Should Vaccines Be Mandatory?
Many, many kudos for recognizing your cover overreach on the whole Jenny McCarthy/mandatory vaccination issue (August/September 2013) with your forum on mandatory vaccination ("Should Vaccines be Mandatory?" April). As a member of the "keep your hands off my body please!" crowd, I feel that instead of McCarthy, Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry should have been on your cover as a poster child of "crony fascism" for his role as a willful vaccine mandator.
Libertarians should oppose mandatory vaccines ("Should Vaccines Be Mandatory?" April) because all compulsory regulations force people to act contrary to their nature. As rational beings, we must use our powers of reason to promote our health, wealth, and happiness. Compulsory regulations force us to ignore our independent powers of reason in order to obey government officials.
Roman private law provides the best model for law in libertarian society. Roman free market legal experts called jurists used Stoic moral theory (ius naturale) as the basis for their universal private law (ius gentium). It requires people to take reasonable and prudent measures to avoid injuring others. If being inoculated was commonly seen as reasonable and prudent, then people could sue for injury resulting from those who failed to inoculate themselves or their children. People would then have to weigh the possibility of being sued as part of the risk of not being inoculated.
CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, Veronique de Rugy's June column stated that the size of the federal budget is $3.7 billion. The correct size is $3.7 trillion.
Letters are welcome and should be addressed to
reason 1747 Connecticut Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20009 fax: 202-315-3623 email@example.com
"I work for a corporation with 40-something-thousand employees. We have marketing, sales, operations, logistics, production, finance, R&D, legal, H.R., and thousands of customer service employees. I cannot imagine what the Commerce does with 42,000 employees. Would anyone engaging in actual commerce notice if all of them were fired tomorrow? Some would miss the Patent Office, the rest wouldn't be noticed."
–reason.com commenter "Drake," in response to "Stifling Commerce" (May)
"I'm glad that the sober policy wonk side of libertarianism still has some life in it, in contradistinction to the hipster utopian conspiracist side."
-Kenneth Silber, Quicksilber blog, in response to "Port Authoritarians" (May)
"The progressive puritans of the Pat-Robertson-in-Birkenstocks branch of feminism were very much in evidence at least as far back as the eighties. By circa 1990, when home HIV test kits became an issue, the LGBT rights movement cast aside its stated goals and joined forces with social conservatives for its revealed goal of reduced freedom as its own reward. But remember: It has always been those nasty Reaganites who want to deprive you of the right to make choices over your own body."
–reason.com commenter "Doctor Whom," in response to "Progressive Puritans" (May)
Start your day with Reason. Get a daily brief of the most important stories and trends every weekday morning when you subscribe to Reason Roundup.