Tradeoffs Between Civil Liberties and Public Health

ChrisPrattAlphaRaptr - [original thread]
It's a trade-off. Enough testing was done to show that they're extremely effective and that there are no immediate short-term effects, which should account for the majority of adverse events.

To be clear, at this point I'm not consciously thinking in terms of trade-off or risky vaccine. My priors were wrong. I'm just wondering whether my current 'gut' aversion to taking it is psychological residue of consistency.

I meant it was a trade-off for the people deciding how long to wait before releasing the vaccine to the public. People on both sides of the fence were yelling at regulators.

I'm not in the mood to go through the lockdowns and fights over the lockdowns again,

This is actually my strongest argument against taking the vaccine. I resent the fuck out of the lockdown and think the concept of medical decision hostage taking via future threats against civil liberty is something I don't want to be a part of.

That ship sailed a long time ago, my friend, and you reap the benefits every day (I'm aware of the irony). I'm far from a legal scholar and someone else could give a better rundown, but see Jacobson v. Massachusetts:

The police power of a State embraces such reasonable regulations relating to matters completely within its territory, and not affecting the people of other States, established directly by legislative enactment, as will protect the public health and safety. The liberty secured by the Constitution of the United States does not import an absolute right in each person to be at all times, and in all circumstances, wholly freed from restraint

And from wiki:

Furthermore, the Court held that mandatory vaccinations are neither arbitrary nor oppressive so long as they do not "go so far beyond what was reasonably required for the safety of the public". In Massachusetts, with smallpox being "prevalent and increasing in Cambridge", the regulation in question was "necessary in order to protect the public health and secure the public safety". The Court noted that Jacobson had offered proof that there were many in the medical community who believed that the smallpox vaccine would not stop the spread of the disease and, in fact, may cause other diseases of the body.

In some ways, we're victims of our own success when it comes to public health. Historic infant mortality rates were 25% in the first year of life and 50% by age 10, with the majority of those deaths being due to infectious disease. Apologies for giving the following examples if you're already a scholar of public health.

There's no vaccine for TB, only shitty antibiotics that take 6-9 months of daily doses during which you can't drink. Thankfully (sort of), people actively hacking up bloody sputum is somewhat obvious. You have the right to refuse treatment for your TB, but it's also been judged legal to place those individuals under house arrest. You may decry the violation of civil liberties, but as a consequence TB is virtually non-existent among people born on American soil and we thankfully no longer have to jail people or watch them die while coughing up lungs.

Was it a violation of civil liberties to take the local pump handle from a well to stop people from drinking the cholera contaminated water? Or outlawing the practice of dumping raw human sewage in cesspools? We forfeit some liberties, but when was the last time you heard of a bubonic plague or cholera epidemic in the developed world?

Imagine how close we potentially came to an Ebola outbreak in the continental US. Did you hear about that? There's no treatment for Ebola (aside from some antibody therapies that were developed by the NIH during that outbreak) and if I remember right the mortality rate is somewhere around 50%.

I think the discussion of the covid lockdowns should have been a lot more nuanced than either side managed. I agree, there are plenty of liberals doing stupid and performative things and shaming people who don't get in line whilst not being particularly educated about the virus. The failure mode I often see on the other side is a lack of appreciation of the history of public health measures that violated civil liberties, but nevertheless were judged to be legal and are responsible for the virtually disease-free utopia we live in and take for granted today.