If you’re not vaccinating your kids, you’re a fucking idiot — and, worse, you’re not just endangering an innocent for whom you are completely responsible (i.e., your own kid), you’re also creating a public health problem and potentially endangering other people’s kids through your wrongheaded, goofball, crystal-gazing, Jenny-McCarthy-listening crackpot beliefs.
Period. Full stop.
It’s crap like this that points out two things really damning about America today:
Journalism is dead. If there were any still real journalists working, we’d see widespread coverage of just how fundamentally stupid the idea of eschewing vaccinations is, and just how monumentally wrong claims of an autism link are.
People would rather believe some kind of muzzy-headed bullshit than actual science. This isn’t surprising — there’s an astrology column in every major newspaper — but it’s tremendously disappointing.
There’s a real undercurrent of anti-intellectualism in this country that leads people to rely on their own imperfect impressions of complex ideas and concepts that require years of study to actually grasp. Doctors know more than you do. Physicists know more than you do. Your gut feeling that homeopathy probably works is worth precisely squat compared to more than a century of actual science-based, double-blind-tested medicine. From the article:
The rejection of hard-won knowledge is by no means a new phenomenon. In 1905, French mathematician and scientist Henri Poincare said that the willingness to embrace pseudo-science flourished because people “know how cruel the truth often is, and we wonder whether illusion is not more consoling.” [...]
Looking back over human history, rationality has been the anomaly. Being rational takes work, education, and a sober determination to avoid making hasty inferences, even when they appear to make perfect sense. Much like infectious diseases themselves — beaten back by decades of effort to vaccinate the populace — the irrational lingers just below the surface, waiting for us to let down our guard.
Before smallpox was eradicated with a vaccine, it killed an estimated 500 million people. And just 60 years ago, polio paralyzed 16,000 Americans every year, while rubella caused birth defects and mental retardation in as many as 20,000 newborns. Measles infected 4 million children, killing 3,000 annually, and a bacterium called Haemophilus influenzae type b caused Hib meningitis in more than 15,000 children, leaving many with permanent brain damage. Infant mortality and abbreviated life spans — now regarded as a third world problem — were a first world reality.
How’d we fix that? VACCINATION.