Glenn Beck: Anti-Vaxxer for Freedom. Or Something.

It comes as no surprise to me at all to find out that Glenn Beck is an anti-vaxxer. On his show this week, he went on an extended rant about the evils of vaccines, saying that the right and left should unite to oppose them. Because “common sense” (whatever the hell that is). And freedom. And…Galileo?

“I’m interested in moving to common sense. I’m interested in moving in the direction of freedom,” Beck said. “And so when it comes to these measles vaccinations, we have a lot in common with the left … and we have to reach out to allies.”

While asserting that nobody wants children to get measles, Beck asserted that “there’s something happening” with the measles vaccine and the rise of children being diagnosed with forms of autism that should make people cautious about getting their children vaccinated.

“God gave me a brain. God gave me personal choice and responsibility for those choices,” he said. “I’m going to say no to those vaccines because I’ve done my homework.”

Beck then went on to declare that people who oppose vaccines are now being persecuted, just as Galileo was persecuted by the Catholic Church.

“Here’s another group of people that are now being rounded-up and pointed at and called morons and idiots and crackpots and crazies,” he said. “Just totally discredited … Where is anybody saying ‘my gosh, we’re living in the days of Galileo’? The church has become the state and if you don’t practice their religion exactly the way they tell you to practice it, you’re done.”

I think I just snapped my optic nerve from my eyes rolling across the room and back.

httpv://youtu.be/kRU4ZgyZ2bA

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  • http://www.thelosersleague.com theschwa

    I always felt bad for Galileo when the pope pointed at him, rolled his eyes, and laughed, totally discrediting him…and then left him alone to live his life. Poor, poor Galileo!!

  • Kevin Kehres

    The official Mormon position on vaccination…

    Reports that increasing numbers of children are not being immunized against preventable childhood diseases deeply concern us.

    “In the United States alone approximately 20 million children, 40 percent of those 14 years old or younger, have not been adequately immunized against polio, measles, German measles (rubella), diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), mumps and tetanus.

    “Every parent who has agonized when these diseases have maimed or brought premature death to their children would join us, we are certain, in a plea to mobilize against these deadly enemies.

    “We urge members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to protect their own children through immunization. Then they may wish to join other public-spirited citizens in efforts to eradicate ignorance and apathy that have caused the disturbingly low levels of childhood immunization.

    “Failure to act could subject untold thousands to preventable lifelong physical or mental impairment, including paralysis, blindness, deafness, heart damage and mental retardation.

    “Immunization campaigns in the United States and other nations, if successful, will end much needless suffering and erase the potential threat of epidemics. Such efforts are deserving of our full support.”

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    To be far, he’s confused Galileo with Typhoid Mary.

  • eric

    “And so when it comes to these measles vaccinations, we have a lot in common with the left …”

    Sadly, he’s right about this. In fact I would say that this is a case of a bad ideology starting out on the left (meaning they were the first marks of the con job) and then being picked up by the right.

    To this day I’m not sure why conservative religious fundamentalists got on the anti-vaxx bandwagon. A group like the JWs? Sure, that makes sense. Evangelical baptists and the like? I don’t see the connection. Sure they homeschool more than others, but thinking that’s the reason reverses the logic: observing that most A’s do B does not explain why many B’s believe A.

  • AJ Castellitto

    Its important to not get overly dogmatic about science – the findings & remedies are constantly in flux & often a new consideration calls for readjustments – say a delay in when the VAX is administered.

    PS

    http://www.examiner.com/article/scientists-baffled-many-americans-scientifically-literate-yet-reject-evolution

  • Alverant

    #4 @eric

    I have a three prong theory about why the conservatives have picked up on it.

    1) It’s solid science that vaccinations work as well as the risks of what happens when many kids aren’t vaccinated and they’re against science on general principle.

    2) Making it mandatory (with medical exceptions) is “big bad gubment taking away fredum”.

