Injecting People Isn’t a Religious Right

The New York Times editorial board, ever faithful to the vaccine religion, argues that you don’t have a right to informed consent with vaccinations.

Today in the United States, the practice of vaccination has become a religion. We are supposed to believe uniquely in the pharmaceutical products called vaccines as a matter of faith. We are supposed to blindly place our trust in public health officials, the high priests of this state religion, who tell us we must all strictly comply with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And we are not supposed to believe that vaccination is a matter of individual choice. We are not supposed to maintain our appreciation and respect for that most fundamental medical ethic, the right to informed consent.

We are not supposed to question, dissent from, or challenge public vaccine policy. Anyone who does so is treated as a heretic.

The New York Times editorial board, for example, attacks “anti-vaxxers”—the media’s derogatory label for dissenters—as “the enemy”. Yet as I demonstrated in my article “How to Immunize Yourself Against Vaccine Propaganda”, it is the hypocritical Times editors who are dangerously ignorant of the science and guilty of grossly misinforming the public. (For another systematic dismantling of blatantly deceitful vaccine propaganda from the Times, see also my article “Should You Get the Flu Shot Every Year? Don’t Ask the New York Times.” And to see how the Times gives government health officials a platform from which to broadcast blatant lies about vaccine safety to the public, see my article “Top US Health Officials Lie that Vaccines Don’t Contain Toxic Chemicals”.)

Vaccination has become a religious rite—and increasingly underlying mainstream media coverage of the subject is the assumption that we have no right to informed consent.

The Times provided a useful example on May 21, 2019, with its editorial “Infecting People Isn’t a Religious Right”. The title communicates the idea that you do not have a right to not get vaccinated. You must do it, and you do not have a choice. As a matter of moral principle, we are being instructed, that choice cannot be left up to you, but must be made for you by our wise government overlords. You have no right to informed consent. Instead, it is the state’s “right” to vaccinate you or your child against your will.

The article teaser below the headline reinforces the message: “The measles outbreak makes it vital for New York lawmakers to end religious exemptions for vaccinations.” Of course, it’s not really about the reason for the exemption. It doesn’t matter whether an exemption is for religious reasons, philosophical reasons, or any other reasons apart from the narrow criteria by which public vaccine policy allows for “medical” exemptions to vaccination (such as having almost died from a previous vaccination).

In California, Senator Richard Pan has explained this viewpoint succinctly. He was one of the key players in getting legislation passed after the 2015 Disney measles outbreak that eliminated all non-“medical” exemptions to vaccination. I place the word “medical” in quotation marks there because the way Senator Pan sees it, the granting of “medical” exemptions to vaccinations “is not the practice of medicine but of a state authority to licensed physicians”.

So there you have it: the state, not the parents or their child’s doctor, should make the determination whether that child should get vaccinated—even though government bureaucrats in Washington or state capitals have none of the necessary knowledge about the individual child required to be in any kind of position to be able to make that decision.

“Essentially,” to again quote Pan’s own words, by writing a “medical” exemption, “physicians are fulfilling an administrative role”.

Similarly, from the perspective of the Times editors, it should not be up to individuals to decide whether to get vaccinated, or for parents to decide whether to vaccinate their children. Instead, when it comes to vaccination, personal choice is not an option.

Of course, parents choosing not to vaccinate their children strictly according to the CDC’s recommendations do not do so because they feel they have a “right” to have their child infect other people’s children with some disease. To actively try to cause another person to become infected with a viral or bacterial pathogen would certainly violate libertarianism’s non-aggression principle. But, needless to say, that’s not among the reasons why parents choose not to vaccinate their children. Nobody argues that choosing not to vaccinate is okay because we have a right to infect other people with pathogens. The Times’ headline presents an idiotic strawman argument designed to deflect attention away from the real issue, which is our right to informed consent.

