Perry’s mandatory vaccine policy and sexual activity among young girls

Matt, the commenter from VFR’s earlier years who coined of “The Hegelian Mambo,” writes:

I haven’t followed the candidates closely, and I don’t even vote. In short, I believe that in our present context a vote in a national election constitutes a pound of personal support for liberalism combined with an ounce of personal selection applied to the particular choice of candidate.

But if Rick Perry signed an executive order mandating vaccination of little girls for HPV (or gonorrhea, or AIDS, if there were vaccines for them), that objectively ought to count as a strike against him among social conservatives. It expresses in policy and action that society’s adults simply expect young girls to be sexually active. Perhaps the Hegelian dialectic has gotten to the point where “social conservatives” agree with that expectation.

LA replies:

Matt is very welcome back at VFR. As of three years ago this month, the Hegelian dialectic had gotten to the point where all that was practically left of the social conservative movement was opposition to abortion (see this and this, and related entries here.)

- end of initial entry -

Brandon F. writes:

Leaving out the question of requiring any vaccination for any disease I just want to say that I find it disgustingly immoral for anyone not to vaccinate their child from any disease when vaccines are available and reasonably determined safe.

Why would anyone not want to prevent their daughter from dying of cancer? The fact that it is a sexually transmitted disease somehow makes some conservatives rip their cloaks with righteous indignation at the thought of preventing it. What if the woman is raped? What if she does what most of us did and have sex before she got married? Does she deserve to die for that? Ridiculous.

A vaccine is not permission to have sex. In my opinion this is where the line is drawn between intellectual conservatism and just plain, dumb obstinacy.

Hannon writes:

I am curious if Brandon considers less progressive-minded groups, such as followers of Christian Science, to be “disgustingly immoral” and just plain, dumb obstinate?

Felicie C. writes:

Brandon F. writes: “Leaving out the question of requiring any vaccination for any disease I just want to say that I find it disgustingly immoral for anyone not to vaccinate their child from any disease when vaccines are available and reasonably determined safe.”

I am extremely uncomfortable with the idea of mandatory vaccinations for anything. I would invert what Brandon F. says and say that it is his position that is of questionable morality. Forcing everyone to take vaccinations smacks of the mentality of an elitist who thinks he knows what is best for everyone. This is the mentality I cannot abide. [LA replies: I don’t understand. Haven’t there been mandatory vaccinations in America, such as for polio? Was that an expression of elitist despotism?] What is today deemed “reasonably safe” can be proven extremely dangerous tomorrow. Some of the recent examples are diet pyramids and global warming science. Today it is strongly suspected that it is carbohydrates and gluten from genetically modified wheat that cause many chronic diseases, not meat, eggs, and saturated fat. But the government still maintains that we should avoid fat and eat “complex” carbohydrates, even though there is plenty of evidence against it. Once “science” is centralized and entrenched, once a scientific consensus is reached, once the government is powerful enough to impose mandatory regulations based on this consensus, there is nowhere to run and hide. Many people would like to read dissenting opinions and decide for themselves whether they want to vaccinate themselves or their children. Some children belong to risk categories and don’t take well to vaccinations. Some parents simply don’t want to take unknown risks. They don’t “owe” taking vaccinations to other people’s children.

Matt writes:

I guess Brandon F.’s righteous indignation settles the whole HPV vaccination question.

Or at least it answers my question about the present state of the “conservative” synthesis.

Brandon F. writes:

As far as Christian Science followers are concerned, I would say that even though people may be under the influence of false beliefs they are not immune to the moral consequences of not preventing disease in their children. This may not make them as human beings disgustingly immoral but, in my opinion, their actions or lack of actions is.

Felicie should read what I wrote, and that is that I am leaving out the question of any forced inoculations. My point is clear: If you can prevent horrible, deadly disease with a reasonable certainty of safety, why would you not do it? There is nothing scientific about the random claims of some people that certain inoculations have made their children sick. The facts are that they have a great track record.

Matt, I congratulate you on your Hegelian synthesis understanding and phrase coinage, but it has nothing to do with what I said. A Hegelian dialectic has nothing to do with parents who choose to prevent disease in their children.

Felicie C. writes:

LA wrote:

“I don’t understand. Haven’t there been mandatory vaccinations in America, such as for polio? Was that an expression of elitist despotism?”

I was not aware that some vaccinations have been mandatory. I am not against the idea of vaccinations per se as against self-righteous certitude that some vaccinations proponents adopt. What is the big problem, anyway, if some families decide against vaccinating as long as you vaccinate yourself (I don’t mean “you” personally, of course)? It is they who are subjecting themselves to risks, not yourself.

