The Growing Right Wing Fascination with Quackery

The Growing Right Wing Fascination with Quackery February 4, 2015

GOP Senator: Don’t Force Employees to Wash Their Hands after Using the Toilet

This genius has no problem with the state forcing Starbucks to put up signs informing customers that their food preparers might be seasoning their food with fecal flecks, just with making sure they don’t season their food with fecal flecks. The market, it is explained, will deal with it.

Glenn Beck: Anti-Vaxxers are being persecuted like heretics “in days of Galileo”

Accessory to murder with very nice sweater stands tall for defiance of common sense to make sure that fools have the right to endanger young, old, and immunocompromised for no good reason.

Rand Paul repeats completely debunked claim that vaccines cause mental disorders

I mean completely debunked, as in 75 studies show no link between vaccines and autism and only one–a fraudulent study–has claimed a link.

“But Paul is a doctor!” Right. An ophthalmologist–who knows nothing about immunology and whose remarks are driven, not by any medical expertise but by the fact that anti-vax nonsense is becoming more and more popular with a discernment-free conservative based with an inerrant attraction to quackery, a kneejerk libertarianism blind to the common good, and a silly populist pride about anything opposed to expertise in science.

Chris Christie also senses this change in the wind, which is why he is in the news as well, irresponsibly giving aid and comfort to anti-vax woo woo in the middle of a growing measles epidemic. And this only a few months after he issued draconian quarantine orders to people with no evidence of ebola in order to placate the panic-stricken “execute ebola victims” right that, with Ann Coulter, saw no point in white people treating diseases suffered by Africans and urged instead that we treat rich Jews and convert them to get their money.

This linkage of skin tone to disease is not lost on Republican Rep Mo Brooks, who jumps on board as well to blame, not people who refuse to immunize against easily preventable disease, but the Brown Other (who cannot wait to get vaccinated). The Party of Personal Responsibility continues to make itself a natural haven for anti-science faddists and bigots with a tactic as old as blaming the Jews for the Black Death.

Anti-vax woo woo used to be a thing for boutique lefties in Marin County and talking hairdos like Jenny McCarthy. You heard it from libs like Bill Maher.

But increasingly, as with the folly of identity politics and speech codes and attempts to shout people down with recycled early 90s Womyn’s Studies Gendershriek (I was called an “intellectual rapist” by a *conservative* the other day for saying I don’t buy GOP agitprop), the right seems to be picking up all the dumbest ideas of the left and rejecting all the best ones. And so it is increasingly from conservative sources we are seeing this festival of crazy against vaccination, right in the middle of a measles outbreakand despite the fact that the Church says vaccination is a moral obligation and the science makes clear the overwhelming benefits to public health.

The good news is, this embrace of folly is not uncontested on the right. Simcha Fisher and the Rational Catholic blog have done fine work educating people. Many others are out there as well, including the redoubtable Dr. Dan Conway (an expert in immunology who you can hear interviewed on the February 2 broadcast of “Connecting the Dots” here). In the world of much larger media fry, Megyn Kelly (one of the few voices at FOX I have some respect for) dares to contradict the Hive Mind with the shocking idea that the state has as much responsibility to mandate vaccination as to mandate laws against letting your two year old stand on the seat while you speed down the freeway at 80 MPH drunk:

Of course, in FOX World, such common sense is anathema to its vast audience of Ron Swanson wannabes. Accept the reality of “public health issues” and the next thing you know Obama will be mandating forced abortions and a One Child Policy in the bizarro world of fear that FOX labors to create. I suspect she will get a sternly worded reprimand from on high as the toxic logic of deranged libertarianism corrodes yet another region of the right wing brain and individualism with no conception of the common good continues to eat away at the soul of a once noble political tradition.

In the meantime, a rear guard of conservatives who have not lost their minds continue to battle a growing conservative base who believe that Google and Reading a Thing or Two by One’s Favorite Conspiracy Theorist is an adequate substitute for education. This is on a rapid trajectory to become a darling issue with Tea Party conservatives right up there with creationism. I won’t be surprised to see “Germ Theory: Teach the Controversy” T shirts popping up soon.

Meanwhile, people die, are blinded, and are left severely brain damaged or sterile of with a host of other problems. I’m a tolerant person. But when highly paid fools in media and government threaten to blind, brain damage or kill my grand-daughters I become veddy. put. out. These fools prancing the high places of media, state and culture must be made as radioactive as the KKK to ordinary people.

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  • Dave G.

    For my thinking, the greatest evidence for the primacy of identity politics today is the tendency of things like the vaccination question to immediately become first and foremost evidence of identity politics, as opposed to medicine or human concerns.

    • virago

      One of the few intelligent postings on this thread. It’s not about the vaccination, it’s about politics. The left projects. The political will be upon us soon.

      • Dave G.

        Thank you. I have my moments.

  • Joejoe

    Hey, don’t go mocking Ron Swanson!

  • Andy

    To be fair Rand Paul is saying that the liberal media is mis-reporting what he said – he claims not to have said it – and then you wonder why there is a rise in false beliefs?

  • Cypressclimber

    Most of this is a mess and I am not interested in wading through it all. But one wee point…

    I think it’s reasonable to say that the government shouldn’t forcibly vaccinate anyone. It’s one thing to say (as happened when I was a boy), no vaccinations; no come to school. I guess it all depends on what “compulsory” really means when spelled out.

    • kenofken

      For my money, it ought to mean no school, no licensed day care and no federal aid money to pay for the complications of vaccine-preventable diseases. The only exemptions allowed should be for vaccine contraindications recognized by mainstream medicine and diagnosed by two board certified specialists in the relevant area of medicine.

  • Cypressclimber

    That said…everyone (with very rare exceptions) ought to get vaccinated; and knuckle-head politicians who create static over this deserve to be mocked and voted-against.

  • Rob B.

    Love the tweet at the end of this article!

  • jeannebodine

    You are so polarizing, uncharitable and mostly tiresome. How in heaven’s name did you ever get and keep a gig writing for religious publications? It must be for the clicks because I admit, I do occasionally click on your blog to watch the train wreck. I dearly hope people are praying for you and that Patheos and the other publications, if the editors are serious about spreading the Lord’s Word, will do the decent thing and stop your vitriol, your demeaning of those you see as your ‘enemies; and the rest so that you don’t do any more damage. God bless.

    • petey

      not sure if ironic

    • Tom Beigel

      This blog is where Mr. Hyde breaks out from time to time. If you see his articles at the National Catholic Register, you will find a different side, more charitable and reasoned. As John Wayne once said to Lauren Bacall, “a man needs to let the badger loose once in a while.”

    • jroberts548

      He should be nicer to politicians who are trying to kill children.

      • Artevelde

        Mark’s language should be our first and dare I say only concern. The grotesque left-right Siamese twin of death knocking at the front porch can wait.

    • Newp Ort

      Don’t break a nail clutching those pearls, barbie.

    • Artevelde

      Tiresome? This must be the scene where one is asked not to trouble a weary old man. Next scene is where they fail to take the staff. After that it gets really good. Stay tuned, folks.

  • kenofken

    The rise of this movement and it’s near-mainstream status is one of the sure signs of an empire in decay and collapse. The population loses it’s grasp of the technologies which sustained it, and they regress into superstition.

  • Eve Fisher

    The irony is that so many of the anti-vaxxers (especially the politicians) are supposedly 100% “pro-life” – nicely ignoring what rubella (german measles) will do to a child in it’s mother’s womb. But I suppose if it’s a choice between vaccination and causing blindness, retardation, deformities and possible death to a fetus, well choose freedom! Every time!

