17 January, 12:00 noon: Respecting Liberty and Protecting Public Health: Securing
Compliance with Public Health Directives
Securing compliance with public health directives is difficult enough when the public trusts scientists, clinicians, and public health officials but extremely challenging when distrust and mistrust prevail. In a liberal society, liberty has presumptive priority but may sometimes be overridden to protect the public’s health (John Stuart Mill’s “harm-to-others principle”). Debates center on which conditions must be met to justify more coercive and intrusive interventions, for instance, in moving up the “Intervention Ladder” (the Nuffield Council’s phrase) from education to persuasion, nudges, incentives, mandates, and sanctions. This seminar addresses when it is ethically justifiable to move from modest nudges or minor financial incentives to coercive mandates with sanctions in order to increase, for example, vaccination compliance in businesses, schools, and health care.