“Non-vaxers should all be banished to an island where they can trade diseases and die together.”
“I don’t want any unvaccinated children or adults around my children!”
“People who don’t vaccinate should have their children taken away from them.”
“People who don’t vaccinate are worse than bioterrorists.”
“Non-vaxers shouldn’t be allowed to have children. They’re too stupid to reproduce.”
“People who don’t vaccinate are murderers and baby-killers.”
“Doctors are well within their rights to throw anti-vaxers out of their practice. These people could spread dangerous diseases.”
Ever heard someone say these things about vaccine refusers? Maybe you’ve said some of them yourself.
You probably consider yourself an open-minded person who would never get caught up in prejudice and hysteria. During World War II, you would have opposed the confinement of Japanese Americans. Had you lived in the Deep South after the Civil War, you wouldn’t have supported Jim Crow laws. If you lived in Australia during the mid-twentieth century, you would have been outraged and appalled at half-white children being pulled away from their Aboriginal mothers. If you had lived in Germany under Hitler, you would have been against forcing people to undergo sterilization surgery against their will and you would have seen through all the lies about Jews that were disseminated by the Nazi propaganda machine. And you believe that it would be cruel and inhumane to deny medical treatment to someone with HIV/AIDS.
But would you? If you’ve ever said any of the above sentiments, or written them online in Facebook as all your friends join in putting down people who don’t vaccinate, you should take a good hard look at yourself.
Because it wasn’t that long ago that anthropologists and biologists stated the black people were naturally lacking intelligence and moral restraint and more like “apes”. So if you place your trust in an idea because the people supporting it have a doctoral degree, you would probably believe that it was a biological fact that non-white people are inferior to white people.
And it wasn’t that long ago that the Australian government forced the removal of mixed race aboriginal children from their families in the name of assimilation, education and health.
During World War II, allowing Japanese Americans to live freely in the community was considered to be too great a risk to the lives of others, so they were forced to leave their homes and interred in desert camps.
And of course, under Hitler (and in other places, as well) people with mental illnesses or disabilities were forced to undergo sterilization surgery because their reproduction was considered a threat to public health.
Unfortunately, there is no mass outcry to protect the autonomy of the individual where vaccination is concerned. Groups like the ACLU and Anti-Defamation League will work tirelessly for issues such as same-sex marriage and other medical issues like abortion, but when it comes to allowing the individual the right to refuse vaccination, they are decidedly silent.
So ask yourself a really hard question, is your stance that the privacy and autonomy of individuals opposed to vaccination should be sacrificed for a “common good” based on compassion or fear? And if you believe vaccination is a case of “the end justifies the means”, just what are your limits when “educated” people in positions of authority tell you do something?