Ideas So Good They Have to be Mandatory

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Ronald Bailey, the self-described “science correspondent” for Reason magazine recently wrote a piece which has raised a lot of eyebrows, titled: Refusing Vaccination Puts Others At Risk: A Pragmatic Argument for Coercive Vaccination. He goes on to argue in no uncertain terms that he not only believes that coerced medicine is libertarian, but that there is no libertarian argument for declining a vaccine.

Bailey’s article is heavy on irrelevant statistics and light on actual libertarian arguments. The article, which asserts that liberty is incompatible with vaccine refusal, can be condensed into the following three sentences; the only places that liberty is mentioned at all:

Oliver Wendell Holmes articulated a good libertarian principle when he said, “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.”…. To borrow Holmes’ metaphor, people who refuse vaccination are asserting that they have a right to “swing” their microbes at other people. There is no principled libertarian case for their free-riding refusal to take responsibility for their own microbes.


  1. How “we” conquered the deadly smallpox virus.

    For 10,000 years, humanity suffered from the scourge of smallpox. The virus killed almost a third of its victims within two weeks and left survivors horribly scarred.

    Simona Zompi commends the brave souls – a Buddhist nun, a boy, a cow, a dairymaid and physician – Edward Jenner – who first stopped the spread of this disastrous disease, to make “us” smallpox-free today.

    – Bow down before the omnipotent “we”, the God of science, for he’s a jolly good fellow, which no mundane can deny.

  2. Ayn Rand gave Ronald Bailey a name in her Atlas Shrugged. Dr. Floyd Ferris. Using science to throw out official propaganda bullshit fact for public consumption. How did she know?

    • Because the Cloverific Sheeple like to hear an “expert” tell them what to do – and they see the “expert” and accept what he says, even if he’s telling them the moon is made of green cheese, and they were BORN on the moon…

      Yes, the majority are THAT worthless. Pity, really.

      • Rule by expert is the long standing desire. People were conditioned to accept it. Licensing, laws, regulation, etc was made to keep those who wouldn’t accept it from having any other choice.

      • @Jean – It just hit me. Some group should start a FOX, MSNBC, CBS.. spoof channel. Then the guest could be a regular informed guy. “Nice boobs. No Jane, I am not an expert, I just pay attention.” The possibilities are endless.


    Included in article without citation:

    Important considerations in the effectiveness of a vaccination program:
    1 Careful modeling to anticipate the impact that an immunization campaign will have on the epidemiology of the disease in the medium to long term
    2 Ongoing surveillance for the relevant disease following introduction of a new vaccine and
    3 Maintaining high immunization rates, even when a disease has become rare.

    Ronald Bailey seems to be agreeing with point number three. Where is the credible independent source for this claim?

    Vaccine is Killing – Deleted Wikipedia Page

    There are several types of vaccines in use.

    Some vaccines contain killed, but previously virulent, micro-organisms that have been destroyed with chemicals, heat, radioactivity or antibiotics. Examples are the influenza vaccine, cholera vaccine, bubonic plague vaccine, polio vaccine, hepatitis A vaccine, and rabies vaccine.

    Some vaccines contain live, attenuated microorganisms. Many of these are active viruses that have been cultivated under conditions that disable their virulent properties, or that use closely related but less dangerous organisms to produce a broad immune response. Examples include the viral diseases yellow fever, measles, rubella, and mumps and the bacterial disease typhoid.


    Vaccines made from inactivated toxic compounds that cause illness rather than the micro-organism. Examples of toxoid-based vaccines include tetanus and diphtheria. Toxoid vaccines are known for their efficacy. Not all toxoids are for micro-organisms; for example, Crotalus atrox toxoid is used to vaccinate dogs against rattlesnake bites.

    Protein Subunit
    Rather than introducing an inactivated or attenuated micro-organism to an immune system (which would constitute a “whole-agent” vaccine), a fragment of it can create an immune response. Examples include the subunit vaccine against Hepatitis B virus that is composed of only the surface proteins of the virus (previously extracted from the blood serum of chronically infected patients, but now produced by recombination of the viral genes into yeast), the virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV) that is composed of the viral major capsid protein, and the hemagglutinin and neuraminidase subunits of the influenza virus.

