Saturday, November 14, 2009

Playing Chicken with Needles

It's nice to know the government is always right.

The Maine legislature has killed a bill that would have made it illegal for the government to require vaccination for all citizens, according to the Bangor Daily News.

“If we don’t have the right to control our own bodies, what gets injected into our bodies, what rights do we have?” asks Rep. Doug Thomas (R-Ripley).

Well, for starters, you have the right to put blind faith in scientists and politicians.

A Nov. 12 BDN editorial argues, incredibly, that the government "must retain the power to protect people" if some horrendous virus starts killing off vast chunks of the population.

"It is hard to imagine any scenario," so sayeth the BDN, "setting aside any Big Brother-inspired paranoia, that would have [government] tapping this power with reckless or bad intent."

Yes, politicians are such nice people.  And it's not like there's any money involved in the manufacture and distribution of vaccines, so the whole process is bound to remain pure and innocent as kittens selling Girl Scout cookies.

First of all, there are plenty of legitimate reasons to have a healthy skepticism about vaccine, or anything else you are asked (told) to put into your body. And those who choose not to protect themselves would only be harming themselves.

Secondly, there is no reason to believe the government is capable of making enough vaccine to protect millions of people at a time from some horrible new bug, so protecting its authority to make vaccines compulsory seems a bit peculiar. It's sort of like insisting I should have the right to bring my gerbil with me when I vacation on the moon.

Vaccines are still grown in chicken eggs, a method widely criticized as being not just a little creepy, but also way too slow.  What, is there a shortage of eggs?

Maybe I could help.

Back in July I wrote about how my wife and daughter brought home six fuzzy chicks in a cardboard box. Two of them were "broilers," which meant that eight weeks later they had grown too large to support their own weight, barely able to move from the feeder to the water pan.  Sort of like General Motors.

At that point, we were left with only one logical option, which was to put the broilers out by the road with a "free" sign on them, and hope a hungry person with experience in humane slaughtering and evisceration happened by.

Unfortunately, that is not what we did. Instead, I absorbed the responsibility for giving two fat fowl a dignified finish.  I'll spare you the details.

But we still have four hens who need a home (my wife and daughter will insist that they already have a home, since I managed to nail some pieces of wood together until they formed a chicken coop, but pay no attention to them).

So, on second thought, let's make vaccination against any and all flu viruses mandatory for all Americans. The demand for chickens and eggs will go through the roof, and I'll be able to make some quick cash.

The owners of the Bangor Daily News will be happy, too, since they can always count on their editorial writers to lay an egg once in a while.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Chuck,

I really enjoy your columns, but I have to take issue with a couple of things in your latest edition on vaccines.

First, the Legislature decided not to address Rep. Ripley's vaccine bill because the current laws regarding vaccines are sensible and reasonable.

Current state and federal vaccine laws allow children and adults to opt out of any and all vaccines. Since the second session of the Maine Legislature is designed to deal with only emergency legislation, the Legislature found it appropriate not to address a bill in search of a problem.

Second, I would be very weary of quoting Rep. Doug Thomas as an affirming opinion in your columns. Rep. Thomas is perhaps the state's most conservative legislator and is responsible for many objectionable and unreasonable positions on state issues.

The bottom line is that legislation should only be taken up when needed, and clearly Rep. Ripley's vaccine bill does not rise to that standard.

Thanks for the column. Looking forward to the next one.