I would also like to add that even though vaccinations have been very effective in the past, they might not be equally effective in the future. I am a believer in “intelligent design,” and I think that disease-causing microorganisms will fight successfully against our strategies by developing strategies of their own, such as new strains. [LA replies: Well, of course Darwinians believe the same. They even use purposive language, such as “fight successfully,” “developing strategies,” though of course Darwinism precludes any purpose in life or in individual organisms.]

Also, if any vaccinations were ever mandatory, then it is kind of despotic in my book.

Jake F. writes:

Mr. Auster, I’m furious.

In response to Brandon F.:

“Leaving out the question of requiring any vaccination for any disease I just want to say that I find it disgustingly immoral for anyone not to vaccinate their child from any disease when vaccines are available and reasonably determined safe.”

Brandon F. has bought into a mentality that he doesn’t fully understand. Vaccines are “reasonably determined safe” for the masses of people—the actual term to describe what they provide is “herd immunity”—but not for each individual. Many people experience negative reactions to immunizations, ranging from rashes and soreness to paralysis and death.

Moreover, the preservatives have their own risks: Thimerosol contains mercury, but when my first kids were getting their immunizations it was used in all of their shots. It has been removed from many vaccines, but it is still found in some shots.

My kids have had adverse reactions to immunizations. One couldn’t walk the next day. One had fevers off and on for several days. One had swelling the size of a baseball at the injection site, and we were told, “Yes, that happens, call us back if it doesn’t seem to be improving.” And one of them has life-long neurological problems with “unknown etiology”—doctor-speak for “no known cause.”

Finally, if anyone thinks he knows everything that is going on in the body when he receive a vaccination, he’s kidding himself. If you see a bad reaction to an immunization, you can ignore your own senses and reason—you can assume that everything will be just fine because Brandon F. tells you that you’d be “disgustingly immoral” not to immunize your child—or you can discuss the situation with your doctor. If there’s little likelihood that this disease will affect your child, and your child reacts very badly to immunizations, is it really “plain, dumb obstinacy” to refuse it?

On the contrary, it’s garden-variety Eloi-ism to accept it.

In my state, among others, the government usurps all of the judgment that a doctor and parents could make with respect to likelihood of contracting the disease, the reliability and efficacy of the vaccine, previous adverse reactions (if they’re not “severe enough,” whatever that means), and adverse reactions of parents or siblings.

Forget thinking. Forget the odds. The herd needs your submission.

My adrenaline is up just writing this. It’s enough to make this mild-mannered parent want to strangle his governor and the members of his legislature. (Back off, security staff, I’m not going to do it.) And it’s enough to make me enraged at people like Brandon F. who, through ignorance or arrogance or both, encourage and empower them.

A female reader writes:

I was living in Texas when the mandatory vaccine rule went through. Both of my daughters were in private school at the time, but I think that at least one of them ended up having to be vaccinated for HPV, and the mandatory aspect of it was irksome to me, because if it had not been mandatory, I would have POSTPONED the vaccination. Most vaccines do not last indefinitely—they do NOT give you lifetime immunity. If a new vaccine comes out for a sexually-transmitted disease, surely the parents of very young girls should have the OPTION to postpone the vaccination for a few years to see if there are any unexpected problems with it, and secondly, so that the vaccine’s efficacy will last throughout most of the girl’s “twenties” when she may be pregnant and unable to be re-vaccinated.

When my children were little, I postponed a number of their vaccinations until they were more neurologically mature, and also to spread out the vaccinations so that their immune systems could fully recover from one vaccine before being subjected to the next.

I think that vaccines are made mandatory because otherwise the lumpenproletariat would never vaccinate for anything, and herd immunity would not exist for any of the childhood diseases. I’m strongly in favor of vaccines in general, but when a new one comes out for a disease that isn’t an immediate risk to your own child, YOU should have the right to say “no thanks” or “not now.”

September 19

Brandon F. writes:

Jake F. seems to think I empower politicians to force immunizations on people when I have clearly said more than once I was not arguing that point. Here is a good example of the kind of anecdotal chatter you hear about inoculations causing so many problems. Maybe sometimes they do but you are probably more likely to die being eaten by a shark after a plane crash than to die of an immunization. I have never in my life heard of anyone getting sick from such things.

There is a certain segment of conservatives I call the Glenn Beck Black Helicopter Types. The ones always intent on conspiracy theories and secret dangers of aluminum and mumps vaccines.

