Wednesday, 4 February 2015

You Cannot Buy Off Measles

A lot of people are linking Republican politicians flirting with anti-vaccination rhetoric with their previous idiotic stances on global warming and foetal development.  Which is understandable, since all three involve deliberately ignoring scientific realities in order to hold on to power, and all three are positions that would quite literally get people killed if those in power who claimed to hold them actually put their legislative agenda where their mouths are.

But there's a major difference here.  Pretending global warming isn't happening will kill people too poor to flee from coastal regions of encroaching deserts. Pretending people have no constitutional right to an abortion will kill women too poor to obtain terminations privately, who instead die on a cold table in some illegal back-alley surgery.

Pushing the anti-vax lunacy will kill their own kids. Or at least, it will kill the children of their own tribe. Not at the same rate as it will kill children not lucky enough to live in vast country houses miles from major population centres.  But sooner or later the virus will find its way to your door. It always does.  The surge of refusing vaccinations will end up biting the rich on the arse, and it'll do it sooner than rising sea levels can. Soon it might not even be enough to say "vaccines are good but should be voluntary", because there's little in recent American political history we've observed more clearly than the fact that nothing is ever good enough for the anti-science brigade but ultimate capitulation. The Republican Party has set itself down the path of endangering its own children, and it's done so based on craven political calculation.

So no, the right analogy isn't climate change denialism or the war on women.  It's this:

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