When resistance to anything is a cause worth dying for, it merits more than rolling the eyes.
The mind of the vaccine hesitant seems unfathomable to many in the mainstream.
Commentator after commentator on CNN, (often medical doctors) say they simply can’t understand those who don’t get the jab in the US. Are those people brainwashed, they ask? Are they unwilling to accept science over religion? Are they victims of political demagoguery that has somehow taken this rejection of masks and vaccines as a symbol?
It may be good not to stop at that list and just carry on with our day. If only because it affects us all. There is indeed something quite unique and un-descifrable about people dying in rejection of the vaccine. It may be more akin to a hunger strike than to an active fight, but what exactly is the fight against?
For at least 6,000 years, God and country have been reasons for people to put themselves in extreme danger, or go to their death. For tribe, probably longer.
But those dying from vaccine rejection are not necessarily religious or nationalistic.
Fighting against oppression, real or perceived, is another reason people put themselves in harms way.
Rejecting the necessity of vaccination as a lie, or as the product of a conspiracy, may be less lunacy, than the languaging of a conscious act of civil disobedience at the heart of a movement.
This pandemic may pass eventually, but it has shown how little a significant number of people care for the dictates of government or profit making science. What we’re witnessing with the Delta variant is basically a breakdown of the efficacy of the government to rule in countries where vaccines are readily available.
Rather than lack of sufficient thought, although that has always been the quality of most followers, there is a substantial ideology driving this movement. Without that, it wouldn’t exist.
Yes, big Pharma may be suppressing other treatments to protect their multi trillion business. Yes, the virus may have come out from a lab, may have even been released nefariously. Yes there may be a lot of misinformation. But none of that explains people’s willingness to remain exposed, especially when 97% of the people presently dying from COVID are unvaccinated according to everyone, from nurses at hospitals, to the CDC, to the governor of California—or after 100’s of millions have been vaccinated for 3-6 months without obvious evidence of major side effects.
The willingness to take risk (or to believe there isn’t a significant one), to search for scarcely applied proof of alternative treatments, or for quite an alternative analysis of the whole situation, may very well end up exposing hidden truths about the pandemic, but it also exposes the power of ideology.
Rebellion may imply a proactive call to arms, not a passive attitude that lands one in the ICU. But a mistrust of the economic powers that make or break governments has been brewing for decades. Emergency aside, “follow the money” may not be too unreasonable a call to understand what’s going on.
In many circles, and not without reason, big Pharma is perceived as callous and cynical in unnecessarily promoting medicines with side effects, and more medicines to cure those side effects (just take a quick look at the Sadler family and the story of opioids), when a holistic approach would be much more effective, and not only financially sensible, but viable.
For many who have been living with radical hope for change, whether on the holistic movement, or on the gun toting “freedom-above-all” side of things, whatever that means, this is no time to capitulate to all the vaccine signifies to them.
Their a priori position may drive their investigation, and what they are willing to listen to. But isn’t that very much the case with all of us? We all like to think that, in our case at least, reason drives ideology. But does it really? Is it not at least in part the other way around? In The Social Animal David Brooks argues that we follow our gut in choosing a political party or a spouse, and then justify it.
To the antivax, the death of many unvaccinated (and they all know of one), who couldn’t or didn’t stay at home or didn’t know about alternative treatments, or they didn’t work for them, and the unfolding of new variants, may seem like collateral damage of a righteous resistance to a system that is all wrong—and actual proof that it is.
But when a plane fails in mid air, the priority should be to land it, not to crash it, even if that may require using the guidance system developed by the enemy.