Monday, March 24, 2014

New York Times: vaccinating America against liberty

The media's attack on parental rights continues - this time in the far-left New York Times. Not surprisingly they are leaping upon a bandwagon demonizing non-vaccinating parents and adopting the extremist position that calls for an end to vaccine exemptions.

I came across this pathetic editorial as I was checking my news feed today and had to respond.

It is written by a one Kristen A. Feemster a pediatric infectious diseases physician and health services researcher at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. In other words a public health do-gooder that has no respect for your rights as a parent. She begins
At the crux of this question is whether individual choice can be subverted for public good
First let’s cut through this “public good” facade and expose it for what it is: simply what one group of people want – often at the expense of another group.

We have inalienable rights to control what is injected into the bodies of our children and ourselves. There is no debate and there is no balance to be achieved between liberty and some amorphous concept of the common good. Our property right in our own body and our right to raise our own children are self- evident. To overcome such obvious realities requires more than some feeble appeal to common goodism.

She continues:
Personal and religious belief exemptions should be curtailed because some people, whether because of age or compromised immune systems, cannot receive vaccines. They depend on those around them to be protected.
As to the dependence gambit, no one can force their dependence on others. If someone willingly feels they can help by vaccinating and contributing to herd immunity that is fine, but they cannot be compelled to risk their own heath to satisfy the wants of others

Moving on she writes:
Vaccines work by protecting individuals, but their strength really lies in the ability to protect one’s neighbors.
The claim that the fundamental benefit of vaccination lies in its ability to create herd immunity is absurd. Herd immunity is an ancillary product of individual vaccination. Since almost everyone can be vaccinated today and since the establishment claims vaccines are effective, only a tiny number "benefit" from herd immunity while thousands must pay the price of a never-ending series of unwanted vaccines to generate it

Next are a series of bad analogies meant to justify an even more draconian set of compulsory vaccination than we already have. She states:
Vaccines aren’t the only situation in which we are asked to care about our neighbors.
First, there is no asking, there is compulsion backed by state force. Using ask in this context is yet another example of the dishonesty inherent in the vaccine extremist movement. And caring isn't the same as vaccinating. I can care about them without subjecting my child to a lifetime of unwanted medical treatments.

Next is the comes the bromide about having to obey traffic laws. (This is a popular one with vaccine fanatics) 

There are two arguments applicable to this analogy and both do not support your position. If roads were private, it would again be a decision of the road company and its customers as to what would be allowed on private property. If on the other hand you take the position that roads are a legitimate function of government, rules pertaining to the use of those roads would be justified since using such roads in an unsafe way could put other users at risk. The nature of the good – in this case the road – is a function of the rules that manage its use. Without rules it could be argued it would not even be a road since chaos would ensue and the road would turn into a parking lot. Whatever rules put in place cannot however violate fundamental rights since the very purpose of rules is to protect rights. To violate some to protect others would be contradictory.

Returning to the road only functioning with rules. This is not the case with vaccines for school - they function quite well without vaccine requirement - and children are not acting to create risks whereas a driver without rules could act to generate risks for others.

Screaming children are analogous to your road analogy because that negates the purpose of the institution. Vaccination to attend is not even in the same realm. Flu shots are not mandatory in most schools and those schools function quite well. Same with schools that existed for decades without mandatory vaccination laws. The state cannot punish children by denying the public education they have a right to as a way to force parents to vaccinate them against their will.

She then goes on to something about drug tests at work

This is a private matter between employer and employee and is not analogous to vaccinations for school. School is a public product and as such children have a right to it without having to medicate themselves to use a service that he or she has a fundamental right to.

And finally here examples conclude with this.
paying taxes - these may go against our beliefs and make us bristle, but we ascribe to them because without this shared responsibility, civil society doesn’t work
 First of all you use "ascribe" incorrectly. Perhaps you meant submit or relent or acquiesce.

You have not explained where this “responsibility” comes from so until you do we can dismiss the claim that it exists.

Civil society does not work when one group uses state force to confiscate the assets of others through taxes – you seem to be using one immoral act to justify another. Civil society is based on refraining from the use violence against the innocent to achieve your desires at their expense. Voluntary, not coerced actions, are the foundation of a free society.

Leaving the analogies behind,  she offers an unconvincing argument in an attempt to justify the nation's insidious mandatory vaccination policies.
To justify the subversion of individual choice to public good, there are some conditions that need to be met. The behavior or intervention needs to be safe and effective, and the risk of not participating in the behavior needs to outweigh any risk from the behavior.
Absurd. This is simply argument by assertion and a recitation of some shopworn utilitarian claptrap. You are justifying state force and coercion to achieve your goals at the expense of my goals. Just as a common thug would. There is no way you can objectively argue your desires carry more moral weight than the desire of those who do not want to vaccinate. You can’t even state what the concrete “benefits” would be. You are just limited to generalities and feel-good slogans

It goes on:
public health community's responsibility to support the health of patients and ensure the health of the communities in which they live.
The do-gooder feels they have this responsibility, but neither their own delusions of grandeur not the voters acquiescence grants them the moral right to use state force to exercise this self-serving goal because their actions very often violate the fundamental rights government exists to protect. As a component of the government, public health is constrained to protecting the rights of individuals not their health. People can protect their own health through voluntary means. Only when rights are being violated in, for example, a quarantine situation, can government claim a role.

This piece reveals what should be common knowledge: the common gooders that comprise the vaccine establishment are totalitarians at heart. Our liberty is nothing more than an obstacle to them and a such they will, to achieve their own self-serving goals, use any means necessary to subvert that liberty. It's time America wakes up to this fact and rejects the notion that freedom from a few cases of the measles is grounds to surrender the freedom upon which this nation was founded.

*Correction. This editorial is one of four discussing the issue of vaccine exemptions. Therefore I should have directed my response towards the author of the piece advocating for the abolition of exemptions rather than the paper itself. That having been said, the call to end exemptions is just one step beyond the Times' established position calling for tougher restrictions on exemptions


  1. Typo, you should be "your" in screaming children paragraph.

    1. Thanks. Appreciate the feedback :)

    2. Actually the entire sentence "Screaming children are analogous to your road analogy because that negates the purpose of the institution." makes no sense.

  2. The comments on the origional editorial astound me! Saying it is child abuse if you choose not to vaccinate your child.... One person going so far as to claim they got pertussis from a pre-schooler on a plane. How can you possibly know you contracted something from a complete stranger you were on a plane with? The table turns both ways here. I could claim that if you vaccinate, you're abusing your child. If you allow them to eat cold cereal, hot dogs, and mc donalds, you're abusive and negligent. I don't make claims like that though. I don't because I feel you have the right to choose what's right for your family. I choose what's right for mine. You don't have to agree with it or understand.

  3. It's worth pointing out that the Feemster piece in one of four opinion pieces in the NYT's "Room for Debate" section for the topic "Making Vaccination Mandatory for All Children". There are three other contributors who took part, with the following summarized positions:
    - Jocelyn Elders - Religious exemptions only
    - Jennifer Margulis - Parents deserve to have a choice
    - David Elliman/Helen Bedford - Forced vaccinations will be counter-productive

    Link to all four contributor pieces:

    1. Good point, Daniel. I added a correction in regards to your point