John Burke
July 16, 2009

Note: This essay deals only with the philosophical argument against forced vaccination by the state.

A few years ago I entered into a discussion with a close friend regarding vaccination. This person stated that their child was not up to date with state recommended vaccinations and was debating internally whether or not she felt they were necessary. Without being asked my opinion, my reaction was quite strong in favor of vaccination and I made common claims that vaccinations were for the ‘common social good’ and that we all had to ‘do our part for society.’ Days later I thought back on the encounter and was surprised at how undiplomatically I pursued this argument. I had never researched vaccines, the potential health benefits or risks, or sought information from a variety of sources as one would commonly do before making an argument on any important subject. Regardless of our differing opinions I was only able to bring to the discussion force to try to convince her of my opinion – I offered no information, cited no facts or statistics in my debate – the apparent ‘will of the people’ which my ignorance represented was argument enough. Was this enough to base a decision on concerning the health and well-being of a child?

No well researched, honest nurse, doctor, or even bureaucrat would deny the risk involved in vaccinations.

In 2006 I found out that I was going to be a father. A close friend of mine suggested I do some research on vaccines and sent me information from a variety of sources. At the time I was sure vaccination was the route to go, despite the fact I still had no solid information, facts or research to base my opinion on – only the widely accepted idea that vaccines were responsible for ridding western society from small pox, polio as well as many other diseases and that any child without his shots was a threat to the health of all of us and furthermore that the parent was being irresponsible. These ideas were backed up by the media and rest of society. But I became utterly consumed with the topic, buying many books, watching documentaries, listening to lectures, looking at University studies and reading articles from many countries. It is safe to say I spent hundreds of hours on the subject looking at information from a vast array of sources – pro & con vaccine.

Needless to say when I really dove into the subject, I was alarmed at the amount of conventional medical history and government statistics that showed both the ineffectiveness and oftentimes outright harm that vaccinations could cause. As a member of society that deemed all children without shots as somehow a threat to its well being, and would bar them from the school yard as well as brand any parent who did not agree with them a heretic, I’d never been offered contrary information about the effectiveness of shots by primary education or the media who advocate them. What about the other side? Did I not deserve the best information with which to make an informed decision by?

In my basic understanding from school or mainstream media such as TV, I’d been taught about the miracle findings of Jonas Salk & Albert Sabin with their polio ‘cures’ – but had I been taught about SV-40? No. SV-40 is the 40th simian virus which was discovered in the monkey kidneys used to manufacture the polio vaccine (yes most vaccines are from monkey, chicken or bovine organs or tissue). For a period of years and debatably decades until the 1990’s, polio vaccines were administered by law (and thereby force) that at the time unknowingly contained SV-40 to millions of people. SV-40 undoubtedly causes cancer in many animals, and many controversial studies have shown it does the same in humans. Was I given this information? No. Was I taught about contraindications? No. Contraindications are health concerns such as family history of autoimmune or neurological disorders, allergies that conflict with vaccines and can cause minor or major reactions. With a family history of severe autoimmune disorders and an undiagnosed neurological episode of my own as a teenager this information could be critical to me. Why was I not taught to protect myself or to research to find my own opinion at least?  It should be noted that more research is needed to discover why these contraindications cause such severe health problems – the simple fact is that as much as doctors know, they do not know everything and more research is needed. Again this essay is not dealing with medical arguments against vaccination – I am raising such issues to show that the medical community is by no means all-knowing and that common means by which we receive information rarely show us enough to make an informed decision. These decisions require much research and careful thought if they are to be made well. The medical opinions and advances of one generation that are hailed as miracles are always surely to be laughed at by the next. Common use of asbestos and lead – both deemed safe by the medical community at the time by the prestigious Melon Institute, or Lipitor and Vioxx in recent years are proof of this. As much as they do not wish to believe – those who put their faith into science alone and not the full scope of reason are using just that – faith – which those same scientists may consider absent of reason. Science is ever changing and evolving and we should consider this when making important decisions about our health – especially if these ‘decisions’ are imposed by law, and thereby force.

