I have never found Michael Leunig’s melancholy meanderings in print media particularly edifying. Partly because I believe that the job of newspaper cartoonist is only slightly above that of “Mime” partly because I have never found him funny or even that poignant. He’s just too lachrymose for me. I’ve read Schopenhauer, I’m aware life is pain, I’m living it. I don’t need to have the fact pointed out to me by a duck.
But for reasons that I can’t quite fathom Melbournians particularly rich Melbournians go nuts for him. Perhaps for the same reason that Melancholia was popular in England in the last 19th century or why it was popular to engage a hermit to live in your garden. It’s good to remember the little people who have it worse than you who have time to think about morality and all that deep stuff.
That’s how I think of Leunig, Melbourne’s dirty little garden Hermit.
But I have to admit there were some good cartoons that he did on the gulf war and during the reign of John Howard and I suspected that even if I didn’t like his work our political views at least were aligned.
Except it’s pretty damn clear now that our Hermit is Anti-Vax.
As you know I’m very pro-free speech. So I have no problem with The Age running the cartoon that was submitted on Tuesday this week. I feel that I can disagree with the substance of the cartoon without restricting the speech of the cartoonist.
What I can do however is exercise my right to free speech and say this:
Governments are complicated beasts. Not everything they do is good, not everything they do is bad. Sometimes they do the right thing for the wrong reasons and vice versa. But when a government actually turns fascist you will know it. Making vaccinating compulsory is not fascist. It is sensible. Those that advocate against vaccines are doing it against all evidence, against all advice from medical professionals and against the consensus of the scientific and medical community and against the evidence of history which shows the indisputable fact that children used to die in the thousands from diseases we now vaccinate from and now they don’t. And whether they realise it or not in doing so they are advocating for the death of children. If vaccines went away tomorrow children would die. The infant mortality rate would skyrocket. Diseased like whooping cough and polio would kill children and leave those that survived ravaged. There are not two sides to this issue and it’s kind of insane that the government has to tell parents “Do this or your child will die….wait. You’re still not going to do it? Well then we have to make it compulsory so your stupidity does not kill children whose parents were smarter than you”.
IF you are anti-vax, then you are pro-disease.
Freedom is the freedom to do whatever you want to yourself regardless of the consequences, when you endanger other people and we say no that’s not infringing on your freedom that’s making laws against criminality.
Now I have complicated views on how people arrive at an anti-vax stance, I believe that the media, not seeing the consequence of disease on everyday life and the pressure that parents face on a daily basis all contribute but that does not change the fact that they are just plain wrong. Vaccines are safe, safer than driving, safer than flying, safer than crossing the road or leaving your house (or not leaving your house…what are you going to do now huh?) . Vaccines do not and have never caused autism and they save lives.
Leunig is just plain wrong. And sure your entitled to your opinion but you are not entitled to your own facts. But honestly if you are getting you’re “Science” or even your morality from a newspaper cartoonist then you’re in serious trouble and I can’t help you.