And Now a Brief Word on Vaccines

Someone with a loathing of guns can certainly refuse to have one in his home. And if he lives in a part of town that is otherwise heavily armed, his home can enjoy the same kind of safety from burglars as do the armed ones. Such is the nature of the world.

One of the reasons why we are even able to have a debate about vaccines is that vaccines have been so successful. The gunless fellow is certainly free to claim that his house is left alone because of the good vibes put out by his multi-colored wind chimes. We all think that’s cute, and are glad we live in a free country where there are guys like that.

But the analogy breaks down with something like whooping cough. That’s not so cute.

Now I do have views on the efficacy of vaccines, but I want to address another element of this — the idea that even if they were effective, a requirement that everyone get vaccinated is necessarily statist and tyrannical. Why isn’t this a matter of personal choice and conviction? The answer is that it is not a matter of personal choice because everyone else is involved.

“And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, saying, When a man shall have in the skin of his flesh a rising, a scab, or bright spot, and it be in the skin of his flesh like the plague of leprosy; then he shall be brought unto Aaron the priest, or unto one of his sons the priests: And the priest shall look on the plague in the skin of the flesh: and when the hair in the plague is turned white, and the plague in sight be deeper than the skin of his flesh, it is a plague of leprosy: and the priest shall look on him, and pronounce him unclean. If the bright spot be white in the skin of his flesh, and in sight be not deeper than the skin, and the hair thereof be not turned white; then the priest shall shut up him that hath the plague seven days” (Lev. 13:1–4).

So take this as a very limited claim. This is not a claim that vaccines are always perfect, or that the side-effects are not a problem, or that frauds can never interfere with the science (as happened with the Lancet article which claimed a correlation with autism), and so on. This is a fallen world, and no problem of this nature can ever be addressed risk-free. The claim I am making here is very limited. If a person has decided personal convictions about the contagious disease he is carrying, the society in which he lives has an equal right to have decided and contrary convictions about that same contagious disease he has. And if there is an outbreak of such a disease, and the government quarantines everyone who is not vaccinated, requiring them to stay at home, the name for this is prudence, not tyranny.

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Johnny Simmons
Member

There’s also a railing around the roof issue. Do I want to harm my neighbor through my negligence?

Brandon
Guest
Brandon

So if I’m understanding you correctly, you don’t believe the government should use coercion on parents to vaccinate their children. BUT if said children are not vaccinated you are in favor of government coercion to quarantine the family?

I’m not necessarily using coercion as a dirty word here. I understand there is a time and place. I’m just trying to understand your view. Do you think the government should be allowed to force children to be vaccinated even if it goes against the convictions (religious or not) of their parents?

Andy W.
Guest
Andy W.

I think you are oversimplifying the issue especially when it comes to the safety and efficacy of immunizations and I would be curious to know what you have read and studied, outside of what the government and media tell you, that has made you come to these conclusions. However, I do appreciate you being a little more pastoral than Russel Moore writing off those who delay or don’t vaccinate as those who wear “tin-foil hats.”

John McNeely
Guest
John McNeely

A friend gave my wife and I resources that contained arguments for and against vaccines. One was an antivaccine DVD and the other was a book written by medical doctors giving the history of and arguments for vaccines. Interestingly, it was the book that made my wife not want to vaccinate our children with a particular vaccine. It was because the vaccine was created from an aborted fetus. They may have changed how it is manufactured since the book was written but we are not sure.

Darren
Guest
Darren

On the gun thing:
US deaths by gun, 32,000+ in 2014
UK deaths by gun, 51 in 2014
Population difference is about 1/7, but there are, per capita 100 xs more. So it breaks down there. But otherwise right, people who do not use vaccines benefit from the fact everyone else does, so have fewer to catch anything from.

Drew
Guest
Drew

But Doug, on the gun thing, we also need to look at the number of armed culprits, don’t we?

Andrew Thorpe
Guest
Andrew Thorpe

Shouldn’t we consider how the vaccine was developed in the first place? The rubella element of the MMR vaccine used in the UK was derived from cells from an abortion. Japan’s rubella vaccine was not derived in this manner.

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

It’s a simple question of how high are the stakes. The more harm that a particular parental decision will do to others (including that parents’ own children), the more of an interest the civil magistrate has in deciding that public interest trumps individual rights. That’s the rationale under which citizens are not allowed to privately own nuclear weapons, Second Amendment or no Second Amendment. The damage if something goes wrong is simply too great to meddle with. The cold, hard reality is that some people are going to die because of anti-vaxers who don’t vaccinate their children. If there were… Read more »

David R
Guest
David R

I just love the sort of political jujitsu that is happening in regards to this. Anti-vaxxers are exclusively liberal, and yet the media is doing everything they can to paint this as a Republican or Conservative phenomena.

