Comment posted by me on the following site in response to a vaccination debate.
The decision whether to vaccinate oneself or not against any given disease presents no problems for adults. Those who believe in the value of any given vaccine are free to receive it and those who don’t are free to abstain.
Problems only exist when we are talking about children and what is right for them.
Because children are generally seen as unable to make a wise decision on vaccination the decision is generally left to their parents to make (with often strong encouragement from the medical establishment and the government).
This reliance on parents to make this decision on behalf of their children is seen as problematic by some because they believe not all parents are fit to do so, especially those parents who question the value and safety of vaccines. Such parents are often viewed as irrational or dangerous by those with equally strong, but opposing views, about the value of vaccines, in general.
Many social factors make the decision to not vaccinate a child a difficult one here in Australia. The question as to whether the state should intervene when parents choose not to vaccinate their child is one that can be reasonably debated. Many things are already compulsory in our society and vaccination would just add to this list. Already the free will of the individual is compromised by many government edicts and there are those who push for ever more centralised control of our lives by distant, unelected bureaucrats.
As a liberty lover I prefer to see decision making democratised to the individual level rather than centralised to a small group of elites who can easily be corrupted, even if this means individuals are making decisions others do not agree with or think rational. For, to go down the opposite path and impose unwanted things on the individual and community is a step towards the kind of totalitarian control over our lives by government that few would appreciate and George Orwell warned about in his "1984" novel!