Friday, February 6, 2015

What's Worse Government or the Measles?

By Robert Wenzel

I am glad to see a number of commenters at discussing the significant survival rate in modern industrial countries of those who contract measles.See: Lew Rockwell and Ryan McMaken.

I had the measles when I was a child and I seem to recall that pretty much all the kids in the neighborhood did. On the first sign of spots, Dr. Tony was called and he visited the house, doctors made house calls in those days. He confirmed it was measles, and it did not send my parents into panic. Back then, all parents seemed to know that  kids were going to get the measles eventually. It was kind of a rite of passage.

The BIG thing I remember about it is that I got to stay home from school for a few days.

According to  Atkinson, William (2011). Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (12 ed.). Public Health Foundation. pp. 301–323,  the risk of death among those infected is 0.2%.  And this is a pro-vaccine, Center for Disease Control publication. There are many others that claim the death rate in a modern industrial country is much, much lower.

Measles is not ebola. That said, I am not going to pretend that I have any knowledge at all about the tradeoffs between the risk of dying from measles versus the risk that a measles vaccine will cause autism.

I suspect, like most things, a few scientists may understand the true risk trade offs, but then the understanding curve drops very quickly, with most loudmouths who think they understand the tradeoff not having a clue as to the science required to truly understand the topic.

But what I can't understand is why many of these loudmouths are on the side of coerced vaccinations. If they think that a vaccination is required to protect themselves and their kids, then they should just go ahead and get it. I am all for allowing them to get vaccination shots in their arms, their butts and their eye sockets, if they want. That should give them the protection they desire and, then, they should  leave everyone else alone.

Quite frankly, the thing that is in epidemic proportions these days is not measles but government coercion. Government coercion always and everywhere, every time we come up against it, snuffs out a little bit of our freedoms and lives. And given the number of new laws and regulations that are put on the books on a daily basis, we are nudging up against this coercion more and more often. We are, in an important sense, in a prison without walls.  That in the long run is the real killer of our life and energy---and coerced vaccinations would just add to that government kill.

Government coercion should never be encouraged.

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher at and at Target Liberty. He is also author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics


  1. I had this conversation with a flaming Liberal the other day, it seems there are also some Neocon types on board with gov't mandated vaccinations as well...the common thread being gov't control in the name of "good".

    Anyway, the Liberal made the claim that certain kids with other immune compromised systems are susceptible because they can't be immunized before hand. He used the example of Leukemia. I have no idea how relevant, truthful, etc. it is...but I simply said, "If your kid has Leukemia are you going to put him in an environment with a bunch of other kids who are sick all the time?" "What are we talking about here in your scenario in terms of incidence, .1 of 1%?"

    No response of course, then I just did the Rothbard thing of pushing to extreme:

    "If you think it's important to mandate vaccines, why not start with a bigger killer, like the flu. Way more people die from the flu, why aren't we mandating everyone get flu shots every year?"

    Again, no response. I'm sure there's some hardcore statists that would love the idea of mandated flu yearly flu shots...but those ones are most likely permanently lost anyway.

  2. Walter Block is pro-forced vaccinations. Disgusting.

  3. Remember "pox parties"? Vaccine advocates like to talk of "herd immunity" (if that is not a collectivist term nothing is). Today in the US this herd immunity is derived via vaccines. In the past parents would throw a pox party when an infection such as the measles would rear its head in a child the the neighbors would through a party to get the neighborhood kids in the same house so they would all be infected subsequently developing immunity.

    Some say the immunity developed via infection is better than through vaccination. This does not matter when considering the issue of liberty in the context of compulsory injection or any other method or introducing substances into the body. Nobody should have the power to force another to take anything against their will.

    If another is a carrier of a crippling contagious disease, we have reason to isolate our self from them. One that knows they are a carrier of a crippling contagious disease that does not isolate them self is committing a criminal act similar to a thug that attacks and cripples a victim. The thug may be more malicious but the injury may be similar.

  4. The justification for government coercion is that there is a tiny minority for whom vaccination doesn't work. Oddly the justification for vaccines is that only a tiny minority suffer adverse side effects. So they move the suffering from one group to another. The experts have spoken and thus that is how society, how people should be managed.

    1. Actually, the CDC claims that with two shots the vaccination takes for everyone: (

      "More than 95% of the people who receive a single dose of MMR will develop immunity to all 3 viruses. A second vaccine dose gives immunity to almost all of those who did not respond to the first dose."

      So the "tiny minority" claim is a contradiction within the world of the coercers.

    2. I had not heard that before. As usual the more I learn, the more absurd the side of coercion becomes. Thanks for the tip.