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

DavidR, AndyW’s comment earlier on this thread does not strike me as coming from someone who is “exclusively liberal.” I’m sure Andy can correct me if I’m wrong.

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

And DavidR, I’m sure that Senator Rand Paul, who just gave his support to the anti-vaxers, would also be surprised to learn that you consider him “exclusively liberal.”

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

In your hypothetical, do the ‘not vaccinated’ have the disease associated with the outbreak? Or, are you saying it could be prudent for the government to quarantine all unvaccinated, irrespective of having the disease, during an outbreak?

Pretty key distinction, so I wanted to clarify.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Well, “potential victims” in the UK aren’t well armed at all, while gunshot victims in the US are frequently armed, so what have we learned here? FWIW, the gun thing in America is really for the most part a race thing.

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

Darren,

In Australia after they made guns illegal, gun violence went down, but overall violence – everything from petty theft, to rape, and murder – skyrocketed. Got to see the big picture, not just gun violence statistics alone.

Also, Australia and England are island nations which control their borders better than we do. Make guns illegal here and all you will do is increase the number of guns travelling into the USA from Mexico. Or perhaps for consistency, you support a military shutdown of the whole Mexican border, too?

David R
Guest
David R

eric – Rand Paul did not give any support to anti-vaxxers. This is what he said: “Here’s the thing. The thing is I think vaccines are one of the greatest medical breakthroughs that we have. I’m a big fan and a great fan of the history of the development of the small pox vaccine for example. But you know, for most of our history, they have been voluntary. So I don’t think i’m arguing for anything out of the ordinary. We are arguing for what most of our history has had.” “I think public awareness of how good vaccines are… Read more »

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

Does Doug’s application of the Leviticus text sounds a bit like Caiaphas’s, below?

“But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.”

Jack
Guest
Jack

Rand Paul is on the record connecting Vaccines to Autism and mandatory vaccines as a step towards martial law.

David
Guest
David

Eric:

A quick look at where the anti-vaxxers are:

http://www.realclearscience.com/journal_club/2014/10/20/are_liberals_or_conservatives_more_anti-vaccine_108905.html

Which indicates that, Rand Paul’s recent comments (which, incidentally, do not place him in the anti-vax camp) notwithstanding, the anti-vaxxer movement is more of a left-coast, left-wing movement than a conservative one.

Mitch Turner
Guest
Mitch Turner

Why would the quarantine only apply to unvaccinated people, when there are people getting measles right now that are vaccinated? I think we need to be more careful in making absolute statements based on information from the nanny state and its media minions. (Does that indicate I am not a liberal? I’m not, nor am I a hard-core “anti-vaxxer.”) Conservatives who are in league with the government on this are showing somewhat of a double standard. Where are you getting your “science” that says the vaccines are safe or effective or responsible for the eradication of a certain disease? From… Read more »

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

I never said that there aren’t liberals who are anti-vaxers. In fact, I took no position at all on whether __most__ anti-vaxers would be liberal or conservative. I was merely responding to DavidR’s statement that anti-vaxers are “exclusively” liberal. “Exclusively” means 100%. And that’s nonsense. On the merits, I’m not sure one can say that anti-vaxers are mostly one or the other, or that liberal and conservative even have any meaning in this context. Jehovah’s Witnesses are anti-vax; are they liberal or conservative? I suppose that depends on how you define the term. What about anti-science know-nothings who have no… Read more »

Tammy
Guest
Tammy

Quarantining those who are ill with a communicable disease is not the same as quarantining those who are healthy but have chosen not to had vaccinations injected into their bloodstream. People against vaccination are not exclusively liberal. Those I know that agree with me and do not vaccinate, after having done much research in the days before the Internet, are exclusively conservative, pro-life and Conservative Christians. Most scientists believe in evolution, a minority do not. Most scientists believe in global warming, now called global climate change, a minority do not. Doctors in the not too distant past ridiculed the idea… Read more »

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

Mitch, policy involves risk assessment and only rarely will there be a situation in which the risk on one side or the other is at zero. A certain number of children die every year from food poisoning, but that doesn’t mean parents can or should starve their children so they don’t die of food poisining. Nor does it mean that children should be banned from going to church or school because a small number of them will be sexually assaulted by pedophiles who are also teachers or church workers. You just do the best risk assessment possible, take whatever steps… Read more »

Mitch Turner
Guest
Mitch Turner

Eric, I have no problem with risk assessment. But when done from a priori assumptions taken from an unreliable source, you can’t just demagogue everyone who came to a different conclusion than you. How many people have gotten sick from an unvaccinated person in the last 10 years? How many sick from vaccines? The reason this is such big news is because there are very few cases of these diseases. So the numbers are probably more comparable than you assume and a risk that has to be considered. We don’t even know that this latest measles outbreak is from an… Read more »