Beyond its transparent disingenuousness, though, the Times is implicitly asserting that people do have some kind of “right” to be free from exposure to any viruses or bacteria for which there exists a CDC-recommended vaccine. But that is ludicrous. There is no such right. If your mom has the flu and you give her a hug and likewise come down with it, has she committed aggression against you? And if we are to regard it as aggression if someone who hasn’t been vaccinated infects you, what if someone infects you who has been fully vaccinated? Are they then somehow exempt from the charge of aggression? What about vaccines that don’t even prevent transmission? What if vaccination actually increases the risk of a person infecting another, such as with pertussis, because the vaccinated person thinks that the vaccine prevents transmission when it doesn’t? How is it that this doesn’t even matter and is not even a consideration insofar as the Times editors have thought it through for us?

The very concept of a right to be free from bacteria and viruses is preposterous. We have more bacterial cells than human cells in our own bodies and depend on bacteria to maintain good health, and a considerable percentage of our own DNA has been determined to be viral in origin. The idea that individuals have some kind of right to be free from exposure to viruses and bacteria is insane, and such reductio ad absurdum arguments as I’ve just presented are enough to illustrate how irrational this suggestion is.

It’s obviously true that there are risks from viral or bacterial infections and the diseases they can cause. But the idea that vaccination should not be a personal choice ignores the fact that vaccination is a medical intervention that entails risk, too. The risks from the diseases are not the same for every individual. Likewise, some children are at higher risk of being permanently injured or killed by vaccinations. Part of the problem is that our scientific knowledge has not yet developed to the point that we are able to easily identify which individuals have a genetic or environmental predisposition to vaccine injury. We just don’t know who they are.

The one-size-fits-all approach of public vaccine policy is itself unscientific and ignores the individual variation in risk. It plays Russian roulette with our children. It ignores that the only reasonable basis for a determination with respect to the risk-benefit analysis of vaccination is that it must be made for each individual vaccine and each individual person. Government bureaucrats simply do not have the knowledge that they need to be able to make those judgments for all of us as some kind of collective. They are totally ignorant, and they have no business dictating to us what medical interventions we or our children must undergo.

One of the main tactics being used by the government and the complicit media to eliminate your health freedom is fearmongering. In the pre-vaccine era in the US, measles was recognized as a typically benign illness and virtual childhood rite-of-passage, but today we are supposed to be terrified of it.

“It’s no coincidence that measles is spreading across the United States”, the Times editorial begins, “after a decade in which the number of parents claiming exemption for their children from vaccination has grown.”

Right from the start, the Times is misleading. Vaccination rates have actually remained very high over time. This is what kindergarten vaccination coverage has looked like in the state of New York, for example:

Vaccination rate in New York state

As you can see, the vaccination rate has hovered between a low of 95.6% for the school year starting in 2015 and the high of 98.2% for the prior year.

The Times is right that the exemption rate has gone up in New York, though. In fact, if we want to help sensationalize it for the Times, we could say that it has actually doubled! Here’s what that’s looked like:

Vaccine exemption rate in New York state

As you can see, the exemption rate in New York had held steady at 0.1% until the school year starting in 2016, since which it has been up a whopping 0.1% all the way to 0.2%!

That’s why a major outbreak of measles has occurred this year in New York, according to the New York Times: because the most recent data shows an exemption rate of 0.2% instead of 0.1%.

In 2011, when the kindergarten vaccination rate was at 96.9%—a bit lower than the 97.2% for the most recent school year’s data—there was another outbreak in New York City, which was traced to an adult woman who had received two doses of the measles vaccine.

The authors of a study on that outbreak attributed it to what’s known as “secondary vaccine failure”. That’s when the antibody levels provoked by the vaccine wane over time to become no longer protective against viral infection. “Primary vaccine failure” is when the vaccine just fails to work at all in the first place (i.e., fails to provoke a protective level of antibodies).

The New York Times, like the rest of the mainstream media, never talk about vaccine failure or its implications for the flawed theory that vaccine conferred “herd immunity” can stop outbreaks from occurring. (For a list of other things they refuse to ever discuss, see my article “15 Facts about Measles the Mainstream Media Won’t Tell You”.)

