Imagine If…

Filed in National, Science and Health by on September 21, 2012

… Republicans embraced the anti-vaccine idiotic message:

I’m glad that (apart from Donald Trump) the anti-vaccine movement isn’t really linked to the right. Can you imagine if vaccine skepticism were seized on by the right-wing noise machine? It would spread like wildfire. A third of Americans simply wouldn’t vaccinate their children, insisting that the health effects of vaccination are just a “theory.” Every Republican in Congress would have to sign an anti-vaccine pledge. There’d be movements to make vaccines illegal in the red states, and dispensers of vaccines would be defunded in those states, and their offices would be shut down. Right-wing billionaires would bankroll documentaries linking vaccination to Hitler and eugenicism, and the Fox/talk radio crazies would flock to those documentaries, which would break box-office records. Half the books on the bestseller list would have covers depicting Democratic politicians as Dr. Mengele.

So… I guess there’s a silver lining?

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A stay-at-home mom with an obsession for National politics.

Comments (27)

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  1. liberalgeek says:

    This reminds me of tomorrow’s news today.

  2. puck says:

    No imagination needed:

    The House GOP’s 2011 budget would chop $156 million from the Centers for Disease Control’s funding for immunization and respiratory diseases. The GOP reductions are likely to hit the CDC’s support for state and local immunization programs, the agency’s ability to evaluate which vaccines are working, and its work to educate the public about recommended vaccines for children, teenagers, and other susceptible populations.

    Cutting the budget for immunization just implements the insanity in a different way.

  3. walt says:

    Vaccination and Immunization are not synonomous. I wonder why a country like China, which barely knew autism 25 years ago, has had such an explosion of the disease after adapting the Western habit of vaccinating their children for 14 or so diseases with mercury based mixtures and other neurotoxins.. And do the vaccines really work? Trump might know some things you don’t.

  4. Geezer says:

    “Trump might know some things you don’t.”

    And pigs might fly, and a conservative might write something smart someday. I’m not betting on any of them, though.

  5. pandora says:

    Doubtful that Trump knows more than me since my brother is the Global Head of Immunology for a major pharmaceutical company. Yeah, I played that card. Trump can’t even get his hair to look good. :-)

    And as far as autism… there appears to be a link to the age of the father.

  6. AQC says:

    Already debunked Walt, but thanks for playing.

  7. socialistic ben says:

    The other thing to remember about Autism, is that many things that we used to classify as “retardation” or “brain damage” or even ADD are now known to be autism…… just like how the number of people who practiced witchcraft magically dropped in the 1700s. It’s called “advancements in modern medicine” Walt…. oh wait, you probably don’t believe in science. keep steepin’, teabag..

  8. Delaware Libertarian says:

    There are many conservatives (i.e. Michelle Bachmann) who have embraced anti-vaccination, but in my own experience liberals with graduate degrees make up a greater portion of the anti-vaccine movement than conservatives.

    Frontline did a series on the anti-vaccine movement and ground zero for it was a small, liberal enclave with one of the highest graduate degree per capita rates in the nation: Ashland, Oregon:
    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2010/04/22/frontline-excerpt-ashland-oregon/
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/12/28/1049514/-Anti-Science-on-the-Left (I give credit to this liberal for taking on his or her own side).

    Pandora, before throwing rhetorical rocks at conservatives, be mindful of people on your own side who actually share the beliefs.

  9. Delaware Libertarian says:

    Hey Walt,

    You’re wrong. I beg you to find a doctor who finds a “link” between autism and vaccinations.

  10. Delaware Libertarian says:

    socialistic ben has a point. The DSM, the diagnostic book for psychiatry, has come out with multiple editions and the definitions for diseases change rapidly. For example, homosexuality was once defined as a disorder in the 1970′s version of DSM and now it is rightfully recognized as just a sexual orientation.

