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Disease Control

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Selfish28
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I was participating in one of the more liberal biased forums recently (Fark) and I was arguing with some people who claimed that in order to live in society you have to give up individual rights. Amongst my disagreement one of them brought up disease control. I couldn't think of many good reasons off the top of my head against this, so I thought I would get some input here.

Thanks

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The defense of individual rights is not properly made by examining the consequences of having versus not having them. We have individual rights because the nature of our species requires them. There is no "better" society if we abandon our rights...because that would no longer allow us to live as humans. When we are all free, the choices we make will likely determine our lives...for better or worse. It is not in anyone's authority to control my choices, and "good" results cannot be predicated on enslaving me...or you...or all of us.

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I was participating in one of the more liberal biased forums recently (Fark) and I was arguing with some people who claimed that in order to live in society you have to give up individual rights. Amongst my disagreement one of them brought up disease control. I couldn't think of many good reasons off the top of my head against this, so I thought I would get some input here.

Thanks

Ray is right, liberty is ours by right - not because it has positive consequences for society et al (though it does). Your interlocutor is essentially saying that the ends justify the means - this is what all statist arguments boil down to in the end.

I have only been studying Objectivism for about a year, on and off, but it appears to me that disease control is a proper function of government - I'm talking serious, life-threatening doomsday epidemics here - because it is a matter of individual rights and the protection of the right to life is fundamental. It is not about protecting "society" but about the lives of individuals, in an emergency situation.

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I have only been studying Objectivism for about a year, on and off, but it appears to me that disease control is a proper function of government - I'm talking serious, life-threatening doomsday epidemics here - because it is a matter of individual rights and the protection of the right to life is fundamental. It is not about protecting "society" but about the lives of individuals, in an emergency situation.
Disease control is emphatically not a proper function of government, any more than food production and distribution - I'd be talking about serious, life-threatening doomsday famines here, and no more than environmental control is - I'd be talking about serious, life-threatening doomsday weather, volcanoes or asteroids here. The proper function of government is to put the use of retaliatory force under the objective control of law, and retaliatory force may properly be used only in response to the initiation of force by another person. Man must be free to discover how to deal with the forces of nature, reaping the benefits if he is right and paying the price if he is wrong.

Invoking "emergency" is not valid, because a disease is not an "emergency" in the relevant sense. One clue is that is something is so predictable and long-range that you could imagine a government taking action (given how long action by the government takes), it simply is not an emergency. Calling a situation an "emergency" and thereby justifying the intervention of the government has been a standard justification for statism for millenia.

The only area that regards disease where the government has a proper interest is in preventing the initiation of force by people against other people, in the form of infecting them with their disease. Quarantine laws are thus a proper function of government.

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The only area that regards disease where the government has a proper interest is in preventing the initiation of force by people against other people, in the form of infecting them with their disease. Quarantine laws are thus a proper function of government.

This is exactly the kind of scenario I had in mind - isn't quarantine a form of emergency disease control?

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This is exactly the kind of scenario I had in mind - isn't quarantine a form of emergency disease control?
No, since "disease control" is not the causal principle underlying quarantine (prohibiting the initiation of force is), and because "emergency disease control" refers to vast number of things, such as governmental multi-billion dollar swine flu programs, which are not about enforcing quarantines. If you accept a premise because only one thing that could be subsumed under it is good, you know that you are accepting a basically wrong premise, and that isn't the premise you should accept. And clearly, the one thing about "disease control" which we can be sure that the leftists on Fark will actually reject is quarantine.
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No, since "disease control" is not the causal principle underlying quarantine (prohibiting the initiation of force is), and because "emergency disease control" refers to vast number of things, such as governmental multi-billion dollar swine flu programs, which are not about enforcing quarantines. If you accept a premise because only one thing that could be subsumed under it is good, you know that you are accepting a basically wrong premise, and that isn't the premise you should accept.

true, need to be specific about it - or else anything will be pushed through as an "emergency"

And clearly, the one thing about "disease control" which we can be sure that the leftists on Fark will actually reject is quarantine.

lol, so true!

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The only area that regards disease where the government has a proper interest is in preventing the initiation of force by people against other people, in the form of infecting them with their disease. Quarantine laws are thus a proper function of government.

This is what I was looking for, thanks for clarifying.

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