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.
The single biggest change that I’m going to make in my assessment of how to recognize an antivaxxer now as compared to 2012 grows from a revelation that I came to a few years after my post on recognizing what makes an antivaxxer, namely that all antivaccine beliefs are rooted in conspiracy theories, specifically what I have called the central conspiracy theory of the antivaccine movement. In 2014, that conspiracy theory was simple. Basically, repeating and believing antivaccine conspiracy theories is arguably the strongest indicator that you are dealing with an antivaxxer, so much so that if you see someone spewing antivax conspiracy theories and being utterly resistant to questioning them, that in and of itself is enough to identify an antivaxxer. Indeed, all antivax conspiracy theories tend to be variations on a theme, namely that “They” know that vaccines don’t work/are harmful, but “They” covered it up. It’s the same conspiracy theory at the heart of, for example, Kevin Trudeau’s famous book Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You to Know About. In the US this central conspiracy theory posits that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “knew” that vaccines cause autism.