  11. John young says:

    @pandora or in the womb of the mother: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/26/opinion/sunday/immune-disorders-and-autism.html?pagewanted=all

    Disclosure: I am the father of an son with Autism and families like ours are ravaged by nearly an 80% divorce rate. We are lucky. We survive because we don’t throw articles like the one I link above or the one pandora linked at each other. We read them all. We glean what we think is pertinent, but none of it helps our son, age 11, now.

    My son is vaccinated.

    People who choose not to vaccinate citing concerns about compressed schedules and toxic mercury load are making decisions that serve themselves and their families. It is daunting to make decisions in the ever evolving face of information and misinformation. Those decisions can effect herd immunity and possibly hurt other people, most possibly those that also choose not to immunize and in particular someone they may have convinced not to immunize using fear and bad science rather than a contemplative individual decision that, as members of a free society, we ought to have and cherish.

    We do not judge those who do not vaccinate, but we have chosen not to follow them. However, we respect them and their deeply personal and difficult decision.

    All the pro/anti vaccine, mom’s fault/dad’s fault noise on the internet and TV serve to fracture the autism community and hurt feelings and families. It helps those starting families make the best pre-family decision they can make, but it does not help us, the one’s who already have it and will never not have it.

    Children with Autism need their families. This I know for sure.

  12. puck says:

    It was easy to tolerate vaccination resisters when they were few enough that they were covered by herd immunity. Now it seems we are at the end of herd immunity for many diseases. When their beliefs threaten my child, my tolerance is over.

  13. puck says:

    Or better put, when their beliefs threaten lots of other people’s children. Mine are vaccinated.

  14. Liberal Elite says:

    Just wait for the first big epidemic that wipes out a million or so kids… hand out Darwin awards to the parents, and that really will be the end of this nonsense.

  15. pandora says:

    I deliberately hedged my comment link in the term “appears” because the science is still out on this and no one knows what causes these diseases – although scientists are finding out new things. But those parents who aren’t vaccinating their children are a threat to everyone’s children and they are basing their decision on bad science. I cannot give them a pass on their decision, even though my heart breaks for them.

    The link in my post takes you to a post that states that the anti-vaccine group is mostly composed of non-conservatives.

  16. John young says:

    I understand your position. I just don’t agree about my right to abridge their rights.

    My point is mostly that the decision is complex and nuanced and not as black and white as the supporting science.

  17. pandora says:

    But that’s just it, John, scientists aren’t claiming a black and white answer. They are finding “possible” links. Real science is cautious.

    And parents who are not vaccinating their children are abridging other people’s rights. Diseases we had under control are making a comeback.

  18. John young says:

    I think the answer on vaccines causing autism is black and white: they don’t.

    A parent making the decision to not vaccinate in no way causes or makes another parent abrogate their right to vaccinate. I’m not sure I follow your logic on how someone who chooses not to vaccinate abridges anothers right to get vaccinated?

  19. John young says:

    to go back you your appropriately hedged link on father age. Even though my wife and I are good, does anyone not think that a father’s soul isn’t ripped out a bit, thinking they may have caused their child’s permanent disability? Same for a mother on the womb issue?

    It is just a complete nightmare to feel like you have to live forever.

    Imagine if your spouse left you because the child has Autism? Just awful.

    I try to have a balanced approach to the vaccination issue, I really do.

  20. socialistic ben says:

    John, if many people don’t vaccinate their children, it brings the disease back. Viruses mutate, and what was once something we had vaccinations for has changed because so many parents let their children get sick. They let their children get sick. They could have done something to stop it, but instead chose to trust in people like Michelle Bachman and they LET THEIR CHILDREN GET SICK.
    Now the vaccinations that responsible parents got for their children aren’t as effective… or just aren’t, and we have a big problem that could have been avoided if these fact-less morons had just done their civic duty. Not vaccinating your child is like not making them wash their hands after they use the bathroom, or letting them eat food that has fallen on the floor. It is reckless and dangerous to others.

  21. socialistic ben says:

    And while I sympathize with the challenges you and your family face, (a very close family friend has a severely autistic brother and i know it is a constant challenge) what does family divorce rates when a child is autistic have anything at all to do with people rolling the dice on public health because they read something online once?