    • LSpinelli

      When I was pregnant with my son, I found out that my childhood rubella vaccine wore off. I willingly got the shot two days after he was born to protect any future children (his sisters, born two and four years later).

      This whole subject makes me crazy. Salk and Jenner must be rolling in their graves!

  • LSpinelli

    These people can’t even be bothered to look up the fact that the doctor behind the debunked vaccine study was compensated by a LAW FIRM that was looking to sue the manufacturers of the MMR vaccine.

    http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/27/health/irpt-cdc-autism-vaccine-study/

    Sigh.

    “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’”- Isaac Asimov

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      You do understand that the source of funding, in itself, has no bearing whatsoever on the validity of any study’s findings?

      Anti intellectualism indeed.

      • LSpinelli

        I corrected myself. The doctor was paid off by the law firm so they could have evidence to sue the manufacturer. Once that was found out, bye bye medical license.

        Don’t know which firm it was, but I guess it’s on the same level as those ads run on late night Tru Tv.

        • Hezekiah Garrett

          Please, until you learn how to level valid criticisms at scientific research, stop commenting. As a ‘provaxxer’, I beg you.

      • The many subsequent studies that debunked this rogue study are much more persuasive than the funding source for the study. The fact that the study was withdrawn by the Lancet, which originally published it, should make it a non-starter in a discussion on vaccines in 2015.

      • KL

        It casts enough doubt on any scientific study, in any context, that it is explicitly forbidden by medical councils and the medical establishment generally as a profound conflict of interest. Furthermore, it’s not just that the study was conducting under unethical circumstances, but Wakefield falsified data and conclusions. In retrospect, given all the facts that came to light, there is no reason to believe anything Wakefield wrote. And countless studies have demonstrated that his hypothesis was and is totally false. But that one fraudulent article planted a seed of doubt that apparently can’t be uprooted.

        • Hezekiah Garrett

          Again, you do understand that the guidelines of a professional establishment have NP bearing on the validity of a study’s findings?

          I’m not antibax, but the idiocy sppited by the average Joe in support of !y position is almost enough to make me despair.

          It is good inoculation against faith in democracy though.

          • Hezekiah Garrett

            Darn autocorrect. No bearing, antivax, my.

          • KL

            I understand that the guidelines of a professional establishment do not ontologically affect the validity of any given study’s findings. However:

            1. Scientists and doctors have recognized that researchers accepting funds for a study in which the sponsors desire a certain outcome provides strong material and psychological motivation to produce said outcome. This has, historically, often manifested itself in at best untenable or at worst fraudulent production or interpretation of data. These questionable studies, which are directly related to their being undertaken with a conflict of interest, reflect poorly upon the medical and research establishment as a whole and damage its credibility and effectiveness. Even if a researcher were to produce a valid study despite her being paid by a party with a vested interest in the results, she would be unlikely to be taken seriously precisely because of the long and documented legacy of tainted studies. Ethical researchers recognize this fact, and thus abide by the standards of practice that forbid conflicts of interest.

            2. As I noted above, the problem with Wakefield’s study was not simply that he failed to abide by the ethical standards of his profession regarding conflicts of interest. He did in fact falsify data and present fabricated conclusions as fact. His study has no merit whatsoever. Furthermore, his conclusions have been directly contradicted by countless neutral studies. Not one has reproduced his results.

            3. The facts of Wakefield’s case further bolster the case for viewing studies funded by interested parties with suspicion. All available evidence indicates that these studies are highly likely to be invalid. It’s not idiotic to be wary of such studies, but deeply rational. It is, of course, possible that the study in question is wholly valid and and untainted by ulterior motives. But it’s reasonable to err on the side of withholding belief, given the available evidence.

  • Jonk

    102 cases in a country of 330 million. You’re 4.5 times more likely to be struck by lightning than to contract measles from this outbreak.

    Keep calm, vaccinate (including, if you’re really concerned, getting your own booster shot, since you probably haven’t had one since John Edwards had a political career), and avoid large crowds.

    • jroberts548

      “You’re 4.5 times more likely to be struck by lightning than to contract measles from this outbreak [because most people are still vaccinating].”

      • Jonk

        I take it you’ve had your booster in the last decade?

        • jroberts548

          Yeah. Why?

          • Jonk

            Because most folks haven’t.

            • jroberts548

              I appreciate your personal concern, but it isn’t clear what it has to do with politicians and pundits supporting and condoning the anti-vaccination movement.

              • Jonk

                Because if people cared about public health rather than public panic, they’d be encouraging folks to get their boosters.

                • jroberts548

                  While also criticizing anti-vaccination people.

            • Rob B.

              Do you have a citation for this?

              • Jonk

                I take that back. There’s no 10-year booster for MMR.

                I sort of wonder where jroberts got his.

                • jroberts548

                  I got renewed on everything you need boosters for 3 years ago. I did not check whether there was an MMR booster. I foolishly assumed you were asking in good faith.

                  I do however admire your willingness to scold me on the internet about the need for 10 year MMR boosters, and then call me a liar. By “admire” I mean detest.

  • jaybird1951

    Mark is using this opportunity to bash the Right Wing again but the anti-vaccine movement is predominantly found on the Left among especially, the alternative culture types. Here in Ashland, OR we have the highest rate of non-vaccination in the country at around 20% and a small measles outbreak in the public schools. Those unvaccinated are not found among Glen Beck’s or Rand Paul’s fans but within our 80% liberal population here.

    • Rebecca Fuentes

      Actually, there are quite a few conservative anti-vaxxers as well, particularly within the homeschool community. I really worry for many families I know here if measles comes, because they aren’t vaccinated.

      • Tom Beigel

        Let’s be fair and balanced. That bastion of far-right know-nothing-ness[Hollywood], must also be rounded up for stoning. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/02/03/blame-hollywood-for-anti-vaxxers.html

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        If you’re that worried, food drives are the answer. The mortality Raye for populations with adequate nutrition is far more negligible than the possibility of negative side effects of the vaccine.

    • jay

      I also understand that Oregon as a state has the highest rate of non-vaccination of all the states.

  • Jonk
    • At first, I read your link as “freebacon.com” and got very happy.

      Then I was disappointed.

      • Rob B.

        Mmmmm, bacon… 🙂

        • Artevelde

          Not the first Aquinas to be swayed by the arguments of Bacon ….

          • Rob B.

            For the arguments, I’ll have to consult his masterwork, the Summa Lardi… 🙂

  • Jonk

    Catholic militant vaxxers: “The family is the fundamental building block of society. Unless a family makes a choice that scares us. Then we’ll kidnap their children and force them to undergo medical procedures.”

    • Heather

      Who is kidnapping people? All I see here is moral pressure.

      If someone wants to choose to refrain from taking part in public health measures such as vaccination campaigns without a legitimate medical reason to do so, they should be made aware of how their irresponsibility is putting at risk the very young who have not had their vaccines yet, the immune-compromised who cannot receive vaccines, and those who were vaccinated but whose immune system failed to develop immunity.

      • Jonk

        You haven’t seen folks wanting to mandate vaccinations? You’d be the first.

        • Heather

          So mandatory vaccination = kidnapping?

