Opinion Columns & Blogs

Lies, myths, and selfish arrogance on this issue are killing folks across U.S.

It is selfish arrogance to presume you and your children need not be vaccinated against highly communicable diseases such as measles. I keep hearing people say it hurts no one but one’s self to avoid vaccines, but that is a lie. It is also abusive to children to let them suffer with a disease that can so easily be prevented.

My wife, for example, has cancer and is on a daily oral chemotherapy regimen that weakens her immune system. If you refuse to get vaccinated and get the measles, you jeopardize my wife even though she has been vaccinated. You also risk others with compromised immune systems.

With measles, there has been a legitimate moral argument that the vaccine was produced using aborted children. That is true. It is also 50 years ago. Even the Vatican recognizes there is no longer a moral objection to the vaccine in 2019 because aborted children are no longer used to produce the vaccine.

The measles could be eradicated, but some people are selfishly refusing to get the vaccine. The measles germs linger in the air for two hours after an infected person sneezes or coughs. Nine out of 10 non-vaccinated people will get the measles from that person. These are facts, but some have sought out information to justify their objections and deny reality. Someone recently suggested I educate myself by recommending a self-published book by someone who claimed to “from the Ivy League.” Dropping out of Harvard really does not count. The book made wild claims that basic Googling disproved pretty quickly.

None of these things matter to those who object to basic vaccinations. They have arrogantly convinced themselves that their lack of degrees and knowledge qualify them to know the truth and all the Ph.Ds and M.D.s at the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, etc. are wrong. If you do not believe them, they have some quack with a degree to reassure them everyone else is wrong.

We have reached a post-truth age and, frankly, is has taken hold within both highly educated secular enclaves and within evangelical churches. The church situation is a deeply ironic one. Jesus Christ is truth incarnate and Christians profess a belief in absolute truth. But we have massive data showing the truth that the MMR vaccine has saved lives, prevented illness and not caused all the crazy things people claim. But these Christian anti-vaxxers would rather believe the lie on the internet than the truth. Likewise, the well to do secularist enclaves on the coast believe they are smarter and more knowledgeable than government bureaucrats.

All of this is based on a pride that produces the belief we all stand in isolation from one another and do not affect one another.

I believe in individuality and individual responsibility, but an individuality that allows a person to presume they are not part of a community is as sinful as subsuming individuality into tribalism or a collective. Scripture says to seek the welfare of the city in which you are in exile and there you will find your welfare. You are supposed to be a part of community. You have individual responsibility to your community. We are communal creatures. That community must come with responsibility. That responsibility includes keeping others from harm.

Stop believing lies, myths, and your selfish arrogance.

Get vaccinated, if not for your own good then for the good of those around you.

Erick Erickson is host of Atlanta’s Evening News on WSB Radio.