    Certain bacteria have polysaccharide outer coats that are poorly immunogenic. By linking these outer coats to proteins (e.g. toxins), the immune system can be led to recognize the polysaccharide as if it were a protein antigen. This approach is used in the Haemophilus influenzae type B vaccine.

    A Agile Pulse In Vivo Electroporation System
    B Dendritic cell vaccines combine dendritic cells with antigens in order to present the antigens to the body’s white blood cells, thus stimulating an immune reaction. These vaccines have shown some positive preliminary results for treating brain tumors.
    C Recombinant Vector – by combining the physiology of one micro-organism and the DNA of the other, immunity can be created against diseases that have complex infection processes
    D DNA vaccination – created from an infectious agent’s DNA, It works by insertion (and expression, enhanced by the use of electroporation, triggering immune system recognition) of viral or bacterial DNA into human or animal cells. Some cells of the immune system that recognize the proteins expressed will mount an attack against these proteins and cells expressing them. Because these cells live for a very long time, if the pathogen that normally expresses these proteins is encountered at a later time, they will be attacked instantly by the immune system.
    E T-cell receptor peptide vaccines are under development for several diseases using models of Valley Fever, stomatitis, and atopic dermatitis. These peptides have been shown to modulate cytokine production and improve cell mediated immunity.
    F Targeting of identified bacterial proteins that are involved in complement inhibition would neutralize the key bacterial virulence mechanism.

    Vaccines may be monovalent (also called univalent) or multivalent (also called polyvalent). A monovalent vaccine is designed to immunize against a single antigen or single microorganism. A multivalent or polyvalent vaccine is designed to immunize against two or more strains of the same microorganism, or against two or more microorganisms.

    Heterologous or “Jennerian” are vaccines which are pathogens of other animals which either do not cause disease or cause mild disease in the the organism being treated. An example being Vaccinia virus which causes Cowpox, being used to treat for Smallpox.

    Herd Immunity Theory

  4. The libertarian argument against taking vaccines: because vaccines kill people and maim them.

    Anyone who says it’s ok to force people to take vaccines, how they consider themselves libertarian, is beyond me.

    “Let’s go deeper. In general, so-called contagious diseases are caused, not by germs, but by IMMUNE SYSTEMS THAT ARE TOO WEAK TO FIGHT OFF THOSE GERMS.

    When we put the cart and the horse in proper alignment, things become clear. I fully realize this isn’t as sexy as talking about bio-engineered gene sequences in viruses, but the cart and horse must be understood.


    Yeesh, ‘The government knows it’s a medical killing machine’, do the writers at Reason know?

    • Hi RBH,

      Reason has just gone off the reservation. This article is a full-throated repudiation of everything Libertarianism stands for – because Libertarianism is null and void once self-ownership is denied.

      I am speechless.

      They have embraced the Cloveronian ethic. If “x” has the potential (any potential) to result in “harm” to a generic “someone” (not a specific individual actually harmed) then everyone must be forced to do “y.”

      Just incredible.

      Throw Reason in the woods.

      • eric, mortality rates in the US are way up from 20 years ago both for the baby and the woman. Vaccinations are being forced on the woman even as close as minutes before giving birth. This has got to be dangerous for both and probably a life-changer for the baby if not both also. With the world’s most expensive health care there isn’t a good reason for the US to be 50th in mortality rates.

        • Morning, Eight!

          Disclosure – the following is purely anecdotal:

          We have noticed that our friends’ kids seem to be almost constantly sick. Also, that they seem sickly – fragile. Weak. Almost all of them have multiple (and serious) allergic conditions. In my lightly populated (14,000 or so) county, several kids have been diagnosed with serious cancers.

          Maybe my memory is faulty – or maybe I grew up among abnormally healthy/sturdy people – but the disparity is striking.

          I hardly knew anyone who had a serious allergy when I was kid – and while we caught colds every now and then, most of the kids were healthy and almost never got seriously sick (as in needing a doctor sick).

          • eric, I have noticed that too. Another observation I’ve made may seem sexist on the face. The kids of guys who have custody of them seem to be healthier. Not only is going to the doctor or hospital exposing them to many illnesses but seems like the more they get taken to the doc the more illnesses they’re diagnosed with. Maybe it’s only the people I know but seems like the kids with less mom in their lives are more well-adjusted too. YMMV!
            BTW, I haven’t gotten updates in a couple days now.

