In case you've missed the news, the measles are back with a vengeance. The CDC says there have been more than 600 cases in the United States since the start of the year. And it's the fault of people choosing not to vaccinate. Period. People like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.:
In general, governments should be extremely cautious about telling anyone what to do with their bodies -- but measles is highly contagious and potentially deadly. That means there is an overwhelming public interest in making sure we're all protected through vaccinations.
There are people who can't get vaccines -- including very young babies and people with immune disorders. And it's up to the rest of us to either get vaccinated or remain thoroughly and completely quarantined until the threat has passed. I don't think many people are lining up for a true self-quarantine, so vaccines are the only rational alternative.
Sometimes a measured response to an imminent threat takes precedence over principles like "You can't tell me what to do with my body." Because, in this case, yes, society can.
To take a parallel case, a person's home may be their castle, but you wouldn't tolerate your neighbor stockpiling plutonium in the backyard. The sovereignty of your property ends where an imminent threat to others begins. Measles is the equivalent of a biological weapon. We can stop it, or we can surrender to it.
Surrender is a choice, and a stupid one at that.
Missed our prior discussion with the Iowa state epidemiologist? Check it out here.