Hurts So Good

Today, mandatory vaccination for children moved forward in our state legislature, facing a full legislative vote and signature by the Governor before becoming California law.  Not far behind it, a bill making its way through the State Assembly would require kindergarten before entering first grade.  Currently parents can opt their child out of kindergarten and have them go directly into first grade.  The here is the text for AB 713.

Both of these sound like good ideas.  Who doesn’t like the idea of protecting children and everyone else from infectious illnesses and diseases?  Who doesn’t like the idea of better preparing children for educational success and therefore, theoretically, professional and lifelong success?

The problem isn’t the hope or intent of these bills, but rather that the government is mandating the route by which the good goals are accomplished.  Rather than acknowledging that there are myriad potential routes to the goals of good health and good education, they are demanding that we follow their route.  The government is implementing public policy which eliminates my right and duty as a parent to care for my child and look after their welfare, both now and in the future.  While the intent is good, I cannot condone the means.

I’m sure plenty of good people support these bills for good reasons and with good intentions. However I believe that in doing so we continue to empower a faceless bureaucracy.  We continue to promote the idea that our officials know what is best for us and we would all be better off to fall in line with their mandates.  The most efficient means towards an end (as determined by some study or survey or public policy lobby) becomes the only means to an end.

People sometimes joke about a nanny state, the State as the doting guardian who does what is best under the auspices of parental authority.  To some extent this is more accurate than probably intended.  A nanny is not the parent.  The nanny is charged with a set of responsibilities based on parental directives.  A nanny is needed when the parents themselves are either too busy or can’t be bothered to directly do the parenting themselves.

Our Founding Fathers resisted the idea of a nanny state, because they understood all too well that personal responsibility is both a right and a duty that cannot be safely farmed out to any other person or entity.  They understood this because they had seen and experienced the alternative dangers.  That nannies sometimes displace the authority of the parents, sometimes exceed their stated boundaries and inflict harm.  Our Founding Fathers didn’t just learn the history of abuses in other places and mollify themselves with the idea that could never happen here.  It would seem that we are too far removed from those painful lessons.  People have convinced themselves that it can’t happen here, and that therefore it won’t.  That it’s perfectly safe to farm out personal responsibility and parental responsibility to the government.  That it is perfectly acceptable and safe to have the government observing, or potentially spying on its citizens, and that such actions could never be used against innocent people, or people who disagree with government policies, but only against bad people.

I’m not so optimistic.  I love my country and the ideals that we once stood for.  But I also have absolutely no doubt that I am a broken and sinful human being.  I am essentially self-centered even in my altruism.  I am constantly fighting the sinful inclination to make my needs and wants the overriding priority and justification in my life.  I believe that every human being is in the same condition. Collections of human beings – whether a congregation or a government agency – can not undo this dangerous selfishness.  At best we can hold one another accountable, and encourage one another.  At worst, we can choose to enable one another’s behavior regardless of what it is, whether out of a misguided attempt to love the other person or simply because we are outnumbered.

I need my government to do some important things for me, and I’m grateful that it does these things.  However faithfulness in a few areas does not guarantee faithfulness in all areas, and justifying a need for limited government and centralized authority is not a blank check for unlimited government and centralized authority.  I don’t trust my government because I don’t trust me.  Just as giving myself more and more unilateral authority is ultimately a dangerous thing, so is giving over my authority to a collective of other people, relinquishing my right or authority – or having my right or authority taken from me – with the assurance that it’s a good thing.  That these people are somehow immune from sinfulness and error.

I will have to give an answer to God someday for how I exercised my vocation as a father.  The State will not have to.  Or perhaps now it will.

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2 Responses to “Hurts So Good”

  1. jonsyfer Says:

    “I’m sure plenty of good people support these bills for good reasons and with good intentions….”

    I disagree. Just as Rick Perry’s campaign donations from pharmaceuticals was exposed, so too was Richard Pan’s (co-creator of SB277) ties to Merck exposed. Yet the facts are ignored and a worldwide concerted effort for forced vaccinations is in the works. Thousands of kids are permanently damaged and murdered from these toxic vaccines and ordinary people that just swallow everything they hear from the MSM and vilify the people that have been personally affected or have critical thinking skills.

    • mrpaulnelson Says:

      You raise some interesting points here, none of which contradict my assertion that you quoted.

      Are there people who are willing to promote vaccinations because of personal benefit? Of course. I suspect this is a relative minority. The majority of public supporters favor the idea (whether correct or incorrect) that vaccinations save more lives than they put at risk. This is the way these measures are promoted, and I don’t believe it reasonable or likely that the majority of those who support this legislation are doing so because they stand to gain financially.

      I agree that a worldwide effort for mandatory vaccinations is underway, with recent developments in Australia uppermost in my mind. It is possible for there to be a worldwide push, but in order for that to be effective (at least in democracies) the voters have to be convinced that vaccinations save more lives than they put at risk. The line between motivation and reality needs to be maintained.

      I also agree that we need more people with critical thinking skills – which leads to the arena of public education (which by and large does not emphasize these skills). When we see that the government is responsible for public education and is failing to provide constituents with an education capable of enabling them to analyze things critically, that’s a very dangerous situation indeed. Add to that a pronounced media bias and the rise of scientism (the assertion that science is the only means of understanding and learning about reality) and you have a very dangerous mix indeed.

      I don’t discount anecdotal complaints about the side effects that some people report with vaccines. But I also lament that there isn’t a more systemitized way of logging these. I’ve found one German web site that has statistical analyses of ailments in vaccinated vs. non-vaccinated populations, but beyond that nothing that systematically summarizes the anecdotal (only anecdotal because it is rejected by the medical/scientific community) issues. Age, gender, weight, height, exact vaccination received, side effects, timeline, etc. Without this sort of consolidated information, it continues to be easy to write off the anecdotal data as faulty.

      And, until that information is available, I can’t – despite my grave concerns about vaccinations – make sweeping assertions about “thousands” of people damaged or murdered because of the vaccines.

      Do you know of any place online that documents these reports of vaccine-related issues? I’d be very interested in looking at it!

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