Josh F. writes:

As our environment is increasingly diversified by a “default elite,” the logic of germ theory requires an ever-growing “vaccination” schedule. Yes, the call for vaccination is a subtle reminder that the “default elite” is creating a deadlier and deadlier society for us all. Now, it is axiomatic that virus causes disease. Therefore, it is also axiomatic that vaccine causes disease as “vaccines” are simply technologically modified viruses. The nefarious aspect of this entire situation is that while the public is largely receptive to the idea of vaccines preventing disease, they are almost entirely oblivious to the FACT that vaccines cause disease and NEW vaccines cause disease that we can only speculate about. So when Bachmann used anecdotal evidence in her assertion about the HPV vaccine causing mental retardation, she was using the only type of evidence available at this juncture. We really don’t know what kind of disease the HPV vaccine will cause in some young girls. But we do know the HPV vaccine WILL CAUSE disease in some of those girls because germ theory says it must. If vaccines are a limited resource then free, healthy individuals should be able to opt without a doubt.

Josh F. continues:

We have the HPV virus and the HPV vaccine. BOTH are viruses. The former is said to cause cervical cancer. The latter is said to elicit the “right” immune response needed to kill the former. The HPV virus and HPV vaccine are thus both similar and different viruses. They are similar in that they elicit equal immune responses, i.e., the HPV vaccine causes an immune response that would be similar to the immune response of someone infected with the HPV virus. They are different in that although they are both similar viruses, the HPV virus is asserted to cause cervical cancer and the HPV vaccine is implied to cause no disease. Now, this brings us back to the similar immune responses. If the HPV vaccine does not cause disease then how can it elicit an immune response equal to that of the HPV virus which is said to cause cervical cancer? Put in another way, if the body can’t recognize that this HPV vaccine is a non-disease causing virus so that it responds as though it were the disease causing HPV virus, how can WE say that the HPV vaccine doesn’t cause disease? Who are the guinea pigs that provided us with this information? The body certainly acts as though the HPV vaccine was attempting to cause disease with its elicited identical HPV virus immune response. So when the vaccinators say that vaccines (modified viruses) don’t cause disease, what is the evidence, principle, law, logic that he is clinging to?

I don’t believe we have this kind of precise control over the viral world.

LA writes:

Brandon’s and Josh F.’s comments came in at the same time. It seems to me that Josh F.’s comments illustrate Brandon’s point.

Jake F. writes:

Brandon F. said:

“Jake F. seems to think I empower politicians to force immunizations on people when I have clearly said more than once I was not arguing that point.”

It doesn’t matter whether Brandon is arguing that point or not. What separates my disgustingly immoral negligence from the forms of child abuse that are rightfully punishable by law? Does he think saying the words “disgustingly immoral” is consequence-free?

Brandon said:

“Here is a good example of the kind of anecdotal chatter you hear about inoculations causing so many problems.”

This is not anecdotal chatter. These are known issues, easily found with basic research from reliable sources. He correctly notes that, distributed across the entire population, the most severe of these reactions are very rare—so rare, in fact, that most of us would rather take the tiny risk of adverse reactions than the more significant risk of contracting the disease.

However, what is the right course of action when people in a certain segment of the population has a higher rate of adverse reactions than normal? If every person in a family has strong reactions to the vaccine, and one of them has a serious condition of unknown origin, that family may not face the same risks as the larger pool. Isn’t it just possible that we should try to work out the logical choice based on the likelihood of contracting the disease, the efficacy and reliability of the vaccine, the medical history of the patient, and the medical histories of his parents and siblings? Or would that be “disgustingly immoral”?

Brandon said:

“I have never in my life heard of anyone getting sick from such things.”

I trust Brandon is sufficiently self-aware to note the irony of saying this immediately after calling me out for “anecdotal chatter.”

I trust he can also re-read what I wrote to see if he can find evidence of conspiracy theories, to discover that there is none. As with liberalism generally, there’s no need for conspiracies if we can get a sizable segment of the population to be True Believers to impose control.

I am not anti-vaccine generally. I am glad that we were able to eradicate many serious diseases, and until my family started having a higher-than-average level of adverse reactions to them, I had no problem giving them to my children. I simply want to avoid naïve trust in them, and the bad policies that sometimes result from that trust.

Matt writes:

Suppose that the only way to contract HPV was to have an abortion. How would that change the present widespread support for the HPV vaccine on the Hegelian right?

Brandon writes:

Jake is right that if a family has a history of negative reactions to vaccines it should be taken into consideration. I have said that a reasonable expectation of safety is a factor.

I regret using the phrase “disgustingly immoral” as it was too strong and has distracted people from making reasoned arguments. “Morally questionable” and “highly reckless” would better serve in this environment.

LA replies:

I’m also at fault here, as I normally soften overly provocative or insulting language in readers’ comments, but neglected to do with “disgustingly immoral.”

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 18, 2011 09:49 AM | Send

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