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On the myth that it was leftists who were "anti-vax"


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Years ago, at least in the context of Internet culture, it used to be taken as a given that being against vaccines was a leftist thing.

 

college-liberal-i-literally-wanted-to-punch-her-in-the-throat-after-she-begged-for-the-epidural-119780.thumb.jpg.cb4175ad366b0211fd61f3b6b92b173c.jpg

believe-vaccines-are-harmful-and-causes-mental-diseases-take-acid-from-strangers.jpg.bcdcc7ec0e378af9a95d9cf57399b3c5.jpg

d3bcb5d3f48bfc85f2372821fe2251e7--paradox-amish-community.jpg.a15fb6e37cc48d961c8033ca386ca1aa.jpg

 

But lately, amidst the deluge of right-wing anti-vaxxers like Tucker Carlson and Lauren Boebert, the myth that the vaccine is bad for you has been challenged aplenty, while the even more unmistakably disproven myth that anti-vax narratives were inherently a left-wing thing has been virtually ignored. How come there are no repercussions for that sort of myth? How come the people responsible for it get to walk away from this as if they hadn't just been caught in a lie?

 

Now I'm not saying this to try to come across as some kind of science-worshipper; those who are familiar with me here already know it's a little late for that even if I were; nor some dyed-in-the-wool leftist; I've been at odds with them on WHO funding and the like; but it just seems like an underappreciated opportunity to identify who was responsible for this myth, and know who not to believe on other matters.

 

What say you, Science Forums?

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1 hour ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

Years ago, at least in the context of Internet culture, it used to be taken as a given that being against vaccines was a leftist thing.

...

What say you, Science Forums?

!

Moderator Note

I will say what I've said several times before, and something I grow tired of saying: establish that your premise is true before launching into a discussion based on it being true. Not made-up, or based on cherry-picking the data.

 

 

1 hour ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

But lately, amidst the deluge of right-wing anti-vaxxers like Tucker Carlson and Lauren Boebert, the myth that the vaccine is bad for you has been challenged aplenty, while the even more unmistakably disproven myth that anti-vax narratives were inherently a left-wing thing has been virtually ignored. How come there are no repercussions for that sort of myth? How come the people responsible for it get to walk away from this as if they hadn't just been caught in a lie?

I'm confused by this. If it's an "unmistakably disproven myth" what's the myth? i.e. who are you going after - the people who said vaccines were bad, or the people who were blaming it on the left?

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48 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

Years ago, at least in the context of Internet culture, it used to be taken as a given that being against vaccines was a leftist thing.

 

college-liberal-i-literally-wanted-to-punch-her-in-the-throat-after-she-begged-for-the-epidural-119780.thumb.jpg.cb4175ad366b0211fd61f3b6b92b173c.jpg

believe-vaccines-are-harmful-and-causes-mental-diseases-take-acid-from-strangers.jpg.bcdcc7ec0e378af9a95d9cf57399b3c5.jpg

d3bcb5d3f48bfc85f2372821fe2251e7--paradox-amish-community.jpg.a15fb6e37cc48d961c8033ca386ca1aa.jpg

 

But lately, amidst the deluge of right-wing anti-vaxxers like Tucker Carlson and Lauren Boebert, the myth that the vaccine is bad for you has been challenged aplenty, while the even more unmistakably disproven myth that anti-vax narratives were inherently a left-wing thing has been virtually ignored. How come there are no repercussions for that sort of myth? How come the people responsible for it get to walk away from this as if they hadn't just been caught in a lie?

 

Now I'm not saying this to try to come across as some kind of science-worshipper; those who are familiar with me here already know it's a little late for that even if I were; nor some dyed-in-the-wool leftist; I've been at odds with them on WHO funding and the like; but it just seems like an underappreciated opportunity to identify who was responsible for this myth, and know who not to believe on other matters.

 

What say you, Science Forums?

I don't see much point in trying to keep some sort of Left vs. Right "score" when it comes to nutcase ideas. 

But I do think there is a phenomenon in modern politics whereby, not just science, but professional expertise in general,  is considered suspect in significant parts of the political Right. In the UK we've had it over Brexit: Gove's famous comment that "We've had enough of experts", when various economists pointed out the snags. It is obvious in relation to climate change. And now anti-masks, anti-vaxxers etc. It is particularly depressing that simple medical measures have been turned into political totems.  

There has been a long tradition of anti-intellectualism in Anglo-Saxon culture and perhaps this is just the latest manifestation of it: "Let me have men about me that are fat. Sleek-headed men, and such as sleep o'nights. Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look. He thinks too much. Such men are dangerous." 

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2 hours ago, exchemist said:

I don't see much point in trying to keep some sort of Left vs. Right "score" when it comes to nutcase ideas. 

