Republican Candidates Take Strong Stand Against Inoculating Girls Against Cancer-Causing Virus


My jaw dropped when Paul used the words “forcibly” and “sexually transmitted disease” and “12 year old girls” in the same sentence when describing something as basic to public health as inoculation against a virus that currently a full 50% of all sexually active men and women will get. If you did not know what the word inoculate meant, you would have thought from the context of those words strung together that the government was not actually enforcing public health in a non-invasive way as it is its full prerogative to do, but rather encouraging the raping and infection of pre-adolescent children.

This appeal to the almighty wisdom of parents (and in this case religious parents who apparently are less afraid of their children getting cancer than getting condoms) is not a rational commitment to liberty, it is not a rational fear of statism, it is not what should be called “libertarianism”, it is anarchism. It is the view not that the state needs to be kept within the limits of its abilities to successfully do good but the view that the state is inherently evil, that even its actions which are ostensibly only aimed at advancing public health are authoritarian impositions on people’s rights to die of preventable illnesses. And, in this particular case, it is anarchism on behalf of private religious power. Rather than being interested in the liberties of all people, this sort of insistence on “freedom” aims at increasing the abilities of religions to control people’s lives even to the point where those religions want to oppose medical treatments that their moralistic myopia, medical ignorance, and/or indifference to the suffering of others makes them think are evil or unnecessary.

There is no “right to cancer”. Not everything the government does is against the interests of the citizenry and not every law is an usurpation of the rights of individuals. This is absolutist nonsense, not a proper love of freedom.

And the other candidates, were as bad as Paul on this issue:

And Rick Santorum, in response to the question, “What about Perry’s reversal on the wisdom of mandatory HPV vaccinations for young girls in Texas? Is it enough for him to say, ‘oops, I made a mistake’?:

It’s enough to say oops if when fully briefed on what he did that after being fully briefed he made a mistake. But he kept this position for years and in fact was hostile towards those that opposed him. It’s only in recent months that he has decided it’s an oops. That is an election day flip flop for no other reason except that his position is an untenable one. And having the government step in and require this type of vaccination for 12 year old girls without, with parents not having the right but to object. I mean it was forced other than parent’s objecting.

And Michelle Bachmann:

It is wrong for government, whether it’s state or federal government, to impose on parents what they must do to inoculate their children.

Your Thoughts?

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.