Nuggets of Wisdom

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Anti-Vaxxers Make Clinton Look (Relatively) Better


If there’s one good thing, and only one good thing, that I can say about Hillary Clinton, it’s that at least she’s not an anti-vaxxer:
That by no means makes her less evil. It simply means she’s not as evil.

Of course, this makes her less evil than Donald Trump, who, being more than willing to attract votes from the worst of the worst, is more than happy to jump the anti-vax bandwagon:
Then there’s Jill Stein from the Green Party. On the one hand, being a doctor, she understands that vaccines “in general have made a huge contribution to public health”; on the other hand, being part of the political party infamous for being anti-vax and pro-homeopathy, she still panders to her anti-modern medicine base by claiming they have “real questions” about vaccination:
“I think there’s no question that vaccines have been absolutely critical in ridding us of the scourge of many diseases — smallpox, polio, etc. So vaccines are an invaluable medication,” Stein said. “Like any medication, they also should be — what shall we say? — approved by a regulatory board that people can trust. And I think right now, that is the problem. That people do not trust a Food and Drug Administration, or even the CDC for that matter, where corporate influence and the pharmaceutical industry has a lot of influence.”
So yes, she’s not saying that vaccines are outright evil, but she is claiming that they’re being peddled by evil “Big Pharma”, when, in reality, pharmaceutical companies have very little influence over vaccination.

And then there’s the candidate I’m supporting, Gary Johnson. He hasn’t gone full tin foil hat-wearing conspiracy theorist, but he does oppose mandatory vaccination. While that may seem innocuous, it’s still a rather dangerous position to hold.

Vaccines do not cause any harm, so there is little harm with the government requiring its citizens to obtain necessary vaccinations. If anything, there is greater harm in allowing people not to get vaccinated, as it weakens overall herd immunity. (Case in point: California.)

So Johnson may not be saying that vaccines are harmful, but by suggesting that they shouldn’t be "mandatory", he is facilitating the scientifically illiterate who believe vaccines may be harmful. It’s like saying that science textbooks should have labels explaining how evolution is only a “theory”, or that food should have labels explaining that they’re “genetically-modified.” It’s casting doubt on science where none exists, and that’s just as bad.

Granted, that’s one crazy belief Johnson has which by no means overshadows the rest of his policies where he is far saner than the other three candidates combined (which is why I'm voting for him). But it’s still worrying that political candidates, even sane ones, can harbor unscientific beliefs and still be considered viable for public office. It shows that they’re somewhat willing to ignore evidence that contradicts their beliefs, including their own political positions. But what else can you expect from our “post-factual democracy”?