherever it was abandoned) was based on the fact that such policy didn't exactly bring significant advantages in efficacy but brough significant inconveniences in terms of liability - when you take the right of choice away from people there will be certain issues when something goes wrong (and something always does). Allowing exemtions relieves this to some extent.<br><br>
Another thing (that's from the experience of a country that didn't bother with human rights and freedoms for a while) - the government can come up with any sort of ridiculous law, but it doesn't necessarily mean it's possible to implement to the full extent - not enough resources to ensure full compliance.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Spy,<br>
Well, for those people who are forced into compliance with whatever the ridiculous law might be, they may lose out big time. A net usually catches some fish, even if it doesn't catch all of them.<br><br>
The legal case that laid the basis, in the U.S., for forced vaccination was tried in 1905. I don't think a similar case today would have the same outcome. In 1905 all sorts of abusive behaviors were pretty much accepted as okay.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Mamakay,<br>
When a child is in immediate danger it is a trickier situation, but once again, vaccines are preventative medicine. For the majority of children there is no emergency if they are not vaccinated at any particular moment. If you look at the population as a whole, there might be the potential for an emergency, but for an individual, there just isn't.<br><br>
I think this is something that needs to be worked through, though.<br><br>
I recommend the book. It provides some interesting starting places for a discussion of societal interests versus individual freedom. For example, he discusses the law passed in Quebec to support the French language, which involved a lot of rather odd impositions. The results, to say the least, were weird sometimes. For example, McGill University is an English University and all classes are in English. Most of the students are English speaking, although many are from a wide range of other countries. My library school class was about 50% Chinese, but we also had a Korean, a Greek, some Indonesians--you get the idea. The restrooms had advertising: in French of course. Probably one out of 10 students could figure out the full content. The advertisers were getting ripped off <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
The author has some more serious impositions from this law. For example, one store had a sign with Hebrew lettering that had been up for 50 years. Nope, had to be replaced by a sign in French.<br><br>
Anyway, I'm getting way off topic, but I think someone with the right background needs to work this question through. I don't know if we'll ever win on the science, but I think there are some openings that might be enlarged on bodily autonomy and freedom from coercion.
 

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This is fundamentally a question of natural rights and natural law, I think. I would love to delve into this, but ds is all over the place and has eaten my brain. However, I do want to say that this question raises an immportant issue, off the top of my head. There is no such thing as perfect information, and flawed humans are at both ends of the guns, so the use of force (overt or not) by the state cannot be justified here (or at all, coming from a position of anarcho-capitalism, but that's another debate).
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>lyttlewon</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7942517"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">IMO there are very few things that should be mandated by the government.</div>
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ITA.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Deborah</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7944859"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Anyway, I'm getting way off topic, but I think someone with the right background needs to work this question through. I don't know if we'll ever win on the science, but I think there are some openings that might be enlarged on bodily autonomy and freedom from coercion.</div>
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Deborah,<br>
When we talk in the US about democracy and basic rights is autonomy considered a basic right? Are we protected in the constitution in any way?
 

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The Constitution describes the privileges and restrictions applicable to the government. It is, to my mind, a deeply flawed document, but it doesn't pertain to the trappings of a modern democracy, except that it was intended to prevent the development of one. Our individual autonomy is inalienable as far as it is concerned, and "Congress Shall Make No Law" outside of strictly limited confines. The "Bill of Rights" implies that gov. grants us privileges; it should be called<br>
"Bill Enumerating Specific Limitations on Congressional Authority," but that never really caught on as a title...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
More thoughts from the middle of the night:<br><br>
It occurred to me that the place to start fighting for a clear statement of the freedom to refuse vaxes would be adults. As Mamakay pointed out, children's health stuff brings in all sorts of additional problems and arguments, but adults bodies are clearly not the business of the state. Once the adult stuff was clearly in place, then the debate about children could be opened.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>wallacesmum</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7946912"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">This is fundamentally a question of natural rights and natural law, I think. I would love to delve into this, but ds is all over the place and has eaten my brain. However, I do want to say that this question raises an immportant issue, off the top of my head. There is no such thing as perfect information, and flawed humans are at both ends of the guns, so the use of force (overt or not) by the state cannot be justified here (or at all, coming from a position of anarcho-capitalism, but that's another debate).</div>
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Very good point. When you start sticking needles into people, even if the science is very good, there may still be unforseen long-term results. Free consent is essential when the outcome is uncertain.<br><br>
Part of what I'm struggling with is that the whole "herd immunity" thing is based on the idea that individuals can be sacrificed for the good of the group. That seems like a very, very dangerous concept. One that basically destroys all freedom for everyone.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>wallacesmum</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7948420"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">The Constitution describes the privileges and restrictions applicable to the government. It is, to my mind, a deeply flawed document, but it doesn't pertain to the trappings of a modern democracy, except that it was intended to prevent the development of one. Our individual autonomy is inalienable as far as it is concerned, and "Congress Shall Make No Law" outside of strictly limited confines. The "Bill of Rights" implies that gov. grants us privileges; it should be called<br>
"Bill Enumerating Specific Limitations on Congressional Authority," but that never really caught on as a title...</div>
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I was specifically thinking of Roe V Wade where the Supreme Court determined that a fetus did not have rights that were endowed by the constitution. I was wondering if the same thought logic could be applied to other things. I know very little about the consitution itself just specific cases where it has been interpreted and then defined as law.
 

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my first thoughts when i read your post were about the nature of society--that fundamentally, a society is when a bunch of humans decide to live together for the protection and benefit of all, and make up some rules that overall benefit everyone. these rules, however, have the downside of limiting freedom.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Deborah</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7948888"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Part of what I'm struggling with is that the whole "herd immunity" thing is based on the idea that individuals can be sacrificed for the good of the group. That seems like a very, very dangerous concept. One that basically destroys all freedom for everyone.</div>
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IMO, i do a lot of sacrificing for the common good. taxes come to mind first. i work (ok, used to, i'm a SAHM now) for 3 months per year to pay my share of taxes, some of which go towards things that in no way benefit me directly (say, medicaid), but i strongly believe benefit me indirectly by shaping a better society. however, i'm sure i could take that money and benefit myself with it quite a bit if i didn't have to fork it over to the govmn't. now, this isn't life or death, but we have that too in the prison system. we have killed innocent people on because sometimes, the judicial system is going to fail, and an innocent person is going to die or be imprisioned for life. we can do everything in our power to prevent this, but occasionally it's going to happen. is it worth it? i think so (except the death part, i'm against the death penalty). however, i think a whole lot more should be done to make the system better.<br><br>
so, the precedent is there, i think, except that you can opt out of vaxes but can't opt out of prosecution.
 
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