Vaccination is the New Flouridation
The number of anti-vaccination cranks out there on the interwebs seems to be multiplying. It seems you canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make reference to any kind of vaccination lately without people, sometimes pretending to be liberals (sometimes actually misguided liberals) wailing and moaning about how terrible vaccinations are. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the new fluoridation. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m somewhat surprised that no one wailed and moaned that I mentioned on Pandagon a tetanus vaccination I got the other day, but rest assured, while my arm has been kind of sore, I havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t yet developed autism.
I have very little patience for cranks as a general rule (which is why working for this site is so fun, because itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s about pushing back against anti-choice cranks), but I reserve a special contempt and loathing for anti-vaccination cranks. They remind me of nothing so much as women who make their living as professional anti-feminists in terms of denial and idiocy levels. Anti-feminist professional women create a special kind of loathing, because they donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t acknowledge that their very ability to be out there earning a paycheck lambasting feminism would not be possible without feminism giving them the right to be women in the public sphere. Anti-vaccination cranks have a similar parasitic relationship to the existence of vaccines. If it werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t for vaccination, our country would have far more immediate infectious disease health concerns to worry about that the largely imaginary health drawbacks of the vaccination wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have a chance to ruffle any feathers.
Anti-vaccination cranks make me see red, in no small part because thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no excuse for the levels of ignorance they demonstrate about the real value of vaccines. It would be more understandable if the invention of the polio vaccination, for instance, was so far in the past that there were no survivors of the disease hanging around being reminders of how terrible it really is. But there are plenty of people who had the disease that are around, suffering the lifelong effects of even the minor cases that would have allowed you to reach middle age after suffering that disease in your youth. I for one am incredibly grateful to have never known anyone with small pox, tetanus or even the fucking mumps my whole life.