Dear Antivaxxer: This is why I do not care for you
Over the years I have heard many plaintive cries from the anti-vax movement about those who would dare to confront them. They ask for respect for their opinions and don’t understand why I am so “mean” to them. Here you go, anti-vaxxer. Here is why I am the Honeybadger, and you are the cobra.
1. You believe that your opinion should be respected no matter how ridiculous it may be.
I must quote Poland and Jacobson to begin with. “Ultimately, society must recognize that science is not a democracy in which the side with the most votes or the loudest voices gets to decide what is right“. Anti-vaxxers, your opinions regarding vaccination are not based on science. They are ill-formed things with little basis in any reality and are due no respect whatsoever. I do not know where the idea that all opinions must be respected came from, anyway. Should I respect the opinion of a racist or a bigot? No, I should not. And I do not now, nor will I ever, respect yours. Just because you state your dangerous antivaccination views “politely” on an internet message board does not mean that you are due any kindness. It’s like putting a pretty red bow on a turd. The underlying basis of your belief system is about as rude and harmful as can be imagined; therefore, I do not feel compelled to be “nice” to you for any reason.
2. You believe that people who understand the benefits and safety of vaccination “haven’t done the research” or are “elitist” or “brainwashed” or “arrogant”.
It is simply amazing to me that your ilk has somehow convinced yourselves that the more qualified a person is to talk about vaccination, the less he or she actually knows. A simple thought experiment for you here, anti-vaxxer. Can you envision a position that is more arrogant than one that is held by a person with no degree in any field of biological sciences and yet goes against 99.99% of the healthcare community? Do you truly believe that you know something that hundreds of thousands of scientists, physicians, nurses, and public health practitioners don’t? If so, how can you even function each day? You exemplify the Dunning-Kruger effect, which, as put by Daniel R. Hawes, describes the phenomenon whereby “people fail to grasp their own incompetence, precisely because they are so incompetent“. In other words, people who know the least about a subject tend to think they know the most. Only after real education do you realize the limits of your own knowledge. This real education does not come in the form of Googling shit and reading anti-vax websites.
3. You are selfish.
Oh stop. Yes, yes you are. First of all, don’t tell me that you are only responsible for your own children, because if you were actually responsible, you would get your children (and your pets) vaccinated. Further, the concept that you need to tend only to your little snowflake is a great example of how our society has devolved. You simply cannot state that you care about your community when you refuse to vaccinate your children. Yeah, I get that you don’t think measles is a big deal, and maybe it’s not to you, but it is to many other people. By choosing not to vaccinate, you have made a conscious decision to place every single person in your community at risk; some more than others. But you don’t care about your next-door neighbor’s newborn, and you aren’t even ashamed to admit it. You are quite happy to parasite away off of the good health of your vaccinated community instead, and you are proud of it. There is something profoundly wrong with that.
4. You are purposely trying to manipulate others.
You claim that you want to “educate” others, yet you have no quality information to provide. You post emotional anecdotes and sketchy “articles” that don’t survive any sort of critical analysis whatsoever. In addition, you have your strategies in place to sow this misinformation. These strategies include “comment bombing” every news article that comes out about vaccinations with utter nonsense. We’ve all seen Anne Dachel from Age of Autism at work, for example, spreading misinformation from sea to shining sea. And you’re not even embarrassed by the fact that you use this strategy. I must admit that you caught scientists out for quite a long time; we didn’t quite grasp how vulnerable people were to massive toxic doses of lies and misinformation. Now we know, and your comments are no longer going unaddressed.
5. You seem to think that the Constitution was designed to protect your stupid-ass ideas.
Well, I suppose that sometimes it does. But when an anti-vaxxer throws around the first amendment in defense of their position, you can be sure that they do not fully understand the right to religious freedoms in this county. Remember, for example, that the Establishment Clause limits not only restrictions upon religion, but prohibits the state from giving preference to one religion over another. One could argue that by allowing for religious vaccine exemptions, the state is indeed preferring one religion over another, and putting the entire community at risk while at it. Further, people a lot smarter than you and I have already mulled over how First Amendment rights relate to the vaccination issue. In short, they don’t. Just as you are free to practice your religion, you cannot impose your religion on others, particularly if it harms the community at large.
This is just a short capsule of reasons that I don’t much care for anti-vaxxers. My reader is welcome to add any items to this list and I will update it as needed. Special thanks to Autismum for adding another to the list in the comments section below from her unique perspective.