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Friday, December 10, 2021

Anti-Vax, Anti-Democracy

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.

Antivaxxers are sometimes violent, often abusive, and always wrong.  

UnfortunatelyRepublican politicians and conservative media figures are increasingly joining up with the anti-vaxxers.  There is a great deal of overlap between MAGA World and the antivax movement.

 Eric Michael Garcia at MSNBC:

As FiveThirtyEight noted this year, conservatives have long been resistant to mandates for vaccinations. What has changed slightly, notes science journalist Tara Haelle, is their language. After focusing largely on arguments about “toxins,” the anti-vaccine movement is now more focused on arguments about “choice,” a broader rallying cry for the pro-freedom red state crowd. Today, conservatives constantly invoke the language of “choice.” Indeed, conservative Republicans brought the country to the brink of a government shutdown just a few days ago over vaccine mandates.

Perhaps most frightening is the way the anti-vaxx movement has melded with true anti-democratic extremists. About a block away from the Capitol on Jan. 6, anti-vaccine activists held a “MAGA Freedom Rally” that blended anti-vaccine claptrap with lies about the integrity of the 2020 presidential election. Del Bigtree, who produced a documentary lionizing disgraced former doctor Andrew Wakefield and his now-retracted study linking the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to autism, was a featured speaker. During the rally, Bigtree compared Fauci to voting machines, claiming Americans could trust neither. It’s possible that the more cynical anti-vaxxers see election fraud as their next pivot (and meal ticket).