It appears that anyone anticipating that the upcoming Republican primary is going to make the last one seem sane in contrast is not in for a disappointment. Mr. Pierce, as is his wont, poses some pointed questions, even though the fact that we even need to consider them is pathetic.
Coming after Chris Christie's similar comments over the weekend, it is now incumbent upon us to ask whether the anti-vaccination theories are on their way to becoming one of those conservative conjuring words, like "Keystone XL pipeline" or "school choice." This is especially true since both Christie and Paul have framed their remarks with boilerplate conservative defenses of parental rights and personal freedoms. So is the measles virus is the new handgun? Will dozens of sick kids in California join dozens of dead kids in Connecticut as the price we have to pay for our freedoms? Are we going to Teach The Controversy on this one, too. Is this, like The Bell Curve was for Andrew Sullivan and The New Republic, Open For Debate? It's one thing to dance away from science on global warming. It's quite another to have one of our only two political parties to line itself up against medical science. If the voices in your head and the clamor of your own ambition can drown out the simple fact that we had measles defeated in this country in 2000, and now, after a long stretch of know-nothing propaganda, measles are back with a vengeance, then you can quite simply use politics to defeat public health in the lives of us all. For a physician like Rand Paul, the son of Crazy Uncle Liberty (!), who also is a doctor, lending your credibility to the quack healers of the Internet bespeaks a certain contempt for learning that has become all too common.
Kara Lowenthal offered some additional commentary in Religion Dispatches:
What hasn’t been highlighted is the fact that the increased instances of measles and other previously-eradicated diseases in this country over the last decade are actually a cautionary tale about religious exemptions.
All states have mandatory vaccine laws for public school students, but almost all states (48 to be precise) allow exemptions for those who have a religious objection to vaccines. And 19 states allow exemptions for those with philosophical/conscientious objections that are not explicitly religious in nature. Although I haven’t delved into the legislative history of each of these laws, I think it’s a fair bet that when they were passed the religious exemptions were intended to protect a very small percentage of the population with religious objections to vaccination, like Christian Scientists or some parts of the Amish community.
But a belief that vaccines cause autism (which is contrary to all scientific evidence) is not the kind of life philosophy that exemption laws are generally designed to protect. And in fact, there have been recent calls to remove the “personal belief” exemption from California’s vaccine law on the grounds that it is being abused and is destroying the herd immunity that is required to protect people who actually cannot be safely vaccinated, like young babies, or immuno-compromised individuals.
Just when you think you've hit the bedrock of ignorance, turns out the politicians are fracking for more and more stupidity to foist on their gullible and drooling followers. In all fairness to the anti-science idiots from New Jersey and Kentucky, there are no small amount of liberal and left leaning anti-vaccination morons who, refusing to have their children vaccinated, pose a huge threat to the rest of us.
Jon Stewart did an excellent piece last night on these idiots,using a phrase I heartily approve of - mindful stupidity.
But, this week's award for the most imbecilic, low grade, brain dead idiot politician goes to North Carolina's Senator (R) Thom Tillis. You think anti-vaccination is bad? How about not requiring restaurant workers to wash their hands after using the toilet? That's right, Tillis apparently thinks when they made the regulation requiring a food handler to clean the crap off his/her fingers before they make you a sandwich is the day freedom died in 'Murica.
Remember, Urine in good hands with Tillis.
Yes, Thom, it makes perfect sense to rely on market forces instead of government regulations to keep the excreta out of my sandwich. Government regulations are clearly the work of the devil.
OK Pat, I'll see your senator who doesn't think restaurant workers need to wash their hands and I'll raise you this:
As the bill was considered by the Utah Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Representative Brian Greene voiced his concerns. He wasn’t sure that having sex with an unconscious person should always count as rape.