This was one of those Tweets that just sprang, fully-formed, from my imagination: “At a certain point,” I said, “climate-change deniers and vaccination refusers start to look the same.” It went straight to my Facebook, and slowly, quietly, people began contacting me to say they agreed and were baffled by the phenomenon.
When did it become fashionable to be ignorant? When did we decide that science was stupid?
Hey, I’m all for questioning authority and rising up against oppression and all that. Raising our voices to effect change. But I believe in being well-informed, which is why I like science: nothing is proven 'til it shows up in a double-blind experiment. I live in an extremely wealthy, progressive, left-wing enclave that is notable for having drastically dropping rates of immunization. The richer the neighborhood, the fancier the private schools, the more likely the kids will be unprotected from polio, mumps, measles, and rubella.
I am acquainted with very smart, wealthy people who have a large, dangerous gap in their understanding of immunity. A friend of mine who’s a pediatrician says, “Until kids start catching and dying from vaccine-preventable illnesses, the pendulum won’t swing back. People just lack basic logic sometimes.”
Meanwhile, in more right-wing areas, wealthy foundations and fossil-fuel lobbyists pour mountains of money into the denial of global “warming” -- which we should really call “global climate change,” because the result isn’t a day at the beach, it’s increased hurricanes, expanded deserts, and acidic oceans. Again, very wealthy people who are either too greedy to care or somehow too blind to understand what they should, with all that education, be able to understand.
Maybe it’s classist of me, but I’m more apt to excuse someone who’s under-educated or just plain dumb. But in my area, it’s the working-class people who have a firmer grasp of the danger they’re escaping. Many are immigrants who didn’t have the chance to have proper immunizations in their own lives and saw the devastation wrought by the diseases us whitey-richy-pants people haven’t had to deal with. Many have also worked with the land directly, so they know better than to scoff at the stories of climate change -- they know first-hand that the Dust Bowl was man-made and can happen again on a larger scale.
Maybe the problem is money. You get too much of it, and you just get too protected from day-to-day life to understand real danger. So you put on blinders and build a wall around your little corner of the world.
Well. If that’s the case -- money makes you stupid, being broke keeps you sane and smart -- at least there’s a silver-plated lining to my being broke.
Do you think climate-change denial is as stupid as vaccination refusal?
Image via Twitter