Vaccine mandates

Can Vaccine Mandates Be Justified? A Soho Forum Debate

George Mason University Law Professor Ilya Somin debates Libertarian Party activist Angela McArdle


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Is there a libertarian case for vaccine mandates?

George Mason University Law Professor Ilya Somin supports vaccine mandates in certain cases because he believes they're a relatively "small infringement on freedom" and are preferable to harm reduction strategies like mask mandates and lockdowns, which he sees as posing a greater threat to our liberties.

Angela McArdle, the chair of the Libertarian Party of Los Angeles County, says she'll "actively work to destroy any institution that tries to enforce a vaccine passport," and is currently launching legal challenges to overturn vaccine mandates in California and New York. 

On September 8, Somin and McArdle went head-to-head at the Soho Forum in New York City. Somin took the affirmative, and McArdle the negative, on the resolution: While vaccine mandates are an infringement on freedom, some are justified due to their big payoff in lives saved.

The debate was moderated by Soho Forum Director Gene Epstein.

Narrated by Nick Gillespie. Intro edited by John Osterhoudt.

Photos: Brett Raney; Debra L. Rothenberg/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom; gotpap/