A Commonwealth No More

Lemieux shares some lessons to learn from vaccine trooferism:

The phenomenon you point to also highlights the collapse of any faith in collective or social life. The anti-vaxxers conceive of their position purely as a private lifestyle choice. They want to make their child “pure” and “uncontaminated,” and their means of doing so is the practice of virtuous consumption. So we deal with the very many toxic dimensions of modern life not through any concerted action, but simply by buying “organic” or “chemical-free” products (and then, by not putting “artificial chemicals” in our children in the form of vaccines.

The logic here is straightforwardly akin to the predominant corporate attitudes of our day: The anti-vaxxers are trying to privatize profit (their pure and uncontaminated child) and socialize the risk (the outbreak of an epidemic is someone else’s problem)…what’s also interesting (to me) is its refusal to entertain any notion of community, of the realization that things like immunity or a “chemical free environment” must be understood as a shared space that can only be the product of a social and collective activity.

Yes, hyper-individualism is a key element in the rejection of vaccination regimes.  I have seen the term 'collectivist' used to dismiss social costs more than once while they harp on "personal choice" as some sort of mantra to ward off the demon of public health.  Because fuck yer neighbors and kids' classmates, I guess.

I find it particularly disturbing in Vermont, where our commonwealth's constitution is so much more explicit than Federal references to general welfare.  Just in the Declaration of Rights we see:

  • Article 2nd: That private property ought to be subservient to public uses when necessity requires it…
  • Article 7th: That government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people, nation, or community… communitycommunitycommunitypublic weal.
  • Article 8th: …all voters, having a sufficient, evident, common interest with, and attachment to the community
  • Article 9th: That every member of society hath a right to be protected in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property, and therefore is bound to contribute the member's proportion…and yield personal service…common good…more service to community.
  • Article 20th: That the people have a right to assemble together to consult for their common good

They can deny it all they want, but we all do depend on society, no matter how misanthropic we might be.   To deny that is to deny reality.  And it's a rejection of constitutional and natural law.

Meanwhile, the rest of us are going to defend ourselves from them as is our right.  They don't want to be a part of the commonwealth?  Then tough shit.


One thought on “A Commonwealth No More

  1. To get a philosophical exemption for tree nuts. Really believe that there is a conspiracy afoot that is preventing hundreds of students the simple pleasure of eating PB&J. Not to mention the simple pleasure dad gets when he can make a simple lunch for his kids.

    Wheres the balance regarding my liberty? It’s all because of big meat and big cheese I tell you. They have worked to keep the poor peanut down!  

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