Measles

By

Leonard Zwelling

I’m basically a libertarian. I believe that anyone should be allowed to do whatever he or she wants as long as it does not hurt anyone else. I am a strict capitalist who believes in supply and demand. I believe that people can strive to make as much money as they want and then even more. Like Jeff Bezos. Good for him. That he was foolish enough to send naked pictures of himself about and to trust his new girlfriend to keep them to herself, well, other men have had their brains overwhelmed by other parts of their anatomies.

But I am not a strict libertarian. Anyone can’t do anything.

I don’t believe that cars should be allowed to drive on the sidewalk like the motor scooters do in Saigon. In both directions. Simultaneously.

I believe that the government does have the right to tax us to pay for things that only the government can afford or can supply—like an army, roads, or walls. OK, perhaps not walls.

I believed that the Affordable Care Act was constitutional even if it made everyone get health insurance. Yes, Justice Scalia, you can be made to eat broccoli.

And I strongly believe that no belief system can be allowed to jeopardize the physical well-being of America’s children. Yet, that’s what the Anti-Vaxxers are doing.

There is a movement afoot to not vaccinate children against a host of childhood diseases. Measles is just one, but a particularly contagious and deadly one that had been all but eliminated twenty years ago, but is now making a comeback here and abroad (The Philippines, Ukraine, etc.) because there are significant numbers of parents who opt out of having their children vaccinated for fear of complications from the vaccine. These complications are very rare or non-existent (like autism). If our elected representatives allow this to continue, they ought to have their collective heads examined. There MAY be a legitimate exemption from vaccination for those with religious beliefs against the practice. Freedom of religion is a pretty basic American right and I don’t want to mess with that. If everyone without such an exemption got the shots, we probably would not have the problem of over 100 new cases of measles this year that we do. Measles is not a benign disease. It can kill or leave lasting central nervous system damage. This is not a small point. It’s a big one.

Yes, there are some things that government can make you do—have a driver’s license, a gun license, a license to practice medicine, and registering for the draft. Another ought to be getting vaccinated to prevent the spread of potentially fatal illnesses to others. It’s not a very libertarian concept. It is, however, a logical one

For those of us who have spent considerable time caring for the sick or trying to break new frontiers in biomedical research, that a preventable disease should arise anew after its former eradication is libertarianism run amuck. Anyone cannot do anything he or she wants. Everyone gets vaccinated. Period.

Leonard Zwelling