A morbidly (literally) fascinating development in the devolution of the Republican party is the rise of what can be called vaccinated anti-vaxxers. These are people who have gotten vaccinated against COVID-19, but who are opposed to any government action that might burden people who have chosen not to get vaccinated.
This is an ideological position that, in regard to vaccines in general, didn’t even exist until a few months ago. It didn’t exist because it’s so crazily perverse.
Anti-vaxxers have been around forever, and naturally such people have always been opposed to government rules and regulations that making choosing not to get vaccinated inconvenient in any way. But if you weren’t a hippie crystals and homeopathy type, or a purity of essence Dale Gribble paranoid styler, and were therefore rational enough on the topic to realize that vaccines are good things, then of course you favored government actions that burdened people who threatened the maintenance of herd immunity with their wacky, socially destructive beliefs.
Vaccines, after all, only work on the social level if there’s a high rate of vaccination. That’s the whole point: treating whether or not to get yourself and your kids vaccinated as some sort of lifestyle choice, like getting a cat, has never made sense on any level.
Anti-vaxxers at least have a coherent position: vaccines are more dangerous than the diseases they (supposedly) prevent. This position is, scientifically speaking, completely insane, but at least it’s not internally contradictory.
For good old fashioned internal contradiction, you can always turn to a right-wing law professor. Glenn Reynolds folks:
As the Democratic Party becomes a party of the white metropolitan class and its government-dependent clients, [Poor Glenn can’t use more straightforward language because of political correctness and cancel culture and Critical Race Theory. BTW the ongoing contest between the worst Glenns and the worst Matts in the Internet is like Affirmed and Alydar down the stretch at the Belmont] the GOP has emerged as a multiracial party of the working class. Democrats no doubt hope that sharpening racial divisions will help slow that process, but former President Donald Trump did alarmingly well with minorities, from Dems’ point of view.
There is a great deal of pent-up frustration and resentment over the inconvenience, the loss of freedom and the general climate of hectoring that the government’s pandemic response has created. It’s irritating to be lectured by officials who claim to be smarter than you. It’s infuriating to be lectured by government officials who claim to be smarter than you — but clearly aren’t.
The on-again/off-again claims on masks and vaccination are just part of it. Tired of masks? Get vaccinated, they told us. Now they’re saying wear a mask, even if you’ve been vaccinated and even if you’re associating with others who’ve been vaccinated. . .
Republicans would be foolish not to capitalize on this well-earned distrust of public health officials, especially among key Democratic constituencies. The Democrats, beholden to the laptop class and to bossy interlopers, are likely to favor extended and intrusive interventions and a long-lasting power grab by health bureaucrats.
Republicans can extend the inevitable backlash. And all it takes is a simple, consistent message: The pandemic is over. The vaccines have crushed the virus, with deaths and hospitalizations trending down precipitously. Say no to masks, to irrational rules, to the ways Karen and her bureaucratic servants would suffocate ordinary people’s lives, especially working-class Americans who can’t work remotely.
Reynolds doesn’t come right out and say he’s against the government doing things like requiring its employees to be vaccinated, or banning unvaccinated people from air travel, but the implication is clear. It’s even clearer when Tucker Carlson, aka Little Lord Haw Haw (many kudos to the LGM commenter who came up with this perfect sobriquet), spends night after night berating the federal government for trying to shove vaccines down the throats of freedom-loving Americans who just want to make their own choice for themselves and their family, after studying all the evidence, very very carefully no doubt.
Or take Lauren Boebert (please):
“We’re here to tell government, we don’t want your benefits, we don’t want your welfare, don’t come knocking on my door with your Fauci ouchie,” Boebert said, referring to Biden’s top medical adviser, Anthony Fauci, her voice rising as she paced the stage and shook her finger. “You leave us the hell alone!”
I would bet a lot of real cash money that Reynolds, Carlson, and Boebert are all vaccinated (Rule of thumb: Right wing demagogues who refuse to say whether they’re vaccinated are all vaccinated).
The vaccinated anti-vaxxers aren’t against vaccines: they’re just against vaccines helping the political prospects of Joe Biden and Congressional Democrats. And if a few hundred thousand of their own followers have to die as a result, well eggs/omelets etc. I suppose.
These people are the scum of the Earth.