Libertarian, Conservative or Just Plain Dim?
dictating to us what we must do with our bodies.”
~ Texas State Representative David Simpson (R - Longview)
I don't know whether Simpson is a conservative, a libertarian, or simply dim. According to this report in The New York Times, he is complaining about laws requiring student vaccinations. He cherishes, apparently, the freedom of each and every individual to contribute to epidemics, to spread viruses and bacteria they carry to others. The problem with people like Simpson is that they forget we actually live in a society and that, by commission or omission, things we do necessarily impact others. And it is the job of government to secure us against the irresponsibilities of others. It would be interesting to guess at what the enlightened Mr. Simpson thinks about policy options for treating HIV+ individuals. Or, his stance on abortion.* Anybody got a guess?
This attitude strikes pretty close to home for me. Actually that is not true in geographical terms, only in emotional ones. My son August lives in what his mom describes as an "Idyllic small town" on the west coast. One problem with the town (other than the fact that cooking and dealing meth seems to be one of the largest occupations in the surrounding poor county) is that roughly a quarter of the kids in the local school system are not immunized. August will be attending a school - a sort of public charter outfit (I was not consulted in that decision) - where fully one-half of the students are not immunized. August has his shots. But the school has a large parental participation component and so he will be exposed to the numbskulls who are setting their kids up to get some disease or other. No doubt they will be rambling on about how their own commitment to "freedom," or some new age mumbo-jumbo justifies their putting other people's kids at risk too. So, it will take some real doing to prevent August from absorbing buckets of nonsense.
* And before anyone leaps in saying abortion is imposing a cost on someone for the irresponsibilities of others, let's just say that your metaphysics does not persuade me that you (or the government) ought to be able to dictate what any woman does with her body.