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

Mitch, in science and in life it is probably rare to “know” anything to a 100% certainty, and if that were the standard it would be impossible to convict Hitler of murder. It is, however, possible to say that the evidence all points in the same direction to a reasonable degree of certainty. And I don’t know who you consider unrealiable sources, but to the people who actually study disease, none of this is controversial. I’m more inclined to trust the guys with immunology degrees who spend their lives in the laboratory than I am to pay attention to people… Read more »

David
Guest
David

Couple of problems with Dougs opening claim that vaccines have been successful. To take Polio as an example, it is commonlybelieved that the Salk vaccine was responisble for halting the polio epidemics in the US during the 1940’s and 1950’s. If so, why did the epidemics also end in Europe where Polio vaccine was not extensively used? In 1958 there were about 800,000 cases of Measles in the US. By 1962 – the year before the vaccine appeared – the number of cases had dropped by 300,000. In 1900 there were 13.3 measles deaths per 100,000 head of population. By… Read more »

Mitch Turner
Guest
Mitch Turner

Just to be clear, I’m not saying that all vaccines are made from products of abortion. Or that any are directly made today from products of abortion, as opposed to being developed with them. The point is that abortion is involved in some vaccines, so that may be a valid factor in rejecting those vaccines. I’m not expecting 100% certainty either. But blanket statements like “the evidence all points to” and “guys with immunology degrees” are fallacious arguments. That is exactly how the global warmists argue. But just like in meteorology, I bet there are people with real degrees in… Read more »

BJ
Guest
BJ

Doug, One issue that I see on this topic that is not really being addressed is the issue of cronyism in the case of private pharmaceutical companies using the government to either coerce (or at the very least spin up heavy social pressure to conform) parents to spend their dollars or the dollars of their insurance company for their own profit. Is that not morally wrong? At the very least, should this coercive conflict of interest not be eliminated? Perhaps offering them for free at tax payer expense? I am open to ideas on this, but when this very same… Read more »

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

“the contagious disease he is carrying” is a valid reason for quarantine but is not precisely the same thing as not vaccinated, which does not stand out as clearly a valid reason.

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

Mitch, you’re probably right that you can find an occasional lone wolf scientist here or there who disagrees with the consensus, just as you can probably find an occasional otherwise-evangelical Christian who believes in reincarnation or that the canon of Scripture is still open. So what? Does that mean that reincarnation or an open canon are still open questions among evangelicals? Not at all. Now, once in a while one of the lone wolves turns out to be right. Einstein came along and proved that Newton was wrong about a thing or two; it does happen. And it’s possible that… Read more »

Heidi Klessig
Member
Heidi Klessig

An overview of the vaccines derived from aborted fetal cells can be found here:

Joseph Hession
Member

Argument fails. The passage you use is about quarantining someone with signs that they currently have a transmittable disease. Forced “prevention” is not the same. Liberalism is a disease. Let’s force liberals to use condoms.

Keith LaMothe
Guest
Keith LaMothe

Doug, How should we evaluate the historical and medical truth claims being made about the benefits and risks of vaccination, infant vaccination, specific vaccines, etc? My wife and I did extensive reading before making the decision regarding our firstborn (ultimately in the negative, at that stage), but it seemed to me that most of the people making cases for either side were primarily concerned that the listeners _submit_, rather than _understand_. The eerie similarity with the climate-change debate (lots of “don’t question, just agree”) is a big part of why I err’d on the side of not injecting my infant… Read more »

Heidi Klessig
Member
Heidi Klessig
Mitch Turner
Guest
Mitch Turner

J Hession, that is the funniest thing I have heard in a quite some time. Thanks for the LOL. So right. Eric, you don’t know how many people are on either side of the debate, you are just making broad, sweeping generalizations. Evidently that is the only method of debate you know. Following the “consensus” is NOT usually the safest, especially if the power-hungry anti-God government is part of that consensus. If we follow the consensus on “climate change” all of us little people will be back in the stone age while the drivers behind the faux consensus jet-set around… Read more »

Joe_Wa
Guest
Joe_Wa

Evidently that is the only method of debate you know.

…speaking of “sweeping generalizations”.

The government has absolutely no reason whatsoever to needlessly poke you with a needle. The vaccine fear is silly. You guys are being silly.

Joe_Wa
Guest
Joe_Wa

I just love the sort of political jujitsu that is happening in regards to this. Anti-vaxxers are exclusively liberal, and yet the media is doing everything they can to paint this as a Republican or Conservative phenomena.

I don’t know what the media is doing, but this seems like one of those rare bi-partisan conspiracy theories: Anti-government Gun-Totting Libertarians and Middle-Class Whole Food Liberal Granola Moms unite!

