Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Add Vaccinations to GOP Science Denial

My oldest brother had measles as a toddler, rendering him profoundly deaf.

Right on cue, the members of the GOP clown car get to yapping about the measles epidemic. Chris Christie wants "choice" for parents. Rand Paul went further and stated that vaccinations can cause "profound mental disorders," though he later said that he thought they were a "good thing." Very coherent position, Rand, seeing as how you went to medical school.

Oddly, ordinarily bat-shit-crazy Dr. Ben Carson of Johns Hopkins was (almost) unequivocal in his urging that parents get their kids vaccinated, saying "Certain communicable diseases have been largely eradicated by immunization policies in this country and we should not allow those diseases to return by foregoing safe immunization programs, for philosophical, religious or other reasons when we have the means to eradicate them." He then went on to say he believed strongly in individual rights, telegraphing something or another. Which is it, Doc?

Hillary Clinton, the only potential Democratic candidate to weigh in, was direct, saying that "The science is clear: The earth is round, the sky is blue, and #vaccineswork. Let's protect all our kids. #GrandmothersKnowBest." No equivocation there.

Here's the deal: By and large, the GOP denies science when it conflicts with their base's views. Human-caused climate change? "I'm not a scientist." Creationism vs. evolution? "The debate hasn't been settled. Teach them both." Guns in the home are more likely to be used on residents that intruders? "The only thing that can stop a bad guy with..." Now it's tacit support for the anti-vaxxers. Why aren't we surprised?

This is perfect for the libertarian/conservative playbook. Why do we vaccinate? So we build herd immunity. Why should all Americans be mandated to buy health insurance? So that rates would drop for all, and all can be covered. Instead we get "No one can tell me what shots to give my children," and "Why should I pay for my chain-smoking, obese, diabetic neighbor's health insurance?"

I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that Marin County, a liberal hotbed north of San Francisco, is chock full of anti-vaxxers, much to the discredit of affluent, well-educated humans.

Let's let Sean Hannity have the last word in his own inimitable way:


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