Add news
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010June 2010July 2010
August 2010
September 2010October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011March 2011April 2011May 2011June 2011July 2011August 2011September 2011October 2011November 2011December 2011January 2012February 2012March 2012April 2012May 2012June 2012July 2012August 2012September 2012October 2012November 2012December 2012January 2013February 2013March 2013April 2013May 2013June 2013July 2013August 2013September 2013October 2013November 2013December 2013January 2014February 2014March 2014April 2014May 2014June 2014July 2014August 2014September 2014October 2014November 2014December 2014January 2015February 2015March 2015April 2015May 2015June 2015July 2015August 2015September 2015October 2015November 2015December 2015January 2016February 2016March 2016April 2016May 2016June 2016July 2016August 2016September 2016October 2016November 2016December 2016January 2017February 2017March 2017April 2017May 2017June 2017July 2017August 2017September 2017October 2017November 2017December 2017January 2018February 2018March 2018April 2018May 2018June 2018July 2018August 2018September 2018October 2018November 2018December 2018January 2019February 2019March 2019April 2019May 2019June 2019July 2019August 2019September 2019October 2019November 2019December 2019January 2020February 2020March 2020April 2020May 2020June 2020July 2020August 2020September 2020October 2020November 2020December 2020January 2021February 2021March 2021
News Every Day |

State-Mandated Vaccines Are a Moral Minefield

State-Mandated Vaccines Are a Moral Minefield

The covid-19 pandemic we are living in has showed how much power states and governments can exercise on our lives. Several daily activities which we all considered as perfectly normal just one year ago—e.g., meeting friends at the pub, throwing parties, etc.—are now prohibited or discouraged by many governments around the Western world. However, we should ask, Is it legitimate for governments to coerce their citizens into whatever (the former believe) it takes to contain a pandemic?

Take, for instance, the issue of state-mandated vaccinations: Is it legitimate for government to force its citizens to take vaccines? I think it’s not, and I will argue why I think so—even though I have nothing against vaccination per se.  I simply maintain that whether to take a vaccine—or any other substance, for that matter—should be a free-willed individual choice, something government should have no concern with.

Individual Self-Ownership

As human beings, we are acting entities: in other words, our nature is defined by our ability to act—i.e., employing (scarce) means having alternative uses in other to achieve our preferred (alternative) ends. By its very nature, action (as I have defined it) stems from free will: animals and inanimate objects do not act—they simply behave according to instinct and physical, unmotivated laws.

What does our acting nature as human beings entail? It entails that we are to be self-owners—namely, our being (body, mind, will, etc.) is our own natural and absolute property. Why is it so? Because were we (human beings) not self-owners, we could not act. Indeed, any kind of action requires the employment of (at least) the following means: nature-given resources, time, and labor. Thus, were we to be deprived of our self-ownership, we could not possibly act. In fact, we could neither employ our labor—broadly conceived as any kind of human effort—nor decide how to allocate our own time, because neither of them—not being owned by ourselves—would be under our control. Thus, the very concept of action requires ownership over: (1) a physical body carrying out that action and (2) a mind purposively choosing ends (to be attained) and means (to be employed) during that same action.

That said, should the reader think my definition of human beings as acting beings arbitrary, I invite him/her to consider the following: you cannot disprove my definition. In fact, as I have already argued elsewhere, the action axiom cannot be disproven, because while trying to do so, one would be acting as well, thus engaging in a performative contradiction—and that’s why action is an axiomatic attribute of human nature.1

We reach, hence, a first philosophically very intuitive answer to our opening question: state-mandated vaccinations, being an invasive act carried out by the government against individual self-ownership, are to be regarded as ethically illegitimate.

The Problem with a Positive "Right to Life"

That said, a skeptical reader might consider my concise argument so far as philosophical quibbling. So, let’s try to make an even more concrete argument. Consider the thesis generally upheld by advocates of state-mandated vaccination: government must have the prerogative to impose vaccination, because otherwise people not willing to take vaccines would not only potentially harm themselves, but even cause damage to immunodeficient people who cannot—because of their unfortunate health—take vaccines themselves. Hence, the argument goes, in order to preserve the “right to life” (or “right to health”) of the latter, government—representing the majority of people—can legitimately vaccinate unwilling people.

But try to think carefully about this argument—especially the “right to life” part. How do we define this “right to life” we are dealing with? Are we to define it as a “positive” right—i.e., a right giving someone (say, A) a valid claim to impose upon someone else (say, B) a positive command? In other words, do we think that rights can take the form of “A can insist on B doing such and such, and if B refuses, his refusal is to be considered an aggression against A”?

Of course, if we accept the most fundamental of all rights—the right to self-ownership, which stems from the irrefutable action axiom—we cannot conceive of rights as “positive.” In fact, any “positive” right—being an invasive act against individual self-ownership—is clearly a prima facie violation of individual “natural” rights. There is no place, in the libertarian natural ethics stemming from the action axiom, for A to coerce B into doing something against B’s own free will.

As Rothbard very lucidly explained it,

it is impermissible to interpret the term “right to life,” to give one an enforceable claim to the action of someone else to sustain that life. In our terminology, such a claim would be an impermissible violation of the other person’s right of self-ownership….[T]he very concept of “rights” is a “negative” one, demarcating the areas of a person’s action that no man may properly interfere with. No man can therefore have a “right” to compel someone to do a positive act, for in that case the compulsion violates the right of person or property of the individual being coerced….[I]n the free society, no man may be saddled with the legal obligation to do anything for another, since that would invade the former’s rights.2



To set forth the argument against state-mandated vaccinations even more cogently, think of a less (I hope) controversial example. Let’s assume A is on the verge of death, and that he can be saved only by a blood (or bone marrow, or kidney, etc.) donation from B; would then A be legitimately entitled to B’s blood? I contend that he would not be, because B’s body is solely B’s property and any type of interference with his free-willed enjoyment of that property is to be considered an illegitimate invasion of his property rights. Quoting Rothbard again, there are “no human rights which are not also property rights,”3 and this holds true as well when it comes to pandemics and vaccinations.


Every human being has the natural (rationally derived from axiomatic premises) right to employ his/her own body the way s/he would like to; therefore, we cannot accept governments invading our individual selves. Moreover, rights can be only “negative,” that is, they can only entitle us to demand that others abstain from aggressing against us—i.e., from invading our own bodies and other material properties.

Governments have no right to coerce their citizens into taking vaccines. The decision whether to take a vaccine or not, whatever the reasons behind it might be (individualistic risk-benefit analysis, altruistic and charitable considerations, etc.), should rest solely on individual free-willed choices.

  • 1. See also a very schematic and clear explanation by Gennady Stolyarov II, "Doubt the Action Axiom? Try to Disprove It," Mises Daily, Apr. 5, 2006.
  • 2. Murray N. Rothbard, The Ethics of Liberty (1982; New York: New York University Press, 2002), 99–100.
  • 3. Rothbard, p. 113.

Read also

Bayern Munich y Real Madrid pasan por el Buesa Arena

Liverpool handed double injury boost ahead of Champions League clash

Royal experts brand Harry and Meghan Oprah interview ‘selfish’ and say Queen will be ‘absolutely devastated’

News, articles, comments, with a minute-by-minute update, now on — latest news 24/7. You can add your news instantly now — here
News Every Day

What Really Happened To White Vision In The WandaVision Finale?