          Personally I don’t necessarily think they should be absolutely mandatory, but voluntary opt-out of vaccination without a legitimate medical reason should disqualify your child from registering for schools, day cares, team sports, and other situations that would put them into close contact with other people who may have compromised or incomplete immunity, so as not to inflict the consequences of that choice on others. I’m pretty sure our public school boards here require proof of vaccination (or medical exemption) for registration.

          • Jonk

            I don’t think the parents would willingly take their kids to get a medical procedure they don’t approve of.

            • LSpinelli

              It’s not hard to say NO. I refused the Gardasil vaccine. The doctor hasn’t asked me since.

              But there’s a crucial difference between HPV and measles. One can’t be transmitted through the air, thus easily spread throughout a school.

              Common sense, after all, which seems not to apply to discernment-free conservatives.

              • Jonk

                Sure, you can say no now. But when the people deathly afraid of their 1 in 3.2 million chance of contracting a disease that’s not particularly deadly get their say, you won’t be able to say no for long.

                That’s sort of what Rand and Christie were getting at, too: you should keep it optional. But we’ll skip that part and demonize the right, for saying the exact same thing the left has said, equally inartfully.

                • KL

                  The very young and the immuno-compromised can easily avoid situations in which they might contract HPV. They cannot do that with measles. That’s the crucial difference: the weak and the vulnerable among us are put at (completely avoidable) grave risk for no logical reason whatsoever, except perhaps the principle of not being told what to do? I’m not sure.

                  • Hezekiah Garrett

                    Grave risk? From measles?

                    If you live in an underdeveloped country, please ignore the rest of this post.

                    Demonstrable Stupidity on one side of an issue not only entrenches the otherother side, but sways the undecided fence sitters against your position.

                    • KL

                      Absolutely, grave risk. That’s why a vaccine was developed to combat it, because kids were dying (of pneumonia, severe diarrhea, or encephalitis) and going blind. Again, these complications are most likely to occur in the very young and/or immunocompromised, who are most benefited by herd immunity and are the first to be adversely affected by declining vaccination rates. Just because you, as a healthy adult, or even a healthy older child, are unlikely to die from measles, doesn’t mean that it can’t and doesn’t pose grave risk to others. In fact, in 2013 (the last year for which figures are available), almost 145,700 people globally died from measles. That might not sound like a lot, but that’s 16 people dying per hour, every hour, from a completely preventable disease. Also, prior to the vaccine’s widespread adoption, measles killed 2.6 million people every year. That’s almost 300 people an hour, mostly children under the age of five. I think that disease has demonstrated that it’s a pretty grave risk to those children. (Source: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs286/en/)

                      What about any of this entails demonstrable stupidity? These are facts, plain and simple.

            • Heather

              Again, I fail to see people here advocating for people being forcibly vaccinated against their will. Saying I would like it mandatory (barring medical exemption) for anyone wanting to register for activities putting them in close prolonged contact with others, such as the schools/daycares/sports I mentioned earlier, is not the same as saying I would like people forcibly vaccinated against their will.

    • LSpinelli

      A family makes a choice that brings back diseases that are nearly eradicated and entirely preventable.

      Wonder what FDR, confined to a wheelchair because of polio, and the untold millions who died from smallpox before Edward Jenner developed his vaccine would have to say about that choice.

      • Jonk

        FDR would have put them into internment camps.

        • LSpinelli

          I shouldn’t even bother replying to this, but:

          http://static.fjcdn.com/comments/The+_d3a322f9e4a5b4d0f2b7492ac4c0fe2c.jpg

          • Jonk

            I wouldn’t call him stupid. Evil is probably more applicable.

            • Guest
            • LSpinelli

              Leaving you with this:

            • kenofken

              Wow. You discovered evidence of racism in the 1940s? You should publish that. It would blow open everything historians thought they knew about the United States in the mid-20th Century!

            • Dave G.

              Actually they did it to the German and Italian Americans too, but it sounds so much more deliciously racist to ignore inconvenient human suffering when such suffering doesn’t advance agendas or confirm narratives. Hence the duel media hysteria over measles today and ebola yesterday (while continuing to be strangely silent about a culture promoting sex and drugs in an age of AIDS). And the expected inconsistencies with how various groups are approaching them of course.

        • chezami

          Another libertarian fearmonger heard from.

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        I was a fence sitter before, but the intellectual quality of your arguments is almost enough to make me antivax.

        Why not shut up and let intelligent people make worthwhile contributions for your position instead of inserting your histrionic idiocy and undermining your own position?

        • LSpinelli

          Supporting rolling back the entire Industrial Revolution and nutrition as the cure-all for illness. We’d still be stuck fighting the Visigoths at the gate. ‘Bout as anti-intellectual a position as they come.

          • Peggy

            Seems that’s what the lefties want. They don’t want Africa to modernize, use toilets or have electricity. Saving trees, Global warming,–er climate change…

      • Rob B.

        I also wonder what George Washington would think. He had the entire Continental Army inoculated against smallpox, giving it a distinct advantage against the British…

  • Vision_From_Afar

    Mark, I dunno what’s going on, but despite our butting heads years ago, I’m nodding more and more with your common sense posts. Cheers for using our brains.
    Quick correction note: It’s Rep Mo Brooks (not Bridges). That particular party bootlicker is from my back yard, and I’ve been embarrassed ever since he hit office. I somehow knew it was actually him before I clicked the link.

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    I suspect this coming Presidential election is going to be particularly hilarious.
    .
    Which is actually kind of sad, considering these are the quacky wackies running the country.

  • freddy

    Regarding the politics; if enough potential voters wanted to bring back child-labor, certain politicians would make it an “important issue.”
    .
    Regarding vaccination; if enough doctors over the last generation had treated parents as colleagues in children’s health instead of like adversaries and idiots there probably wouldn’t be so many who decided they “know better.” (There would always be some, of course.)
    .
    Case in point: Our pediatrician was wonderful in explaining the benefits and risks of vaccination, but when our child did have a bad reaction; a real and immediate one, he was less than helpful. The attitude was; “Sorry that 1/10000 was your kid, but hey, kid’s still gotta have the shots.”
    .
    I think things have changed. I hope they have. I hope that doctors are more willing to work with families that have certain afflictions. I hope doctors are more willing to work out a vaccine schedule that works for individual families. I hope there are options families and The State can both be happy with.

  • Rich Horton

    “Anti-vax woo woo used to be a thing for boutique lefties….”

    There is a word for this kind of nonsense. Denial.

    Left wing anti-vax is alive and well, usually in the guise of being against “big pharma.”

    IN a larger sense the hysteria Shea is pushing is unwarranted. “The CDC attributed the increase to an outbreak among unvaccinated Ohio Amish communities and cases related to an outbreak in the Philippines.” http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/02/02/young-adults-more-likely-to-say-vaccinating-kids-should-be-a-parental-choice/

    So, far from the current measles flurry being the result of dirty GOPers and other anti-vax advocates, it seems it has its roots in apolitical Amish and non-Americans from the Philippines.

    But, hey, its more FUN to bash right wingers, right?

    • petey

      “Left wing anti-vax is alive and well, usually in the guise of being against “big pharma.” ”

      do you expect us to buy your logic?

      • Perhaps a journalism piece with organizations named and documented corruption exposed would help:

        http://freebeacon.com/issues/trial-lawyers-and-dem-donors-support-anti-vaccination-movement/

        • Andy

          Other than the Free Beacon is noted as a conservative newspaper – so your comment above about TPM sort fails.

          • Feel free to pipe up with an article from the left who identifies like organizations on the right. The Free Beacon is subject to the same sorts of caveats as TPM from the opposite side. It’s not going to be very charitable of the left.

