Saturday, February 07, 2015

Libertaians and Forced Vaccination

I'm once again in the middle on an issue. I personally have no fear of vaccinations and think it's rather silly of those who do. Still, I respect individual choice.

Reason magazine gives a libertarian doctor's opinion on some aspects of the issue. I'll go against the compromise option since I don't really have a problem with public schools requiring immunization for attendance. Well, I might compromise a little. Leave the school attendance thing as is but give them the option of requiring vaccination should an outbreak of some disease develop.


At 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahhh...the elusive middle ground. Good stuff. Very resonable way of thinking.The middle path was one of the major teachings of buddha. Picking a side clouds clear reasoning.

At 12:51 PM, Blogger MOLA:42 said...

"Leave the school attendance thing as is but give them the option of requiring vaccination should an outbreak of some disease develop."

The problem with that approach is once things get going... it's too late to vaccinate.

Most vaccinations need weeks or months for the immune system to get up to speed. If you wait for an outbreak then a vaccination offers no protection.

We regulate water systems so we all don't die of cholera. We regulate business and car emissions so we all don't suffocate (or at the very least, not turn an unhealthy shade of green).

Vaccinations are really no different... we (Society) are trying to protect ourselves from bad consequences individuals can not control.

At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Getting the benefit of a vaccination takes 7 to 14 days, or longer. Waiting for an outbreak is too late. Plus, it puts infants at great risk. I have no trouble telling the anti-science crowd to go to a private school, so long as it is done without public vouchers.

At 3:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Until they shut down the borders - why vaccinate?

At 10:29 PM, Blogger MOLA:42 said...

Anonymous 3:12:

"Until they shut down the borders - why vaccinate?"

So your kid won't die.

At 6:55 AM, Anonymous Liberal Jon said...

That isn't the middle Fred, that's the far right.

"We regulate water systems so we all don't die of cholera. We regulate business and car emissions so we all don't suffocate (or at the very least, not turn an unhealthy shade of green).

Vaccinations are really no different... we (Society) are trying to protect ourselves from bad consequences individuals can not control."

Here MOLA nails it and this is part of the reason why left and right agree that not having standards for vaccination is dangerous.

At 8:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jon, You're an idiot. Not everything is defibed in right and left. Some things transsend your petty political stereotyping. No wonder so many of your "friends" spend so much lime chuckling and shaking their heads behind your back.

Oh yeah, parents, please vacinate your kids!

At 9:14 AM, Anonymous Liberal Jon said...

Thanks anon. With friends like those... They must be my right-of-center friends, no doubt! Kidding!?

But for Fred... a pretty tough "authoritarian" take on vaccinations which Nicholas Kristof wrote today in the NYT op ed section.

"Thus refusing to vaccinate your children is not “personal choice” but public irresponsibility. You no more have the right to risk others by failing to vaccinate than you do by sending your child to school with a hunting knife. Vaccination isn’t a private choice but a civic obligation."

Why? B/c "First, a word on vaccines: They have revolutionized public health." But check out the article for further reasonings behind this definitively non-libertarian take.

But back to left, right. Anon - Nicholas makes your point by rightfully pointing out the inanity on both sides of the political spectrum. But I'd contend, that this nonsense is politically a positive to Republican/Libertarian's base and politicians like Rand Paul will have to walk back their takes cautiously, while Dems will not.

The left has their anti-sciencers out there (strident anti-GMO for one), but these are generally the exception to the rule. The right depends on anti-science and, imho, anti-information to secure victories. For example, is there an equivalent to Senator Inhofe on the left?

I agree anon, that not everything is left and right such as our common love for America, but so much more can be simplified and understood within the left v right frame than is commonly discussed. One of the reasons this is anethema to many as a general conversation piece in CA and HumCo is the left dominates state-wide elections (locally by 25%) and this is something many would like us to forget.

The left has won many of these arguments in California specifically b/c they have been on the correct side of reality and, importantly, ethics in many of the policy decisions of our day. Universal and (yes Libertarians) obligatory vaccinations among them.

At 9:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some school districts are now requiring if your child is not vaccinated and there is an outbreak of measles at their school, those students who haven't been vaccinated will be required to stay out of school for three weeks. Sounds fair although three weeks of child care might be expensive...

