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The Herman Cain Freedom Award

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This site on Reddit is dedicated to memorializing people who ranted in public against vaccines. masks. mandates, etc., and then died of COVID.

It’s fascinating and horrifying in a really morbid way, and I don’t necessarily recommend that LGMers jump down this particular Internet rabbit hole, so proceed at your own risk. (I’m probably the last person in cyberspace who isn’t familiar with how Reddit works, but in case I’m not you can click on the arrow on the right side of a post to scroll through the entire series.)

Some general thoughts:

(1) 46,000 people in the USA have officially died from COVID in the last two months. Almost every single one of these deaths was caused directly by the refusal of the dead person to get vaccinated.

(2) Other people are dying because they can’t get the medical care they need, because Covidiots are clogging up ICUs and emergency rooms.

(3) The whole key to understanding the anti-vax pro-horse dewormer mentality is that it’s not just this one thing for these people. Admitting that they’ve been wrong about this isn’t like admitting you were wrong about thinking that Willie Mays hit 700 home runs or that Detroit is the capital of Michigan. To admit you were wrong about this thing in particular would be to pull on a thread that could unravel your entire social and political identity. For those in the right wing bubble/base, admitting error on this point basically requires a literal conversion experience. It would be like a former Christian fundamentalist coming to the view that the Bible isn’t actually the inerrant word of God. In other words, that’s not just some random fact, but THE fact, that holds every other part of the person’s world view together.

However, we can ask: May someone have telling grounds for believing that the earth has only existed for a short time, say since his own birth? – Suppose he had always been told that, – would he have any good reason to doubt it? Men have believed that they could make the rain; why should not a king be brought up in the belief that the world began with him? And if [G.E.] Moore and this king were to meet and discuss, could Moore really prove his belief to be the right one? I do not say that Moore could not convert the king to his view, but it would be a conversion of a special kind; the king would be brought to look at the world in a different way. Remember that one is sometimes convinced of the correctness of a view by its simplicity or symmetry, i.e., these are what induce one to go over to this point of view. One then simply says something like: “That’s how it must be.”

Wittgenstein, On Certainty

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