I’m not one to shrink from controversy and when I weighed in on this issue, I did it knowing full well that it would probably go exactly where it did.
Anti-vaxxers as they have become known introduce yet another instance of retrograde civilization at work. The group it hails from is a shocking one in some respects–the upper middle, and supposedly well-educated.
While those on the liberal left have a healthy dose of scepticism when it comes to big Pharma, the anti-vaxxers have as Keegan Michael Key would say, have “taken it to a whole ‘nuther level”.
I don’t intend to debate here. As the Chicago Tribune said yesterday “There is no other side to the vaccine debate.” It is like evolution and climate change. There is only one side, the plain truth.
Let me set the stage:
A person on Facebook posted something about her conclusion that vaccinations ought to be a matter of choice. I’d reproduce that statement accurately, but she’s taken down the entire thing as best I can tell, so I cannot. She expounded in at least one or two additional comments.
I suggested that if she had a right to choose then of course schools had the right to choose not to allow her kids in the building which would force her to homeschool. Additionally this could also lead to groups (I would suggest organized sports and artistic groups) to banning children who could not provide vaccination records as well. Other parents might well determine that their children were unsafe in her children’s company.
All told, I argued, that such restrictions as might reasonably be placed upon her children might so segregate her children from the rest of society that some people might suggest that that amounted to child abuse.
She responded by private message, telling me this:
I deleted your comment. Child abuse? My kids have had some vaccinations, but I’m done with the bs of infecting others and fear. It DOES need to remain a choice. If vaccines become forced, what’s next? I’ve worked with too many vaccine injured children/people to know otherwise. No human life is above another. I’m all for a good debate/conversation, but have no more patience for inflammatory responses.
I was not permitted to answer the message. I tried to go to her page and was advised “no such person can be found” the telltale sign of being “unfriended.”
I wrote this on my Facebook wall:
hahaha, unfriended by a woman who took offense that I indicated that her “choice” not to vaccinate her children impinged on the choice of other children who came in contact with hers. She sent me a message saying she deleted my comment as “inflammatory” and then of course unfriended me in revenge. As I expected she would…..How can some people be so incredibly selfish…She seemed offended that anyone might suggest that she would have to homeschool her kids and keep them from others to protect other children and that some people might call that child abuse…Beware of (name omitted)
I received the following messages from her during the evening:
Your post about me was both inaccurate and untrue. Sorry you feel that way.
Why would you post that? Most of it is not even true.
Expected no answer. . Meaningful discussion is too scary? You’d rather slam me on Facebook? Maturity? I considered responding, but why? I’m not angry.? I’m not against vaccines. I’m for choice. I’m not the one who is offended. What you choose is fine.
The last is rich indeed. Is it I too scared to confront? I did not delete your comment lady, nor block you from replying any way you wished.
But let’s get to the meat of your argument.
“I’m not against vaccines” Apparently you are, since you said “my kids have had some [emphasis added] vaccinations.
“I’m for choice.”
Have you even spent once single moment examining that? I mean, yes, choice just sounds right doesn’t it? Choice is always a better word than “required, compelled, ordered. So I do get it. A lazy mind would always prefer choice to any of those.
What does it mean in actuality?
It means you can make a meaningful decision that is rational and based on objective facts. You can evaluate all the information and come to a logic-based conclusion.
What does that mean here?
- There is an actual debate as to whether vaccines are safe and whether they should be given to all but a few situations which involve compromised health that are known. THERE IS NO SUCH DEBATE. Go to the CDC vaccine page and read all you want. The Mayo Clinic has a full discussion as well. Or go to Parents. The fact is that the Internet provides the ability of every crackpot in the world to set up a bunch of “sciency-sounded arguments” and claim that vaccines are both dangerous and unnecessary. The autism connection has been well proved to be a complete lie, and the doctor in question has been stripped of his license.
- You as the average parent have no expertise in this area and cannot begin to “evaluate” the evidence and the websites that try to tell you there is a debate out there. You must trust, as we all do, those who have expertise. Those are scientists around the world who are telling you that there is no responsible study that justifies your avoiding protecting your child from all these nearly eradicated diseases. Vaccines are the reason why we don’t have polio any more and children don’t live in iron lungs.
- There is no test that I am aware of to determine whether your child is that one in 50,000 or 1,000,000 who will have a seriously adverse effect from immunization. All states allow exemptions for children with known allergies or known medical conditions that would put them at risk. There is no “general” test to take. Therefore, there is no “choice” to make here.
- You do not therefore have the right to unilaterally decide that you are not going to take this small risk on behalf of your child. That is not the bargain you made.
What am I talking about?
Sister, you are not living in isolation, you live in community. Our country was founded in part upon the concept of social compact. We deliberately then, and by inference now, agree that in return for certain agreed upon protections, we give up certain individual rights.
One of them, it seems to me is this: we do not have the right to make a choice of personal freedom that involves not being immunized when to do so threatens the herd. Whether you accept it or not, your “choice” to selfishly go your own way does exactly that.
Society has an absolute right to deny you that right or to explain that you will have to segregate yourself from the benefits of society if you insist. You may be “done with the bs about infecting others” but that is neither an answer or true. It merely suggests that you no longer care since it impinges on some right to do as you please regardless of how it affects other.
The record of immunization is very long and very successful worldwide.
Frankly, I do not think that simply by being a biological component of another life you have the right to make decisions that can so deeply affect their health and well-being. That’s the subject of another post entirely.
Your “choice” is no choice at all. It is simple an appearance of “taking charge” over an issue you are utterly ill-equipped to decide upon. It makes you feel like a “good” parent when in fact you are arguably the very opposite.
Is that confrontational enough for you?