Monday, June 17, 2019

On traffic lights, beehive and vaccinations


     Think about traffic lights.
     They hang at intersections in every city and town, endlessly cycling through green to yellow to red, then back to green again, telling drivers when to stop and go.
     Silent sentinels, automatically observed and unquestioningly obeyed. Like idols really.
     Like gods.
     Let’s say this situation genuinely offends my understanding of my faith, which commands “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me,” and warns against the worship of false idols. Let’s further say that I take to setting up a ladder at stoplights in the middle of the night and painting the lenses black.
     God, in His infinite wisdom, will direct traffic safely through the intersections.
     How will society react to this sincere expression of my religious faith? Will it respect me? Or will it throw me in jail?
     Jail, and rightly so. Because my ability to practice a particular personal belief stops when it harms other people and tears down social order.
     The above, metaphorically, is the exact situation regarding vaccines — well, maybe not the painting-over part. So let’s say I drive heedlessly through red lights, aghast at the imposition society would inflict upon my personal freedom. 

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  1. The Freakonomics program that aired yesterday touched on this subject briefly and revealed the paradox that better educated parents are more likely to be anti-vaxers than those with less education. I would say that it's not the education level that matters, but rather the attitude that Neil mentions of the paramountcy of individual rights versus societal concerns. If given a choice between libertarianism and communism, I would choose something in between.


  2. Which is the greater danger, the ignorance of anti-vaxers or the shortsighted among us who only see a common good if it helps them. Since I avoided Measles the old fashioned way, how much peril do I face from the resurgent childhood scourge?

    1. Easy. The ignorance of the anti-vaxxers. Do you realize that your last sentence seems a perfect example of "the short-sighted among us"?


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