At 10:37 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

" those students who haven't been vaccinated will be required to stay out of school for three weeks."

Sounds fair enough to me, and glad to see Mr. Democrat, Liberal Jon, admits Democrats are not the Party of Choice.

At 11:16 AM, Anonymous Liberal Jon said...

On somethings, smart Democrats (and I'd welcome any Republicans) are pro-choice - like for example, making sure there is a market choice for potential homeowners to purchase outside the tired and dangerous status-quo suburban-exurban development pattern.

On other things like if theology should be allowed a foot in the door in science classes, or if important vaccines should be an option without consequences then yes, sorry, we act to protect all of us.

From the Kristof article...(the "herd immunity" concept might blow your mind Fred).

"The point of immunization isn’t just to protect your own child, but also to protect others. Especially those like Rylee Beck, a 5-year-old girl in Orange, Calif., who is fighting leukemia and can’t be vaccinated. To stay safe, she depends on others getting vaccinated and creating “herd immunity” to keep the disease at bay.

“Rylee is in pre-K, and it’s a scary thing sending her there every day,” her mother, Melissa Beck, told me. In December, the family took Rylee to Disneyland and then was terrified when a measles outbreak infected visitors to the park at that time.

At 12:06 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

I know all about herd immunity. My wife is vulnerable to measles so I see all sides.

At 7:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again, "Liberal Jon" tries to shoe-horn another non right/left issue into his one-size-fits-all right/left pigeonholes. Now that's a kind of sickness that it's too bad there's no vaccine for.

At 4:26 AM, Anonymous Liberal Jon said...

I'll try to keep this short. anon 7:14. (after finished...sorry - failed.)

a) awesome zinger!
b) but...this conversation is inherently political. Correct me if I'm wrong, but we are writing about this now b/c Presidential candidates Rand Paul and Chris Christy channeling their base, then having to back-track.
c) Note that both candidates are Republicans.

If you want evidence this is a classic left/right issue (with the middle being right of Red State and the Wall Street Journal who both condemned the Libertarian take on this) just listen to the most influential conservative media pundits of our time... Glenn Beck...

"Beck and co-host Pat Gray then went on to assert that even though immigrants from the Philippines are responsible for the measles outbreak, the media won't report that because their intention is "to make the case that you've got to obey the government" and get vaccinated"

...and Rush...

"What's being set up here, there are some Republican parents who don't want to have to vaccinate their kids. They don't want the government to have that kind of power. So Republicans are once again being set up as anti-government, anti-health, all this stuff."

Do you notice the connection - I'll make it for you if you can't. It's THE deciding factor these days for understanding left and right in this country. It's about framing government and liberals as nanny-state nincompoops.

So yes anon - one of a number of issues that the right preys on to sell it's vision of a US government circa 1776 and when called on it cry's victim-hood.

And yes, there are those left-of-center that carry water for the anti-vaccination crowd such as, famously the largely liberal redoubt of Santa Monica, but I'm sorry this is not equivalent to Presidential candidates and cherished spokes people for the left missing the simple fact that vaccinations are critically important and finding ways to get as many of the population vaccinated is another one of a thousand that the government gets right every single day.

(but that won't rile up the audience for votes and/or support of sponsors)

At 4:41 AM, Anonymous Liberal Jon said...

Here is a great recent Rachel Maddow video on this.

In it we see Rand is taking heat from the right on this too, as Rachel says, "refreshingly".

A quote from Red State: Sen. Rand Paul's comemnts on this matter ... are facially insane and beyond the pale of reasonable debate."

The Wall Street Journal characterizes Rand as engaging in "libertarian dormitory passions".

Anon, you may not listen to Rush, Glenn, Alex et. al., and more power to you, but to deny that they do influence to a great extent the anti-government hysteria that makes up the electorally critical base of the Republican Party (and the right) is a particular malady that sadly there is no known vaccination.

(sorry, did my best to keep up with your zinger)

At 5:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"to deny that they do influence to a great extent the anti-government hysteria that makes up the electorally critical base of the Republican Party..."

