World far right hijacks anti-vaccine movement

guest opinion

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Congressman Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) says  the new omicron coronavirus variant is a hoax created by the Democrats. He is the  former White House physician who claimed that Trump was so healthy he might live to be 200 years old.

Jackson tweeted: 

“Here comes the MEV — the Midterm Election Variant! They NEED a reason to push unsolicited nationwide mail-in ballots.”

“Democrats will do anything to CHEAT during an election — but we’re not going to let them!” he added.

This conspiracy theory was proposed by Fox and Friends Weekend hosts. Just another day at a major “news” network. But there is some diversity.  Their top host Tucker Carlson promotes the Nazi “Great Replacement” theory while another host Lara Logan compares Dr. Fauci to Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele.

This propaganda has deadly consequences. A new analysis by National Public Radio (NPR) has revealed that people living in counties that voted heavily for Trump during the last presidential election have been nearly three times as likely to die from COVID-19 as those who live in areas that went for Biden.

NPR reporters Daniel Wood and Geoff Brumfell note:

“NPR looked at deaths per 100,000 people in roughly 3,000 counties across the U.S. from May 2021, the point at which vaccinations widely became available. People living in counties that went 60% or higher for Trump in November 2020 had 2.7 times the death rates of those that went for Biden. Counties with an even higher share of the vote for Trump saw higher COVID-19 mortality rates… The data also reveal a major contributing factor to the death rate difference: The higher the vote share for Trump, the lower the vaccination rate.”

A recent analysis of polling data by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that Republicans are now the biggest group of unvaccinated individuals in the country. 

They are by far the largest demographic group which is vaccine hesitant. Wood and Brumfell say that it wasn’t always this way: “Earlier in the pandemic…African Americans, younger Americans and rural Americans all had significant portions of their demographic that resisted vaccination. But over time, the vaccination rates in those demographics have risen, while the rate of Republican vaccination against COVID-19 has flatlined at just 59%… By comparison, 91% of Democrats are vaccinated.”

Over five million have died worldwide. Some 787,000 Americans have died. 

The pandemic will continue so long as the virus circulates and mutates. That could mean a long period of sickness and death as well as a wrecked economy. Vaccines are the solution. Unfortunately, governments and pharmaceutical companies of the rich nations are a bit too slow to share the vaccines with the global South.  As a result, the omicron variant has emerged in Africa.

Meanwhile, John Feffer of the Institute for Policy Studies reports that the “the far right has jumped on the anti-vaccination bandwagon, seized control of the wheel, and is driving the vehicle, al-Qaeda-style, straight into oncoming traffic.”

They spread disinformation by social media, by loud and sometimes violent demonstrations and with the help of prominent politicians and political parties. Feffer says they aren’t like traditional conservatives who support the police, the army and the state.

The far right prefers vigilante justice. Feffer notes, “Effectively, the far right embraces the old Hobbesian concept of a ‘war of all against all,’ which was the status quo before the emergence of the state. To achieve this ‘golden age’ of general mayhem, the far right pursues any means necessary. It supports home schooling to destroy public education, privatization of state assets to weaken the government, and deregulation to tilt the playing field in favor of corporations.”

In the United States, vaccine skepticism used to be mostly a vaguely leftie New Age thing. This was before Trump, the alt-right and QAnon came along. Brittney McNamara, writing for ‘Teen Vogue’ profiled the new phenomenon of “conspirituality”  which is a term which emerged in 2011, when researchers published an article in the Journal of Contemporary Religion examining the overlap of New Age beliefs and conspiracy theory. Proponents argue that anything “natural” is good and science-driven medicine is bad.

Psychologist Lisa Fazio told McNamara that it is understandable that these ideas increased during the pandemic. She said, “One of the issues with being in a pandemic early on is a lack of certain scientific answers. That’s just the situation that it’s really easy for misinformation to take hold. When science isn’t giving you really easy answers, someone who’s peddling falsehoods definitely can — and they don’t have to be confined to the truth.”

The far right mimics progressive themes. They denounce Big Pharma and the medical establishment. Instead of advocating for Medicare for All, they claim that the pandemic is a hoax or nothing much. Here’s some bleach or horse de-wormer.

Previous articleWhat to do when there’s ‘nothing’ to do. . .
Next article(un)affordable trailer