By Julie Obradovic
More and more lately I have read articles and editorials that call for stricter vaccine mandates using the same analogies. It's almost as if someone issued talking points to the all-vaccines-are-always-good-for-everyone-at-all-times-no-exceptions brigade and unleashed them on the media. Maybe you have seen them too.
There's the car seat analogy. We have never done a double blind placebo study on car seats, and yet, we know they are safe and save lives. This is why we mandate them and why we should mandate vaccines too.
There's the smoking analogy. People can no longer smoke in public because it endangers the lives of others, ergo vaccines should be mandated too.
And there's the drinking and driving analogy. For similar reasons as smoking, we have strict laws about drinking and then driving, and we have very serious consequences (like jail time) for those who disobey them. Ergo again, vaccines should be mandated (and if not accepted, punishable by jail time).
Interestingly, I have seen all three of these analogies touted by people who boast their Harvard education. Harvard, we all know, is reserved for the elite, the best of the best; therefore, the label implies, if a Harvard graduate says it, it must have merit.
To be sure, I agree Harvard is an impressive institution. You do have to be pretty intelligent to go there, of that I have no doubt. But it is precisely for that reason that I am left wondering how these supposedly smart people do not recognize the error of their logic. Contrary to what they would like to believe, car seat mandates, public smoking bans, and drinking and driving laws are not analogous with vaccine mandates. Here's why.
When crafting legislation a law may fit into one of the following categories:
1. A law that forces an individual to take action to protect themselves or their children that has no impact on someone else and that has no potential to harm the individual by doing it.
An example of this would be mandating the use of motorcycle helmets, seat belts, or car seats. (A person may not like being forced to wear a helmet or use a seat belt or car seat, but no physical harm will come to them from doing so.)
2. A law that forces an individual to protect themselves or their children that could have an impact on someone else, but still has no potential to harm the individual by doing it.
An example of this would be establishing a minimum driving age. (A person may not like being forced to wait until they are 16 to be able to legally drive, but no physical harm will come to them from not driving until then, and more so, no physical harm can come to society by the delay. In fact, it likely prevents harm to the driver and others given the immaturity and lack of experience of a 16 year old.)
3. A law that prevents an individual from taking action that could harm themselves or their children that has no impact on someone else and that has no potential to harm the individual by not doing the activity.
An example of this would be the prohibition of recreational drug use in a contained setting. (A person may not like not being able to get high in their own home, but no physical harm will come to them from not getting high.)
4. A law that prevents an individual from taking action that could harm themselves or their children that could have an impact on someone else, but still has no potential to harm the individual by not doing it.
Examples of this would be the prohibition of smoking in public places and drinking and driving. (A person may not like being not being able to smoke in their favorite restaurant anymore, or that they can't get drunk and drive home, but no physical harm will come to them or others from them not doing these acts. In fact, direct physical harm is actually likely if they do.)
In all of this legislation, careful consideration has been paid to the potential for physical harm to an individual and others, either by enforcing or preventing an action. To reiterate, mandating the use of a car seat, wearing a seat belt, or wearing a helmet are proactive measures that have no potential in and of themselves to physically harm anyone, not the individual or society at large. Likewise, banning drinking and driving, banning smoking in public places, and banning the use of recreational drugs are preventative measures that have no potential in and of themselves to physically harm to anyone, not the individual or society at large, and furthermore, by not banning them, actually increases the likelihood of harm.
But given VACCINES DO CARRY THE POTENTIAL TO PHYSICALLY HARM AN INDIVIDUAL, they are not analogous with any of the aforementioned topics. With vaccine mandates, lawmakers have actually created a new category of law:
5. A law that forces an individual to potentially harm themselves or their children for the sake of someone else. (Or stated another way, a law that prevents an individual from protecting themselves or their children for the sake of someone else.)
In reality, perhaps the only appropriate analogy for vaccine mandates is that of the military draft, and even then not quite. For at no point have we drafted children or put parents in the position to enlist them in the armed services or be shunned from society. At no point have we denied that wars are dangerous, that there is a very real risk of injury or death, or that the effects of war can be life long. Nor do we ignore the efforts of our fallen soldiers, but rather, honor them and call them heroes. Vaccine victims, however, are considered rare, unfortunate, acceptable collateral damage. Gosh, we don't even allow them a traditional day in court.
Moving forward, I implore the vaccine defenders of the world to correct themselves. Car seats and smoking bans don't work as arguments to justify their call for tougher mandates, nor do they accurately reflect the issue. And unless and until we are ready to have an elevated debate in this country about the true issue at hand...Do we believe our body is the property of our the government and society or ourselves?...this important conversation is destined to be stifled by elementary thinking on the part of the so called educated elite.
Julie Obradovic is a Contributing Editor to Age of Autism.