I think that actually has become kind of relevant. In the past, these ideas were mostly considered fringe and certainly were not part of mainstream. Mostly in the US the (religious) conservatives had always a certain anti-science stance on certain key issues (including evolution and climate change) which has increasingly fueled underlying anti-intellectualism. In a similar line, right-wing groups have increasingly used the actually fairly old "Luegenpresse" tactic to discredit mainstream information flow, which included science reporting.

While it may have been a tactic of sorts at the beginning, in several parties throughout the world it now has become an identity, mostly associated with right wing parties (though one could argue that authoritarianism might be the more defining trait). Thus, the combination of detaching oneself from information (fueled by propaganda and social media), embracing certain anti-scientific tenets as in-group identification in an organization with power (i.e. party) has, IMO made anti-science far more mainstream than it was before.

Right now we see how what we might consider to be fringe or nutcase attitudes is costing hundreds and thousands of lives. I think at some point we might need to acknowledge that this goes beyond a bit of scorekeeping or some wacky weirdness. It has increasingly significant consequences.

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I don't think it's a 'right' or 'left' issue.
It has more to do with the politicization of the electorate ( American, in particular ), and the distrust of the elected Government.

It's a sad state of affairs when people are willing to get sick, and possibly die, for their political party.

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7 minutes ago, MigL said:

I don't think it's a 'right' or 'left' issue.
It has more to do with the politicization of the electorate ( American, in particular ), and the distrust of the elected Government.

It's a sad state of affairs when people are willing to get sick, and possibly die, for their political party.

I think in the last few decades it does seem that in most Western countries the right has weaponized anti-science sentiments and made it part of their platform. A common sentiment I hear from colleagues is that progressive/left parties ignore science when inconvenient, conservative/right parties attack science. While the situation could reverse if the progressive parties become more authoritarian, it is certainly not the trend (in developed countries) for the last few decades.

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4 hours ago, swansont said:
!

I'm confused by this. If it's an "unmistakably disproven myth" what's the myth? i.e. who are you going after - the people who said vaccines were bad, or the people who were blaming it on the left?

The people who were blaming it on the left. Especially the ones who were doing so directly like the creators of the above memes, of course, but also to a lesser extent the ones who were doing so indirectly by not refuting it. I know that word choice isn't the only possible word choice there, but I would think if a lot of conservatives were distancing themselves from it a few of them ought to have landed on that word choice by sheer random chance.

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When we are at debunking the myths: anti-vaxxers are not the one who just don't take vaccines, but the one who claim that vaccines are on purpose secretly made harmful by some unidentified group ruling the world to harm people and cause depopulation, autism, cancer etc. etc. Basically conspiracy theory..

Edited by Sensei
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5 hours ago, exchemist said:

I don't see much point in trying to keep some sort of Left vs. Right "score" when it comes to nutcase ideas. 

I see two points to it.

First it shows which "side" actually has a grasp of reality and secondly, it's hilarious.
Who remembers this oldie-but-goodie? One of the more interesting traits is that 10 years back, a guy called Rigney perpetually saying that Biden was mad, without offering aby actual evidence of it.

 

 

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50 minutes ago, Sensei said:

When we are at debunking the myths: anti-vaxxers are not the one who just don't take vaccines, but the one who claim that vaccines are on purpose secretly made harmful by some unidentified group ruling the world to harm people and cause depopulation, autism, cancer etc. etc. Basically conspiracy theory..

I think debunking has become a bit of an issue, many folks have been increasingly resilient to that. So much in fact that even the most ridiculous notions are getting a serious platform.

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12 minutes ago, CharonY said:

I think debunking has become a bit of an issue, many folks have been increasingly resilient to that. So much in fact that even the most ridiculous notions are getting a serious platform.

I noticed an article on the BBC website that Spain has a very high level of faith and compliance with their medical institutions and vaccines.... shame it's not everywhere.

Edited by StringJunky
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3 hours ago, Sensei said:

When we are at debunking the myths: anti-vaxxers are not the one who just don't take vaccines, but the one who claim that vaccines are on purpose secretly made harmful by some unidentified group ruling the world to harm people and cause depopulation, autism, cancer etc. etc. Basically conspiracy theory..

With the still current Sydney and Melbourne partial and full lockdowns, we had some anti-lockdown/anti-vax/"so called" freedom of choice groups undertake violence inspired marches in both cities last Saturday. An estimate of 3000 took part in the Sydney protest, highlighted by violent actions, including assaulting Police, and extreme cruelty to the horses of the mounted Police. Thankfully many have and were arrested, and as "close up" photos are splashed across TV screens, the arrests continue.

