A useful little rule of thumb in politics and law is never to allow the creation or issuance of a power that you don’t want your enemy to have. Because, in a democratic society, at some point your enemy is going to end up having office and thus that power you really, really, don’t want him to have.
It is with this in mind that we can consider this demand:
It should be made a criminal offence to spread anti-vaxx myths and the public should report offenders, the Royal Society and British Academy have said amid concerns that baseless fears over a coronavirus vaccine will damage uptake.
No, in fact hell no and that applies to the horse you rode in on as well.
There is of course that little problem of what is in fact an anti-vaxx myth? If I were to say that vaccines kill people is that a myth or a fact? That more than killing people they cause fits, brain damage and lifelong disability, is that a myth or a fact?
It’s a fact, that’s why we’ve got the Vaccine Damage Payment.
If you’re severely disabled as a result of a vaccination against certain diseases, you could get a one-off tax-free payment of £120,000. This is called a Vaccine Damage Payment.
So, what is it that is going to be the criminal offence then?
But there’s a more important underlying here. Yes, of course the people shouting that measles vaccines cause autism are idiots. And yet we do have the freedom to be idiots. It’s rather difficult to think of any form of liberty that doesn’t involve said freedom to be entirely doolally. You know, given teenagers we all have been at some point.
Then we come to the gripping point. Which is, if this utterance of claimed to be untrue idiocies is to be a criminal offence then what are they going to insist upon next? That the female penis exists and you’re to go to jail for denying it?
There are allowable, viable and even necessary curbs upon free speech. The immediate incitement to violence and libel being two of them and the only two of them. After that we’re all allowed to say whatever we wish – and to take the opprobrium or praise of our fellows for what we do say.
The idea that you cannot say something because it is wrong is vile – a proper heads on pikes idea – because inevitably someone is going to take control of what is defined as a truth that may be said.