Sunday, December 13, 2015

Anti-Vaxxers and the "Movement"

A destructive meme.

I see that “movement” anti-vaxxers – invariably women, which should tell you something - are up to their old tricks.  I’ve posted on this subject before; here I will emphasize some of the problems anti-vaxxers bring to the “movement.”

There are two viewpoints the anti-vaxxers can take:

1. Vaccines have side effects, you can’t make me or my family take them, and they are useless and do nothing to prevent disease.

2. Vaccines have side effects, you can’t make me or my family take them, although I admit that they can be effective in preventing disease in (most) people who take them.

I’m not going to deal with #1.  The data to support overall vaccine efficacy in decreasing disease is overwhelming.  I’m not going to debate the safety issue, a topic that is dealt with on the Internet in many forums. Instead, I want to look at the philosophical and political implications of viewpoint #2 - vaccines work but some will not take them because of a theoretical (very) low risk and because they value their freedom of choice.

Basically, what #2 is saying is this: I’m going to free-ride on the herd immunity of all those folks who get vaccinated and who subject themselves to the (actually tiny, but in the anti-vaxxers’ “minds” significant) risk of side-effects.  Furthermore, I don’t care if my choice endangers the health of others (*). Hey, if old folks and infants and the immunocompromised die because I want to be a modern-day Typhoid Mary, who cares?  And if I can convince others not to be vaccinated, lowering herd immunity to levels so we get epidemics of preventable diseases, too bad!  Either way I win – either I free-ride on the herd immunity of others, or I normalize and legitimize my decision by getting others to join in, even at the cost of eliminating that herd immunity. That’s my freedom!

Well, freedom cuts both ways. If anti-vaxxers want the freedom to refuse vaccination, the rest of us want freedom from having to live in the same polity as them.  Why is their freedom more important than mine?  The freedom argument falls flat, since they trample on the freedom of others and ignore responsibilities while whining about their rights.

Let’s dig further. The “movement” favors majority rights over minority rights, and often sneers at the over-tolerance of civilized society for all sorts of freakishness. Fair enough. So then, why must the vaccinated majority have to put up with the antics of the anti-vaxxers – their uncaring endangering of public health (*), their bizarre theories, and their wasting of public health resources to deal with preventable diseases? Why should this minority get special treatment, particularly when the scientific facts are against them?

Also consider that free-riding is the deadly enemy of group action, of ethnic genetic interests, and of group evolutionary strategies. Free-riding erodes the sort of public solidarity and investment in collective goods necessary for a group – like the White race – to prosper. By engaging in free-riding, the anti-vaxxers impede White racial solidarity and bolster the anti-Salter, anti-EGI crowd.

Finally, the Right, broadly defined, has a not wholly undeserved reputation for being anti-science, anti-logic, and prone to tin foil hat conspiracy mongering and attachment to loony-tunes theorizing. We certainly don’t need to yet again reinforce that meme by opposing public heath hygiene that uses an invention, derived from the White man’s genius, that has the power to prevent human disease. To the extent that current vaccines are flawed, they need to be improved; however, the answer is not a Luddite retreat that opens us up to (in this case deserved) mocking snarky comments from shtlibs and others of their ilk.

Thus, I assert that the anti-vaccination movement is harmful to White nationalism.

*One of the favorite stupidities from the mendacious anti-vaxxers is to say: “Hey, if your vaccines work so well, what are you worried about?  You get vaccinated and be protected, and leave us alone to get sick if we want.”

Reality: First, there are classes of people who for legitimate reasons – age, allergy, and immunosuppressed condition – cannot be vaccinated and those people need protection by herd immunity. Second, vaccines are not 100% effective, there is individual variation in response, so even if a person is vaccinated, a small possibility remains they can be infected.  Looking at the entire population, the cohort of “vaccinated but still vulnerable” will constitute a significant number of people. However, virtually all vaccines are effective enough for sufficient numbers of immunized people to result in herd immunity and protect those who are still vulnerable despite being vaccinated. Therefore, the anti-vaxxers threaten the heath of those who legitimately cannot be vaccinated as well as those who are vaccinated but not immune.

But, it is even worse than this. One reason why some vaccines are not very effective is that the previously effective vaccines were weakened in response to whining complaints about side-effects (Pertussis vaccine is a good example).  So, the anti-vaxxers screw us over twice. First, by ruining herd immunity by not getting vaccinated and by spreading disease. Second, by forcing the vaccine makers to reduce the efficacy of vaccines so as to reduce side effects complained about by anti-vaxx types – who end up not getting vaccinated anyway.

And of course, the more people are convinced by anti-vaxx propaganda, the less herd immunity exists, the more everyone is endangered, and the greater the pressure to weaken vaccines even more than they are now.  Anti-vaxx decisions are not made in a vacuum.

The next time one of them gives you the “Why are you worried?” shtick, remember all of this.