The common good over personal liberties |

The common good over personal liberties

I have been involved in a debate on these pages with an individual who is strongly opposed to vaccination mandates. The gentleman chose to respond again this week with arguments I disagree. Rather that engaging further I will simply note commentary published by Politico. The title says everything — “The Surprisingly Strong Supreme Court Precedent Supporting Vaccine Mandates.“

In 1905, the high court made a fateful ruling with eerie parallels to today: “One person’s liberty can’t trump everyone else’s.”

The dispute arose when a citizen of Cambridge, Massachusetts, challenged an ordnance imposing a fine of $5 on anyone who did not get vaccinated against small pox. (The fine today would be around $150.)

The justices wrote, ““There are manifold restraints to which every person is necessarily subject for the common good. On any other basis, organized society could not exist with safety to its members. Society based on the rule that each one is a law unto himself would soon be confronted with disorder and anarchy.”

Justice John Harlan, recognized as one of the great justices of all time, wrote: “Real liberty for all could not exist under the operation of a principle which recognizes the right of each individual person to use his own, whether in respect of his person or his property, regardless of the injury that may be done to others.”

Today in Idaho medical professionals are being force to triage patents, letting the sickest expire because so many refused to be vaccinated. Texas faces similar problems.

Those who claim the right to make their own decisions, refuse to be vaccinated and then spread the disease to others who may die espouse a form of authoritarianism which may destroy the nation.

Spare me the false claims of liberty. The issue was resolved in 1904. We need a government which has the spine to enforce what is best for all of us. If you want an example, look to China.

Philip Verleger


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