Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Anti-vaxxers Are Not Free to Harm Others

The current measles outbreak is now the focal point of a long-standing conflict: does a person have the right to deny vaccinations, to themselves and/or their children?  In the land of the free, how can it be okay for the government to require that a parent, or an individual, inject or introduce in any form, a foreign substance....especially given that said parents believe that vaccinations are dangerous, causing all manner of evil reactions, even including autism?  I mean, can it really be that there is zero choice and if you don't conform you will be held in violation of the law?  That doesn't sound like a 'free country', does it?

But, hold-on a minute.  It is nowhere near being as simple as that argument would have you believe it is.  So, let me play devil's advocate for a moment.  Suppose I have a child who has an illness, or a condition, that has compromised their immune system. [aside: we have two grand-kids with Type I Diabetes.....and they fall into this category]  Unless I am going to quit my career and stay home to home-school my child, I will be sending him/her off to school where they will be cruising through a veritable sea of germs, viruses, cleaning chemicals, etc.  In order to survive this assault, I may have to use particular medications, or treatments to keep things on track.  I may even feel a little relieved that we don't have to worry about diseases like the measles (....this USED to be true...not anymore), cholera, dysentery, bubonic plague, malaria, small pox, chicken pox, mumps and a long list of other diseases that have been almost or completely eradicated because we have been using vaccines now for three generations.

And, here come some well-meaning people who genuinely believe that vaccinations are 'evil', not  to be used by humans because some religious and conservative groups claim they are a government plot to control or somehow harm our children.  These believers are sure that vaccines are the tools of a massive conspiracy intended to harm us. 'Conspiracy' is a word that seems to be popping up more and more in these times.  It is a reflection of a mind-set that sees evil possibilities and forces all around us and quails at the thought that we would volunteer to submit...not just ourselves, but our CHILDREN....to such evil forces at work.

When I was about 12 years old, I recall a fuss about manufacturers putting fluoride in toothpaste, and--God Forbid!!--in our municipal drinking water.  Of course, the popularity of science-fiction novels and movies, along with 'a commie behind every door' paranoia created a mindset that was so ridiculously fearful and suspicious that it eventually became clear that it was merely stupid and unnecessary.  There was--despite the McCarthy era panic--no commie under your bed.  And, as it happens, fluoride is very effective in reducing dental cavities and decay.  It was never going to render us helpless and allow us to be controlled by the forces of evil.

So, here we are, with a sizable portion of the population falling, once again, for this kind of simple-minded bullshit and foolish speculation.  To assume that vaccines are the outgrowth of some nefarious plot is to surrender your sanity in favor of paranoid delusion.  Vaccines have saved countless lives, especially in third world countries, but here as well.  Measles was declared 'stamped out' in the U.S. in 2000....and now it's back, all because some well-meaning parents are choosing to reject facts and science. And, there's another source of paranoia: the millennium.  How'd that conspiracy work out?

Okay, unless you are so gullible that you have bought into all of this conspiracy nonsense, hook, line and sinker, you need to come back to your senses and realize that the science and particularly the medical community is not out to 'get you'.  They are not the tools of some imaginary, evil Dark Lord.  I mean, really?

But, here's the bottom-line: if you insist on remaining devoted to the crack-pot theories that abound, fine. You are an idiot....it may make your life easier if you just start working on accepting that fact.  However....you are perfectly free to be an idiot in this country. Hey, knock yourself out....no, really, bang your head against a brick wall. That should do the trick. In fact, it's a very popular way of being here, and getting more popular all the time.  We Americans don't have a corner on it, but we're damn sure near the front of the pack in spawning weirdos and foolishness.  Hell, look who is in the Oval Office.  If that isn't prima facia evidence that we're spiraling toward collective idiocy and our own self-inflicted doom, I can't imagine what would be stronger.

That's not the end of the non-discussion, however.  The fact that you willingly choose to embrace stupidity is fine by me...but, and this is a HUGE but....that does not, in any shape or form, give you the right to send your un-vaccinated child to rub elbows with my vaccinated but immune-system challenged child, and perhaps inflict on them whatever disease your child is harboring, due to your pig-headed rejection of science...and, very likely, facts in general.

Because you are free to make an intentional choice...but choose to make a not necessarily 'informed' choice....you are free to not vaccinate your child, AS LONG AS THIS DOESN'T CAUSE HARM TO OTHERS.

If you think that you have such unlimited freedom to practice your paranoid rejection of science that you can even think it's okay to potentially harm other peoples' children....then you are not merely stupid, you are a world-class ASSHOLE.  How 'bout that?

Don't want to vax?  Fine!  But, keep your poor kids at home and don't pretend that you have the right to inflict your own idiocy on others.

Oh, and one other thing:  don't come around blubbering that your child got sick with the measles, or any other preventable disease...when you purposely rejected an effective means of prevention.