Our Maggie (can I call her that if I’m not actually a BoingBoing editor?) has just published a startling defense of the anti-vaxx movement. It is couched in reason, and it’s core premise is that experts aren’t acknowledging the primary underlying philosophy of anti-vaxxers: these parents disagree that the trade-off of herd immunity for the safety of their own child is a fair or reasonable choice, and further believe that the government should not be the entity to make that decision for parents.
“I don’t think experts intend to ignore what the debate over vaccines is really about. They care deeply about the public health implications of vaccine refusal. They’re worried about the health of their individual patients. But they personally think the trade-off between the small risks of side effects and the big benefit of herd immunity is a fair one. They decided this long ago, and that belief is built into every aspect of their work. For a lot of them – a lot of us, if I’m honest – it’s easy to forget that our perspective on the trade-off is a belief, and not a provable fact. We are uncomfortable with the idea that opinions on scientific topics could be influenced by philosophy, politics and other things that aren’t easily quantifiable.”