It was obvious both marches were highly orginized before hand, as the following article shows. Sad though is that it seems to have been over seas inspired by a particular German based group....

  https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/jul/27/who-behind-australia-anti-covid-lockdown-protest-march-rallies-sydney-melbourne-far-right-and-german-conspiracy-groups-driving-protests

Also found this science article at.....https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-07-byproduct-pandemic-paranoia.html

Another byproduct of the pandemic: paranoia:

The COVID-19 pandemic increased our feelings of paranoia, particularly in states where wearing masks was mandated, a new Yale study has shown. That heightened paranoia was particularly acute in states where adherence to mask mandates was low, the researchers report July 27 in the journal Nature Human Behaviour.

Increased feelings of paranoia were also associated with greater acceptance of conspiracy theories, the researchers found.

"Our psychology is massively impacted by the state of the world around us," said Phil Corlett, associate professor of psychology and senior author of the study. "From a policy standpoint, it is clear that if a government sets rules, it is important that they are enforced and people are supported for complying. Otherwise they may feel betrayed and act erratically."

more at link...................

 

the paper:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-021-01176-8

Paranoia and belief updating during the COVID-19 crisis:

Abstract:

The COVID-19 pandemic has made the world seem less predictable. Such crises can lead people to feel that others are a threat. Here, we show that the initial phase of the pandemic in 2020 increased individuals’ paranoia and made their belief updating more erratic. A proactive lockdown made people’s belief updating less capricious. However, state-mandated mask-wearing increased paranoia and induced more erratic behaviour. This was most evident in states where adherence to mask-wearing rules was poor but where rule following is typically more common. Computational analyses of participant behaviour suggested that people with higher paranoia expected the task to be more unstable. People who were more paranoid endorsed conspiracies about mask-wearing and potential vaccines and the QAnon conspiracy theories. These beliefs were associated with erratic task behaviour and changed priors. Taken together, we found that real-world uncertainty increases paranoia and influences laboratory task behaviour.

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Shining the critical spotlight on the extremist fringe and claiming they are all like that looks like disappointingly normal political pointscoring.

A minority of "leftists" were (and are) back to nature/alternative medicine/hippie types. They brought that with them when they identified as Left but it wasn't ever a mainstream Left policy. Most of the anti-vaxxers on the Right are on the  fringe; I would like to think they are atypical and the overwhelming majority are pleased to support and use vaccination to prevent disease.

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5 hours ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

The people who were blaming it on the left.

!

Moderator Note

Who are these people? Once again, you make a nebulous claim with no substantiation. And without having established that this was the default position at some vague time in the past (yes, I noticed that you dodged that)

Again: establish that your premise is true. 

Last chance.

 

 

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13 hours ago, John Cuthber said:

I see two points to it.

First it shows which "side" actually has a grasp of reality and secondly, it's hilarious.
Who remembers this oldie-but-goodie? One of the more interesting traits is that 10 years back, a guy called Rigney perpetually saying that Biden was mad, without offering aby actual evidence of it.

 

 

There is a lunatic fringe to both Left and Right, though. The pictures of leftie antivaxxers in the OP obviously belong to such a fringe. What I meant was that we can all chalk up left and right nutcases till the cows come home, but on its own that means little.

I suppose the point we are all making in the thread, in our different ways, is that something different and sinister is going on today, viz. that loony ideas seem to have migrated from the lunatic fringe to become mainstream in today's US Republican party. It's Hofstadter's "Paranoid Style", but on steroids. Rupert Murdoch is largely to blame, in my opinion, by treating news as entertainment and thus opening the gates to distorting news without limit, to fit the prejudices of a segment of the viewers. The internet has made it worse, and Trump has capitalised on this to create an entire political movement divorced from reality, that dismisses both science and other evidence-based sources of information when it suits them.    

 

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These are great points, though I would be careful to give Trump too much credit. He is just the last in a long line of anti-science movements, going back at least to the early 2000s (or at least that is what I personally remember). What has shifted is perhaps the tone, for a while folks at least tried to make it sound reasonable that the Earth was only 6k years old.

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12 hours ago, exchemist said:

There is a lunatic fringe to both Left and Right, though.

No, there isn't- not among politicians who actually get elected.

Did you read the thread I linked to?
I kept on asking for examples of the Left wing nutcases.
Nobody was able to provide any.
It's not that left wing nuts don't exist- Piers Corbyn is a fine example.
But the point is that, unlike the Right wing, these people are never given a role in any mainstream party.

There really is a big difference.
 

 

12 hours ago, exchemist said:

The pictures of leftie antivaxxers in the OP obviously belong to such a fringe

No. It belongs in the "fake" category.

That picture is "old". Someone has just written the new words (the leftie antivaxxer meme text) over a old picture.


