In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. This bogus idea can hurt people by allowing diseases to spread. And among those diseases could be COVID-19.
Unfortunately, Republican politicians and conservative media figures are increasingly joining up with the anti-vaxxers.
Opposition to vaccines was once relegated to the fringes of American politics, and the rhetoric on Fox News has coincided with efforts by right-wing extremists to bash vaccination efforts.
Served up to an audience that is more likely than the general population to be wary of Covid vaccines, the remarks by Mr. Carlson and Ms. Ingraham echoed a now-common conservative talking point — that the government-led effort to raise vaccination rates amounted to a violation of civil liberties and a waste of taxpayer dollars.
The comments by the Fox News hosts and their guests may have also helped cement vaccine skepticism in the conservative mainstream, even as the Biden administration’s campaign to inoculate the public is running into resistance in many parts of the country.
State Republican lawmakers around the country are pushing bills — at least one of which has become law — that would give unvaccinated people the same protections as those surrounding race, gender and religion.
Why it matters: These bills would tie the hands of private businesses that want to protect their employees and customers. But they also show how deep into the political psyche resistance to coronavirus vaccine requirements has become, and how vaccination status has rapidly become a marker of identity.
Zoom in: Montana has made it illegal to "discriminate" on the basis of vaccine status, with some exceptions within the health care sector.
- The law prohibits businesses, governmental entities and places of "public accommodation" — like grocery stores, hotels or restaurants — from refusing to serve or withholding goods from anyone based on their vaccination status or whether they have an "immunity passport."
- Employers aren't allowed to discriminate against or refuse to employ someone based on the same criteria.
- “This is a civil rights statute. It absolutely is," Bagley said. "What this law is saying is that a restriction directed at the unvaccinated is prohibited in the same way as you'd be prohibited from putting up a sign saying, 'no Irish admitted.'"
Noting that the government is falling short of its Covid vaccine goals is an applause line at CPAC Dallas pic.twitter.com/og9Fw1MRAv— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 10, 2021
Boebert: We’re here to tell government we don’t want your benefits. We don’t want your welfare… pic.twitter.com/Gk8WenGrls— Acyn (@Acyn) July 10, 2021