    3) It’s a public health issue so they’re against it to make the ACA look ineffective (another case of “we’ll create a bad situation then blame Obama”)

    I’d also toss in a “if you have God’s favor then you won’t get sick” as well as a “it’s a way to get rid of poor people” aspect as well.

  • John Pieret

    God gave me a brain.

    He must have reneged on the deal and taken it back.

  • abb3w

    @-1, Glen Beck,

    “Here’s another group of people that are now being rounded-up and pointed at and called morons and idiots and crackpots and crazies,” he said.

    Probably Carl Sagan from “Broca’s Brain”:

    The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.

  • http://www.atomiccitizen.net/ EricJohansson

    Hey Obama cam out saying parents should vaccinate their kids. That right there is the only reason wing-nuts need to turn against vaccines.

  • wreck

    The tide comes in, the tide goes out, Glen Beck is wrong again.

  • raven

    We know what lack of vaccinations causes. Death. And serious lifelong disabilities.

    Before modern medicine, half of all children died before age 5. Average lifespans were short. Even a century ago in the USA, it was 47 years. Today it is 77 years.

    I’ve seen people die of vaccine preventable viral diseases. It’s at least three, 2 polio, 1 measles.

  • raven

    Vaccine barriers: 30,000 adults die of preventable diseases …

    www. medicalnewstoday.com/articles/272251.php

    Medical News Today

    Feb 6, 2014 – In a survey on vaccine perceptions, physicians reveal financial … They note that 30,000 people in the US die of vaccine-preventable diseases each year, …

    According to one source, 30,000 people die of vaccine preventable diseases in the USA each year. Many of them small children.

    I would say Glenn Beck has the blood of these children and adults on his hands.

    But really, I can’t quite do it. Anyone who believes anything Glenn Beck says earns a Darwin award for creatively removing themselves from the gene pool.

  • eric

    @6: I might agree with #2 as a more right-wing reason, but we don’t actually mandate vaccination and AFAIK, no major presidential candidate is going to or would promote forced vaccination. So they are not-vaccinating their kids to demonstrate opposition to a policy the government doesn’t actually do?

    Okay, now that I think about that, the tea party does a lot of demonstrating opposition to non-real policies. I guess I accept that.

  • JustaTech

    AJ Castellitto@5: The timing of immunizations is based on when a person’s immune system is capable of developing immunologic memory. as soon as the body is able to develop a response to an immunization, that is the time for that person to be immunized. You don’t build the same kind of immune response to every pathogen, which is where there are some diseases you have to wait until a person is a year old before they can be vaccinated against the disease; because their immune system hasn’t developed enough to mount an appropriate response before then.

    You don’t wait any longer after that time because that just increases the risk of the person getting the disease. It’s like saying “I’ll wait until I get on the highway before I put on my seatbelt.”

    as for the official Mormon position on vaccination @2: I’m not even slightly surprised. If nothing else, young Mormons are encouraged to travel on mission, and that travel often takes them to places with more endemic diseases, and then they come home to SLC. So the Mormons probably have more reason to know than most religious groups about the importance of having everyone vaccinated.

  • Loqi

    God gave me a brain.

    This event was immortalized by way of a reenactment in the classic film Young Frankenstein.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    KEEP YOUR GOVERNMENT HANDS OFF MY PREVENTABLE DISEASES!!!

  • raven

    as for the official Mormon position on vaccination @2: I’m not even slightly surprised. If nothing else, young Mormons are encouraged to travel on mission,…

    It’s deeper than that.

    Mormons are nonthinkers and quite often fall for polykookery/crank magnetism*. Utah is a center for alt medicine, anti-vaxxers, Space Reptiles, the John Birch society, and financial scams. At one time, Utah was the center of penny stocks and dubious financial scams, many of them victimizing Mormons. To the point where the US DOJ set up a task force in SLC.

    * Can’t blame Mormonism for Glenn Beck’s polykookery. It’s probably the other way around. He has always been a lunatic fringer.

  • Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Why cant Beck use his “god-given” brain and search for accurate information on vaccines? Does he need an instruction manual on ‘how to perform a Google search”?

  • shadow

    @7:

    Actually it was from Abbie — A.B Normal.

  • anubisprime

    ” God gave me personal choice and responsibility for those choices,”

    If Beck is accurately reporting the fact that responsibility is the sole preserve of the human condition, then Christians cannot claim religious faith or special pleading exemption when busted for breaking the law…they have no defense ..Beck just said so no?

    They cannot claim god told them to smash exhibits or displays therefore no foul, it is their responsibility and that automatically means they have to face the consequences…just sayin’

  • howardhershey

    It is even worse than that. The death rate from measles *in countries with good nutrition and health care* is still in the range of 1-3/1000 cases. And there can be non-lethal respiratory and encephalitis that can lead to hospitalization, permanent brain damage, ear infecton and deafness, reactivation of TB and other infections in the weakened patients. Not to mention that 1000 of the 1000 cases have a miserable few weeks. In developing countries, measles (which has no animal reservoir and could potentially be eliminated) is a leading cause of death with fatalities being 10-20 times the rate in the U.S. A 3% death rate, leading to at least 140,000 deaths per year worldwide. As long as measles exists anywhere in the world, it is foolish to think it won’t come to the developed world. Eliminating measles is possible, but *only* once most of the world, both in countries with no endemic cases and those where it remains endemic, is continuously vaccinated.

  • bybelknap

    My mother was 12 when she contracted polio in 1940. It damn near killed her. Lucky for me it didn’t. She lived a long, full life, with a withered leg, a bad ear, bad heart valves – which later in life caused frequent bouts of congestive heart failure – (the effort to correct which ultimately did kill her… ) and chronic dizziness.

    I had mumps and chicken pox as a kid, and an extremely painful and debilitating outbreak of shingles as a young adult. None of those preventable diseases are any goddam fun. So I reserve a hearty “fuck you,” to every single anti-vaxer out there. Unless medically contraindicated every damn kid should get their vaccinations on time or their parents should face stiff penalties. Make it so uncomfortable for the parents not to vaccinate that they are compelled to.

    Fuck. These assholes really piss me off.

  • JustaTech

    Raven @17: I’m confused. To me the official Mormon statement on vaccines was as pro-vax as you get. and I said I wasn’t terribly surprised, since as a group they do more international travel than other religious groups.

    So your statement doesn’t exactly follow. (Not that I’m disagreeing about the quackery/alt-med nonsense/supplements.) Did I miss something?

  • weatherwax

    bybelknap

    My Uncle Buddy had polio as a child. He came out of it OK to all appearances.

    As an adult he had to get a complete physical to get life insurance, and the doctor asked him when he had lost his left lung.

  • grumpyoldfart

    America had the Sputnik Moment in 1957 and for the next ten years spent a fortune on science education. Then the Jesus Freaks made religion popular again and many of the youngsters with that science knowledge went back to fundamentals – and it’s been downhill ever since.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    “I’m interested in moving in the direction of freedom,” Beck said.

    Freedom to inflict harm on others against their will. Or as The Onion put it, “It’s My Right To Decide What Eliminated Diseases Come Roaring Back“.

    God gave me a brain.

    Doubly wrong.

  • llewelly

    With respect to the official Mormon position on vaccines, I think that position is strongly affected by the age of their leaders, most of whom are much older than Mitch McConnell(*) (who also just advocated vaccines).

    It’s also probably affected by their desire to seem like a great humanitarian organization; they’ve promoted vaccination in many foreign nations for that reason for a long, long time. Since they’ve been caught using those opportunities to do missionary and homoantagonistic work, I’m suspicious, but there you go.

    (*) Someone in my facebook feed said about Mitch McConnell: “Even the douchiest turtle in the universe passed up an anti-obama opportunity to point out that vaccines are awesome and polio is not.” And if you go look at the elderly Mormon leaders you’ll see “douchiest turtle” fits them too.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    @4:

    Sadly, he’s right about this. In fact I would say that this is a case of a bad ideology starting out on the left (meaning they were the first marks of the con job) and then being picked up by the right.

