It's not fair to say that we have ALL lost our collective minds, but there's a groups of purist lefties and paranoid righties who most certainly
lost them. And by
, I mean just that: the part of our minds that is capable of thinking of the greater good.
If there ever were poster children for rampant individualism, they are the morally bankrupt and easily-led folks who refuse to vaccinate their kids against deadly diseases because, what, Google? Movies like
probably contributed to the idea that a lone, committed and loving mom can do her own scan of the medical literature, find a means of somewhat helping her suffering kid, then make a major movie all but claiming she found a cure. Mom v. the Men of Science. Hear enough of these feel-good stories, and you'll be surfing WebMD for your own cure for cancer, and turning down the chemo cocktail that has saved others.
Those sad evangelicals who refuse to treat their kid's obstructed bowels are one thing. At least they only murder their own offspring. But the idiotic, entitled, smarter-than-everyone goofballs pulling their kids out of the vaccine lines are not only wrong, they are endangering truly sick kids. The idea behind "herd immunity" is that if you vaccinate every kid who can handle the vaccine, you protect the few who can't -- infants and kids on chemotherapy, for instance. Every vaccinated kid forms a stone in the wall that prevents disease from spreading from child to child, eventually to the chemo kid. But reducing the vaccination rate removes a few stones from the wall, providing a few extra routes for the disease to reach the baby or the leukemic kid. Herd immunity is not only for the herd; it's for the stray dogies who can't yet handle the cure.
And to the dopes who think vaccinations are a government plot to take away our freedoms, I say, you're right. It
government's job to provide the greatest happiness to the greatest number of its citizens. That means you have to give up "freedom" to become a disease vector. Sounds like a good deal to me.
The late 20th and early 21st centuries will go down in history as the era when Americans lost their ability to see beyond their own personal needs. We have been barraged relentlessly with appeals to be individuals, though most of us dress alike and think alike. We proclaim our independence by buying the soap we are told to buy, the SUV, the patriotic bumper sticker, the movie and the TV show. We hate the same things (Obama, people who critique our wars, the French) and love the same things (violence in movies, fatty food, cigarettes and booze). Yet we flatter ourselves that we are individuals. And we prove it by showing the same disregard of others' bodies as we show to our own.
Hopefully, the recent measles outbreaks might represent a turning point in this hyper-individualistic thinking. Maybe we will see that when our views make kids sick (or dead) we have gone too far. And maybe that "virus" of an idea will spread and "infect" the many who are sick with paranoia and self-satisfaction.
May the herd become immune to the stupidity that plagues us.