            Now look at what I was responding to, the idea that there were no anti-vax activists on the left and that opposition to big pharma doesn’t play a role. Investigating the left is the perfect job for a right wing outlet just like investigating the right is a perfect job for a left wing outlet. For non-ideological issues, both need to be taken with a grain of salt.

            So, no, my comment does not fail. In both cases I’m aiming at different targets, the idea that this is a largely right problem at the moment which is what Mark Shea seems to be saying and later, that there are no major figures on the left currently active.

            • Andy

              you are the one who always talks about context – there context of the Free Beacon is conservative, jet as TPM is liberal – just wanted to make sure that the context of Free Beacon is known so people can judge it for what it is worth.
              I did look at what you were responding to and noticed that part of your response was about TPM. That is what I responded too – I notice now that it is in the wrong place on the thread and I do apologize for that.
              As far as it being a problem of the right and left – it is – at least the vaccine issue. It is easy to find the outliers on either side. I think that we must acknowledge where our information comes from that is my concern. To hold the Free Beacon presenting a journalistic piece, is a reach, just as using TPM as a journalistic piece is a reach.

              • Yes, I do speak about context. That doesn’t mean that you can’t use TPM or the Free Beacon. It just means that both outlets come with a bias and a wise person accounts for that. Both outlets regularly do journalistic pieces.

                In the context of someone denying that there are influential people on the left who are anti-vaccine activists and who have latched on to the issue as a way to strike at big pharma, linking to a Free Beacon piece is perfectly appropriate. Nobody’s going to air the left’s dirty laundry more eagerly than the right. Now if you’re hinting that you think the Free Beacon is lying, that would be different. Do you think they’re lying?

                Mark Shea likes to hold himself forth as someone who doesn’t play the conventional left/right game and whose politics are Catholic in orientation and independent in party loyalty. That sort of position is more easily compromised by blindly relying on partisan sources, thus my note on the use of TPM.

                • Andy

                  – TPM and Free Beacon come with biases – that is why I commented about Free Beacon. I am not opposed to using whatever sources one feels appropriate, but feel that when i see the comment “…though you would be a fool to expect a partisan shop like TPM to give fair airing to the real issues.” That folks need to see that Free Beacon is not much better.
                  As far as lying – I think that lying is to harsh a word – exaggerating I think is better, just as TPM does. It is the exaggerations that cause the issues as they look enough like the truth, they appear to have enough truthiness to be real.
                  I try for the most part not use TPM or other sources of that type unless I find it on other sites/news outlets. I have used TPM and also Fox News site in posts because I found corroboration.

                  • My concern is what I see as the one sided labeling of conservative sources as unacceptable while liberal sources are acceptable. I expect liberals to use liberal sources and conservatives to use conservative sources. When someone holds themselves as politically independent or orthogonal, it’s legitimate to use both or neither but favoring one side over the other tends to be a sign that the independence or orthogonality claimed does not actually run very deep.

                    As to the Free Beacon’s article. It was brought up in order to rebut a specific argument, that the left isn’t also infested with anti-vaccine pseudo-science. Exaggerated or not, I think the article does an adequate job of refuting the specific assertion. If you know of a better one, feel free to suggest one.

                    • Andy

                      I think that the both sides have their pseudo-science, pseudo-social sciences, pseudo-philosophers and so on, in that we agree. I am not aware of those on the left who are anti-vaxxers, in fact I am not sure that those who are presented as anti-vaxxers are on the right either. I think that this “discussion” is a manifestation of a much larger anti-government trend that right now is sweeping the political right, just as it was a trend on the political left some years ago. I find their rhetoric strangely similar, and the actions of some equally as similar. Note I am not suggesting those who favor smaller government.

                      I think that this “national discussion” unfortunately also points out that we, in America, have moved from attempting to be aware of and have a comprehension of basic science, math and the like to accepting fads and the “pseudos” mentioned above. We have eschewed thinking for emoting and following the oldest voice.

                      I tend to agree that being independent of political affiliation as in picking sides is hard to do. I see that both parties have pieces of CST present and both parties elect to ignore other pieces. I think that what happens is when reading CST certain pieces resonate and we find ourselves drifting for lack of a bette word towards the side that more closely seems to address them.

                    • At least in the US, the pick and choose game with CST is a bit more complicated because both political parties are not parties in the european sense but electoral coalitions for what would be parties in Europe that form prior to the election. Jack Kemp style Republicanism went dormant for awhile and you saw the part of CST that Kemp championed not really have a standard bearer for quite some time in the GOP. Paul Ryan seems to be working to revive that.

                      There were no meetings to expel the Kemp guys. It wasn’t like the knife fight in the 50s/60s where the fusionist conservatives (National Review types) expelled the Birchers. Just nobody emerged to really carry the torch after Kemp went away so that corner of the GOP’s ideology languished and was mostly honored with lip service until pretty recently.

                      The cure, I think, is for Catholics to identify the dormant parts of both parties that advocated part of CST and reinvigorate that part of the respective party’s tradition.

        • sez

          Thanks for that link! Seems like most stories are long on opinion, and short on facts. This provided some of the background needed to better understand how we got where we are. Wherever that is…

  • anna lisa

    Just brought back my 8-y.o. from the doctor. They are handing out an advisory that a 25 day old infant here just died from Pertussis. They are recommending that all adults who have ANY contact with infants get the booster shot, as it wanes in effect over time.
    .
    Ah Marin county…the land where “eeeeeverybody is SPECIAL!”… Just the mere mention of it makes me mist over. They’re a complicated/neurotic bunch, but lovable nonetheless. In our old hometown, they’ll hire a bartender for *any* event. (grade school graduation!) They believe alcohol and pot cure a multitude of evils.

    • norcalrunner

      Oh, get off it — this is not true of everyone, even most people, who live in Marin. Just stop it. It’s sooo easy to be bigoted and mindless, isn’t it?

      One thing’s for sure — Marin got a whole lot better the day you and your nasty rock-throwing, name-calling, sexual-harassment-hurling kids left.

      • anna lisa

        lol. I LOVE Marin 🙂 Guess what? We’re planning on buying another house there! 😀
        If yelling “SPANDEX WARRIOR!” to the bikers on Mt Tam constitutes sexual harrassment, then-I cannot-tell a-lie, my kids have indulged in such egregious behavior. I’m happy and relieved to say that there has never been an incidence that involved rocks however. They’re way to nerdy and honor student-y(yay!)
        I really miss those big bars at school events though.
        So we should get coffee at Peet’s in M.V.! You’ll drive all the way from Fairfax right?
        But I’ll only hang out with you on one condition–if you promise that you’ve stopped beating your partner. Marin might be known for high strung, type A personalities but all that violence needs to stop my friend. Verbal abuse counts too…:)

        • Hezekiah Garrett

          “Do you know the way to nerdy …”

          I bet one of your kids can explain your error to you.

          • anna lisa

            It wouldn’t be the first time.

            • KL

              Anna Lisa, I’m not sure if I’ve expressed this to you before, but I am consistently impressed by your ability to remain calm, charitable, and light-hearted in the face of vitriol and abuse. You are a welcome breath of fresh air in these comboxes and an excellent witness to the faith. I often find myself typing a furious, scathing reply to someone only to stop, recall how unnecessary it is — as evidenced by your example — and either tone down my rhetoric or delete the comment altogether. Thanks for being a lovely person and a good example of charitable combox discussion!

