I recently came across an interesting article on vaccination. The article, written by Dr. Stemwedel of San Jose State University, addresses the ethics of non-vaccination with respect to the social contract.
Although this aspect of the argument may be mentioned in other articles, it is seldom given such thorough treatment.
What I find most comical is that parents can bypass the social contract and decline to vaccinate their children but still send them into public school (etc.). Apparently (although I may be wrong here), all you have to do is express an ethical opposition to vaccination and that’s acceptable.
Are all obligations of the social contract as easily dispensed with while still keeping the benefits?
Can I send my son to school with a pack of Marlboros because we don’t agree about the dangers of secondhand smoke? After all, it’s just my one son who will be smoking in class. -I know this is an absurd argument, but don’t we forbid smoking in class for the same reason we insist on vaccination? And I would be pretty disappointed if my son started smoking – he is only 8.
What other elements of the social contract can be ethically declined?
Must I pay taxes even when the guy I voted for lost?
Can I be the one guy who declines to be burdened by speeding laws?
By the way, last year saw an outbreak of Measles in Wales that has been attributed to declining vaccination rates over recent years.