Rugged individualists like Normon Plombe have long been gnashing their teeth about the nanny government that makes them wear bicycle helmets and seat belts and vaccinate their kids [“Channel Your Inner American Revolutionary,” Feb. 9 Xpress]. That's the same government that tries to keep the Tennessee Valley Authority's coal dust out of the air you breathe and the antibiotics out of your milk and eggs. It's nothing personal, Mr. Plombe: It's about trying to ensure the general welfare — like it says in the Constitution — by doing stuff that's obvious.
And it's about the health of all our kids. Chicken pox and polio vaccines have reduced the incidence of those diseases by 90 percent, but they don't work very well when everyone opts out. As with seat-belt usage and bicycle helmets — a lot of other people are affected when some fool ends up on life-support.
Because diseases like chicken pox are in remission, a child that is not vaccinated has a pretty good chance of never getting it. And we all would like to have a free ride, and let someone else ensure the general welfare, take the shots, pay the taxes, buy the health insurance, while we take our manly chances. But the system breaks down when we don't cooperate.
You use the same infrastructure that I do. I help pay for your roads and your daughter's education and chicken pox vaccines, even though I don't have kids or drive your streets. You can still find places on the planet where the government doesn't force you to vaccinate your kids, much less buckle your seat belt. But those are not healthy places; you wouldn't want to raise your child there.
I hear many voices loudly claiming their “rights,” but I never hear much about “responsibilities.” They go together.
— Glen Reese