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Libertarian Backlash against Reason Magazine’s “Corporatist,” “Pseudolibertarian” Compulsory Vaccine Campaign

AG Entryism

 Entryism: political tactic by which an organization or state encourages its members or agents to infiltrate another, often opposing organization in an attempt to subvert or destroy it.

By Adriana Gamondes

In the age of biotech entryism—where formerly independent media sources that made their names on liberty and transparency platforms increasingly take the dive on pharmaceutical and Big Ag sacred cows like vaccination and GM tech (usually after receiving backing by biotech industrials such as Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch or the Koch brothers)—it’s refreshing  when a media source which doesn’t focus exclusively or even largely on health and biotech issues makes a purely political argument against compulsory medicine.

 One source in particular, Police State USA: Land of the Checkpoints, whose mission is  “to educate and inform the public about issues that endanger our rights and liberties, and to work to fix them through non-violent means,” has a decidedly libertarian bent and took exception to an article published in a 45 year old libertarian publication, Reason Magazine, entitled Refusing Vaccination Puts Others At Risk: A Pragmatic Argument for Coercive Vaccination.  Not surprisingly, Reason writer Ronald Bailey’s book, Liberation Biology: The Moral and Scientific Case for the Biotech Revolution, was published by Prometheus, a publishing hub for biotech PR front group, the Skeptics.

Age of Autism is a politically agnostic forum but not apolitical. To quote Herman Melville, “There seems no reason why serviceable truth should keep cloistered because not partisan.” There are rare exceptions to unilateral mainstream news compliance with government demands that critical views of vaccines be censored.  PSUSA has done an elegant job ignoring the memo and explaining why compulsory medicine cannot be legitimately argued from a liberty position.  Many thanks to Police State USA for agreeing to share their article with Age of Autism readers.

Reason Magazine openly advocates forced vaccination

 Long-time author Ronald bailey says that there is no libertarian case for refusing a vaccine.

Posted on December 10, 2013 by PSUSA

AG child afraid

One aspect of the police state that I find particularly bothersome is forced drugging.  We see this manifest in a variety of situations, usually involving children whose parents question their doctors or want to pursue alternative health care solutions.  Being a complicated and emotional issue, many people end up siding with the courts in pursuit of mandatory medication.  While this position is to be expected from the average statist, it is somewhat alarming when a well-known and respected publication like Reason Magazine comes out in favor of forced mass-drugging of the population, or as it was gently termed, “coercive vaccination.”  These ideas, promoted under a pseudo-libertarian shroud, cannot go unrebuked.

Reason is 45-year old magazine, traditionally promoting the libertarian cause, which has published a lot of thoughtful and compelling work over the years.  It has a large following of readers, of which I have included myself for some time.  Yet, it seems that there is a faction of the staff that is promoting a contentious view of “liberty” when it comes to certain topics regarding science.  One blogger, with the consent of a sympathetic editing staff, is so adamant about promoting the consensus of mainstream scientists that he believe that it should be mandatory for all.

Police State USA will attempt to expose these dubious arguments and set the record straight about libertarianism.

Ideas So Good They Have to be Mandatory

Ronald Bailey, the self-described “science correspondent,” recently wrote a piece which has raised a lot of eyebrows, titled: Refusing Vaccination Puts Others At Risk: A Pragmatic Argument for Coercive Vaccination.   He goes on to argue in no uncertain terms that he not only believes that coerced medicine is libertarian, but that there is no libertarian argument for declining a vaccine.

Bailey’s article is heavy on irrelevant statistics and light on actual libertarian arguments.  The article, which asserts that liberty is incompatible with vaccine refusal, can be condensed into the following three sentences; the only places that liberty is mentioned at all:

Oliver Wendell Holmes articulated a good libertarian principle when he said, “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.”…. To borrow Holmes’ metaphor, people who refuse vaccination are asserting that they have a right to “swing” their microbes at other people. There is no principled libertarian case for their free-riding refusal to take responsibility for their own microbes.

No Principled Libertarian Case?

The slogan “Free Minds and Free Markets” is repeated all over Reason’s website as well as printed on the cover of every issue.  However, Bailey’s article had violated this principle before the body of the article even began.  There is no way “coercive vaccination” or coercive anything can be reconciled with a free and voluntary market system.

Coercion implies that some consequences exist for refusing to comply; a threat of force.  Coercion and force are anathema to a free market.  A government pushing, promoting, advertising, selling, subsidizing, and worst of all mandating commercial products is exactly what creates a manipulated (not free!) market.  Using government to bolster one technology and intimidate those who disagree is destructive to the very fabric of free competition and choice.  This is corporatism, the type of influence is what Reason usually condemns.  A free market would allow technology to stand on its own without help or hindrance.  The departure from principle is quite bizarre.