Matt
Guest
Matt

The greatest success story of vaccination is undoubtedly smallpox, which has been effectively eliminated from the world.

I’m not sure if it counts as a quarantine, but when I was in elementary school in the early 90s there was a measles outbreak, and those who were not vaccinated were not allowed to attend school.

melody
Member
melody

I am a “Measles Survivor”. Yes, I endured the dreaded disease along with hundreds of my little schoolmates in the 1960’s. We all got the sugar-cube vaccine for Polio but nobody had heard of a vaccine for Measles back then, it was just another thing we went through as children. We did not go to the doctor – not even for Chickenpox (from which I proudly sport a scar). All this to say that from what I have been reading on the ‘Centers For Disease Control’ website: http://www.cdc.gov/measles/cases-outbreaks.html – most of the outbreaks in the U.S. in recent years have… Read more »

Michael
Guest
Michael

You didn’t mention what the government should do with those who have been vaccinated and still get the illness they were supposed to be protected from.

If vaccines work so well why are those who are vaccinated so concerned about those who aren’t? Esplain dat logic.

Gene
Guest
Gene

When you look at your 2 month old little girl, ashen grey and totally listless, and then ask your doctor what happened, and he says it was the vaccine and you should consider NOT giving them to the rest of your children, are you a nut-job for thinking that perhaps you won’t do that again? Do you wish for your neighbor’s kids to die in agony from measles? Prolly not. Should you be put in jail for endangering the public? If you’re the conspiracy type, you’ll love the answers you get when you ask what is the legal responsibility of… Read more »

Matt Robison
Guest

The burden of proof is 100% on those advocating for vaccines, the ones who want to introduce an intervention. This is a burden of proof they have still failed to meet. There has still never been a double-blind, controlled study on the long term consequences of vaccines and their safety. None. Until there is, they can make no pronouncements from on high regarding safety. They always cite ethical issues about purposefully not vaccinating a group of kids, which is bunk. One, they would have a slew of volunteers. Two, considering the ethics of mass medicating generations of kids with medicine… Read more »

Matt Robison
Guest

You also can’t take the efficacy of the polio and smallpox vaccines (including the risk/benefit ratios), and just assume they apply to all other vaccines by default. That’s a dangerous fallacy, and no one would dream of doing it for other medical conditions and their treatments.

For some reason vaccines are treated differently than any other medical treatment, as if their ingredients were handed down from Sinai, written on tablets of stone.

RFB
Guest
RFB

Well, what do you know…Herd Immunity Applies to Guns as Well as Vaccinations:

http://tinyurl.com/qzt8loo

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

Matt, you lost me at “There has still never been a double-blind, controlled study on the long term consequences of vaccines and their safety.” Well duh, because that’s not the methodology one would use to determine if vaccines are safe. Your argument is a little like saying that nobody has ever used a thermometer to determine the speed of an automobile. True enough, but so what? And if you don’t even understand what would constitute proper methodology, then probably nothing that follows in your comment is worth taking seriously either.

Susan Hamm
Guest
Susan Hamm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVwLo3lmKyo
This video is a long one but full of good info. Why would those who are vaccinated be fearful of those who are not? What is with the measles vaccine that sheds live virus in the urine and saliva of the child vaccinated? There are lots of facts that are kept from mainstream media about vaccinations of all types.

Darren
Guest
Darren

Wow a lot has been said since I put a comment on. Doug & Andrew, of course you’re right, big picture etc, island nation (our police don’t even have guns, apart from special “sniper” units). & I’m aware that things can’t just be undone. If the laws changed in the US, the nice people would hand their guns over, whilst the baddies would keep theirs. I’m just not sure they make the world a better place (I’d be miffed if I were a hunter & had my licence revoked). Thinking of some places I’ve lived, maybe it would deter crime.… Read more »

Jordan
Guest

It’s one thing to force my child to “stay home” (ala Leviticus), it’s quite another to inject a needle into my child’s blood stream with debatable substances for a virus that has a 0.3 mortality rate. I’m not sure where you are even going with this, as the passage you shared has no bearing whatsoever, not to mention the fact that it’s rather absurd to even begin to compare life-threatening leprosy to childhood measles. Has the government even brought up such an idea of quarantine? All I’ve heard is whether or not to force our kids to get the vaccine,… Read more »

Gregori
Guest
Gregori

@ Brandon. You ask a very good question, and I think Doug made it very clear that society does have the right to forcibly quarantine Healthy people who are not vaccinated from an “Outbreak”. If that is the case, who decides which vaccinations are essential (again hpv vaccination in faithful Christian boys and girls who abstain from sex)? , and what an outbreak looks like (the great US outbreak of the ebola virus in 2014, You know all of two persons infected)? Lets look at a practical example below: The Smith family decides to have all their children vaccinated against… Read more »