By Will Craig
Part Time Student
Out of the host of anti-establishment conspiracy theories that is unfortunately common amongst those less inclined to formal logic comes the Oedipal beauty of the anti-vax, or anti-vaccination, movement. Oedipal because of the psychological mechanics of the anti-vax movement: a hatred of what is seen as an overbearing society, and the grotesque and infanticidal results of naively blundering into the field of medicine with a picture of a dead baby in one hand and some Bible verses about “the end times” in the other.
Anti-vaxers make a vague, and often pitiful attempt to support their position, which can be basically summarized as: “Vaccines are evil and big, mean Pharma is trying to poison my innocent babies.” The reason for wording their beliefs in such general terms is because the more you get into the specifics of their beliefs, the more they tend towards nonsense. The largest modern concern within anti-vaxxers seems to be the relationship between vaccination and autism. This was first suggested by a 1998 paper published in Lancet by Andrew Wakefield, which had a sample size of 12. The paper has since been described as “an elaborate fraud” by the British Medical Journal. The ubiquity of vaccinations has allowed anti-vaxxers to connect vaccinations to virtually any ailment their child could have from autism to obesity.
But that’s all quite irrelevant to anti-vaxxers. The vast conspiracy theories become alluring catastrophe porn, and legitimate scientific inquiry appears boring and tedious in comparison. Who doesn’t like a good scream and a picture of a dead baby on their Facebook feed with some comic sans text shouting down the big evil man upstairs at Big Pharma?
Although it is true that pharmaceuticals profit from vaccinations, and so oversell their value, it is not the pharmaceuticals we need to worry about. If a vaccination is unnecessary, or dangerous, that will be backed up with research, and insurance companies will simply stop paying for them to be administered. However, thanks largely to the anti-vaccination movement, clusters of parents are causing small epidemics of once completely unheard of diseases. This is exemplified in the fact that new cases of measles are overwhelmingly found in unvaccinated children.
According to the CDC, vaccinations for measles resulted in a 75% decrease in deaths between 2000-2013. And yet, some parents elect out of the measles vaccine. Parents are choosing to risk their children’s lives to stick it to “The Man” or “Big Pharma” or some other enemy they have little ability to comprehend, let alone combat. As the hysterical anti-vax tirade continues, the more the federal government is pushed to enforce vaccination out of a fear of larger outbreaks. If the dystopian end-times of forced vaccinations against abhorrent personality types does come, it will come in riding on the backs of the enraged, moralistic, and naïve who rightfully convinced the federal government that Americans could no longer be entrusted with the most basic responsibilities of childcare and parenthood.
By Will Craig