          • I’ve always wondered if that was because what were generally accepted as terminal abnormalities in infants back in those days are now being propagated via the imposition of what are no longer considered heroic measures. 100 years ago, my mother was born into an American immigrant family that produced a generation of 14 siblings, but also an additional four that never made it out of the crib. That generation did not breed for frailty, having no other choice. Today things are quite different.

            • Unlikely even a noticeable contribution. The prevailing problem is that short-sighted people are being subsidized and long-sighted people are being penalized. Furthermore we have lopsided war of the genders which has resulted in productive future oriented men to shy away from marriage and reproduction because of the penalties that are completely outside of his control and are at the whim of the woman. And lastly there are the intelligent women who have been conditioned not to have children until mr. perfect appears. There is more there, but that’s the basic outline.

              Those factors so overwhelm the tiny few born with issues that they wouldn’t survive. The biggest killer wasn’t any sort of genetic frailty but simply disease and the roll of the dice on the timing of exposure to it.

        • It’s an idea!

          What bothers me most is people on the “outside” may associate real Libertarianism/market anarchism with the Reason crowd’s expostulations. Just as the neo-con warmongers co-opted the “conservative” Republican movement.

          • That’s been the on-going program for decades. To equate libertarianism with something absurdly different from it.

            A common form, the Ayn Rand knee jerk came up again today. I’ve lost the link but it seems the CEO of Sears is a fan of objectivist Ayn Rand. Since he’s a failure at being the CEO of a retail company this means libertarianism and free markets don’t work. I think I got there from EPJ, but it was the most absurd piece of nonsense I’ve read in some time.

            What happened is the free market worked, it is sending a signal not to have someone who has no clue about the retail business, a hedge fund manager, run the formerly world’s largest retailer. His being a fan of Ayn Rand doesn’t mean squat. He’s been a lousy CEO and the market punishes that. The market doesn’t care about his preference in fiction authors.

            This crap is done on purpose. The lazy clover majority then can stay safely in their left-right realm.

          • @Brent: “His being a fan of Ayn Rand doesn’t mean squat.” So true. Reminds me of that slimeball Dick Armey, who claimed that he kept a copy of Mises’ “Human Action” on his nightstand. That might have been true, but his actions in Congress suggest that he either (a) never read it, (b) was intellectually incapable of understanding it, or (c) understood it but got sufficiently large payoffs to ignore it. My guess is (d) All of the above.

  5. The Reason Foundation has half the endowment of the Mises Institute. Like Mises, it fields a wide gamut of Libertarianish thought. It has that John Stossel, acquiescence to the banality of tyranny – don’t lose your cool cause you’re a slave feel about it.

    “Reason Foundation’s mission is to advance a free society by developing, applying, and promoting libertarian principles, including individual liberty, free markets, and the rule of law.”

    If you want to get pissed off, read the commentary at Reason, if you’re like me, you’ll want to punch them all in the face after a few minutes.

    Having to ignore this steaming pile of excrement by Ronald Bailey is something I can deal with, since the alternative would be some type of pre-censored Orthodox approach, which is the last thing I want. Not sure why they run so many articles by this NYC Vichy Intellectual. Most f

    Far worse than Walter Block, RB blathers on tepidly critiquing mainstream pseudoscience and never taking a principled stand of his own on anything.

    The Reason Foundation
    Founders Robert W. Poole, Jr., Manuel S. Klausner, Tibor R. Machan(Reform Objectivist)
    Established 1968
    Mission Advancing a free society by developing, applying, and promoting libertarian principles, including individual liberty, free markets, and the rule of law
    Key people Drew Carey, Nick Gillespie, Matt Welch
    Endowment $9,106,846

    Tibor’s Space

    Vaccination is merely the artificial triggering of temporary responses to man made pathogens. Vaccines are both harmful and dangerous and are leading to generations of humans with no natural defenses to disease.

    Vaccines do not provide long-term immunity; only temporary at best. In vaccines, an antigen is injected into the body to produce a reaction and the immune system responds in the form of antibodies, but antibody presence does not confer immunity.

    People still catch the diseases that they are vaccinated against. Vaccines actually skip the normal immune responses to activate killer cells which can trigger an overproduction of cytokines in response to the toxic vaccine adjuvants and can damage tissues and organs and even stop the heart and block air

    Vaccinations news

    World Immunization Chart


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