Nice straw man. I made no such denial. Just noted that you seem intent on trying to shoe-horn this non left-right issue into your handy left-right pigeonholes, which you just provided more long-winded evidence for. Yes, righties articulate righty talking points for being anti-vaxxers, lefties articulate lefty talking points (such as mandatory vaccinations are because of a conspiracy of profiteering pharmaceutical companies) for being anti-vaxxers. This one is an equal-opportunity-stupidity issue, which you'd easily see if you were not so intent on your obsessive shoehorning.

At 6:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you don't go cherry-picking, it's not hard to find the real evidence, which is that anti-vax hysteria is pretty equally common (or to be more precise, pretty equally rare) among liberals and conservatives. Conservatives do have a slight "edge," but not by much.

And, relevant to our discussion of your unhealthy need to try to turn this into a partisan/ideological issuue (a need you apparently have in common with Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh), it turns out that resarch suggests that politicizing the issue may actually push more people into the anti-vax camp:

So, if scoring political points based on falsehoods and cherrypicking is more important to you than saving lives, by all means continue trying to use the vaccine issue as an ideological / partisan cudgel. That's certainly what Glenn and Rush are doing, so if you want to be just like them, you're headed in the right direction.

At 8:18 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Speaking of the Left/Right thing, I was just reading something that reminded me of something I'd read since the measles outbreak began. I'd read it numerous times but this writer made me notice the point. He wrote:

"After castigating Senator Rand Paul and libertarian parents for their responsibility in the measles outbreak in California (with its epicenters in Left-wing Marin county and Left-wing City of Santa Monica; how libertarians came to be blamed for the outbreak I’ll never know)".

It hadn't occured to be until the writer pointed it out that it seems to be left wing areas with the lowest vaccination rates.

At 8:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 7:14/5:57/6:22 here. Just wanted to add one thing, in fairness to "Liberal Jon" --

In believe "Liberal Jon" is correct in one respect -- it does seem that there are more conservative (especially relatively far-right conservative) commentators, media figures, and politicians attempting to make the anti-vax hysteria into a partisan issue for their own ideological/electoral purposes than there are more liberal commentators, media figures and politicians doing that. Unfortunately, "Liberal Jon" seems intent on aiding them in that task. Which, IMHO, is not good either for liberalism, nor for success in tamping down (or at least not encouraging) the anti-vax hysteria.

At 2:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A good piece on how the "omission bias" influences people's decisions on vaccination. Basically, people are willing to take a higher risk by not doing something than they are willing to take by doing something.

Not surprisingly, parents who object to / avoid vaccination for their children exhibited a higher level of "omission bias."

Related to this, are the ideas of "causal responsibility" and "anticipated regret," as in the non-vaccinating parents worry that if their child suffers an adverse reaction to vaccination, that would be "their fault" for taking the active step of vaccinating. Whereas, I guess, they'd somehow feel less responsible if their unvaccinated child gets the measles, for example (I know, it doesn't really make a lot of sense logically, but we're talking about, basically, *feelings* here). I guess they might look at it as the disease's fault, or some other parent's fault for poor hygiene, or for sending their sick child to school or whatever.

The article also mentioned a sort of "naturalness bias" wherein some people are just more inclined to assume a higher risk when that risk is of something happening that they perceive as "natural" (their child getting the measles) compared to a lower risk of something happening that is "unnatural" (their child having some adverse reaction to a vaccine). I suspect this one may play some role in the prevalence of non-vaccination in some liberal enclaves.

At 3:00 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

As an aside, I was reading something just the other day about parents who would have measles "parties".

I guess before vaccinations were available they'd take their kids over to someone's house where one of the kids had measles in hopes their kids would get it and develop immunity to it. They also mentioned sending a lollipop, or something like it, the infected kids had used and give the uninfected kids the lollipop.

That was back in the day, remember, and it didn't say how prevalent a practice that was. Still, the idea makes my skin crawl. Creeeepy!

At 3:07 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

I guess those measles parties are a modern day thing. I just did a Google search on "measles parties" and a whole bunch of stuff came back about current day measles parties. All of that to avoid vaccination? Creeeeepy!

At 6:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

People were doing this for chicken pox too, back when I was a kid. It fell out of favor for a while (and still is in mainstream medicine) but has come back among anti-vax folks. Before the vaccines it made a lot of sense, because, while unpleasant, these diseases aren't all that dangerous to (most) children, and are generally far more harmful when you don't get them as a kid but do get them as an adult.


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