Of course, the Times was referring specifically to religious exemptions, whereas the above data relates to all kinds of exemptions. The Times cites no sources to support its suggestion that the rate of religious exemptions in New York have increased so dramatically as to obviously explain why a major outbreak occurred there this year. There was an oft-cited study published last year looking at rates of non-medical exemptions across states and found that rates had increased in most states allowing them, but its authors only considered states where philosophical exemptions are allowed, which is not the case in New York. So from where did the Times editors get data enabling them to so firmly conclude that an increase in the rate of religious exemptions in New York explains why measles cases have occurred there? While I’m willing to acknowledge the theoretical possibility that they have seen such data, I would like to propose to you that they simply made it up. They don’t need to actually have any data to support their assertions. They are taking up a pro-vaccine position. Supporting evidence isn’t required. It’s enough that they believe it to be true.

The Times editors elaborate on how they desire for people to have no choice whether to vaccinate, that the choice can only be made by government legislators and compliant medical practitioners. They point out that the industry-funded American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), too, advocates that, when it comes to vaccines, parents have no right to choose, that they have no right to informed consent. Then they describe the criticism that legislation eliminating non-medical exemptions “could violate the First Amendment” as “one of the anti-vaccine movement’s favored talking points—that beliefs about vaccines are protected by the Constitution.”

One of the pro-vaccine movement’s favored talking points is to identify supposed favored talking points of this monolithic “anti-vaccine movement” that they describe, rather than actually addressing any of the real issues.

In this case, the real issue is not that beliefs about vaccines are protected by the Constitution, but that our individual liberty is protected by it, including our right to informed consent. (Or, at least, our individual liberty is supposed to be protected by the Constitution, although of course the government violates the Constitution and individual rights perpetually and is ever seeking to assume even greater powers to dictate us how we ought to go about living our lives.)

Pursuing the strawman argument intended to narrow the scope of the discussion such that the right to informed consent need never be addressed, the Times proceeds by arguing that religious freedom “doesn’t apply” when it comes to vaccines. They quote a federal appeals court that upheld California’s removal of religious exemptions arguing that, “The right to practice religion does not include liberty to expose the community or the child to communicable disease or the latter to ill health or death.”

In other words, in the opinion of both the federal appeals court and the New York Times editors, individuals do not have a right to choose not to vaccinate. In their view, the Constitution does not protect the right to informed consent!

Notice again also that whether the reason for the decision not to vaccinate is religious or otherwise in nature is practically irrelevant: it is the right to choose itself that the Times is arguing must be taken away.

Hence the Times advocates laws mandating vaccinations as “one of the best ways” to “get parents to vaccinate their children.” If they won’t choose to vaccinate willingly, they must be coerced to.

The editors go on to describe the “anti-vaccine campaign” as “factually vacuous”. But, again, the Times editors are in no place at all to judge the truthfulness of others’ views. These hypocrites are not just totally ignorant, but deliberately deceptive. For example, in an editorial earlier this year, they explicitly blamed mumps outbreaks solely on “anti-vaxxers” even though the Times itself reported just last year how outbreaks are occurring “because the immune response provoked by the mumps vaccine weakens significantly over time, and not because people are avoiding vaccination”.

This is the same factually vacuous New York Times that claimed last year that a 2010 study found that the influenza vaccine conferred “a big payoff in public health” when that study actually found that the CDC’s recommendation that everyone aged six months and up receive an annual influenza vaccine is unsupported by scientific evidence. That study found moreover that, in order to support its policy, the CDC had deliberately misrepresented the science!

The New York Times doesn’t give a shit about what the facts are when it comes to the practice of vaccination. Its editors and writers are strict adherents to the vaccine religion. To them, facts don’t matter. What matters to them is that anyone who dares to commit the crime of heresy against their faith is punished for their sin. They have a political agenda, and the “facts” they report follow.

This is not called journalism. It is called public policy advocacy. It is called propaganda.

Recognize that you do have rights. You are entitled to individual liberty. You do have a right to be free from bodily harm; and this does not mean that you have a right to be free from exposure to viruses and bacteria, but it does mean that you have a right to be free from potentially harmful medical interventions forced upon you against your will.

The vaccine religion constitutes a threat to our health and to our liberty. The right to informed consent must be inviolable. Anything else is tyranny.

To learn more about the assault on our health and liberty, read my article “How Public Vaccine Policy Violates Our Right to Informed Consent”.

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