Are vaccine skeptics on the left or right?
When it comes to protecting our children, political affiliations fall by the wayside
We live in very polarized times. Maybe that’s the result of 24 hour news cycles or the internet, or maybe in times of great upheaval it’s hard to stay on the sidelines. What’s interesting, though, is to see the variety of political backgrounds among the anti-vaxxers and vaccine skeptic crowd.
Depending on whom you talk to, or the nature of the hit-piece engineered to discredit them, they get painted as left wing extremists, out of control libertarians, or some form of Christian fundamentalist clinging to their guns and Bibles.
The left wing extremist mantra runs that they are some silly nuts who only eat organic food (not a terrible idea, I might mention), won’t touch a cell phone because they are worried about electromagnetic smog, and are generally just very hippy-dippy and outside the mainstream. It’s a cute image.
And the Libertarians, you know them. Like the perennial presidential candidate Ron Paul and his son, that Senator, what’s his name? oh yeah, that Rand Paul fellow. Sure they’ve got some good ideas, limited government and such, but you know they’re, well, fringe. But are Ron and Rand Paul (both MD’s) vaccine skeptics? Probably, you say. Libertarian fruitcakes!
The Christian fundamentalist one is in some ways the best, because it is meant to work as broad smear against all right wingers. You know, they’re all Christian fundamentalists, right? They think the evolution thing didn’t happen and Earth is flat, etc. Of course they don’t believe in science. I mean right wingers don’t believe in global warming, right. Do they? Well, do they?
The truth is, as I’ve explored this subculture I’ve been amazed at the variety of backgrounds people have. One day I’m trying fermented foods with Weston Price folks, another day I’m shooting targets with some other anti-vaxxers at the range. In California, there are, especially now, a lot of homeschoolers in the mix. Parents in general are focused on the issue.
One thing that is terribly obvious is how overwhelmingly white, middle to upper class, and educated they all are. So much so that the 4th big smear is that they are elitists! Which kind of flies right in the face of the other smears that seem to imply a lack of education. In fact, not only is the average vaccine skeptic that I’ve met well educated, they’ve spent an enormous amount of time with the material. Far more than most doctors.
Maybe you could say they tend to be free thinkers. But stupid rubes and hippies, not by a long shot!
So truth be told, if they want to expand the ranks of the pro-vaxxers, educating the public seems to be a bad way to go. It would seem the more educated they are on the subject the less likely they’ll be willing to submit to the suggestions of the CDC and big pharma.
Another thing that seems to unite many in the vaccine skeptic crowd is that they know someone who was vaccine-injured. Their child, a cousin, a neighbor’s kid. Even when Trump spoke to this in the presidential debates, he mentioned this.
Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn’t feel good and changes — AUTISM. Many such cases!
By some accounts over a million people, mostly children, now have autism in the US. There was almost no autism before 1970. And thousands and thousands of parents say it all started with a wellness visit. The constant refrain: “I took my kid in for a vaccination, and he never quite recovered.”
A lot of folks know these kids and parents and have heard the stories first hand. Something like that just cuts across political lines.