    Surveys show that anti-vaxx beliefs are about equally prevalent on the right as on the left. And fortunately, it’s only a small percentage of the population (although enough to do harm). So trying to explain the behavior according to broad ideological affinities is going to miss the mark.

  • llewelly

    raven:

    Utah is a center for alt medicine, anti-vaxxers, Space Reptiles, the John Birch society, and financial scams.

    I grew up Mormon in Utah, and yes, there are plenty of anti-vax Mormons – my mom was an anti-vax Mormon in the 1980s (and is probably still anti-vax), long before anti-vaxxing was cool.

    But those anti-vax Mormons have as far as I know always been in conflict with the official church position, which has been very pro vax for long long time.

    Trouble is, Mormons teach that the Holy Ghost brings the word of God directly to everyone(*), so every Mormon is their own toy prophet, and many of them listen to their prayers rather than to church leaders.

    (*) (Yes, “everyone”. Among other examples, I was taught that the Holy Ghost inspired Thomas Jefferson and James Madison to put freedom of religion in the US Constitution so that the True Church could be brought back to the Earth.)

  • llewelly

    Trouble is, Mormons teach that the Holy Ghost brings the word of God directly to everyone(*), so every Mormon is their own toy prophet, and many of them listen to their prayers rather than to church leaders.

    I should point out that this is sometimes a good thing. Back in the 1970s many Mormons sincerely believed the Holy Ghost told them to march on Temple Square in SLC and protest the official church position on interracial marriage. And after a few years of such protests, the official prophet (Kimball? I can’t recollect) received a new revelation that supported interracial marriage (and temple ordinances for people of color; the two are tightly tied in Mormonism). Today there are Mormons who believe the Holy Ghost is telling them to protest the official church positions on lgbt rights.

  • Michael Heath

    Glenn Beck writes:

    “I’m going to say no to those vaccines because I’ve done my homework.”

    This reminded me of the following 1/30 post from the most ignorant AGW denialist that posts comments in this forum. Lancifer wrote:

    I happen to have spent the better part of the last ten years looking at every piece of evidence I can get my hands on.

    Except of course both avoid the science. But other than that, ardent students on the topic.

  • jaybee

    My daughter goes to a private school which has a lot of good things going for it, but also has a lot of woo, both pedagogically and culturally that grows out of that mindset. Not only are homeopathic remedies highly encouraged, many (but not even most, just alarmingly many) parents don’t immunize their kids.

    Every so often an email will be sent to the parent list: “My little Lucy has finally gotten chicken pox; if you have any kids who haven’t had it and want to get together for a chicken pox party, just let me know.” These people actually think that a weakened version of the virus is “toxic”, but getting a full blown viral infection is natural and healthy. Measles, mumps, and even whooping cough have been reported at the school. It is fucking nuts.

  • raven

    So your statement doesn’t exactly follow. (Not that I’m disagreeing about the quackery/alt-med nonsense/supplements.) Did I miss something?

    You sort of missed the point.

    The Mormon leadership know their members have huge problems thinking. The whole religion is set up for that.

    But they don’t want to see the members victimized by alt med scams or financial scams. It cuts into their loot uptake and that is the real major sin of Mormonism.

    So they try to remind their followers not to kill themselves, kill their kids, or give away their money to criminals. It’s wise and self interested animal husbandry.

  • http://Reallyawakeguy.blogspot.com somnus

    A friend posted a meme claiming that there had been zero deaths from measles in America in the last ten years, but 100 deaths from measles vaccine complications. This was accompanied by a demand that we all think (and by “think,” they meant “reject vaccines”).

    Well, I thought. And the thought I had was “I wonder how many people died from measles in America before the vaccine was developed.” And less than two minutes of internet searching got me the answer: 500. Per year. Compared to their claim of 100 per decade. Meaning the measles vaccine resulted in a fifty-fold reduction in measles-related deaths.

