Safety of vaccinations a debate gone political

Kelly Sloan
Kelly Sloan

Vaccinations have made headlines. Is it because scientists have discovered a new one that will protect against yet another pernicious and deadly disease? No, it’s because Chris Christie and Rand Paul, however mildly, raised the specter of the anti-vaccine conspiracy theory again.

To be fair, most of the question, especially in regards to Christie, the governor of New Jersey, revolves around how much choice parents should have when it comes to vaccinating their children. It’s also fair to point out, however, that U.S. Sen. Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, conjured a bit of Paul the Elder when he said, “I’ve heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking, normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines.” Rand added: “I’m not arguing vaccines are a bad idea.
I think they’re a good thing. But I think the parents should have some input.”

Well, okay, but you can see how one could arrive at the conclusion Paul does, in fact, try to make the argument vaccines are a bad idea if in fact he believes they cause “profound mental disorders.”

Naturally, Democrats are making something of a hay day out of this, trying to build the narrative this is conclusive proof Republicans are scientific troglodytes. For no establishment Democrat would ever say something so foolish.

Paul is not the first to make the contention linking vaccines to mental disorders. There was this from about a decade ago:

“The story of how government health agencies colluded with big pharma to hide the risks of thimerosal (a vaccine additive) from the public is a chilling case study of institutional arrogance, power and greed.”

That was a quote from Robert Kennedy Jr. But wait! Isn’t RFK Jr. a respected establishment Democrat? Yes, he is.

There was also this …

“I am committed to make investments to find the causes of autism, including possible environmental causes like vaccines.”

That was a response in 2008 to a questionnaire from then and future presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. But wait! Isn’t Clinton a respected establishment Democrat? Yes, she is.

Then there was this, from the same year.

“We’ve seen just a skyrocketing autism rate. Some people are suspicious that it’s connected to the vaccines, this person included. The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it.” This included person was President Barack Obama. But wait! Isn’t Barack Obama …

For all their bluster against the GOP for being “anti science,” America’s liberals certainly seem contentedly at home with some of the more outlandish theories that seem more Rasputin than Sakharov.

Take genetically modified organisms, for example. GMOs, or rather a rabid opposition to them, have become a cause celebre. You might recall Colorado had a measure on the fall ballot, Proposition 105, that would have required mandatory labeling of foods containing GMOs. A glance at the list of supporting organizations revealed a who’s who of the state’s left-leaning organizations. A few years ago, California ran a similar measure, Proposition 37. Now, every major scientific, agricultural and regulatory institute, agency or organization has over the years came out strongly in favor of the use of GMOs in agriculture and debunked every wingbat theory that had come forward ascribing a creative list of evils for which they are responsible. The American Medical Association opposed Proposition 37 owing to the lack of any shred of scientific evidence to justify it. Nevertheless, the California Democratic Party officially endorsed it and was one of the most important backers of the measures.

Back in Colorado, while the left is not trying to protect us all from food, it is trying its level best to keep us from keeping warm. You don’t have to dig very deep to find many of the same people who are out hollering and ranting about the supposed horrors of fracking are the next day hollering and ranting about the horrors of vaccines. You’ll even hear them repeatedly make eerily similar claims of health impacts from oil and gas as they do regarding vaccines. Or faster-growing corn.

Need more? There are their repeated arguments against nuclear power, animal testing, late-term abortion and a whole slew of theories about 9-11. These aren’t coming from National Review subscribers.

There might not be much hope for RFK Jr., who I suspect knows about as much about immunology as he does about climate. But I’m willing to accept that Hillary Clinton’s views on vaccination have matured over the past few years. Let’s hope so.

In the meantime, let’s hope the rest of her views similarly mature rapidly enough for her to register as a Republican before 2016.