A Nuanced Position on Vaccination

Posted by on Feb 3, 2015 in Politics | No Comments

The problem with politics in modern society is actually quite ironic.  In the age of wall-to-wall, 24/7, cable news coverage the American attention span is incapable of digesting a nuanced position.  And honestly, every issue requires a nuanced position.  I could never be a politician.  I would inevitably say something that would be used as a snippet without the back story or the explanation that goes with it.

Today’s issue is vaccinations.  On that topic I would probably say, as a foundation of my argument, that government has no constitutional authority granting them the ability to require vaccinations on anyone.  I would probably continue by saying something almost word for word what Rand Paul said.  “The government does not own our children.”  In the end, vaccinations has to be a decision made by parents.  And I would be run out of the campaign and slandered as backward and misinformed.  But this position is a nuanced one.  You see, I think everyone should be vaccinated.  I just don’t want to give the power to require it to the Federal Government.  They mess almost everything up and charge us twice as much to do it.  Let’s not put this one in their hands too.

I think that by not vaccinating your children you put them at unnecessary risk.  The good news is, that since I vaccinate my children, your stupidity won’t put my children at risk.  Now, let’s be frank.  The issue at hand is that there have been a few 100 cases of the measles reported in the United States recently.  That is a few 100 more than there should be, but we don’t imprison parents for feeding their children fatty foods even though in 2012 there were 208,000 cases of diabetes in people under the age of 20.  Michelle Obama has been excoriated by the right for attempting to change the diets of school children.  To be honest, her public awareness campaign doesn’t bother me in the least, that’s what people in public positions should do.  Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not advocating punishing parents for not more closely monitoring their kids diets and I certainly don’t think government has the right to dictate to me what my kids are allowed to eat at school.  That’s simply not the place of the Federal Government (there is a logical extension of this argument that says that since we have given up the role educating our kids to the government then what happens at government schools is the governments concern but you should know my position is that giving education over to the government was a fatal mistake that I wish we could take back…another nuanced argument for another day).  What I am saying is that in the face a serious, near epidemic health concerns, statistically speaking, measles remains non-existent in modern society (and God willing it will stay that way).

So, what’s my point.  I think that the media is functioning as it should when it reports on cases like the one about measles at Disney.  I think that doctors coming out and decrying the apparent trend to avoid vaccinations is also good and they are performing a service for this country when they do it.  I think that public awareness about obesity and diabetes and even gun violence is all appropriate and necessary.  What isn’t necessary is that the Federal Government do anything about it.  What’s interesting here is that the government, by wanting to solve all the problems of society through legislation has created a Pandora’s box.  You see, we scream for the government to stop bigotry and we pass laws prohibiting discrimination.  But now, how do we enforce a requirement for vaccination when we have laws that prohibit religious discrimination and some religious beliefs discourage vaccinations?  The problem is, that most politicians pass laws to score points not solve problems.  Anti-discrimination laws don’t stop discrimination but they sure do create a problem for the government when they want to discriminate against someone else to score more points.

Just because society recognizes a problem doesn’t mean that big brother has to step in to fix it.  The sad thing is, the only reason big brother tries to step in and fix it is because of the self interest of politicians.  You see, if they jump on the bandwagon, they can win votes.  If they win votes, they can get re-elected and keep their jobs and there are very few jobs as profitable as those who make the rules.

So, here is my nuanced argument.  I do not think that the government should require vaccinations.  I also don’t think that their should be any law against a private (or public) institution that serves the public requiring their patrons be vaccinated to receive service.  You are just as free to not vaccinate your children as I am to deny them admittance to my child care center, recreation center, sports club, school, etc. because the risk they present to the rest of my customers would have an inevitable negative impact on my ability to provide that service.  I think everybody should be vaccinated.  Just like I think everyone should get plenty of protein and eat a sensible diet and exercise on a regular basis and give generously to charity and be willing to help others who are less fortunate than themselves.  I just think it should be their free will choice to do so.