Bailey can’t be unaware of free markets, can he?  One can only assume that he has a flawed understanding of free markets or that he willfully chooses to violate the free market in pursuit of his alternative agenda.  But the implications of such a flawed doctrine don’t end there.

Collectivism Versus Individuality

The view that government has a role in coercing individual behavior for the “good” of everyone else is collectivist by definition.  It is social engineering.  Such coercion is incompatible with a society built on voluntarism.  When the state sweepingly compels people to perform certain actions outside of due process, they cannot accurately call themselves free.  Is rejecting involuntary collectivism not a principled libertarian argument?

There also is an apparent disregard for individual sovereignty and self-ownership.  It brings to light the fundamental libertarian question: Who owns your body? The state or you?  The answer to that question lies in who makes the final decision about what goes in your body.

And who will cover the cost of the drugs?  Along with the forced administration of pharmaceuticals of the state’s choosing, Bailey proposes mandatory private health insurance.  In his 2004 article “Mandatory Health Insurance Now!” Bailey again proposes a liberty-negating solution and calls it libertarian, justifying the expense to civil liberties with his prediction of more money in the government’s coffers.

This isn’t libertarian; this is utilitarian.  Liberty is only valued by a utilitarian inasmuch as it is consistent with obtaining vague objectives of societal progress.  As soon as liberty is identified as a hindrance to a collective goal — such as universally medicating the public — liberty is scuttled for the dangerous pursuit of the greatest good for the greatest number of people.  The logic allows the “greater good” to trump individual rights.

The idea that members of society, or the “herd” as they call it, have as much right to refuse injections as cattle is not a vision of a libertarian society.

The Use of Force

The only thing more full of holes than Bailey’s doctrine is his ridiculous argument against people having “a right to swing their microbes at other people.” His implication is that the spread of germs is an initiation of force from one person against others, therefore justifying state intervention to mitigate that initiation of force.  This cheapens the definition of force to an utterly ubiquitous level.  A single person picks up and loses an incalculable number of microorganisms per day.   This is done invisibly, without a person’s knowledge, whether he is healthy or sick, without malice, without intent, and without the ability to stop it (even if you try).   No one can know how many billions of microorganisms were exchanged in a given day, nor who will be susceptible to them.  No one can prove beyond reasonable doubt which person dropped which microorganism.

Indeed, if this is Bailey’s standard for determining whether “force” has been initiated, then such “force” is an omnipresent, inescapable human interaction that happens every day.  And the logical conclusion is that acts of force against others are rightly criminalized.  Every sneeze and handshake could be considered an assault.  Because if exchanging a germ without consent is an initiation of force, then good germs or bad germs are equally forceful.  You might conclude that Bailey believes that everyone has a right to never engage their immune system without consent.

What should happen to someone drops microorganisms that actually cause someone else to get sick?  Should that be considered attempted murder?  The idea of criminalizing communicable diseases is a diving leap down an already slippery slope.

And does Bailey really think the so-called “force” exuded in the act of transferring invisible germs is more threatening than a deliberate, physical intervention by the state?  His priorities seem far askew from a usual libertarian, and the implementation of such policies would  look more like a dystopian, germophobic police state than a libertarian society.

A Pattern of Pseudo-Libertarianism

Bailey’s mutterings would hold little weight if he was just one of the many internet bloggers pushing for state mandates and collectivism.  But Bailey should know better.  Worse, the magazine that many look to as a standard-bearer for libertarianism should know better.

Not only did Bailey’s screed make it past the editors and get published, but a second blog post appeared on the website as a promotion of his work.  “Reason Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey explains why there is no principled libertarian case for vaccine refusal,” states the notice.

AG political

Reason’s “45 enemies of freedom.” (Source: Reason)

Furthermore, on the Reason website, the article is tagged with the keywords “Libertarian” and “Libertarian History/Philosophy,” meaning that this article on forced vaccines will forever appear under searches for the two tags.

Is this really how Reason wants to represent libertarianism?

Apparently so.  Not only are forced injections are being described as synonymous with freedom, but questioning pharmaceutical dogma is viewed as a threat to freedom.  Such is the conclusion I drew when I saw Reason’s “45 Enemies of Freedom” on the cover of their 45th anniversary issue earlier this year. The ridiculous and agenda-driven list featured a TV personality (#28) who encourages people to think twice about vaccines standing next to a Chinese dictator on the cover.

