Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON
LECTURE ONE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d__In2PQS60
LECTURE TWO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Al7O2puvdDA

ALSO AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ONE THROUGH TEN ON IDEOLOGICAL CRITIQUE



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Monday, February 2, 2015

I MAY BE THE ONLY PERSON WHO DID NOT GRASP THIS, BUT ...

No doubt you are aware of the flap over vaccination triggered by an outbreak of Measles in California.  Apparently, lots of up-scale tree-hugging eco-friendly Whole Foods types have chosen not to have their children vaccinated.  [I pre-emptively apologize for the deliberately offensive language.]  It is thought that the outbreak started at DisneyLand.

Why shouldn't parents have the right to choose not to have their children vaccinated?  Because that choice puts at risk the children who have been vaccinated?  How on earth could it do that?  Because the vaccine is only about 97% effective.  Communicable diseases need an accessible pool of target organisms in order to spread.  Otherwise, even though the bacterium or virus is live, it fails to come in contact with an organism it can infect.  Even if it does find one, that one is unlikely to encounter another.  With 97% of potential targets ruled out, the odds are just too small for an epidemic.

Enter a bunch of kids whose parents have decided not to have them vaccinated.  Their presence significantly increases the probability that an unsuccessfully vaccinated child will be infected.  So parents who claim to be exercising a parental right are in fact willfully endangering the children of other parents, and that they have no right to do.

I freely confess that I did not fully understand this until I came across a story somewhere that made reference to it in passing.  This is hardly rocket science or brain surgery, but it is apparently beyond the grasp of politicians and television commentators.

2 comments:

Brian W. Ogilvie said...

There are also individuals who cannot be vaccinated: infants under one year of age and those with allergies to vaccines. They too depend on herd immunity to avoid infection.

I would like to think that most parents who oppose vaccination are afraid, misled, and ignorant, but I am appalled by the mendacity of politicians and celebrities who support the anti-vaccination movement.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Exactly so. Good point.