9-17-11 Hodgepodge

Saturday, September 17, 2011

HPV Vaccination Debate Doubly Bad

Michele Bachmann's ridiculous claim about the dangers of HPV vaccination is the wrong way to attack Rick Perry's attempt to force schoolchildren to take the vaccine. First of all, the real reason Perry's proposal was wrong is because the government has no business doing anything except protecting individual rights. Making people do something, even if it is generally a good idea, sets the precedent for the government to decide (correctly or not) what is "good" for us and to make us do it. (This argument doesn't need "extra teeth.")

Bachmann's ridiculous claims about the vaccine can easily make it seem like what Perry wanted to do would have been just fine had the vaccine merely been safe. (Which it is, effectively yanking "teeth" from the argument to many muddled minds.) Second, Bachmann risks causing concern with individual rights to be coupled in the popular mind with similar discredited notions. (These are not the only problems using a poor argument for a good point can cause.)

I'm glad there's now a $10,000 reward being offered for proof of her claims.

Weekend Reading

"The entitlement state is geared to the unwilling at the expense of the willing and able. What could be greater evidence that it is morally bankrupt?" -- Don Watkins and Yaron Brook, in "The Entitlement State Is Morally Bankrupt" at Forbes

"You can't help people who don't consider their behaviors to be a problem." -- Michael Hurd, in "Criminals Are Not 'Regular Folk'" at DrHurd.com

"The only market manipulation is actually practiced by the regulators themselves, who artificially limit where and how much one can invest, along with how much nearly every market can rise or fall. " -- Jonathan Hoenig, in "What's Wrong with Painting the Tape" at SmartMoney

"So it seems America has a greater capacity than a will to fight jihadists, while the jihadists have the reverse -- a greater will to fight than a capacity, and yet they are bolstering the latter, as is obvious in Iran's pursuit of nuclear weaponry." -- Richard Salsman, in "Why Washington Resists Victory in a Post-9/11 World" at Forbes

"When is rationing not rationing, a mandate not a mandate, and price-fixing not price fixing? When the government says so." -- Beth Haynes, in "Health Care Rationing, George Orwell-Style" at Townhall (via Amit Ghate)

My Two Cents

Richard Salsman's piece includes extensive comments regarding America's weak response to the September 1, 2001 Atrocities from historian John Lewis, author of Nothing Less than Victory: Decisive Wars and the Lessons of History.

Good Article on the Loeb Classical Library

As  have noted in the past, the Loeb Classical Library is a triumph of capitalism and scholarship, although the reported attempts on its part to make their translations more up-to-date concern me. (I hope the classics aren't becoming littered with he-she, or similar egalitarian nonsense.) Other than that, I enjoyed this article about Loeb at The Barnes and Noble Review.

-- CAV


Today: Added link to article on Loeb. 


Anonymous said...

Hi Gus,

I'm missing the hot link to the review about Loeb Classics you were referring to. But I did go their site, and it appears that the change is in making the English more textually correct instead of Victorianly Correct.

The Loeb Classical Library® features English translation facing the original Greek or Latin text, page by page. In order to present translations that are as up-to-date and accurate as possible, new Loeb editions have departed from an earlier tradition of euphemizing or bowdlerizing material that might be considered offensive.

Earlier Loeb editions took pains to remove or edit any passages that "might give offense," usually references to sex and homosexuality. Such material was relegated to the footnotes, where the true meaning might be hinted at or translated into an unrelated language (such as Italian). While these convoluted attempts to disguise the risqué nature of the texts were often amusing in and of themselves, the newer translations better preserve the spirit and meaning of the original texts.

c. andrew

Gus Van Horn said...


Thanks for pointing out the missing link, and for looking into the nature of the translation updates.

I'm actually glad about those.


HaynesBE said...

Thanks for the link to my op-Ed.

Gus Van Horn said...

You're welcome, and congratulations on getting published at Townhall.

Mark Lindholm said...

If schools were private, certainly many would require proof of vaccination for good reasons. While we don't want the government involved in education, as long as they are, they must make these decisions. HPV is a more difficult decision than Measles, but there is no doubt that HPV is incredibly common and can wreak some havoc in the cervix.

Gus Van Horn said...

That is a very good point, and reminds me of the rationale for things like traffic laws. For measles, and other diseases that can sicken and kill other children, I'm actually fine with most vaccinations for the reason you give. I'm not so sure the same case can be made for HPV, though. Quoting from Wikipedia:

"Most HPV infections in young females are temporary and have little long-term significance. Seventy percent of infections are gone in 1 year and ninety percent in 2 years.[4] However, when the infection persists — in 5% to 10% of infected women — there is high risk of developing precancerous lesions of the cervix, which can progress to invasive cervical cancer. This process usually takes 15–20 years, providing many opportunities for detection and treatment of the pre-cancerous lesion. Progression to invasive cancer can be almost always prevented when standard prevention strategies are applied, but the lesions still cause considerable burden necessitating preventive surgeries, which do in many cases involve loss of fertility."

So it seems like it's usually harmless, and when it DOES cause cancer, it can usually be caught in time. The state seems more in the business of lowering medical costs than protecting children in its schools here, to me. (But I'm open to argument either way on that.)

That said, thanks for giving me the chance to clarify my actual stand, and to think more about what's really wrong here.