  22. Steve Newton says:

    these fact-less morons

    @socialistic ben

    Just the use of that phrase suggests that you don’t get at all what John is saying. There are physicians out there who are anti-vaccine. There was an immense (and about 50% justified) scare in the military about ten years ago over an anthrax vaccine (justified because it turned out there were some serious quality control issues with batches from different labs rushed to completion). Many people who have children with not just autism, but dozens of other diseases for which there is not cure, have very little training in separating real research from anecdotal crap, and there are authoritative sources that make errors all the time.

    This spring the CDC issued a treatment guideline for physicians on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myelagic Encephalitis that was not only inaccurate but ran against the opinions of virtually all the leading specialists in the nation. In Britain, children with CFS cannot get blood pressure medicines and beta blockers because the National Health Service has mistakenly classified the disease as a psychiatric disorder and won’t approve physiological treatments for the Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome that usually accompanies the disease.

    So glean two things from this: number one is the our scientific/medical community has taken a lot of hits (both deserved and undeserved) and not longer has the social authority to simply dispose without question. That leads a lot of people in very dire situations astray sometimes, but not because they are stupid–because they are desperate and scared and the information overload is palpable.

    Number two: your argument that “my” right not to vaccinate ends whenever you can make an attenuated argument for social harm from that decision is not tenable. I don’t even think it’s moral unless you can make a real, quantitative argument about direct harm. And that doesn’t mean quoting some doc on a website who has a position, or a single research, or even uncritically accepting what the CDC or the Pasteur Institute says. Show me a timeline for specific diseases, show me specific rates of mutation, show me a case that new vaccines are not being readied. Then perhaps you make your case.

    But until that point all you are doing is condemning good people for the most part (I will acknowledge many idiots) who are in situations you don’t really understand.

    And, no, I don’t really care if you have friends with an autistic brother. John can tell you. Dana can tell you (although I am not presuming at all to speak for him on vaccines). I can tell you.

    You have no idea.

  23. Dana Garrett says:

    Just somehow tie vaccinations to the poor getting something for nothing and by tomorrow every conservative in America will embrace the junk anti-vaccine science.

  24. John young says:

    I think I said my son is vaccinated. Did I write that in Sanskrit?

  25. John young says:

    Moreover, I am simply saying I understand and respect that others may make a different decision.

    If that decision is the difference in a two parent household v. single parent household then I would ask what causes more harm to the child: the lack of vaccination or the destruction of a child’s emotional stability?

    hint: that question’s answer is different for different people.

  26. Davy says:

    Vaccination is a collective action / free rider problem. In my opinion, vaccination is a legitimate governmental interest.

  27. heragain says:

    Pandora, you’re wrong. You’re factually wrong about vaccination.

    People make a lot of noise about outbreaks of illness being the responsibility of people who refuse vaccination. However, the science doesn’t bear this out.

    Does that surprise you? It did me.

    But ask the CDC. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6128a1.htm

    So while people are happily blaming all those vaccination refusniks for their evil selfish germ-bearing causative behavior, that makes the children of the JUST, GOOD parents sick, the problem is actually (in this case) that the recommended dosage schedule is inadequate, due to a change in the vaccine itself. NOT, notice, due to some magical increase in the variety of strains, but due to a change in the vaccine. DTaP rather than DTwP. This also applies to their weaker brother, tdap.

    Of course, you, as a parent, have damn little control over whether your child gets a whole cellular or acellular vaccination. You likewise can’t split out the tetanus component, and its darn difficult to get a specifically administered tetanus toxoid, EVEN WHEN reaction to the dtap means it medically shouldn’t be administered again. If you walk in to get a booster for a teen you may get an argument from your insurance provider. You, as an informed parent who actually understands the science of this, have few choices to keep your child healthy, due to polarizing BULLSHIT from people who see any deviation from the recommended schedule as evidence of an anti-science conspiracy to selfishly bring back infectious disease. @@

    And you see how totally none of this is about autism studies?

    It’s a more complex issue than people would like to believe. Thank you, John, for trying to point that out.

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