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Big Government Bureaucracy Conservatarians Politics Science Self reliance

To vaccinate, or not to vaccinate, that is the question….

July 30, 2015

Dave 07Flu season is coming up in a few months; governments are stockpiling vaccine, and many of us are deciding whether or not to get our flu shots.

Hamlet’s, “To be or not to be” is unquestionably a more portentous decision than whether or not to get a flu shot, but you wouldn’t always realize it judging from the ferociousness of the debate.

On one side are those who insist that vaccinations are useless and cause all manner of serious side effects; on the other side are those who believe that if your doctor, or better yet, the government, recommends vaccination, then it must be good. I’d like to suggest that both might be wrong, and right.

Let’s take the example of measles vaccinations. Data would seem to bear out that measles vaccinations over the decades have almost eradicated the disease, which is good. There may be cases where the measles vaccine causes problems – sometimes very serious – for some children, but on balance measles vaccinations have worked, and have clearly been a good thing.

On the other hand, studies show that while the flu vaccine may have some value for small segments of the population, on the whole it has a very limited effect. Every year, there are articles that bear this out.

Here’s how a Maclean’s article, April 9, 2014, starts out: “Tamiflu™ might be the most heavily scrutinized drug in the world and one that governments have poured some $9 billion globally to stockpile in case of a pandemic. However, authors of a new study, published in the British Medical Journal this week, suggest the influenza antiviral probably works no better than aspirin and possibly causes harm.” (Italics mine)

An Australian study found that researchers that were paid by pharmaceutical companies were more likely to recommend antiviral drugs for flu. Adam Dunn who was the lead author of one Australian study, and who is a health informatics expert at the University of New South Wales, said: “We found reviewers with ties to Pharma introduced bias, as we found a disconnect between what the results showed and what they went on to recommend.”

The study found that 80% of reviews written by researchers with financial ties to the drug companies were favourable towards the drugs, while 17% of independent reviews were positive.

So much for unbiased science!  Yet governments spend billions stockpiling flu vaccine and buying advertising advising you to get vaccinated, apparently for no better reason than tradition. A far better defence against the flu seems to be to eat healthy and keep your immune system strong.

Swine-Vaccination-WaitRay Moynihan, a senior research fellow at Bond University said: “It is clear we have likely been misled about the benefits and harms of these drugs because so much of the evidence is tainted by a pro-industry or pro-drug bias. What we have in medicine is unfortunately a lot of marketing disguised as science…”   (In another field, most of the climate change/global warming industry is driven by politics and ideology, disguised as science.)

As someone with a strong libertarian bias, I believe that the final decision of whether or not to vaccinate is up to the well informed individual, or the parents.

Scientists are humans, and almost every area of science is tainted by biases, so being well-informed is key. As you know, a number of us are working together on an online community called Let’s Do It Ourselves, or LDIO™. (Pronounced el-DEE-o)

Our purpose is twofold.

  1. To provide a community where individuals and organizations who believe in limited government can unite to push back against ballooning (and bungling) bureaucracies; and foster an ethos of self-reliance.
  2. To use social media as a tool to reach out to and inform those of all ages who rely on their smart device for information.

If you haven’t already done so, please join us. http://www.ldio.org/join-ldio/  By working together, our efforts become more cost effective. And by developing a well-informed citizenry, we can begin to see some much-needed cultural change.

Thanks for your support!

Dave Reesor

Categories
Bureaucracy Canadian Politics Politics US Politics

REGULATED BUT UN-INFRINGED

Dave 07IWUZ motto“A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”.

Every time there is a horrifying incident like Sandy Hook; the embers of the gun debate are stirred and poked at, until the fire flares. Then it dies down until someone else; usually someone who should be receiving treatment for a mental illness; listens to the voices in their head and precipitates another tragedy.

Canada has about 3 million gun owners, and 7 million guns. Handgun ownership has required a permit since the 1930s. More regulation seemed to be a non-issue.

Then in 1989, a mentally unbalanced individual named Marc Lepine legally obtained an assault rifle, entered a technical school in Montreal, separated the women from the men, and killed fourteen women before killing himself.

The government of the day, being nanny statist by nature, immediately mandated a registry for all firearms. How having had his gun registered would have stopped Mr. Lepine was left unexplained.

Farmers with their 22s; hunters with their 270s and 12 gages, and collectors with their old WW1 Lee Enfield 303s had to try to find the serial number, and register. Apparently in a nanny state every gun is a potential murder weapon. Unfortunately, actual murderers didn’t bother to sign up.

A new bureaucracy was created – and this won’t surprise those who are skeptical of big government; it cost more than projected. But I’m sure it set some kind of a record because it ended up costing 1000 times as much as estimated! Thankfully, annual operating costs were only 30 times as much as estimated.

In 2012, a more conservative Canadian government ended the foolishness, dismantled the registry, and destroyed the records.

The framers of the US Constitution left their successors with a conundrum. “Well regulated” obviously means having regulations that are meaningful, and enforceable. But a right that “shall not be infringed”, could suggest that citizens have an unfettered right to bear arms.

However, there are no rights that I can think of that are entirely unfettered. The right to pursuit of happiness; liberty; and even life itself, are sometimes suspended.  Even freedom of movement is constrained by traffic regulations.

The framers of the Constitution weren’t negligent; they just assumed that, like they themselves, their successors would be endowed with at least a modicum of common sense. (They may have assumed too much).

Firearms in 1778 are somewhat analogous to vehicles today, and to the need for mobility. The operation of vehicles is restricted to those who pass a relevant test and obtain a license.

Would a firearm safety test and a basic mental fitness test not be good and reasonable regulation? I’d suggest that the NRA –with a new executive, would be the ideal body to assume responsibility. Licensed owners would then be able to join a state militia; itself under the direction of the citizens of the state.

Because, (and I believe I’m on pretty solid ground here); it seems to me that while well regulated actually means – well regulated; governments are incapable of “well-regulating” pretty much anything.

As the Let’s Do It Ourselves  trademark implies; it’s time to get back to Paddling Our Own Canoe!

Dave

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