[efoods]’Social good’ or ‘will of the people’ – what do these terms mean? With reference to vaccinations these mean the submission as free individuals of our bodies and minds and those of our children to vaccination by the whim of the state for the good of the collective. This idea tells us we should discard personal research or the ability of the individual to reason for these are less noble than the collective and are a potential threat to society. What is the limit of this philosophy? How far could it be used to suppress the power of the individual? When does the collective decide to stop imposing this submission? Can it? The collective does not think, it does not reason or research. Who influences the collective?  Where is the room for the individual to plead his case to it? What about to the government body that forms these laws? If these laws are for ‘social good’ why must they come at the expense of the power of the individuals mind to reason what is best for itself? Why is using the mind to ones own benefit for personal health punishable by the state? In a country such as ours whose forefathers fled tyranny and set up a government based on the promise to the individual of ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ is it possible to be free if you don’t have control over something as basic as what enters your body? Submission to a government and to a collective for the benefit of ‘social good’ is a direct conflict with the principles of liberty that separated America from other nations and allowed for greatness.

It is quite acceptable for a woman to have an abortion in America and while I recognize this subject is taboo and am not going to make an argument for or against abortion I’m going to use it to make a point. If that makes you uncomfortable, ask yourself why and question your beliefs (on either side). It is common belief that a woman has a right to an abortion because the child is ‘her body.’ It would be entirely unacceptable for a woman to be kept from an abortion or forced into one because this would be an infringement on her right to choose for her own body. Yet that same woman must by law submit her body and her child’s body to an ever increasing list of vaccinations that can cause serious short and long term health risks or in rare cases death. Given this conflict presented by current laws does the woman have an absolute right to decide what’s best for her body? No she does not. This shows the ineptness and unprincipled tinkering of our lawmakers and the often arbitrary thinking of the collective as well. Whether you believe in abortion or oppose it, believe in vaccination or oppose it, it is quite obvious that there is not by law a clear definition of the right of the individual to ownership of his or her body. Lease is a better word, granted by the state. And since children are not responsible for themselves, it could be said their bodies are leased to parents by the state as well with a strict set of guidelines to be followed, punishable by force. By what right do they claim this ownership?

The collective also seems quite willing to support its beliefs even if on the sole basis that vaccination is in certain cases required by law. It does not seem to question the laws or the body imposing these laws and its role or effectiveness (or lack thereof). Are we to believe the same government that has broken its own constitutional laws with aggressive wars on false pretenses is without error in regards to our health? Even the most ardent war supporters would admit Rumsfeld’s blunders in this area. Should we submit our ability to reason to a government that has plunged our nation into 60 billion dollars in debt with total unfunded obligations? Can a government capable of such an economic failure be without error in the case of vaccinations? Are we to believe these laws are not merely to benefit the products of the vaccine makers who spend millions lobbying in Washington; products that are sometimes mandatory and through government enabled monopoly are often unimproved for decades as in the case of DPT? Are we to believe a group of bureaucrats with a history of failures are without fault in determining 100% what is best for our bodies, regardless of how just the laws are? Is this a system to rest our faith and the health of our children on?

No well researched, honest nurse, doctor, or even bureaucrat would deny the risk involved in vaccinations especially since the Vaccine Injury Compensation Fund has awarded over a billion dollars to families of children harmed by vaccinations since it was started in 1988. In light of this and the principles of liberty this nation was founded on, we should be free to decline and make decisions as we see fit without having to navigate difficult unjust laws. Instead we are forced to hand responsibility over to our doctors and government who don’t have to live with the consequences or raise disabled children. Their only answer is to hand us money as an apology for their bad policy, as if that is adequate compensation for any physical or mental injuries as well as the submission of our bodies, our minds ability to reason, and our rights as free individuals.

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