Welcome to the some discussion about the upcoming 5th Revolution in the US, which I’ve titled the “Revenge Revolution.” For more about the Revenge Revolution and the author, Entry #1. Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether a revolution in the US is possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US. Entry #400 was the most recent “sense check.”
I am stumped. What do we, societal we, have to do to get people to at least understand the importance of credible information and the importance of assessing risk?
The topic at hand is Covid. Covid presents a significant risk to the individual, the individual’s family and a risk to society. Assessing the risk is fairly straightforward math. If you are unvaccinated, the chances of getting infected with the Delta variant, even with some precautions, are high. Once infected the odds of a serious illness are much lower. However, the consequences of a serious illness are significant. In addition, among those infected, 25% or more may suffer long-term health consequences, the severity and scope of which are unknown since this strain of Covid is recent.
For those willing “to play the odds” with Covid, let’s apply the same odds (or even better odds) to a different situation – say air travel. If you’re an anti-vaxxer, would you get on an airplane where one out of every 20, 50 or even 100 flights crashed? And the consequence of the crash was death for everyone on board?
If one of every hundred flights crashed, say in Charlotte, there would be 6-7 crashes per day. I suspect the anti-vaxxers would find this rate too risky and refuse to board aircraft.
Yet, people who insist on not getting vaccinated are assuming the same risk as the 1:100 airline crash. Why? Like I said, I’m stumped. For anti-vaxxers, take a look in geographic areas where a large percentage of the population is unvaccinated. What’s happening? Hospitals are at capacity. Funeral homes are beyond capacity and the funeral homes are hiring refrigerated trucks to hold bodies.
The simple solution to reducing risk of Covid is getting vaccinated. Why the resistance? I’m stumped. This past week two people I’ve known for some time both indicated they have refused to get vaccinated. Their rationale varied slightly but in essence was “I’m concerned about the risk of this“ or “…the risk of that“ or the vaccine “did not kill the virus“ or “I have credible information from the internet that proves…something or other.”
The “proof“ cited by one of the two was a YouTube video from an MD, well supposedly an MD. The anti-vaxxer posted the link to the “MD” on Facebook. A couple of days later, Facebook noted the information cited was fake and covered the picture of the “MD” and broke the link. I suppose the anti-vaxxer’s retort to blocking the post was Facebook has been in the pockets of the “deep state.“
As far as risk of the Covid vaccine, yes, there is a risk. All vaccines and all medications carry some risk. But the risk of the vaccine is slight. The risk of a severe side effect is less than the risk of a severe side effect from birth control pills. Wonder how many anti-vaxxers want to ban birth-control pills?
The real issue is the degree of risk of the vaccine versus the degree of risk without the vaccine. Using the airline example, the risk of a serious health issue or death with a Covid infection is at the very best 1:100, while the risk of a health issue stemming from the vaccine is 1:1,000,000+.
If the difference is so striking and so obvious – for anti-vaxxers 6-7 airline crashes per day in Charlotte versus 1 crash every 4 years for those vaccinated – why are so many people continuing to resist getting the vaccine? Neither of my contacts is stupid. So why the resistance?
As noted in several blog entries beginning with Trump’s nomination, I think Trump supporters have been brainwashed. Trump’s behavior was the antithesis of everything the Republican Party and the religious conservatives stood for. Yet, Trump won the Electoral College vote in 2016 and the vast majority of those who voted for him the first time did so again in 2020. Many Trump voters continue to believe the election was “stolen.“ If you ask a Trumpster “stolen by whom?” or “stolen how?” there is never a specific answer. Always some reference to some vague, hard-to-define conspiracy.
The brainwashing and the conspiracy logic also applies to Covid. Don’t get a vaccine, because you will…well, we know there’s a conspiracy out there someplace. Big pharma and Bill Gates, and maybe George Soros, are in cahoots.
The only time reality seems to set in for an anti-vaxxer is when in ICU and on a ventilator. Then the anti-vaxxer finally awakens from the brainwashing by stating, “Gee, maybe I should’ve gotten the vaccine.“
Unfortunately, the brainwashing is likely to continue. The primary source of the brainwashing, Fox News, continues to promote the alleged stealing of the election, and the alleged conspiracy surrounding the vaccine. While no conspiracy has ever been defined, “We anti-vaxxers all know Dr. Fauci lies and is a bad guy.” The Fox solution to Covid? Don’t get the FDA-approved vaccine but take ivermectin, a drug of no value for treating Covid but used among other applications to deworm animals.
Soon we should be hearing Tucker Carlson and his ilk telling Fox viewers, the forest fires, droughts, hurricanes, heat domes and the other extreme weather incidents are just those 1:100 or 1:1000-year events so don’t worry about climate change. The claims about climate change are a hoax. Keep burning that fossil fuel because CO2 is good for the atmosphere. Don’t trust the scientists. Trust Fox.” And throughout these lies, the brainwashed will continue to bow to the king of BS.
What does the brainwashing mean for the Revenge Revolution? The short answer is the Revenge Revolution is still coming. Originally I thought the Revenge Revolution would be based on economic disparity with the “have-not’s” revolting against the “have’s.”
While there still might be economic disparity between the two sides, the different sides seem to be evolving toward those citizens willing to sacrifice for the common good against those who refuse. The same disparity in willingness to sacrifice seems to hold when discussing climate change. The economic disparity results from education. For both the Covid vaccine and climate change, a higher percentage of people with more educated seem to understand the causes of both and the need for society-wide actions to reduce the risks.
If the democracy is to survive the Revenge Revolution, only one side can win. And it’s not the side of conspiracy theorists and climate-change deniers. More to come.
Comments, questions, suggestions, criticisms welcome.
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