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Thread: Vaccine mandate ethical dilemma

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    Senior Member dneal's Avatar
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    Default Vaccine mandate ethical dilemma

    In February, the Alpine republic [Austria] will join Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Indonesia in mandating Covid-19 vaccination for all adults. In the West, only the Vatican, with roughly 800 residents, has so far imposed such a mandate.
    WSJ Article

    One study estimates the mortality rate for the vaccine is roughly 8 per million. The population of Austria is roughly 9 million. Back of the napkin math comes up with 72. There's lots of room for argument with that calculation and the study's estimate, but the specific number isn't that important.

    What is important that there will certainly be some citizen deaths caused directly by their government. Have we given this right to them? Is there a debt or obligation incurred? How do you pay? What currency will compensate a family for a love one lost. Spouse, parent, sibling, child?

    This is Utilitarianism. The "greatest happiness" principle, for realz. Some people will be condemned to death by their government. They just don't know who it is yet. A mandatory lottery of death, of sorts. All must play, orders the elected officials.

    Yes, the other side of the scale is whatever it is. Anti-vaxxers dying or spreading (but both of those are also possible with/from the vaccinated). Fine, do the math (that's utilitarianism). But the reality remains that there will be death on the other side - due to a direct decree from one's government. Is that simply an obligation owed by the individual to society? Is that being free? Does one's intrinsic value weigh more heavily? Every man for himself, come what may?

    Again, none of this is hypothetical. Real world. Real countries. Real people.
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    Senior Member Empty_of_Clouds's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vaccine mandate ethical dilemma

    Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

    If the vaccine is mandatory there will no doubt be associated deaths, if not then there will no doubt be deaths associated with being unvaccinated (including among those who rely on herd immunity) in addition to those associated with the vaccine. So what then is the right course of action? Take the math route to the lowest projected mortality outcome?

    Is that simply an obligation owed by the individual to society?
    I believe it is. I feel I do have obligations to society that are balanced with the benefits I get from society. Taking the vaccine for me is a part of that obligation. Further to this it is my opinion that people slice the freedom thing far too thinly in the mistaken assumption that the curtailing of even the smallest perceived freedom is going to suddenly manifest itself as a nationwide call for chains, despite the fact that there are so many little freedoms that we happily concede without real concern, and that help society run a bit smoother or make life a little safer. Crazy position to take, eh?

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    Default Re: Vaccine mandate ethical dilemma

    Speaking of government mandates, compulsory military service and military service in general is responsible for a higher death rate, owing to both combat and to occupational hazards such as toxic exposure (Agent Orange, dust and emissions from explosives and fires), chronic effect of wounds and associated shock, post-traumatic stress, a smoking habit acquired during service, stress-induced drug use, domestic violence, suicide, etc.

    Any problem with that?

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    Default Re: Vaccine mandate ethical dilemma

    I considered conscription, but I can't think of an example where it applied to 100% of the population. Usually only males of a certain age range, with exceptions for health, religious beliefs, etc... Also, most western democracies have abolished it. So the analogy begins to fail.
    Be your own tenth man.

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    Default Re: Vaccine mandate ethical dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

    If the vaccine is mandatory there will no doubt be associated deaths, if not then there will no doubt be deaths associated with being unvaccinated (including among those who rely on herd immunity) in addition to those associated with the vaccine. So what then is the right course of action? Take the math route to the lowest projected mortality outcome?
    That is the crux of Utilitarianism. The problem is if and how you weight individual "happiness".

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Is that simply an obligation owed by the individual to society?
    I believe it is. I feel I do have obligations to society that are balanced with the benefits I get from society. Taking the vaccine for me is a part of that obligation. Further to this it is my opinion that people slice the freedom thing far too thinly in the mistaken assumption that the curtailing of even the smallest perceived freedom is going to suddenly manifest itself as a nationwide call for chains, despite the fact that there are so many little freedoms that we happily concede without real concern, and that help society run a bit smoother or make life a little safer. Crazy position to take, eh?
    Ok, but the obligation in this case is death. The freedom lost is the freedom to exist. You, or a loved one is obligated to risk death or simply die, for the benefit of society; by governmental decree. You have no choice or agency in the decision. It has been taken from you. That is the moral dilemma.
    Be your own tenth man.

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    Default Re: Vaccine mandate ethical dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip View Post
    Speaking of government mandates, compulsory military service and military service in general is responsible for a higher death rate, owing to both combat and to occupational hazards such as toxic exposure (Agent Orange, dust and emissions from explosives and fires), chronic effect of wounds and associated shock, post-traumatic stress, a smoking habit acquired during service, stress-induced drug use, domestic violence, suicide, etc.

    Any problem with that?
    Good point. When I was in HS I had to register for the draft during the Vietnam War. Fortunately for me it ended. While I would not have dodged, I didn't want to go and know no one that did. Had the war been about protecting the country and it's citizens, the motivation would have been reversed.

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    Default Re: Vaccine mandate ethical dilemma

    I think that you are cherry-picking, dneal.

    Every governmental regulation, one way or another, likely results in some deaths.

    Some people die every year because they are wearing seat belts and become trapped. Some motorcycle riders die because they have to wear a helmet and can't hear the car behind them. The arming of police with lethal weapons results in the deaths of innocent persons. Etc. We are still obligated to take these safety measures (and accept the arming of the police) for the over-all benefit of society (or suffer a penalty for not doing so). In modern society, with hundreds of millions of community members (and billions across the planet), this is one of the trade-offs we accept--even morally--as part of reducing the over-all threats to our health and safety in such large aggregate numbers.

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    Senior Member dneal's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vaccine mandate ethical dilemma

    I am not cherry-picking. If I say I think you are obfuscating, does it change the moral dilemma or is it just an irrelevant opinion?

    I am merely pointing out the logical consequence of utilitarianism as opposed to Kant's "intrinsic value". Mandate or no, in each case there will be death. Is it simply a math equation? Mandatory vaccines results in less deaths, so it is ethical? Or is individual acceptance of risk the higher good, even if it might result in a greater amount of death (particularly in vulnerable populations)?

    What are the principles we want to adhere to, in the context of our social contract?

    The dilemma creates a real and difficult choice - not a false one. There is no right answer, no matter how many analogies are introduced.
    Be your own tenth man.

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    Default Re: Vaccine mandate ethical dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by dneal View Post

    That is the crux of Utilitarianism. The problem is if and how you weight individual "happiness".
    What is the moral obligation to provide "happiness"? Or even a even a civic ethical obligation?

    Even "liberty" is not meant as an absolute. Both "general welfare" and "blessings of liberty" are in the US Constitution, but "happiness" is not. And none of it is meant in absolute terms.

    The DoI includes the "right" of the "pursuit of happiness," but I would emphasize the importance of the word "pursuit" there. This is the right to "pursue" happiness, not the right to "be happy." That would be preposterous.

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    Default Re: Vaccine mandate ethical dilemma

    We're just chatting, right?

    I actually do think that there is a "right answer" to many ethical questions. They are just often difficult to see through our various biases and prejudices and limited capacities to understand.

    Like how Thoreau says that there is a bedrock of Reality beneath the slush and mud of opinion (and gossip), but only the most dedicated of thinkers will push their feet down through the crap to find it (only one in a million million, he says, is fully "awake,' and how could we dare look that person in the face?)

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    Default Re: Vaccine mandate ethical dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by TSherbs View Post
    We're just chatting, right?

    I actually do think that there is a "right answer" to many ethical questions. They are just often difficult to see through our various biases and prejudices and limited capacities to understand.

    Like how Thoreau says that there is a bedrock of Reality beneath the slush and mud of opinion (and gossip), but only the most dedicated of thinkers will push their feet down through the crap to find it (only one in a million million, he says, is fully "awake,' and how could we dare look that person in the face?)
    Interesting he used "awake". Sounds familar...LOL!!

    I do agree, but acting ethically requires work for which some do not want to exert. I can say this as a former Evangelical, we wanted a scripture rather than have to think.

    I do agree that happiness cannot be a right. My complete happiness might required someone else to be unhappy. That cannot be ethical.

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    Senior Member dneal's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vaccine mandate ethical dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by TSherbs View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dneal View Post

    That is the crux of Utilitarianism. The problem is if and how you weight individual "happiness".
    What is the moral obligation to provide "happiness"? Or even a even a civic ethical obligation?

    Even "liberty" is not meant as an absolute. Both "general welfare" and "blessings of liberty" are in the US Constitution, but "happiness" is not. And none of it is meant in absolute terms.

    The DoI includes the "right" of the "pursuit of happiness," but I would emphasize the importance of the word "pursuit" there. This is the right to "pursue" happiness, not the right to "be happy." That would be preposterous.
    Perhaps you should more thoroughly familiarize yourself with Utilitarianism. Here is a good overview.

    Quote Originally Posted by TSherbs View Post
    We're just chatting, right?

    I actually do think that there is a "right answer" to many ethical questions. They are just often difficult to see through our various biases and prejudices and limited capacities to understand.

