Reason and Unreason – The Unbridgeable Gap?

December 22, 2020

Max Boot in the Washington Post:

The good news is that roughly two-thirds of the country inhabits the land of facts, where information comes from mainstream media. The bad news is that at least one-third live in a la-la-land of “alternative facts” and “fake news,” where the most trusted sources of information are Fox News and Facebook — or, heaven help us, Newsmax and OAN. There is plenty of irrationality on the left, to be sure, but it now appears much more prevalent on the political right, where so many deny both climate change and the coming change of administrations.

There is a vast, unbridgeable chasm that separates the brilliant scientists who came up with the coronavirus vaccines and the ignoramuses who believe that the coronavirus was engineered by Bill Gates to profit from vaccinations, or that it was created as a bioweapon by China, or that it is spread by 5G cell towers, or that it doesn’t actually exist, or that its dangers are vastly exaggerated, or that masks are either useless or harmful in stopping its spread. This pandemic of misinformation helps explain why the United States is among the countries with the highest covid death rates in the world despite having the most sophisticated medical sector.

Now these two nations are on another collision course because of the resistance to taking the coronavirus vaccine. There is an entrenched anti-vaccine movement that falsely claims childhood vaccines, such as the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, cause autism. Proponents are found primarily on the right, under the deceptive banner of “health freedom,” but also among granola leftists who believe in natural remedies and are suspicious of “Big Pharma.” Now you can add to this witches’ brew all of the covid myths, which have been merging online with larger conspiracy theories, such as QAnon.

The Kaiser Family Foundation recently found that 27 percent of those surveyed say they “probably or definitely” won’t get the coronavirus vaccine, even though it has been proved safe and effective. That figure has fallen seven points since September, but it remains dismayingly high. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, estimates that 75 percent to 80 percent of the population will need to be vaccinated to stop the transmission of the disease, achieve “herd immunity” and allow the resumption of business as usual. Getting there will be a struggle.

But even if we achieve that threshold and put covid in the rearview mirror, the resistance to reason among roughly a third of the population will continue to pose a long-term danger to the country. As physician Sanjay Gupta said on CNN: “The vaccine can help save us from the disease, but it can’t save us from ourselves. We must do that.”

3 Responses to “Reason and Unreason – The Unbridgeable Gap?”

  1. jimbills Says:

    I’ve already posted this here, but it is important and holds the key as to why it’s so bad right now:

    Facebook Is a Doomsday Machine

    The architecture of the modern web poses grave threats to humanity. It’s not too late to save ourselves.

  2. Neil Rieck Says:

    We all are familiar with the cultural meme about evolution being “survival of the fittest”. In 1850 a London physician by the name of John Snow proved that Cholera was coming from a contaminated well. This factoid has forced many modern students to shift the meme from “survival of the fittest” to “survival of the smartest”. I can’t help thinking this will be evermore true during the COVID-19 crisis where many Americans will die due to “political thinking” and/or “scientific apathy”

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      The entire premise of Idiocracy was that Unthinking Majority outbred the Thoughtful Educated. Even the Covidiots who get their elderly parents or grandparents killed can benefit their children materially by not having to expend more resources taking care of granny and grandpa, and maybe even get an early inheritance.

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