Gesundheit!

Posted: January 15, 2013 in Ethics, Politics
Tags: , , , , ,

*Achoo*

The flu debate, like so many other debates this past century, is suffering from the lack of a principled approach. People speak of rights, of the greater good, of statistics, or of whatever concept in order to make their case.  These arguments lack a principled foundation and/or a principled structure.  What makes you say these rights are in fact rights?  Why is this for the greater good? What is considered the greater good in this case?  These are all questions begging to be asked but receive no acknowledgement.  I will provide the missing links and bring clarity to the debate.

 The initiation of force should be an illegal act, on principle.  This principle stems from the right to life, which is one’s right to live one’s life free from coercion and from initiated force.  It means you have a right to live for your own sake, and take actions that furthers your existence.  It does not mean you have a right to the life of others.  The initiation of force prevents or frustrates any number of those manifestations of a right to life, so if you or someone else initiates force, that is wrong.  A disease emanating from your body that physically affects others is a use of force whether it’s intentional or not, or if it can be controlled or not.  The government should have the right to quarantine you and others have the right to restrict your access on their property in order to counteract the use of force from your infection.  It’s not your fault, as the infected, but neither is it the fault of those who are uninfected.  As the uninfected, however, it would be an injustice for the government to quarantine you because it would be them initiating force on you.
 
As the uninfected and unvaccinated (or vaccinated with less than 100% effectiveness), you have the right to waive your right for the same reason the criminal can waive his right to remain silent and confess a crime.  You may visit known areas of contagious people, like hospitals, or work, or any other areas where contagious people may lurk.  If you are uninfected and vaccinated, however, then the infected or potentially infected cannot harm you so the initiation of force principle doesn’t apply; assuming of course that the vaccine strain is matching the infected strain and is 100% effective.  This year’s vaccine is only 62% effective according to some studies, which places the vaccinated under the category of unvaccinated in principle since they are still at risk of becoming infected.

As the infected, you have no right to be on the premises of another’s property without it first being cleared with the owners.  They have a right to refuse your admittance and the default assumption is that they are uninfected, unimmunized (vaccinated or not), and that they haven’t waived their right.  Your presence on their property would be a violation of their right if that is indeed the case.

Employers and property owners may set the terms of how they employ others or how others use their property.  They may restrict employment or customer access to those who are vaccinated or not, or from those who are infected or not.  If they choose to accept the infected on their premises, then they must warn those with whom they deal with so that the uninfected may choose to waive their right or not.  If the owners advertise an infection free zone, but knowingly permit the infected, then they become an accomplice.  If they only choose to accept the uninfected, then no warning should be legally obligatory even if they are unvaccinated.

Waiving one’s right and being exposed to the infected has some risks if you become infected yourself; however, vaccinations come with their own risks too.  Each individual should weigh the alternatives, judge their situation, and act accordingly.  It would be an injustice for the government to force either a vaccine on someone or to force someone to be exposed to the infected. In either case it’s the initiation of force, which is an injustice. To illustrate this idea a little better, both cases would be similar to forcing one to play one round of Russian Roulette. The risks involved with the flu are less than Russian Roulette, but the principle is the same. Does it really matter if the cylinder is chambered for 1,000,000 or so rounds instead of 6 rounds? In either case you are being forced — someone else is making the decision for you — to take a risk with your life, which makes such an act massively inappropriate and not to mention an injustice.I have listed the involved parties (infected, uninfected, property owners, employers and government) with regard to the flu, and their respective rights within a free society. These are the limits that each party should be able to freely act within in order to secure liberty and justice for all. These principles should guide one’s thinking when considering the flu debate (or any debate involving rights).

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