Apparently, there’s a growing problem in the US.
Growing vaccine hesitancy is just a small part of a broader rejection of scientific expertise that could have consequences ranging from disease outbreaks to reduced funding for research that leads to new treatments. “The term ‘infodemic’ implies random junk, but that’s wrong,” said Peter Hotez, a vaccine researcher at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas. “This is an organized political movement, and the health and science sectors don’t know what to do.”
Yes, yes, yes, I agree, there is a terrible strain of motivated ignorance running rampant in the nation. I rather resent the idea that this is an emerging problem — it’s been around as long as I’ve been alive, and longer. The focus shifts is all. The current focus in this article on vaccine disinformation is a symptom of the same old arrogance that fueled the anti-evolution movement. The people who promoted that nonsense are now the same people pushing climate change denial and COVID conspiracy theories — they’ve just expanded their Bible colleges and built conservative think tanks that are somehow regarded as reasonable sources of opinion, and they’ve set themselves up in institutions like the Federalist Society that have acquired the authority to corrupt the fabric of our government.
Don’t even try to imply that this is something new. We’ve let the seeds of decay incubate for many decades. Now news stories deplore this situation on one hand, while on another, in other news stories from the same organizations, they’ll blandly cite the Heritage Foundation or the American Enterprise Institute or or the Cato Institute or, god help us, Republican Party figureheads as sources, never questioning ho they’re building up the reputations of these fallacious “authorities.” They don’t question. So when some Republican liar says a trivially recognizable lie, like the following, they just report it and don’t say what’s wrong with it.
As a result, many people felt betrayed when COVID vaccines only moderately reduced the risk of infection. “We were promised that the vaccine would stop transmission, only to find out that wasn’t completely true, and America noticed,” said Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), chair of the Republican-led coronavirus subcommittee, at a July hearing.
No. No credible authority claims a vaccine will simply stop transmission with 100% certainty in its effectiveness. Brad Wenstrup is a liar and a fraud. Brad Wenstrup is an asshole. The media won’t say that, despite it’s truth, and so the infection spreads. Even in an article reporting on the deplorable state of critical thinking, a news source can’t bring itself to state the facts. They are still obligated to pander to the know-nothings who buy the crap they advertise.
They’ll never openly recognize the common fuel that drives this American problem: a fanatical religiosity. This problem will never go away as long as we continue to grant churches unwarranted privilege.