How can a person who speaks of her concerns (without resorting to coercion or force) be viewed as a threat — let alone one of the greatest threats to freedom that Reason has ever known?  Regardless of whether you agree with this woman, her skeptical views on vaccines are in no way a threat to freedom.  That is, unless, you can manage to stick with Ronald Bailey on his illogical condemnation of drug-free people.  How could this silly list get published without reasonable people of the Reason staff raising a hand in objection?

I can see who Reason views as its enemies.  But its hard to decipher what “freedom” means to them.

Who Are the Real Enemies of Freedom?

Reason is hardly the first publication to advocate mandatory vaccines.  Many others have, unfortunately, allowed their devotion to science (and cries for safety) to come before civil rights and liberty.  The American Medical Association Journal of Ethics recently published an article suggesting that participation in vaccine experiments should be “akin to military conscription,” and the “limited inconvenience” should be endured “for the greater good of society.”

If progression of promising vaccines from the lab to the clinic is to remain unaffected and financial inducement is an ethically unacceptable solution to the recruitment shortage, other strategies need to be considered. Compulsory involvement in vaccine studies is one alternative solution that is not as outlandish as it might seem on first consideration. Many societies already mandate that citizens undertake activities for the good of society; in several European countries registration for organ-donation has switched from “opt-in” (the current U.S. system) to “opt-out” systems (in which those who do not specifically register as nondonors are presumed to consent to donation) [10], and most societies expect citizens to undertake jury service when called upon. In these examples, the risks or inconvenience to an individual are usually limited and minor. Mandatory involvement in vaccine trials is therefore perhaps more akin to military conscription, a policy operating today in 66 countries. In both conscription and obligatory trial participation, individuals have little or no choice regarding involvement and face inherent risks over which they have no control, all for the greater good of society.

There are lots of True Believers out there.  While many of them will argue that compulsory behavior should be imposed for our own good, few actually claim that it will set us free.  Coercion is liberty, huh?  What’s next, ignorance is strength?  War is peace?

I don’t take joy in calling out a magazine that is supposed to be an ally in exposing the police state.  But the idea that forced inoculations are in any way compatible with liberty or libertarianism is something that needs to be flatly rejected.  I was floored that this article was featured in Reason.  The overwhelming negative reaction from Reason’s fans seems to indicate that this piece was far out of step with actual libertarians…. 

Continue reading article at Police State USA.

Adriana Gamondes is Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.


Helen Ostrovergova

The major problem with the new law, however, is the mandating a medical procedure that has known risks to the health and to the life of the children. USA has the HIGHEST number of vaccine given to a children, the HIGHEST vaccination coverage and the HIGHEST DEATH RATE for the children under 6 in the developed world (http://vactruth.com/vaccines-and-mortality-rates).

John Stone


How about we ignore the bullying rhetoric of faux libertarians and just allow people who have had bad experiences to be able to speak too (which would be libertarian). By the time the vaccine schedule was being created high child mortality was already in the past. On the other hand, modern America with biggest vaccine program on earth enjoys neither good health or the lowest child mortality on an international scale.

I actually don't think the "I'm intelligent, you're stupid" line is appropriate - it's a very good way of being stupid.

Ben Hennessy

How about we listen to what one die-hard libertarian, Penn Gillette, has to say about vaccines:



Another sad fact is that the system serving autistic populations is so complex it operates under a cloak of ambiguity and mask of sanity. For example, there are so many players involved--and that is the way government likes it--that it becomes virtually impossible to trace one clear cut source of accountability in any case of autism related to vaccinations.


Thank you for the insights all. Saw this in the news... Nuke-Gag laws in Japan to snuff "negative" reporting on Fukushima. http://ecowatch.com/2013/12/11/japans-new-fukushima-fascism/

'Fukushima continues to spew out radiation. The quantities seem to be rising, as do the impacts. The site has been infiltrated by organized crime. There are horrifying signs of ecological disaster in the Pacific and human health impacts in the U.S.But within Japan, a new State Secrets Act makes such talk punishable by up to ten years in prison. Taro Yamamoto, a Japanese legislator, says the law “represents a coup d’etat” leading to “the recreation of a fascist state.” The powerful Asahi Shimbun newspaper compares it to “conspiracy” laws passed by totalitarian Japan in the lead-up to Pearl Harbor, and warns it could end independent reporting on Fukushima.'

I have sometimes wondered whether the rise of security state shenanigans in the US hinged in no small part on industrial epidemics like autism and general child health disasters here-- fear that the gathering storm of public response could be that much more ferocious when it comes to the beyond-the-pale issue of maiming children.