              • anna lisa

                KL, thank you, that is so kind of you. I’m not sure why she freaked out.
                You know what’s funny? God answers prayers in interesting ways as I’m trying to discern the need to get “back home”. About four of my kids have begged us to move back to Marin. My daughter works through her school vacations and hardly gets a home cooked meal anymore. It has been utterly pulling on my heart strings. Visiting is never enough. We’re on the fence about where to settle back down. “NorCal runner” doesn’t have the power to color an entire region, but her personality type exists there enough that everyone makes jokes about it. I’ve never witnessed more road rage than in Marin! I don’t know, –people where we live now are just more *normal*, unpretentious. I shouldn’t underestimate the worth of that. A friend of mine there (with a large family) just emailed me this morning saying she needs to get her children “out of there”. Her husband teaches at a *Catholic school* that just(okay I just deleted it because NorCal runner is probably vindictive enough to hunt them down) It’s truly unbelievable.

                I encountered a lot of *crazy* in the bay area…
                As my friend Fr. Joe said, “why on earth would you go back?”…
                It has one of the highest teen suicide rates in the U.S.
                Highest breast cancer
                Highest substance abuse
                AND
                is the “fittest” county in the US
                lol 🙂 !!

                The bay, ocean, and forest there ARE gorgeous…

                • KL

                  I mean every word of it!

                  That kind of discernment is tough. No place is perfect, even the ones we love. I’m in Los Angeles and I adore the place and don’t want to leave, but it also has terrible traffic, it’s crowded and expensive, earthquakes loom constantly, and there are a whole lot of shallow, entitled, generally terrible people everywhere. On the other hand, it’s where all our friends and family live, there are incredible restaurants and museums on practically ever corner, the music scene is fantastic and every band in existence comes through so there’s always an opportunity to see our favorites (probably not a big factor for everyone, but it is for my husband and me!), I can surf, hike, and ski on the same day, and the sunsets over the Pacific simply cannot be beaten.

                  My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family as you discern whether and where to move! I hope it works out well and trust that you will all be able to thrive and love one another wherever you find yourselves.

                  • anna lisa

                    Thank you for the balanced and luminous advice. I hear you! I lived briefly in LA, and I also go there a lot. There is heaven and hell everywhere…
                    I prefer to look for the heaven even when the hell is staring me right in the face (“all up in my grill” –lol)

                    What impresses me the most about LA is how full the churches are. It gave me a lot of hope for the Church. San Francisco? Brrrrrrrrrrr. Really surreal actually.

                    SB has a great music scene too! Maybe check out the County Bowl sometime? It’s a really cool outdoor venue –and some of the best tacos in the world are just up the street. 🙂

                    God Bless you and yours too KL, as you try to thrive with so many variables, most of yours are unquestionably good . What would happen to all the urban centers of the world, if the people who love God flee from them for an “easier” life?

                    Any way you slice it, fighting to make it all work is an interesting tightrope walk…:)

                    • KL

                      Thanks for affirming my unwillingness to move as helping to maintain an urban center! It gives my residence here new energy and purpose. 🙂 And you’re absolutely right that the Church is thriving here. I’m in a fairly sleepy West Side neighborhood, neither particularly religious nor dense, but there are no fewer than four parishes within a five mile radius of our home, all packed for multiple masses every Sunday. LA has its troubles, but the Holy Spirit is alive and active and doing great things. The Archdiocese just held its first annual OneLifeLA event on the same day as March for Life, which was a really beautiful celebration of all the Church’s pro-life teachings and drew thousands of men, women, and children of all races and backgrounds.

                      I hadn’t heard of the County Bowl but it sounds fantastic! We’ll have to check it out next time we’re up toward the Central Coast. Thanks for the tip! 😉

                    • anna lisa

                      Oh, that’s so great! We wanted to go to OneLifeLA but my kids have been taking turns vomiting :(. Archbishop Gomez is a good, honest and holy leader. When the Jesuits decided to leave our parish, I wrote to him about my concerns and he sent me a sweet personal note back.
                      You’re in a good place.
                      Anyhow, cheers! It’s been great comparing notes with you about stuff. Thanks.

                    • jay

                      I am shocked at the vile comments you have received on this blog. I guess I missed the rock throwing event! Marin County does worry me. My sister-in-law and husband live there. There seems to be enormous pressure put on people who live there. For instance, when my nerdy honor student oldest son was admitted to Pomona college, his first choice, her first response was to tell me that the smart kids in her area went to Stanford. It just seemed odd.

                    • anna lisa

                      Oh Jay, thanks. Yes, there is a lot of pressure there. In our little town here used to be these signs posted along the route toward the 101 freeway on-ramp, encouraging people to stay calm and breathe.
                      It is a land of opportunity for some however…My husband joined forces with his brother-in-law there. His brother-in-law was living in a shack in Fairfax with his wife and two small children. He would take the ferry to his job at some brokerage house in SF. One day, he was sketching notes on a pad of paper, conceptualizing how bonds could be traded online, and the guy behind him who was commuting to Oracle tapped him on the shoulder, and said “I can build that”…
                      Get this–you know what cleared the way for their company? –The fact that Cantor Fitzgerald was blown out of the sky on 9-11.
                      Anyhow, my husband worked like a dog for that company from the inception, when it was a tiny office over a coffee shop. It was one of those classic stories, where the big wall street companies who funded him decided they didn’t like my brother-in-law’s management style, and voted him out as CEO. So my bro-in-law literally had to interview candidates for his own replacement. He hired a president of B of A, and then declared that he would sell the company. I was so relieved in a way–not that he was going–no, I was worried that the hedge fund that bought the company would sack all of the employees, like my husband (which they eventually did five years later) But I though that all of those 12 hr days would finally pay off. We were living in a tiny home with two kids in college. I was literally holding my breath like I’d been wearing size zero jeans for sooooo looooong. But when all the final valuations of stocks came to light my brother-in-law cleared about 45 million after taxes, and the stocks my husband had held from the beginning were worth a pittance. –Laughable. Excuse my French, but that’s when we knew we were screwed, and it was over for us there. (Even though he worked for the new company for another five years.)
                      But it’s just money, right? It was like being hit by a Tsunami. It had a major effect upon my family that I will never forget, but we still have each other. They truly are my life’s work and my treasure.
                      .
                      …and– yes, my oldest was on the dean’s list every semester, and graduated with honors, my second went back to college after a hiatus and is also maintaining close to a 4.0, –as is my daughter–but who would even want to compare stats with that insane runner…

                    • anna lisa

                      sorry for all the typos, I never reread what I wrote because I had to rush to drop a kid at a b-day party…

  • The sane right is a rear guard, yeah, there’s no political agenda here.

    The actual public policy question on the washroom hand washing is whether private regulation is cheaper for the same effect and will tend to better tailor regulation to what society actually wants in today’s information society world. That’s actually an interesting question, though you would be a fool to expect a partisan shop like TPM to give fair airing to the real issues.

    When somebody behaves wrongly, is correction exclusively, or primarily the job of the state or do we get better results overall when the state acts in a cooperative partnership with private regulation or even with private regulation holding primacy?

    The vaccine problem is one that exposes a scientific weakness. Discredited studies circulate and convince the layman long after they have been debunked. That’s not an ideological problem confined to either side of the spectrum. We need to improve science education so that the snake oil gets out of circulation faster.

    • Newp Ort

      Private regulation for HAND WASHING?

