Sunday, March 23, 2014

Restore the balance (in Boulder and beyond)

Recently, I came across a sticker advocating "restoring the balance" by bringing back the wolf.  Great idea, I thought, but perhaps not daring enough. What about following the lead of those who refuse to vaccinate their children!  Given the complete absence of empirical evidence that vaccination increases the odds of autism or other diseases, one must conclude that these brave  souls are working to restore the balance in their own small way.  We can help them by bringing back smallpox, plague, and other potentially lethal (but currently avoidable) diseases. What right do we have to drive viruses like polio to extinction? To be perfectly consistent, however, we might also want to refuse expensive medical care to those unvaccinated children who fall ill. Of course children rarely make their own decisions about vaccination (and perhaps water and waste treatment plants as well), but it seems reasonable that they share the costs of their parents semi-religious beliefs. While we are at it, we might also outlaw antibiotics, as this would lead to a dramatic increase in avoidable deaths, another balancing move. After all, in a balanced system viruses and bacteria have as much of a right to infect us as we have avoid infection.