Carolyn Flannery

For anyone trying to decide which side is telling the truth, the fact that Jenny McCarthy's position is constantly misrepresented and that she is personally undermines proves the point. You don't do this type of ad hominem --smear the victim attack unless your client is the one with the murder weapon and the blood on his hands.

Jenny has a son who she witnessed reacting severely to a vaccine. It would be unethical if she DID NOT speak out. It would be unethical if she didn't campaign for safer vaccines.

Whereas those attacking HER, and misrepresenting her message, are demonstrating that they have no case, and cannot dispute her case. I have yet to hear any pharmaceutical spokesperson acknowledge that vaccines can be made safer, or that they should be made safer. Since they don't want to go on record saying "We don't have to care if vaccines are safer" they attack messengers like Jenny and argue an entirely different point that they think they can win. Classic tobacco science. Classic defense tactics.


Forced and coerced vaccination of children with poisonous vaccines is the principal cause of catastrophic biological degradation of US population, which is directly responsible for spectacular US demise, which we are witnessing now. Very small percent of young Americans are still neurologically and biologically healthy. This is a national suicide and total collapse of US civilization, but corrupt idiots-politicians and corporate mafia CEOs blinded by blood-profits still don't get it. They are happily building a genocidal police state in the US, pretending that robbing the poor and sick is still the best kind of business. This is called a new American "democracy" and NWO.

Jeannette Bishop

Thank you for highlighting this response to the "Reason" article.

I can't help thinking the vaccine injury or immune injury epidemics could one of the most powerful examples supporting libertarian principles, the poster child for what happens when even a widely accepted, well-intentioned (assuming at least for the part of most involved) government policy intervenes in the free market, particularly when checks protecting fundamental rights are removed.

But getting most to see that we have manmade epidemics impacting the immune system, often manifested in neurological problems seems to be the hardest part. If that ever reaches a tipping point, I wonder if there will be enough impetus to research the never-vaccinated then, or if most will think it an absurd way to spend time and resources and just move towards minimizing vaccination practices and seek/develop alternate disease fighting methods?


I find the cartoon depiction of Jenny McCarthy naked holding a "no vaccination" sign to be offensive and sexist. Posing for Playboy was only a small part of her career and accomplishments. How about showing her dressed and typing into a computer writing one of her many best selling books? And of course, she never said no vaccinations, she has called for safe vaccinations. Big difference.


PSUSA's description of forced drugging as "bothersome" makes quite an amusingly wry understatement. For a mind to be truly free, it should not be subject to another's profit-focused fearmongering and questionable statistics-gathering.

The comments at Reason's Facebook site give hope that pure libertarianism and common sense remain strong. As others have suggested, those who propose mandatory participation in vaccine experiments should be first in line for initial trials -- where scientists work out the really rough spots. Let's start with Ronald Bailey, who "[f]rom 1987 to 1990... was a staff writer for Forbes magazine." Cultural elites who blame their perceived underlings for everything wrong with the world privately view the great unwashed as disease vectors, though publicly they promote mass vaccination to individuals as part self-protection and part health patriotism.

By promoting mandatory vaccination, Reason has taken an oxymoronic step toward the slippery ideological slope -- thanks to a big shove from corporatism. Will other causes of choice suffer similar hit jobs? And, one might ask, does capitalism/corporatism inevitably subjugate the innocent and pure in society? Many of us who watched the precocious Peanuts Christmas cartoon decades ago now find the annual broadcast less appealing ever since the moppets were co-opted to pitch insurance.

Similarly, the image of a child with measles provides an irresistible draw for marketers of product and thought, which for consumers become evermore inextricably linked. Tapping into consumers' subconscious to address primal needs and fears increases the odds they will reflexively and vigorously defend the suppliers of commodities such as vaccines, without being able to articulate the "why" of their compulsion.

John Stone


I guess we have often visited this territory but you cannot do it too often - I remember early on in the history of AoA Mark Blaxill referencing Eisenhower and his farewell speech about "the military industrial complex", but it is explained very simply in an article by the US's most famous Keynesian economist JK Galbraith making common cause with Liberal economist Robert Heilbronner, but it did not matter which you were it was still fraud and institutional abuse.


And, of course, it did not matter whether your president was George W Bush or Barack Obama, the debauchery just continued apace.



Carol-- great point.

