Can Vaccine Mandates Be Justified? A Soho Forum Debate

Are there libertarian arguments for mandated vaccines?

Ilya Somin, a George Mason University law professor, supports vaccine mandates in some cases. He believes that they are a relative “small infringement of freedom” and preferable to harm reduction strategies such as lockdowns and mask mandates which he considers to be a greater threat than those that pose a greater risk to our liberties.

Angela McArdle (chair of Libertarian Party Los Angeles County) says she’ll work “actively to destroy any institution which tries to enforce vaccine passports.” She is also currently filing legal challenges in California and New York to repeal vaccine mandates. 

McArdle met Somin at the Soho Forum New York City. McArdle was negative and Somin the affirmative. While mandates for vaccines may be an invasion of freedom, there are some that are justifiable due to the huge payoff they offer in terms of lives saved.

Soho Forum Director moderated the debate Gene Epstein.

Narrated by Nick Gillespie. John Osterhoudt edits the intro

Photos: Brett Raney; Debra L. Rothenberg/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom; gotpap/