Should Unvaccinated Children Be Forced to Stay Home From School?

Dalrymple has often expressed his appreciation for the world’s complexity, and an aversion to the notion that important questions are generally answerable by fact and logic, with no need for judgment. At Pajamas Media, he applies this principle to the notion of parental rights and childhood immunization:

The question was this: if it is permissible for parents to refuse to have their children immunized against preventable childhood diseases, does the state have the right, through one or other of its agencies, to exclude those children temporarily from school or other social institutions if there is an epidemic developing?

This question can be answered neither by a single abstract principle alone nor by appeal to scientific fact…

This is precisely what Burke would have predicted: what we decide cannot be determined by appealing to conflicting rights alone, the more fundamental of them prevailing. Sometimes one will prevail, sometimes another; there is no way of making politics a matter of such accurate calculation that no faculty of judgment, with its permanent possibility of error, will ever have to be exercised.

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