      • I can’t find it but I once read what the California regulatory people put a company through so they could offer free coffee to visitors in their trailer at dockside (they rented boats I believe). After several rounds and a few thousand dollars in modifications for the trailer, they gave up and stopped offering the coffee.

        When I was a kid back in the 80’s, I would read about debates over the privatization of roads. People used to do those short, pithy, all caps thing with that back then. Then Hong Kong actually deployed one in the early 90s and darned if it didn’t work better. The innovation (advocated for decades by ‘loony’ libertarians) soon spread to the UK where it worked just as well and now you can find them all over the world.

        There are failure modes for both private regulation and for public regulation. At the end of the day, I care about having a safe environment where my food is prepared and if private regulation gets me there cheaper and with as few or fewer failures, I’m going to go for private regulation, every time, as will most sensible people.

        Rational ignorance usually stops people from really digging into this stuff. That’s what we pay legislators for. Well, in this case, a legislator was actually earning his pay and speculating, as he should occasionally, whether we could wring some cost out of the economy by moving to a private system.

        • Newp Ort

          Is EVERYTHING with you some call to defend the free market and capitalism? We’re talking about a law to make people who serve and prepare food to WASH THEIR HANDS AFTER USING THE BATHROOM.

          • I admit to being a little touchy. Though I was too young to remember it at the time, as a toddler I was bought and sold like a side of beef. The ideology that caused my sale (as well as the sale of my family) was communism.

            The reaction I have had to understanding that I was bought out of bondage (by President Nixon, no less as part of the price he demanded for a treaty) is to take a near dogmatic approach that no alternative to government power resolving a problem will ever be dismissed out of hand by me. I will at least give the alternative a fair hearing. If it is the same in efficacy or superior to a solution using government power, I will endorse the private solution’s adoption.

            I understand that others who have been personally more remote from communism are less touchy on the subject than I. I hope you now understand why I am not and am unlikely to change my habits.

  • Allen

    Deaths from measles in last 10 years = 0. Deaths from bicycles = 6,770. ONLY A MONSTER WOULD LET KIDS RIDE BIKES! A ‘proper’ Catholic would have the state ban bicycles for the ‘common good’

    • T

      We’d have a lot less bicycle deaths if America’s transportation was focused on people rather then making cars move fast.

    • KL

      There are lots of very good reasons to ride bicycles, which may validly override the statistically small chance of injury/fatality. There is literally no good reason not to vaccinate. The analogy fails.

  • Peggy

    Over the years I have heard both left and right affiliated people oppose vaccinations owing to the now-proven-false claim linking to autism. Many Catholic families have opposed vaccinations derived from aborted babies. Further, the clips I’ve heard from Rand Paul and Glenn Beck were not definitive on either side. I think we should all be uncomfortable with mandatory vaccinations and should think hard about going down such a road.

    I don’t think anti-vaxxers are the problem here. I say it’s related to the unchecked illegal immigration.

    Well, aside from the primary topic at hand, I find this statement odd:

    “Accessory to murder with very nice sweater…” Wow. Who am I to judge?

    • LSpinelli

      “Unchecked illegal immigration”

      Nope. It actually came from US citizens who were never vaccinated or their childhood ones wore out. It happens. (I got the rubella shot again at age 29.) They brought it back after traveling. From there, it spread to kids who were never vaccinated. Get the facts straight before you spread myths.

      http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-aa2-snapshot-measles-whooping-cough-20150108-story.html#page=1

      Do your homework before you accept the vaccine. Then, apologies to Andrew way down in the comments…get the darn shot. Read below.

      http://www.drwile.com/lnkpages/render.asp?vac_abortion

      • Peggy

        Well, to you all I will say that it may be possible, but is quite unbelievable to think, that most S American govts are capable of immunizing such a high percentage of their populations, especially the very poor native peoples, many of whom lack many basic needs or care and live in remote areas. Quite impossible. They don’t care about their own poor; hence, they are here. How do we know those govts are not lying about their stats?

        I’m very interested in Shea supporting his claim that Beck is an “accessory to murder.” That’s a pretty big accusation.

        • KL

          Kelli just told you how they immunize such high percentages of their populations, as evidenced by her personal experience. They employ dedicated health workers whose primary job responsibility is to ensure that even remote villagers have the opportunity to be vaccinated.

          The reasons for immigration are myriad, often having to do with violence, drug trade, and lack of economic opportunity. Lack of access to vaccination is in no way a driving factor in emigration from South and Central American countries.

          Governments have no reason whatsoever to lie about their vaccination rates, and many, many reasons to actually ensure that vaccination rates are as close to 100% as possible. Implying that the World Health Organization’s stats are based upon multiple foreign governments engaging in a sustained, systematic coverup spanning decades and continents is a flat out conspiracy theory with no supporting evidence whatsoever.

          • Peggy

            I am sure the illegal aliens don’t care about getting vaccinations. Latin America is corrupt as the day is long.

            • KL

              Why on earth would their country of origin have anything to do with caring about getting vaccinations? Latin Americans are human beings, with children they love. No one wants their child to die an agonizing death. Vaccination campaigns in undeveloped countries tend to be very successful for precisely this reason. Mothers are mothers, and if they have the opportunity to protect their children, they will take it.

              • Heather

                Aww, foreign people who talk funny don’t have hopes and dreams like we do, everyone knows that. If they REALLY loved their children, they would have had the good judgement to be born elsewhere and grow up under better circumstances, so that as adults they could be better providers and live in places that aren’t full of corruption.

                • Peggy

                  Their govts are corrupt and don’t care about their own people. I am anti-Spanish, I admit. I am a Francophile. Much more classy and cultured. I also dabbled in some Russian out of necessity. I also often attend mass in that dead language, Latin.

                  • freddy

                    I will ask St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross to pray for you. It’s one thing to have favorites among the many cultures of the world; it’s quite another to call yourself “anti-” any of God’s children and your brothers in Christ. You appear both ignorant and un-Christian. May Our Lord grant you peace.

                    • Peggy

                      Anti-Spanish language and culture. I don’t have a preference among people qua people.

                    • Peggy

                      I have to say—you think it’s a sin to prefer one language and culture over others for its beauty etc? Better correct my high school Catholic French teacher too.

                      And I like baseball better than football or soccer. Does that make me a really bad sinner? Oh, I am in trouble, eh?

                    • freddy

                      Hey, you said “anti-Spanish.” No qualifiers. And as I pointed out, there’s a difference between preferring something to being anti- something else. There’s a difference, for example, between saying “I like baseball better than football or soccer.” and saying “I’m anti-soccer.” The first states a personal preference, the second implies that you think there’s something wrong with soccer.
                      .
                      Your implication was not that you simply prefer French to Spanish, either as a language or a culture, but that you think there’s something wrong with Spanish, both as a language and culture.
                      .
                      And yeah, sorry, but that’s just bigoted and ignorant. Hopefully that’s not what you meant, but that’s the way it comes across.
                      .
                      Funny aside: my college Spanish teacher was a Frenchwoman!

                    • Peggy

                      I apologize for my misdirected, intemperate remarks. I do not dislike Spain, its people, culture, the country, etc. at all. I spoke out of turn. I do think there’s too much emphasis on learning Spanish in US schools. Other useful languages have been dropped. Yeah, budgets…but still…lamentable.

                    • freddy

                      God bless you, Peggy! Thank you for clarifying.