"She" does not exist. She was invented by someone to discredit the Left.

https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/college-liberal
So, at best, you have an example of a college student who is a hypocrite.
Well, the thing about students is they are still learning...


Are there any instances of any credible Left wing politicians saying that the vaccines don't work or that the virus is a fake- you know- like Trump did...?

 

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I feel like it goes back to the 80's when the Reaganoids started slapping "i found it" bumper stickers on their cars, and blinkers on their rationality. Scientific American even ran editorials about how dangerous this could become if allowed to fester.
Cheney-Rumsfeld were flooding foggy bottom since Nixon ran the circus, and their rhetorical style has lived on through many iterations of pundits from lee atwater through roger stone today.
All of it leads to faith in our glorious leader and "Dixie Chick"ing any dissenters. 

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1 hour ago, John Cuthber said:

It's not that left wing nuts don't exist- Piers Corbyn is a fine example.
But the point is that, unlike the Right wing, these people are never given a role in any mainstream party.

Would you restrict that to Piers? Or do you just see Jeremy as an outlier on a leftist spectrum? He was, after all generally consistent in his positions, which is not typically 'nuttish'.

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8 hours ago, Area54 said:

Would you restrict that to Piers? Or do you just see Jeremy as an outlier on a leftist spectrum? He was, after all generally consistent in his positions, which is not typically 'nuttish'.

Guess.

Here's what might be considered a hint.

Jeremy Corbyn, while repeatedly described as "unelectable" was rather successful in elections. Notably, in the 2019 general election, in the only vote where his name was actually on the ballot paper, he got 64% of the votes.

He was, for a while, the leader of a mainstream, left wing party.

 

And I also said

10 hours ago, John Cuthber said:

It's not that left wing nuts don't exist- Piers Corbyn is a fine example.
But the point is that, unlike the Right wing, these people are never given a role in any mainstream party.

So, can you work out if I think he's an outlier?

The point I was making was that the Right try to claim "false equivalence"

You have people saying,

"Yes, Trump  said that the virus would just disappear when Spring arrived, but look at this cartoon Leftie from 10 years ago saying something silly.
That proves that the Left is obviously just as bad!".

 

And that's just a lie; there's no way round it.
 

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1 hour ago, John Cuthber said:

Guess.

Here's what might be considered a hint.

Jeremy Corbyn, while repeatedly described as "unelectable" was rather successful in elections. Notably, in the 2019 general election, in the only vote where his name was actually on the ballot paper, he got 64% of the votes.

He was, for a while, the leader of a mainstream, left wing party.

 

And I also said

So, can you work out if I think he's an outlier?

The point I was making was that the Right try to claim "false equivalence"

You have people saying,

"Yes, Trump  said that the virus would just disappear when Spring arrived, but look at this cartoon Leftie from 10 years ago saying something silly.
That proves that the Left is obviously just as bad!".

 

And that's just a lie; there's no way round it.
 

OK. Thank you for the reply, though I could have done without the scathing sarcasm. I was interested in your comments and wanted to be sure I understood your thinking. Perhaps I'll take a remedial reading comprehension course.

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3 minutes ago, John Cuthber said:

Sorry, it's one of those subjects that winds me up.

Apology readily accepted. I found your post surprising, as it was quite out of character for you. Thanks.

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It's one of the things that grinds my gears.
Another related one is the media's idea of "balance".Stuff like this

"In todays show we will be talking about covid.

On one hand, we will talk to Dr Bloggs- a professor of immunology and, by way of balance we will talk to Mr jones whose last job was at the back half of a pantomime horse prior to his sacking for incompetence."

And then they give equal weight to the views of the failed horses' arse.

(And you can guess which one agrees with the Republicans)
It's a deliberate policy to undermine the importance of truth because, as someone pointed out "Reality has a well known Left wing bias".

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/27/2021 at 8:30 AM, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

Years ago, at least in the context of Internet culture, it used to be taken as a given that being against vaccines was a leftist thing.

 

college-liberal-i-literally-wanted-to-punch-her-in-the-throat-after-she-begged-for-the-epidural-119780.thumb.jpg.cb4175ad366b0211fd61f3b6b92b173c.jpg

believe-vaccines-are-harmful-and-causes-mental-diseases-take-acid-from-strangers.jpg.bcdcc7ec0e378af9a95d9cf57399b3c5.jpg

d3bcb5d3f48bfc85f2372821fe2251e7--paradox-amish-community.jpg.a15fb6e37cc48d961c8033ca386ca1aa.jpg

 

 

I don't believe there is any significant Left or Right bias to anti-science.  Blaming the Left which, (by world standards) doesn't exist in the USA, is something that the far Right does in relation to just about anything that they don't agree with.

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