Today the Abbot government decided to legislate against Anti-vaxers. From now on to get the family tax benefit you will need to have your Child vaccinated.
You might think that I being vehemently pro vaccination, a thing that saved more lives in the 20th century than seatbelts and the Heimlich mauver combined, would be rejoicing. But I am not.
There is no doubt in my mind that vaccination should be something that everyone should do. I am convinced that people who do not vaccinate are either misguided, deluded or selfish. I also think that the anti-vaccination movement in Australia in particular is more like a cult than it is anything else to be honest.
But it would be hypocritical of me to applaud this measure even though I believe strongly in the cause and to me doing the right thing for the wrong reasons is still doing the wrong thing.
This government believes that it can legislate its way out of anything and frankly I’m sick of it. This isn’t education, this isn’t holding a dialogue with the people who are anti-vax as has been stated many times before and I believe correctly simply telling anti-vaxers that they are wrong is ineffective and dangerous. You are not challenging one single belief you are challenging a suit of beliefs that are all tied together; Natural is good, chemicals are bad, to be a good mother I must never hurt my child, to not hurt my child I must not give them chemicals…etc….
Ok so these beliefs are misguided but for the overwhelming majority they don’t know WHY they are misguided. Vaccine proponents are TERRIBLE at approaching Anti-vaxers. Sure it might start with a conversation that goes “You do know that there are chemicals in everything” or “It’s the dosage not the chemical itself that makes it dangerous” but it’s often a short trip from there to the anti-vaxxer being called a baby killer and you know what that sort of bullshit STRENGHENS belief.
A few days ago a post appeared on the “Banned from the AVN” facebook page. A page full of dedicated and verbose vaccine supporters. Of which I am a member.
The post was a link to this article.
A measured and good article about how yelling at people won’t get you what you want unless you want conflict.
Here are some sample replies to this:
It is food for thought, however I don’t think we would have seen the massive gains against the influence of the AVSN if we’d all engaged in group hugs.
Those who sit in their ivory towers and say “just be nice” should: 1. Make the distinction between the two groups, and 2. Perhaps send a word of thanks to those dealing with the problem instead of delivering backhanders to the very people who make their “be nice” position possible.
They can’t be educated. That’s irrelevant. So long as being anti-vaccine renders people laughing stock, fewer credulous people will be tempted to go anti-vaccine. The draw with those types of conspiracies is That they allow dullards to feel like smart people in possession of privileged knowledge.
So yea, I’m keep calling them idiots.(sic)
lmost all of the antivaxers there are just willfully stupid, flagrantly ignorant twats. They are deliberately obtuse, and cry “bullying!” any time a provaxer respectfully refutes their bullshit with facts.(sic)
And it sounds like you guys have engaged them in an honest debate as well. There seems to be a consensus in the pro-vaccine camp that you simply can’t change the mind of an anti-vaxer, which seems strange given how often they engage in debate. And I’d say no. What you mean is “I haven’t changed anyone’s mind” and with your tactics of “Go in and call everyone a twat!!” I wonder why?
Honestly sometimes I truly believe that these people just want to be right and they have found something they can be right with and then just bash people who are wrong because they are easy targets. It’s not that the Anti-Vaxers aren’t wrong. They totally are. It’s not that what they are doing isn’t causing harm because it certainty is. It’s that it’s hard enough to get through this life trying to do the right thing without other people yelling at you or calling you a baby killer. This also smacks of perspective blindness. “I can’t see how horrible I’m being to other people because I think I have a good cause.” You can’t engage people in a reasonable manner or the first nasty thing that someone says to you on the internet you fly off the handle? Then maybe you’re not the best person to be engaging these people at all. There is also the person who says “Be nice?!?! I tried that once and it didn’t work” yep. Once. On one person. So because that didn’t work I started yelling at people and found that much more satisfying although just as ineffectual.
No it’s not easy, and no it can’t be done all in one go. You can’t simply tell people the facts and then wander off and get angry the next time you meet them because they didn’t change their entire life and perspective simply because some anonymous idiot on the internet said they should. But it can be done. I know because I have been both that person who has had their mind changed and who has changed the mind and I didn’t swear once.
And that’s why I don’t support the government. If we don’t have the conversation we will drive these people underground. People are already trying to form their own religion to simply get the religious exemption. Those that feel persecuted now have a good reason to believe. We have made this even more concrete for them. Now they are no longer idiots. They are martyrs. If we don’t have the conversation we miss out on what is being said and I want to know what these people are saying because with them silence is dangerous.