Recently I have noticed there is quite a controversy raging on Facebook regarding whether one should or should not vaccinate their children against a myriad of serious and potentially deadly diseases. At first I did not pay much attention. After all, my children are all grown, my children are all vaccinated, and as far as I know, my children’s’ children are all vaccinated as well. To me, I thought it was a no brainer. On one hand one could choose to vaccinate and protect their children from potential deadly diseases and on the other hand they could choose to not vaccinate and expose their children to disease and death. With those options in mind, I still thought this was a no brainer. Death and disease versus no death and no disease. Who would not choose the latter for their children if given the option. This is what I thought, and how wrong I was.
I begin paying a little closer attention to see what the controversy was all about and was very surprised to find out that a small segment of the population chose not to vaccinate their children for “philosophical” reasons. I, in my manner of classifying things to facilitate my own understanding, named this the “philosophy of stupid’”. However, I wanted to be fair to those who chose to follow this philosophy so I spent some time doing some research. For those who are beating the drum to allow individual people to make stupid decisions, and who think they are at the forefront of a new wave of individualism and individualistic thinking I can only say, sorry Charlie. This has been around almost as long as vaccinations have been around. I don’t wish to bore you with a lot of history but suffice it to know that vaccinations started in the early 1700’s and anti-vaccinations movements started shortly thereafter. The first to object were the religious nuts. No surprise there. They objected on the grounds that disease was sent to us by God and therefore it was defying God to try to change what he had sent. Maybe they should have taken that rationale one step further. After all, God is God. He can do what he wants. If he did not want us to have vaccines and did want us to have disease, then why did he send us the ability to create vaccines with the minds he had given us. That, along with other not so well thought out reasons such as it was unnatural to put horse serum into humans was generally the basis of the objections to vaccination. Today is no different. The anti-vaccine groups have found new and creative reasons for not vaccinating but as far as I can determine, they are no better thought out or make any better sense than it being unnatural to use horse serum on humans.
So the controversy has raged, is raging, and will rage far into the future. People have been arguing about this for almost 300 years, they are not likely to stop now. So what is to be done. I don’t think the question is so much philosophical as it is one of common sense. The greater good is the words that come to mind. Is it okay to allow someone to make a decision that potentially puts many others at risk. Is it okay for a parent to make a decision that potentially puts their child at risk. Not only at risk, but a serious risk of death. How can that ever be okay. If the infants and toddlers who are being denied the vaccines were able to decide for themselves to choose between the two alternatives, how would they choose? But the sad reality is, they cannot choose for themselves. They are dependent on their parents to make the right choices for them. On behalf of those children I can only say to their parents, shame on you. If your child dies because you followed the philosophy of stupid you will have to live with it for the rest of your life. But your child will not, because your child will be dead! In 1905, 110 years ago, the U. S. Supreme court ruled “the public good overrides personal freedom”. So why are we still debating this. It seems it is the law of the land and laws should be enacted requiring mandatory inoculations of all, with certain exceptional cases exempted. In my mind there really is no other way.
For you many young parents who were vaccinated and did not have to suffer through measles, mumps, chicken pox, and other various diseases, take the word of one who did suffer. No parent should want to allow their children to have to endure this suffering if it can be avoided. If one did not live in fear of polio, or had friends who were crippled by this disease, then one does not have the knowledge base to know how horrific this can really be. No parent should ever want to subject their child to this or any other disease. Vaccines are good. Vaccines work. Recently my doctor inquired if I was interested in receiving the pneumonia vaccine. My response was absolutely. Bring it on. I only wish that vaccine had been around 25 years ago when my father lay dying in a hospital bed.
Those are my thoughts, what are yours?
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Good post. One of the things that bugs me the most is the hypocrisy of the individuals and our public school. We can peanut products because we can’t imagine bringing in substance that could be lethal to another child… yet….