I will often see comments from readers who say things such as “you call yourself a progressive but all you do is bash the right,” or other similar statements. The fact of the matter is I will call out people who are being ignorant, regardless of where they identify themselves politically. I have previously called out the anti-science hysteria that has completely overtaken the anti-Monsanto movement, and now it is quite apparent that the same thing needs to be done with those who have taken it upon themselves to try to convince everyone that vaccines are evil. No, these aren’t just people on the far right who believe every new story Alex Jones cooks up to sell more of his survivalist gear and fluoride filters. These are people who proudly call themselves liberal or progressive and laugh at conservatives who deny the overwhelming scientific evidence for evolution, climate change and other issues of our time. Yet they will still show up in droves on every post I make on my page about vaccines to make statements that could have been ripped off conspiracy sites like Infowars, Natural News and so on.
I often share well-researched images from Refutations To Anti-Vaccine Memes and articles on my page that refute some of the most ludicrous conspiracy ideas that float around out there, only to have people claim that I’m a shill for Big Pharma or Monsanto, etc. Let’s be very clear here: if you consider yourself educated and you want to make the point that your stance on issues like climate change is based on science, then you cannot then turn around and claim that decades of scientific research are really just a plot by the pharmaceutical companies to sell vaccines. Remember the ludicrous comment by Bill O’Reilly when he stated “See, the water, the tide comes in and it goes out, Mr. Silverman. It always comes in, and always goes out. You can’t explain that.”(Source)
Yes, that was probably one of the dumbest statements ever made on Fox News, but sadly we see people on the left say equally asinine things based on discredited hypotheses like the anecdotal “Amish don’t vaccinate” story and outright falsehoods like chemtrails all the time. You cannot claim conservatives are stupid for believing that the Earth is only 6,000 years old but then state that the flu vaccine gives you the flu, when in fact the injection contains dead viruses which have zero chance of causing an actual infection. You cannot say that conservatives are morons for believing that Obama is going to send UN special forces door to door to seize guns when you spread false information yourself.
Look at this video of a guy in SW Florida who actually believes contrails from passenger airplanes at 30,000 feet are chemicals being sprayed across his backyard that are being negated by vinegar. You may think that is ludicrous, but did you know that 5% of voters actually believe this is a secret plot by the government to dumb people down? This isn’t a contagion of derp confined solely to conservatives, insomniacs, and truck drivers listening to Coast To Coast AM – this is a very real problem on the left as well.
We are currently near the height of the 2013-2014 flu season, and in Dallas County, TX alone, 35 people have died already. Many on the left scoff at misinformation from the right such as stories that claim abortions cause breast cancer, but yet every single day people on the left tell me that vaccinations cause autism or that they’re full of poisons – and there are even a few idiots who still believe a flu shot actually caused a woman to only be able to walk backwards.
Look, if we want to claim that we as liberals or progressives are superior to conservatives because we base our arguments on science and logic, then we need to actually base our arguments on science and logic. Let’s start calling out people who throw away centuries of medical research in favor of stories from fear-mongering, for-profit websites that make their money by spreading baseless rumors and accusations. If we can’t accept science over disproven vaccine myths and outright lies, then we are morally and intellectually no better than the likes of Michele Bachmann, Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck or Alex Jones.