[Please note that there is about 24 seconds of blank audio before this episode begins. Sorry about that. We could have fixed it, but we didn't want to wait any longer before posting this podcast, which has already been delayed by technical issues at WETS. Even radio stations occasionally have computer problems.]
If you're a parent, the government of your state probably requires you to vaccinate your children for a variety of illnesses before you can enroll them in school. Can the government do that? Or should parents have a constitutional right to refuse to have their children vaccinated?
This has been an issue for at least a century, when the United States waged its ultimately successful war on smallpox. In some cases, those who resisted vaccination against that dread disease were handcuffed and forced to submit at gunpoint.
We'll talk to Professor Michael Willrich of Brandeis University, who has written a fascinating book about this little-known story: Pox: An American History.
We'll also talk to Mark Blaxill, a concerned parent who questions modern compulsory vaccination. Mark has also written a book, The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine and a Manmade Epidemic. Should parents like him have a right to refuse to have their children vaccinated? Or should the state have the power to compel them?
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