John-- The film version of le Carre's "The Constant Gardener" has a terrific performance by Bill Nighy as the wicked Sir Pellegrin that I think captures the psychological collapse of evil exposed. I'm sure you remember it-- to start with the character is all hail fellow well met, accessible, egalitarian. He wants to be liked, which gives a special power to his role in criminal conspiracy. Horton always reminded me of Pellegrin. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQTsmwT5JyU

Liberty is obviously the root word in libertarianism, or is supposed to be, though it's not the same as liberalism. I've heard this gets confusing for Europeans because the pro-labor anarcho-leftist libertarianism from the European Enlightenment era, which you could say American political analyst Noam Chomsky represents, differs from the philosophy of modern American conservative libertarians like Ron Paul. The two political views have opposing economic philosophies and ideas about aiding the poor and other social policies. That "twain" will never meet. But there's a unifying factor that can't be ignored these days without playing shuffleboard on the Titanic: both share a common idea that personal liberty is paramount and that the state has to justify itself at all times. Both "hardcore" forms of left and right libertarianism also share the same narrative about 9-11- that the terrorists didn't "hate us for our freedoms" but attacked in response to impinging military bases all over the Islamic world and engaging in murderous expansionism for resources. Paul and Chomsky publicly agreed on this.

I have more trouble wrapping my head around the economics of it except in terms of how these different camps regard the current corporate coup. Ron Paul identifies himself as "pro-market" but "anti-business," which, even if one doesn't agree with the view, is not as corporate-cuddling in essence as a pro-business position. Paul has been ideologically consistent on that score by explicitly coming out against forced medication, countering the interests of the arms industry, big oil and gas, etc., by destroying corporate rationalizations for invading other countries for mining investments. On the other hand, the pro-business, corporatist, neoliberal entryists into American libertarianism are getting a lot bolder in spewing Newspeak-- arguing that freedom should only be afforded to corporate interests, not the individual.

The Skeptic biotech front is an illustration of the above. It's like a bad acid trip seeing neoliberal Skeptic icons and Reason Mag favorites like Penn Jillette pretending to support Ron Paul since the Skeptic neolib, pro-biz, Islamophobic ("they hate us for our freedoms" in any other words), forced biotech and state-atrocity-rationalizing position is diametrically opposed to Paul's. It's obviously meant to subvert and hijack recruits on a faux-liberty platform-- blatant entryism.

Bob Moffitt

Adriana writes: "Consumer and ideological front groups are extremely valuable to to industries and institutions because, for one, they provide “plausible deniability” for the industries and institutions they serve."

The following is a phrase unwisely committed to paper by a cigarette executive .. which became the title of a well-worth reading book:

"Doubt is our product .. since it is the best means of competing with the "body of fact" that exists in the minds of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy."

The book warns of a growing industry .. such as the tobacco industry .. that employed "scientific experts" ..who were well-paid to deliberately confuse "sound science" .. with .. "sounds like science". These "hired-gun" scientists then seek to provide "plausible denial" to dispute any conclusions that might result in regulation .. simply by demanding government regulation authorities demand "proof" over "precaution"

As for Reason magazine's Orwellian claim that "coerced medicine is libertarian, but that there is no libertarian argument for declining a vaccine."

Webster's dictionary defines "sophistry" as:

"misleading but clever reasoning".

That Reason would suggest that "coerced medicine is libertarian .. is "sophistry" masquerading as "reason".

Shame on them.


So a parent owes less to his innocent child than a defense attorney owes to a murderer he's representing? In most cases, a defense attorney's job is to use every legal means to get the murderer back out amongst us as soon as possible. Does this present a danger to the public? Well, yeah, often it does.

John Stone

Exactly 5 years ago, at the end of my second article for AoA, I wrote about the Lancet's editor:

"It was always the strategy of the British scientific establishment and government to isolate and destroy Andrew Wakefield – to make him look as if he was standing scientifically and intellectually on his own, and to make sure when they crushed him they discredited all further opposition or dissent on the vaccination issue. In the US context Horton’s book MMR Science and Fiction would be an almost incomprehensible oddity. There is, for instance, only a single mention of thimerosal, which apparently is just another eccentric concern of Wakefield’s. In essence the alleged “vaccine crisis” of the title is entirely about Wakefield and the supposed gullibility of people who doubt official science. Horton’s book is not ultimately about scientific truth, it is about who is credible – we are being told not only is Wakefield not credible, most importantly the parents of vaccine damaged children are not credible either. And cleverly nuanced as Horton’s argument is for a liberal readership, his decision to turn on Wakefield has behind it a highly illiberal and authoritarian basis, in which the interests and voices of the patients and their families are to be finally stamped out. It is ultimately just stage management, and a stab in the back for open debate."


And it goes on and on...

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