                  • KL

                    Please identify the “they” in “their governments.” Which governments are you referring to? Please be specific. Central and South America encompass 19 countries (20 if we count Mexico, which is technically in North America) with a wide variety of political and economic systems. What evidence leads you to believe that those specific governments are “corrupt and don’t care about their people”?

                    • Peggy

                      Argentina, Peru, El Salvador, Guatemala, Venezuela to name a few. I’d look up the nations which made unjust agreements w/fruit companies and other large companies to keep small farmers out and reduce property and justice rights. I’d include those nations. Peru’s gotten better; so has Chile. I’ve looked at the work of modern economist (not explorer) Hernando de Soto of Peru.

                      Our parish and many Christian groups make mission trips to the areas of abject poverty. A good nation wouldn’t allow such a bifucated society as extremely rich and extremely poor as in many L. Am nations.

                      Tell me, why are illegal aliens, mostly native peoples, coming to the US in droves, if their govts are so caring and fair to them?

                      My point re: vaccinations is that those nations have no motive to immunize these people since they don’t give them justice or economic rights either. Of course their families care for their own children. A motive for their illegal immigration to the US. These nations are just happy to export their domestic economic and social problems they don’t want to face.

                  • ” I am anti-Spanish, I admit. I am a Francophile. Much more classy and cultured.”

                    That’s just lovely. But then, I’m Spanish, so I guess I’m not as classy and cultured as you are.

              • Peggy

                Their govts are corrupt and don’t care about their people. It is very apparent…and has been for many decades. This is why their native peoples come here.

                • KL

                  I repeat my question: why is it that you believe a woman living in, say, El Salvador, would not wish to protect her children from illness and death? Her government’s level of corruption or “caring” is not relevant to this question. I am referring to individual mothers and their children.

                  • Peggy

                    The caring mothers depend on the govt resources to get vax as well as other needs. I haven’t questioned mothers’ motives, but the corrupt govt in L.Am. If needs were being met, they wouldn’t be coming here. Their govts don’t care. Why would govts immunize when they won’t help in other ways?

        • kenofken

          It’s not so implausible that even poor countries can have effective vaccination programs. The elimination of smallpox and virtual elimination of polio are proof of that. Those campaigns took place in some much more challenged parts of the world than South America. Poor countries get lots of help in the way of U.N. programs, NGOs, missionaries, drug companies etc. Vaccines also make excellent financial sense in these places, even more so than here. The have the $1.50 to vaccinate. They don’t have $20,000 to nurse each of tens of thousands of kids through measles complications or the billions it takes to chase down major epidemics after they start.

    • LSpinelli

      ETA: Mexico has a 99 percent childhood vaccination rate. Herd immunity. Facts. There you go.

      http://www.al.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/02/measles_mo_brooks_and_immigrat.html

    • Kelli Delgado

      I’ve lived in Mexico. In fact, my daughter was vaccinated in Mexico. In fact, my daughter was vaccinated by the public health workers who go door-to-door and hut-to-hut in Mexico in order to ensure that every.last.person gets vaccinated. So turn your racist xenophobia off and stop blaming The Brown People already.

    • KL

      Fact: Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru all have measles vaccination rates higher than that of the United States. There is one Central American country with a lower vaccination rate than the U.S.; that’s Costa Rica, and its rate is all of 2% lower than the U.S. rate (92%).

      The problem is not illegal immigration. Illegal immigrants are more likely to be vaccinated than a U.S. citizen.

      Edited to add my source: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-24519949

      • Dan Knight

        While I don’t dispute your facts, I’ve dealt with many illegals, and most of them cannot supply immunization records from their home countries. It’s unlikely the illegal population causes any significant spread of diseases, whether they are vaccinated or otherwise, but at the same time it is the illegal migrants who have brought in most of the Tuberculosis, cholera, polio cases, e.g., mostly due to traveling in areas with unsanitary conditions. Reported vaccination rates from Central American countries are not necessarily correlated to the vax rates of illegal migrants.

        • KL

          Could you share your sources for the assertion that undocumented immigrants are responsible for “most of the Tuberculosis, cholera, polio cases” in the United States? Sound bytes from politicians or op-ed pieces don’t count as credible sources, by the way.

          In any case, however, that’s a moot point. The United States is not facing a growing epidemic of TB, cholera, or polio. It is dealing with a growing public health threat in the incidence of measles. And we’re talking about the MMR vaccine in the context of this discussion.

          (Side note: How on earth is it surprising that undocumented immigrants, fleeing their homes and communities generally with little more than the shirts on their backs, are not bothering to collect a file folder full of immunization records in case someone stops and asks for proof of vaccination? Of course they can’t supply records. To expect them to be able to is frankly incredible and speaks to a wild misunderstanding of the priorities and abilities of these persons.)

          • Dan Knight

            Hi KL,
            1. Credible sources such as the BBC citing WHO and UNICEF on measles? http://www.bbc.com/news/health-24519949

          • Dan Knight

            Hi KL,
            2.
            Just to be polite, we’ve had a few outbreaks here in the DFW area.
            These have been brought to my attention by colleagues. We had to
            establish immunization records for CPS for foster families to take
            seized children to school. Would my Liberal colleagues be lying? I doubt
            it.

          • Dan Knight

            Hi KL,
            3. Who said anything about an epidemic? Not I surely. We’ve had only a handful of cases. And to my knowledge the only ones that went national was the Ebola scare last summer. Nonetheless, I’ve not heard of any American citizens bringing in these diseases. But we’ve had illegals show up in the office with positive TB tests, and symptoms of polio.

          • Dan Knight

            Hi KL,
            4. As for measles: I would not believe what I read on the Internet or BBC or see on TV.

          • Dan Knight

            Hi KL,
            5. “Fleeing their homes and communities … with little more than the shirts on their backs” … Really? Usually they lose their possessions and papers when the coyotes rob them. They’ve told me so to my face and I believe them.

          • Dan Knight

            Hi KL,
            6. Gave this a little more thought: As to how to reconcile my experience with the claims of others and realized there was an obvious answer I hadn’t thought of with everyone offering so many suggestions.

            We had a few people offer foreign immunization records for their kids, but all of them were legal migrants. We had many people offer foreign birth certificates, and so forth, usually for the grandmother taking custody. And it dawned on me the missing records were always young children between the normal age of vaccination and kindergarten by parents who were obviously illegal residents. Of course, we avoided the issue due to funding restrictions and authority. Immigrant children were only acknowledged when at least one of the parents had legal residency. ….

            Oops! Of course! Those records could not be offered whether or not they existed because those were supposed to be the anchor babies! Migrant parents could not offer proof their children were born outside the US.

            Gosh, silly me.

  • Sam Schmitt

    Step 1: Take mainstream media reports at face value

    Step 2: Suggest that these statements reflect the views of an entire group of people (usually knuckle-dragging conservatives)

    Step 3: Fail to mention that their opponents similar positions

    Step 4: Dismiss any alternative explanations, corrections, objections or reservations simply as the result of ignorance, toxic individualism, or bad will (or a combination of all of the above) – you’re either on board or don’t care if children die!!!

    Rinse and repeat . . .

    The formula is getting a bit stale but is still entertaining.

    • Dan Knight

      Good comment Sam.

  • Andrew

    I posted this yesterday but it boils down to innumeracy. A large part of our population bereft of any ability for mathematical reasoning. The chance of a complication from a vaccine is so tiny as to not have any statistical relevance. The chance of a benefit from getting a vaccine is very, very great as to be statistically probable to almost guaranteed. Yet, people cling to real or fake instances where someone (usually a friend, of a friend, of a friend, or from a blog) where someone suffered some horrible side effect and they cling to that statistically minor instance. It’s the same reason why fools play the lottery (well, someone has to win) or refuse to get on an airplane (because, they crash ALL the time). One can get hit by a meteorite that was knocked off Mars 2billion years ago, but the chance of it happening doesn’t mean you call in sick to work. Get the darn shot.

