World News: Macron Debates Mandatory Vaccine Law

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French President Emmanuel Macron announced possibility of a vaccination mandate has unleashed a fury of protests from anti-vaxxer's who denounce the possibility as an attack on individual freedoms as the Delta variant continues to cause cases to rise.

This reaction also questions the meaning given to the notions of freedom and common good as if vaccination somehow infringes on a philosophy of living free.

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Contained until then, the vehemence of anti-vaccines, commonly called antivax, went up a notch in the wake of the intervention of the President of the Republic, on July 12, when he opened the way to a possible vaccination obligation for certain professional branches.

Consequently, there were, and are, demonstrations of protest against the presidential decision, demonstrators and opponents arguing that this obligation hinders individual freedom and, more broadly, fundamental freedoms. ( )

However, the arguments put forward by these groups of opponents, who are generally in the minority in the population, highlight two lines of force that the development of the pandemic, and the consequences that accompany it, have revealed. The first is the fear, which was generally thought to have been allayed, if not eradicated, of vaccination.

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Thus, it appears that the principle of immune protection, via the injection of a viral strain with attenuated virulence to fight the latter by the production of anti-body, is not shared by all and that the pedagogy but also the information on the benefits of this practice are still to be worked.

Relationship to Democracy and Freedom

Between ignorance, prejudices, preconceived ideas and conspiracy theories, the principle of vaccination has found itself, on the occasion of this pandemic episode of fierce opponents ready to fight with the authorities, death threats having been made against members of parliament or using symbols of the most dubious and contested relevance ( ).

If this opposition will remain anecdotal in the light of history, the second point raised by the agitation of the anti-vax is worrying and questions the relationship of these individuals to the notion of democracy and more precisely of freedom. Some have thus put forward the principle that a possible vaccination obligation hinders their individual freedom.

The argument is valid in nature and therefore limited in scope and devoid of any reflection of a civic or even philosophical nature: any obligation is obviously a form of restriction or hindrance. But in developing the counter-argument further, it is not forbidden to raise two corollary elements.

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First of all, it is up to everyone to allow themselves to be vaccinated or not, the health and legal consequences that this entails are the personal responsibility that will then have to be assumed. It is one of the first parts of individual freedom. The second relates to the concept of freedom in the public sphere.

Barriers and Individual Rights

To date and factually, what hinders the freedom of everyone is not the obligation to be vaccinated, it is the virus itself which forces serial restrictions experienced as so many obstacles. However, the refusal to allow oneself to be vaccinated can be assimilated to a form of selfishness which mocks the collective good exposing the majority to the arbitrary decision of a minority. (

And the phenomenon then to be reversed: the unvaccinated ask the vaccinated to assume a choice that is foreign to the latter because dictated by convictions that are extracted from the societal norm that each brings its share to the well-being of the community. This rise in the power of anti-vaccines also reveals a trend that has now become recurrent in Western societies, and which highlights the supremacy of individual rights to the detriment of what is the community and its interests.

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In the end, it is not forbidden to think that while refusing to allow oneself to be vaccinated is an inalienable right in a democracy, a right that it is a right that it is a matter of respect, to argue that the possible obligation to submit to it is an obstacle to individual freedoms refers to a lack of knowledge of health issues but also, and above all, of the links that unite collectivity, democracy and freedom.


Bio: Olivier Longhi an opinion columnist for, has extensive experience in European history. A seasoned journalist with fifteen years of experience, he is currently professor of history and geography in the Toulouse region of France. He has held a variety of publishing positions, including Head of Agency and Chief of Publishing. A journalist, recognized blogger, editor, and editorial project manager, he has trained and managed editorial teams, worked as a journalist for various local radio stations, a press and publishing consultant, and a communications consultant.

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