    These idiots think the alternative to accepting complication risks from vaccines is having no risks at all. When in fact the alternative is rampant disease and accompanying fatalities.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    These people actually think that a weakened version of the virus is “toxic”, but getting a full blown viral infection is natural and healthy. Measles, mumps, and even whooping cough have been reported at the school. It is fucking nuts.

    I’m guessing those parents are of my generation; and when I was a kid, we didn’t get vaccinated for chicken pox or mumps; we just got the diseases, then recovered, and thenceforth had antibodies so we’d never get them again. So I’m guessing those parents are just following their childhood experiences WRT their own kids. AFAICR, it worked for us with little or no trouble. Not sure exactly why we didn’t vaccinate for those diseases back then; either there wasn’t a vaccine, or it wasn’t considered worth the trouble because chicken pox and mumps weren’t as dangerous as measles (for which we DID get shots).

  • llewelly

    Chicken pox vaccine was introduced into the US in 1995. Before then, chicken pox caused something like 10k hospitalizations and 150 deaths per year.

  • llewelly

    somnus:

    100 deaths from measles vaccine complications.

    The meme your friend posted is refuted by snopes, and many other places:

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/medical/mmrdeaths.asp

  • whheydt

    God gave Beck a brain? Must have been the bargain basement model and the warranty expired long ago so it is now non-functional.

    Probably a fair chunk of the anti-vax is generational. I’m old enough to remember “childhood diseases” and had a friend when I was 7 who was recovering from Polio. Therefore…you better believe my kids got vaccinated when those vaccines came on the market or they hit the right age for them.

    Fortunately, this kind of thinking *can* be passed down and my grandson (he’ll be 7 next month) is current on all his shots.

    Every time we talk to a new doctor or other medical professional and they start winding up to deliver the “please vaccinate the kid” talk, they stop short when I snarl imprecations about anti-vaxxers, and you can see the relief on the face as they realize they don’t have to convince me or anyone else in the family.

  • http://Reallyawakeguy.blogspot.com somnus

    @37: “The meme your friend posted is refuted by snopes, and many other places:”

    I’m sure it is. My point is that even if one were to take it at face value, it takes less effort than typing this to discover that vaccination is still the better option.

  • U Frood

    Today there are Mormons who believe the Holy Ghost is telling them to protest the official church positions on lgbt rights.

    You’d think it would be much more efficient for the Holy Ghost to speak to the leaders of the church and tell them the official church position is wrong (and speak to them as soon as they made that position, not wait 10 years). Then, if they don’t listen convince the congregation to remove those leaders.

    But I guess God doesn’t like being efficient.

  • Saad

    What an evil man.

  • eric

    Chicken pox vaccine was introduced into the US in 1995. Before then, chicken pox caused something like 10k hospitalizations and 150 deaths per year.

    Yes. The anti-vaxxers have entirely the wrong mindset about old chicken pox parties. Parents didn’t do them because they had no worries about the disease killing or hospitalizing their kids. That was a real worry. They did them because if they didn’t, the kid was likely to get it the next time it swept through the community, when the kid was older, and then his/her chances of death or serious hospitalization would be much higher. Most people considered exposure to be the lesser of two dangerous courses of action, not a ‘safe’ action.

  • busterggi

    It still comes down to science vs religion. I heard Beck say the other day that vaccination is “playing god” and that Yahweh was “compassionate’ enought to destroy the Tower of Babel and confuse humanity’s languages to encourage conflict. Never mind that the bible evens admits Yahweh was afraid of humanity – blame everyone but the creator of the problem.

    Not that that stops Beck from getting medical treatment and “playing god” when its to his benefit.

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    God gave Beck a brain? Must have been the bargain basement model and the warranty expired long ago so it is now non-functional.

    Indeed. As a freemarketeer Mr. Beck should have known better than to accept a free brain. You only get what you pay for.