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Anti-Vaccination & the Social Contract

It’s fine to say that we live in a Free Country, like that idea somehow means everybody around us are living their lives to self-determined whim without limitation. But, deep down, we all know that isn’t the case. Between taxes, police forces, rules and regulations, there is a minefield of moral and social constraints – the country, any democracy, is not free in the sense those people claim. It is free in a far more general sense.

The way our country is free would be more in the way of a social contract. We are allowed by government to self-determination as individuals in a greater sense. Nobody pulls your child out of school and says “You will be a plumber!” … nobody taps you on the shoulder and says “You are now in the army!”

However, we do have things like picture identification, tax file numbers, business numbers, standards, licensing, accreditation, criminal databases and a whole bunch of other things that strike a balance between you and how far your freedom extends. You are free to operate within the constraints of societies limitations.

You can’t impinge on the safety and security of others without censure and punishment. You can’t leave your music up so loud that the neighbours can’t sleep. The list of things you can’t do is pretty long when you think about it – seat belts, drink/drug driving, helmets on bicycles, lighting fires in Summer, throwing your dinner set onto the highway. Only an absolute simplistic moron would believe their rights of freedom extend beyond that limited sphere into self-determined anarchy.

So what’s the deal with this idea of freedom in what we refer to as a free country? The answer: it’s more of a social contract.

Our various levels of government work to create a safe and secure financially stable infrastructure around most of us so that society can function effectively. This way we all potentially leg ourselves up to better lives together; trade increases, jobs are available, people save and invest, crime remains low, goods can get to market. Banks, roads, ports, bridges, hospitals, police. All around you, in the public and private sector, is that part of the social contract that we accept as innate benefits of being citizens in this free country.

The other side of our social contract are responsibilities and obligations to this free country. We have to serve in the armed forces in time of war and send our children to fight and die as required, we have jury duty, tax obligations, voting, obeying the law, moving out of the way of ambulances on the highway, getting fucking vaccinated to protect us all through herd immunity.

Do you see the picture I’m painting about this idea of a free country? About the limits of free choice and the extent that our individual rights are not supposed to impinge on the safety and security of others? Like I said, only an absolute moron would believe they have no obligations and responsibilities to the greater good of our wider society.

By refusing vaccination and intentionally lowering the vaccination rates (because anti-vaccination is a conspiracy theory turned to cultism) society’s herd immunity has been broken for measles. That, in my view, conflicts with the social contract. In my view, that poses a question as to whether the other benefits of society are deserved by the people failing to recognise their obligations to the rest of us. Should they be able to own property, vote, work, or use the infrastructure provided as benefits to all citizens? At some point we might even ask if they should be interred for the greater good – for the safety of others.

In fact, that’s exactly what prison is about – dealing with people who break the social contract of society. If you push too far outside those obligations you will and should be censored and punished to some degree. I’m not advocating prison, by any means, but there is certainly a case for limiting the rewards of citizenship for those not participating in the greater good.

We’re not at that point yet… but when we see devastating repercussions across a range of diseases that most certainly will kill and maim large numbers of citizens in the future we might want to rethink that question. What do you owe the rest of society? Regardless of your worldview or religion or political affiliation? I’d say that herd immunity is right up there. You belong to this herd, after all.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark and I live in the Derwent Valley in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a mazer & a yeast farmer (making beer, fruit wine and mead as by-products of continuous improvement in my farming practices). I'm a photographer, although my film cameras are currently silent. I do not tolerate idiots. I do not tolerate bigotry. I do not tolerate excuses. Let's be clear, if you sit with my enemies you my are my enemy for life.

Blogger. Thinker. Brewer. Drinker. Life partner to the amazing and incredible Megan.

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