  • pburg

    Rand never linked vaccines to autism. That’s complete spin. He stated a fact: vaccines have been known to cause “profoundly mental disturbances.” Very rare, but true. The talk about autoimmune compromised people being victims of anti -vaxxers is only half the story. It is also those with autoimmune problems who are most susceptible to vaccines triggering underlying problems. See narcolepsy Finland http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/Concerns/h1n1_narcolepsy_pandemrix.html
    One risk may be small and the other large but we are measuring different types of risk. For this reason (among others), the decision whether to vaccinate should be up to the parents — NOT the government.

  • Elmwood

    now if we can just agree that this outrage should apply to deniers of climate change, we catholics might not seem so inconsistent.

    if an ophthalmologist isn’t an expert on immunology, then statisticians and meteorologists aren’t de facto experts on climate science and global warming.

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      There is no aspect of vaccination which involves the functions of the ocular system, excepting some possible side effects.

      An expert on statistics with no knowledge of climate science is still quite capable of criticizing the modeling and data analysis of climate scientists.

      That this has to be explained to you in such simple terms leaves me wondering what possible intelligent contribution you have to make to this, or any, discussion.

      (For the record, I’m supportive of vaccination schemes while doubtful of the strongly worded and mostly baseless claims of Vax supporters. I’m also in favor of rolling back the entire industrial revolution and highly skeptical of the hyperventilating climate scientists. So it isn’t some political motivation, I just don’t suffer fools very well.)

      • Elmwood

        thanks for that spew of ad hominems, it confirms my suspicion that global warming denial is more about feelings than reason and logic.

        if listening to the experts in their fields of expertise makes me a fool without intelligence, imagine how much more foolish i would be if i listened to myself instead. the really stupid people after all don’t know they are stupid.

    • kenofken

      Climate change deniers, anti-vaxxers, ID creationism, they all use the same methods of wingnut pseudoscience.

    • virago

      If I thought that climate change research was legit I would buy into it. As it is, as a Catholic I believe in the prudent use of the earths’ resources and the global benefits of good stewardship.

      And I will always have problems with idea of a billionaire or millionaire flying the world in his private jet lecturing the rest of us on climate change and global warming.

      • HornOrSilk

        Read the Scriptures. They constantly point out that climate change (drought, famine, and the like) are the result of human sins: indeed original sin is represented as causing a drastic change in the world’s ecology in and of itself. Science is only catching up and showing us how we have an impact in the world, and our sin (pride, greed, etc) have led us to do all kinds of evil to the earth (sin) which has indeed led to terrible effects in the climate. To deny humans the ability to affect the climate is, imo, a rejection of Scripture itself; to say the science might not have got all the details right is probably correct, but at least it is showing the interdependence of humanity to the world and that we, indeed, do destroy the world and cause havoc with the climate through sin. And what sin we have!

  • virago

    I’m not aware of any conservative homeschool families, a demographic I used to be part of, refusing to vaccinate.

    More liberal fear mongering about conservatives. 2016 is getting closer and the liberal spin starts and on something so minor in the scheme of things.

    I vaccinated my son, most conservatives do, I think there might be stats to support this. I think I think I saw the numbers on the Kelly Files.

    • kenofken

      There is one fact which seems to be getting lost in the running debate about which political wing is to blame: Epidemic disease doesn’t care a whole hell of a lot about partisan affiliation.

      I suspect Mark comes down harder these days on the conservative movement because he has, or once had, higher expectations of it as a party/movement which would advance his values or at least be broadly compatible with them. In addition to their other outrages around torture, war and utter contempt for the poor, today’s conservative movement is packed to the rafters with five-star loons. They’ve always been in and around the GOP/Libertarian camp – the old John Birchers and militia types, but in the old days of the party, the leadership kept them at arm’s length, away from the microphones and under the stairs as much as possible.

      Today, they run the entire show within conservatism. They have completely abandoned the scientific method, critical thinking, and in many cases reason of any kind. Yes, there are plenty of liberal anti-vaccine advocates out there, but they tend to be pop celebrities and ordinary citizens. So far as I know, there are no Democratic politicians of any national standing or aspiration who have taken a stand in opposition to vaccination.

      • Dave G.

        Which Democratic politicians have been asked? Just curious. Not responding to others but actually asked by the press.

        • Senator Obama was asked much like Senator Paul was asked and gave much the same answer. Sen. Clinton did much the same.

          Advocating more research is a way to punt when you’re faced with an angry family that wants you to do something, anything, to make the pain better. All these politicians of any party have had these grieving families in their offices. Their hearts go out to them but know that they’re fixated on an illusion that comforts them so they punt.

      • virago

        Hillary wondered 8 years ago if there was a connection, the sky is blue, she says.

        I don’t hate the poor, I don ‘t endorse torture and I able to think critically enough to reason you probably don’t know many conservatives.

        As for Mr. Shea h e shouldn’t have allowed himself to be duped by Government, the TOP back then and the left wing today.

  • Peggy

    The “anti-science” views are not confined to the political right which is accused of being anti-scientific often falsely and unreasonably. The Left has its lack of reason and scientific thought as well.

    http://thefederalist.com/2015/02/04/five-ways-liberals-ignore-science/

    • Rob B.

      As usual, foolishness knows no political party…

  • Sue Korlan

    I respect your note that 75 studies have shown no relationship between autism and vaccines in general. I am wondering if any of those studies distinguished between vaccines which used fetal tissue and those which didn’t. Also, did any of those studies distinguish between vaccines based on other material included in the vaccine other than the actual vaccine? I am asking because everyone used to get vaccines in my youth and autism was basically unheard of. If anyone has a URL for any such studies I would appreciate it.

    • Dan Knight

      good questions Sue. The issue of vaccination isn’t vaccination: It is what’s happened to the manufacturing standards and safety protocols since the pioneers ironed out the bugs?

  • Dan Knight

    Mark, … No offense intended but you should double check your facts. While the Left goes to a lot of effort to link the Vast RW conspiracy to the Anti-Vaxxers, the issue is a hoax in a hoax. Almost all Anti-Vaxxers are Liberals living in Deep Blue country who think Vaccination itself causes a host of diseases – everything from autism to cancer, and I’ve even heard HIV, Cystic Fibrosis, and mental retardation – all for the PROFIT of CORPORATIONS and Big Med. Does that sound RW?

    True, some Conservatives worry about mercury poisoning, autism correlations, and fetal tissue in the vaccines, but I literally have never met a RW’er who would risk Polio or Typhoid due to mercury poisoning or moral concerns. On the other hand, I’ve got clients who won’t vaccinate their kids because they think the RW’ers want to retard their kids ‘For The Corporations’ and the ‘GOP / VRWC.’

    I think you need to get your facts straight. Or at least get out of the office sometimes.

  • Dan Knight

    Just read a slew of comments. Don’t you people actually know any of your neighbors? … For a Catholic blog, many of these comments spend a lot of time reviling your neighbors and judging people based on ‘studies’ and ‘reports’ that are not worth the electrons they’re transmitted in. I’m sure you’re all great people in real time, but you really need to think about what you read, and be skeptical!