8/10/2010

Social Responsibility: Which is it? The Needs of the Many or The Needs of the One?

Running today at the angry place is Fisher's salvo against Nancy Snyderman and the whooping cough outbreak. Right after it is Kent "Sticky Blood" Heckenlively's piece on vaccines and pets. Yeah, the angry place isn't anti-vaccine or a fear-promoter.

Fisher accuses Snyderman of fearmongering, of trying to guilt parents and people to get vaccinated. It's only fearmongering if it's not a real source of danger. What Mercola and other natural health nuts do is fearmongering on a daily basis. At least AoA has taken a break of late and even run some nice stories, but here it is, the ass end of the summer, and I suppose they're all back and ready to scare the hell out of people about vaccines and inflate the risks of vaccines. If that isn't fearmongering, I don't what is.

So, who's right? Kirk or Spock? Spock, in the second Star Trek film, gives his life for the many. In the third, Kirk risks the many for the one. Well, if we were paying attention, we know it's both. Soldiers know it's both. Compassionate people who see the bigger picture know it's both. 

Selfish, self-absorbed folks who can't be bothered to get their facts right think they are the one for which the rest should take the hit. 

There are people who cannot get vaccinated. Who truly will be more negatively affected by the vaccine that, if we are compassionate people, we should wish to avoid risking them. We might think, well, I can handle this disease, as for most people it's no biggie, but fail to consider that it isn't just about us and ours. It's about the immune-compromised we come into contact with. 

Snyderman may get some facts wrong, which is always a risk when speaking freely and off-the-cuff without the aid of a prompter, but she gets the general message right: if you are not one of those for whom vaccines is dangerous, then you should protect those infants and immune-compromised you might come into contact with. The greater good, especially when the risks to yourself and to your children are slight and most likely to be nothing more than a sore spot at the injection site, ought to matter. 

Maybe that's hard for our society's all-about-me, what's-in-it-for-me folks to get. And it certainly doesn't help that their information is accessed from crackpot sites and that the Dunning-Kruger effect is in play, but it displays an arrogance and a selfishness that is mind-boggling.

Oh my kid had whooping cough, and sure, he was sick for a couple months, but he survived, they say. WTF? Any parent who allows bad information and a misguided belief that the disease is better than a vaccine, who thinks his own child suffering through the disease is better than a simple immunization really needs to think about the lack of care that really demonstrates for his child. In that case, it wasn't even about the needs of the one, unless that one is the parent who couldn't set aside his ego to get a clue.

1 comment:

lifewithasperger said...

Spot on! This is the part that frustrates me about the anti-vax movement. They actually pose a public health risk in some areas! After Wakefield published his bogus findings, vaccination rates in the UK dropped significantly and there was a corresponding rise in the rate of measles from which at least one child DIED. Where Jenny McCarthy and her crew are in CA vaccination rates in some towns have declined to the point where we're starting to see measles outbreaks the likes of which have not been seen in decades. And contrary to what they say, these are NOT benign diseases. People DIE from them.