    Like how Thoreau says that there is a bedrock of Reality beneath the slush and mud of opinion (and gossip), but only the most dedicated of thinkers will push their feet down through the crap to find it (only one in a million million, he says, is fully "awake,' and how could we dare look that person in the face?)
    Yes, I'm just chatting; and yes I agree there is a "right answer" to many ethical questions. But we're not talking about many ethical questions. We're talking about ethical dilemmas. A mandate creates one (and so does the lack of a mandate, to be fair).

    From the link above:

    "Moral theories can be divided into two major types, teleological and deontological. In teleological theories, (moral) right is derived from a theory of the (non-moral) good, or what is good or desirable as an end to be achieved. In Greek, telos means ‘goal’ or ‘aim.’ In deontological theories, (moral) right is derived without a theory of (non-moral) good, or what choice is (morally) right regardless of the end consequences. In Greek, deon means ‘duty.’ Utilitarian theories are teleological."

    In layman's terms, do the ends justify any means? If not, why? Or, is there some principle so valued (like intrinsic individual value) that no end justifies a means violating it?
    Be your own tenth man.

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    Default Re: Vaccine mandate ethical dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Further to this it is my opinion that people slice the freedom thing far too thinly in the mistaken assumption that the curtailing of even the smallest perceived freedom is going to suddenly manifest itself as a nationwide call for chains, despite the fact that there are so many little freedoms that we happily concede without real concern, and that help society run a bit smoother or make life a little safer. Crazy position to take, eh?
    A little closer to home for you-Quarantine camps in Australia:
    https://www.zerohedge.com/covid-19/a...arantine-camps
    https://theconservativetreehouse.com...to-quarantine/

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    Default Re: Vaccine mandate ethical dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by kazoolaw View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Further to this it is my opinion that people slice the freedom thing far too thinly in the mistaken assumption that the curtailing of even the smallest perceived freedom is going to suddenly manifest itself as a nationwide call for chains, despite the fact that there are so many little freedoms that we happily concede without real concern, and that help society run a bit smoother or make life a little safer. Crazy position to take, eh?
    A little closer to home for you-Quarantine camps in Australia:
    https://www.zerohedge.com/covid-19/a...arantine-camps
    https://theconservativetreehouse.com...to-quarantine/
    At least they are practicing what they preach. Austria's "lockdowns" have exceptions for work, shopping, exercise, etc... Not really a lockdown, IMHO. Just lip-service and abuse.
    Be your own tenth man.

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    Default Re: Vaccine mandate ethical dilemma

    I'm not much interested in formal philosophy or discussions about it. I'll bow out. Others can continue on that vein.

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    Default Re: Vaccine mandate ethical dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by dneal View Post
    Austria's "lockdowns" have exceptions for work, shopping, exercise, etc...
    ""Residents of Binjari and Rockhole no longer have the five reasons to leave their homes," said Northern Territory chief minister, Michael Gunner, referring to the country's five allowable reasons to avoid lockdown (buying food and supplies, exercising for up to two hours, care or caregiving, work or education if it can't be done from home, and to get vaccinated at the nearest possible location)."

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    Default Re: Vaccine mandate ethical dilemma

    Austria, not Australia. I was contrasting the two...

    Each threatening/implementing "lockdowns". The European one rendering them ineffective with exceptions (which would make a good Monty Python skit), the Southern Hemisphere one at least having the integrity to do what they say (no matter how authoritarian/draconian).
    Be your own tenth man.

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    Default Re: Vaccine mandate ethical dilemma

    Last two posts are , shall we say, not relevant?

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    Default Re: Vaccine mandate ethical dilemma

    About the legal mandate for seatbelts in vehicles, the number of people who die or are injured as a result of being trapped by them is far fewer than those who are saved from death or injury by using them. The same goes for motorcycle helmets.

    When some errant bonehead's idea of freedom creates significant liabilities for the society (medical treatment, stress on healthcare workers, anguish and loss of support for families) it seems like a near absolute lack of responsibility and human decency to insist on determined stupidity as a sort of freedom.

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    Default Re: Vaccine mandate ethical dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip View Post
    About the legal mandate for seatbelts in vehicles, the number of people who die or are injured as a result of being trapped by them is far fewer than those who are saved from death or injury by using them. The same goes for motorcycle helmets.

    When some errant bonehead's idea of freedom creates significant liabilities for the society (medical treatment, stress on healthcare workers, anguish and loss of support for families) it seems like a near absolute lack of responsibility and human decency to insist on determined stupidity as a sort of freedom.
    But some would be pissed not to be afforded an ICU bed.

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