By Murray Sabrin | February 15th, 2009 - 9:20pm
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Two of the most prominent athletes in America have made big news. Michael Phelps, eight time Olympic gold medalist, was pictured taking a marijuana bong in South Carolina, while New York Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez did admit he took a performance enhancement substance after his name was leaked revealing he failed a drug test when he was a member of the Texas Rangers from 2001-2003.   They both have been excoriated in the press for their "misbehavior."

In New Jersey meanwhile, Assemblymen Herb Conway, Jr., a physician, and Louis Greenwald introduced A-3079.  The bill mandates that fluoride be added to all public water systems. It passed the first hurdle, when by a vote of 10-0 with one abstention it was released by the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee and then sent to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for further consideration.   Also in New Jersey, the state mandates more childhood vaccines than any other state, and according to the New Jersey Coalition for Vaccination Choice, "New Jersey is the first jurisdiction anywhere in the world to make flu shots and meningococcal shots compulsory" for preschool kids and sixth graders, respectively. 

Fluoride, marijuana, steroids and vaccines all have in common one of the great issues of our time.  What is the role of government supposed to be in a free society, especially as it pertains to the freedom of adults to ingest substances in their own bodies and the right of parents to determine the healthcare of their children? 

If freedom is supposed to mean anything, then it has to mean that adults who have the right to vote, marry, smoke, gamble in most states, have sex legally, enter into contracts, get a driver's license, etc., by 18, and by age 21 have the legal right to drink alcohol, etc., should have the right in a free society to make decisions about any substance they want to ingest.  And, in a free society, parents must have the absolute right to make decisions about what vaccines or other medical protocols their children should take.  Otherwise, parents are merely the guardians of their children while the state is the real parent.   

The (state) government forces us to ingest substances we do not want, it mandates vaccines for our children in the name of public health in spite of evidence that so many vaccines in infants and young children is not a riskless protocol, and it (the federal government) prohibits substances, where the unintended consequences have been the creation of violent criminal gangs, higher crime rates both in our cities and rural areas, increased corruption within the law enforcement community and the customs service, and destabilization of other nations with our so-called war on drugs. 

As far as childhood vaccines are concerned, the following statement by Dr. Lawrence Rosen, a board certified pediatrician and Chief of Pediatric Integrative Medicine at Hackensack University Medical Center is instructive: 

"There are risks associated with ALL medical practices, including vaccines, so it is important for parents, and their doctors, to evaluate an individual child's medical history and health, including genetic predispositions and allergies, to determine what is appropriate. Informed consent is a key ethical principle in medical practice."  (Emphasis added)

In other words, physicians should first do no harm.  Period.  When the state mandates a vaccine or other medical procedure, physicians are no longer practicing medicine but have become-for all intents and purposes--a state appointed bureaucrat.  

Despite all the posturing by so-called progressives about their "concern" for the people, they are authoritarians, in the final analysis, because they support the state over individuals and parents.  In short, they love coercion more than do freedom, except when it comes to a woman's right to choose an abortion.  And many so-called conservatives who oppose the legalization of marijuana and other substances support preemptive war which has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands civilians overseas by our misguided bipartisan foreign policy.  The self-proclaimed protectors of the public's virtue are some of the biggest proponents of the war on drugs while they unabashedly support the use of tobacco and alcohol, two very powerful and potentially harmful substances.    

In America, the line in the sand is drawn: freedom versus coercion.  Mandating fluoride in the water supply and mandating vaccines for children is against our most cherished values, the liberty of the people to be left alone by their government.  In addition, for the government to declare that some substances must be banned is also more in line with the policy of an authoritarian government than a nation founded on the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence.  Sure, people will abuse their freedom, but the "cure," prohibition, is worse than the disease of addiction. 

We desperately need a national dialogue of these important issues; unfortunately a civil discussion of government mandates and prohibition usually takes a back seat to name calling and ad hominem attacks.

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