Sunday, October 31, 2021

Rodrigo Aguilera - How the left went anti-vax

 Paranoid anti-establishment ideation became a fertile breeding ground for a growing segment of the left to distrust science as much as the right

Many of anti-imperialist and anti-establishment left lack psychological flexibility, and so view everything that the establishment does as being bad and  so don't trust anything from it, even when backed by science. I've been arguing with them a lot, and since Noam Chomsky's statement about the antivax isolating themselves for common decency (and he didn't say let them starve), they call themselves the true left and call people like me establishment shills. It's all very childish, but as this article says, they seem to be stuck in the witch brew Middle Ages. But many of the left antivaxxers have seen their audiences greatly increase and the money pouring in. 

One of the most unfortunate developments in our battle against the coronavirus has been the emergence of an anti-vax movement from the left, specifically the anti-establishment populist left. Before the pandemic, the anti-vax movement had a distinctly conservative/libertarian flavor. For example, a 2015 study by Yale psychologist Dan H. Kahan revealed that “respondents formed more negative assessments of the risk and benefits of childhood vaccines as they became more conservative and identified more strongly with the Republican Party”.

Other studies have shown that the main driver isn’t so much conservatism per se, but rather the libertarian instincts that characterize large segment of conservatives. A 2013 study from Stephan Lewandowski of the University of Bristol showed that free-market endorsement had a strong association with opposition to vaccinations, whereas conservatism on its own didn’t. The study hinted at the possible reasons why non-conservatives may also oppose vaccines, even though the data at the time did not lend itself to make definitive conclusions:

“The different polarity of those associations is consonant with the notion that libertarians object to the government intrusion arising from mandatory vaccination programs, whereas people low on conservatism—who, by implication, are liberal or progressive—may oppose immunization because they distrust pharmaceutical companies. The latter link, however, was far from overwhelming.”

Lewandowski was right, though it would take a global pandemic to make it obvious. As anyone who has encountered an anti-vaxxer from the left over the past few months realizes, there are numerous common denominators in the cognitive systems of these people, namely, opposition to Big Pharma, distrust of government, and distrust of the mainstream media which they believe peddle the news that serves to benefit the interests of Big Pharma. All of this creates a perfect storm of anti-establishment obsession which leads to the almost inevitable next step of distrusting established science too. The only mystery is why we didn’t see it coming.

Anti-establishment for the sake of it
The salient characteristic of a left-wing anti-vaxxer is extreme, dare I paranoid, anti-establishment ideation. The worldview of the left-wing anti-vaxxer is one which has only one enemy: a political establishment that is captured by elite interests from major corporations (including, of course, Big Pharma) and the military-industrial complex, and whose legitimacy is underpinned by the mainstream media which peddles all the lies needed to keep it in power. This worldview is so totalizing that anyone who does not subscribe to it, even other leftists, are not seen as true believers to the cause and inevitably earn a cocktail of scripted insults like “shitlib”, “neolib fascist”, “CIA plant”, “sellout” among others, during any heated Twitter exchange. 

There is, of course, a lot of truth to this worldview when not taken in a such an obsessive fashion. Especially in the US. Big Pharma, for example, happens to be the industry that spends most on lobbying and it’s no surprise that this has kept the US from adopting any form of universal healthcare like literally every other Western country has. It is also true that the mainstream media in the US is far from being fair and balanced. While we typically associate the Rupert Murdoch-financed conservative propaganda of Fox News to be the epitome of this, the liberal media is just as bad. Major newspapers are owned by billionaires (whose wealth their op-eds shamelessly defend) and cable news outlets like MSNBC and CNN are all too often little more than mouthpieces for the Democratic establishment and their financial backers, offering no spaces for dissenting voices from the left. Just ask yourself how many anti-war personalities were invited on prime-time slots to discuss the Afghanistan withdrawal compared to the dozens of national security “experts” (many who sit on defense contractor boards or who were former neo-con hawks). Hardly any.

"How the left went anti-vax - by Rodrigo Aguilera - progressum@substack"


TBone said...

Former liberal here - was waiting to get the vaxx - I do not trust pharma (criminals).
Then they started to say we are going to vaxx kids. Statistics basically show the vaxx is more dangerous to children than covid.
So I don't believe anyone anymore.
Let's go Brandon.

Andrew Anderson said...

The 6-month review of Pfizer's jab revealed the vaccinated had 1 more death from all causes (15) than the control group (14)!

How encouraging! /sarc

Pfizer Jab: Here’s what you need to know!

Peter Pan said...

Jimmy Dore isn't anti-vax, yet he's taking the establishment to task.

Matt Franko said...


Matt Franko said...

Bon Jovi: