aNewDomain — First: Who is still anti-vaccination?
My bias is to blame libertarians. I’ll come back around to them. But the solidly red states in the South are the most vaccine compliant, and the least vaccine compliant states are the most liberal.
Makes sense, at least post-hoc: Because when we examine the moral philosophy of liberals and conservatives, we find both groups high in empathy and fairness, but only conservatives high in obedience to and respect for authority.
We are becoming ever less an authoritarian nation. This causes some problems for people like police, who rely on authority to get their jobs done. We like to blame parents for not teaching their kids to respect authority rather than the cops for not adapting to this new world – a world in which we’ve taught our kids specifically and intentionally to think for theirself.
This is the Milgram problem. I teach about the Milgram experiments six or seven times a year, showing that the Nuremburg trials got it wrong: We are wired to do what people in authority tell us, even when it’s evil, even when we know better. “Just following orders” is not a legal defense … but it is part of the human condition. Training young adults to question authority and follow their own moral compass is a necessary part of teaching them to participate in a democracy.
I’d like to credit liberals more than conservatives with adapting to new data, and the data show really very clearly that vaccinations do many times more good than harm. But as the behavior is measurable and the measurements refute my biases, I have to change my mind. Liberals, get your shit together.
And then there are the libertarians.
This movement is not new, but the scale of the movement is. There isn’t much data about the moral preferences of libertarians. If Penn and Teller are representative, and Tea Party rallies, authority is out the window.
But on this side of the argument, we can find some intellectual inconsistency.
Libertarians decry government regulation and laud the free market. Profit motives are the only pure motives. Deregulated medicine for profit is no problem at all for your average libertarian. These folks tend to be affluent, and able to afford for-profit medicine, after all.
Libertarians can in fact adapt to data. The argument against vaccines has shifted away from autism – because those arguments are reprehensible. Eliminationism and pleas to fear, to distress the parents of children with autism, those aren’t just disgusting and manipulative – they’re false. Utterly and totally discredited.
Libertarian anti-vaxxers, though, rather than admitting they were wrong on the whole issue and getting their kids their shots, succumb to cognitive dissonance. We made this choice, we’re good and smart, this choice must be good and smart. This is why you can’t drag people away from Scientology, why they get more racist when they vote for racist candidates and so on.
Now the arguments are about individual liberty: You can’t make me. That’s consistent with an anti-authoritarian platform. And I’d be good with that if there were some chance of convincing people based on scientific evidence. But some folks don’t believe science.
The other main argument these days is, “But I just don’t trust the people who make the vaccines.”
Cool. I don’t either, actually.
But I do trust regulations.
And I don’t think medicine should be for profit. The conflict of interest between medicine and profit is what led to the fraud that led to the movement to begin with.
There are clear motives for vaccine makers to get the government to force you to give the vaccines. Money is a huge motivator and there are clear examples of this behavior across sectors. Car seat through age 11 with no evidence for their use past early childhood. Flame retardants in sofas to distract us from the dangers of smoking. The penny, which we keep around exclusively because the zinc industry lobbies for it.
But so far, the makers of vaccines don’t regulate themselves – unlike the deregulated oil industry that has the Deepwater Horizon uninspected, oil companies writing the laws, defunding inspection agencies, etc. Makers of vaccines are bound to legal standards because we don’t have a small, libertarian government.
If you’re a libertarian and you don’t trust vaccines, that’s your fault. The small government, big business, free-market economy you advocate for creates Pharma Bro, depression meds advertised during the evening news, unmitigated global warming.
For aNewDomain, I’m Jason Dias, vaccinated and autistic. I mean, those things are unrelated, and I came out okay.