Irrationality has always been a capital offense, with no stays of execution. It is something we ought to keep in mind about anti-vaccine activists. And if you want to see their philosophy in action, just consider Ebola in Africa.
Right now, the deadly virus Ebola is killing people in Congo, among other places. War and underdevelopment has made it hard for the nation’s government, and the world, to fight the outbreak. Ah, but there’s more. The outbreak is particularly bad, and particularly hard to stop, because some local people in the areas affected have turned on the doctors. The Washington Post writes, “They [medical personnel] mask their identities to avoid harassment and violence in Congo, where the epidemic is spreading at the fastest rate since it started in August — and where rampant misinformation fuels a distrust of outsiders in medical garb. The World Health Organization has logged 119 attacks this year against health workers. Eighty-five have been wounded or killed.”
Why? For reasons that would sound quite familiar to anyone who has f0llowed the anti-vaccine movement. Fake news, conspiracy theories, religiously motivated hatred, and flat out lies have convinced at least some local people that the doctors are causing rather than curing the plague.
The result is, obviously, more death.
Frankly, as a society, we need to think about that fact, and we need to be watching Congo very closely. We have already got measles here, and that was because of anti-Vaxers. If we don’t want Ebola, or worse, to come next, we had better consider how to respond to anti-rational, anti-medical, and anti-vaccine ideology.