Smallpox: The Historical Myths behind Mandatory Vaccines

Source: Mises Institute.

This story surprised me, as I had always assumed that vaccines eliminated smallpox. In light of current controversies, I should, however, note that this particular instance of myth busting does nothing to suggest that smallpox vaccines do no good.

6 thoughts on “Smallpox: The Historical Myths behind Mandatory Vaccines

  1. We do not need to look back to the 18th century to demonstrate the powerful beneficial effect of mandatory vaccination on public health – look at the far more recent history of polio.

    The author suggests there are questions of “morality” around vaccination. The only real moral question relates to those who endanger others through apathy, gullibility or cowardice. Exposing yourself and others to harm without good reason is considered “immoral” by many ethical thinkers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. RE: “Exposing yourself and others to harm without good reason is considered ‘immoral’ by many ethical thinkers.”

      Maybe so, but the rule is hardly absolute or precise.

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      1. “Maybe so, but the rule is hardly absolute or precise.”

        Yes, that is true. It depends on how much harm vs the validity of the “good reason.” In the case of vaccination for Covid the harm is pretty clear – significant risk of serious illness or death for oneself and for others. The “good reason” is highly subjective. While I might think believing that “my liberty is at risk if I follow government advice” is not a “good reason.” You may think it is.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. RE: :In the case of vaccination for Covid the harm is pretty clear – significant risk of serious illness or death for oneself and for others.”

          That’s pretty vague. Do you have numbers to define “significant risk”?

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  2. I am skeptical of the article’s conclusions.

    Smallpox is different from COVID in many ways, primarily in that you are most contagious in the later stages of the disease. That makes it very susceptible to eradication by vaccination. Vaccines are very effective in limiting the progress of the disease.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Even so, in the time period and geography the article describes, eradication by vaccine doesn’t come off as the best explanation. One could make a better case that smallpox vaccination since WWII has been more successful as a public health policy.

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