How Mandatory Vaccinations Conflict with Libertarian Principles


The vaccination topic can become as heated as the GMO topic. On the one hand, we want to eradicate disease and lead a healthier society. But on the other hand, to what degree does the government have the right to require what we do with our bodies? The science of the topic isn’t enough when considering this because there are additional implications. In a nation of laws, legal precedents are important.

The first and foremost concern relates to self-ownership. Who owns our bodies?


Freedom is the right to live our lives as we see fit, so long as we do not impair that of another. In order to achieve this, we must have a right to our bodies and how we see fit. Things like piercings, tattoos, and other body modifications are legal because we have a right to do with our bodies what we wish. In terms of what we do with our bodies, whether it be sexual or otherwise, it is not something that the government should be regulating.

What happens if we consent to the idea that the government can require us to inject certain chemicals into our body?

While vaccines and the reasons why people generally support them are well-intentioned, the road to hell itself is paved with good intentions. The government is not perfect. This isn’t some sinister conspiracy theory or fringe tinfoil hat rambling, it’s a fact – the government isn’t perfect and is often swayed by money, usually through lobbyists and corporate donations.

Is every forced vaccination going to be sound? Can we trust a company to be completely honest about its product? Much like the government, not all businesses have been shown to operate out of goodwill and principle.

Supporters of mandatory vaccinations point to herd immunity. If everyone has the vaccination, it eradicates the disease. There are numerous instances in history where this has happened. But does this justify all vaccines?


In theory, if a product works, people will get it. Many people get the flu shot, for example, because they believe it works. They’re not forced, but when people see what they perceive as results, they get it. The same goes for any other product in society.

This is the same argument that conservatives and libertarians make in opposing healthcare mandates. If the system works, makes our health better, and isn’t bad business, we would purchase it. But by refusing to acquire the service through the free market, we are opposing a product we perceive as bad.

Mandatory vaccinations are a difficult subject and rightfully so. There is no easy way to approach a topic involving risk of severe disease when concerning our health, while also respecting freedom. It is for these reasons that we must continue to have these difficult debates, while also realizing what all is at stake regarding the extent of federal overreach such laws would encourage.

What kind of precedent are we setting for the future? It is possible to be pro-vaccination while also being opposed to government force; however, mandatory healthcare is not something that aligns with the principles of liberty.

Chris Dixon is a liberty activist and writer from Maine. In addition to being Managing Editor for the Liberty Conservative, he also writes the Bangor Daily News blog "Undercover Porcupine" and for sports website Cleatgeeks.


  1. Liberty is for adults. If you are old enough to vote, you are old enough to decline a vaccination. If you are a minor, you enjoy your parent’s protection but you are subject to their rule. And in turn, government protects children from abuse and neglect from their parents. A mother has no legal right to starve or harm her own kids.

    I trust vaccines. I am open to the possibility that trust may be misplaced, and that vaccines might cause harm. If a parent legitimately believes that their child is endangered and decides to go without vaccinating them, then they must take additional steps to protect their kid by keeping them away from large groups of people. Basically this would mean no Disneyland or public school.

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