It Is Great, Until It Isn’t

Living in Madison, I associate with a larger than typical number of lefties, liberals, and others who lean to the left of the political spectrum. Oddly, being a leftist seems to be associated with anti-science and other oddities.

When at parties and having discussions with locals, I always stay out of politics. I always shift the subject. Most of the people I deal with are extremely nice, good folks, but they are true believers, and nothing I say will do anything but make situations uncomfortable. But one subject I never hold back is not getting your kids vaccinated. My wife always cringes if it comes up because she knows the bazooka is coming out.

I use the big words too, like “bullshit”, “nonsense” and interesting catch phrases like “have you ever seen a child with whooping cough?” or “I hope your kids don’t get measles because mine won’t”. It does fall on deaf ears, but with the anti-vaccers (is that a word?) I don’t care.

Separately, my wife, while not a squishy leftist, does have a soft spot for marketing buzzwords like “organic”, “natural” etc. She typically spends more money than need be to offer food choices to my kids that are pesticide free, purchases “safer” chemicals and does other things like that – things that I offer to you are probably nonsensical. However, I have chosen not to “die on that hill”. Besides denting my wallet a bit, I don’t think that it is harming anything, so I let it go. I don’t have many complaints about my wife and I am probably way ahead of most husbands in that department (she puts up with me so that pretty much overrides any of my tiny complaints).

But. Lice. Several years ago, both of my children got lice from school. Fortunately (?) I lost my hair a long time ago so was not in the loop, but my wife was mortified. I will never forget the moment – she said (and I am almost quoting) “get down to Walgreens and get the nastiest, strongest chemical you can find and get back here and help me with this”. I almost fell over and stumbled out to the car in a daze, wondering how my wife could have made such a radical change in the five minutes since my kids came home from school.

But I did learn something. When the excrement hits the air conditioning, people want this crap solved. Now.

Back to the anti vaccination folks.

Everything is great and works until it doesn’t. Today I note this story about a famous anti-vaccination group, the Amish. Funny how one’s religion doesn’t seem that important when your kids contract a terrible disease. All of a sudden, vaccines look pretty good.

More than 135 people crowded into a local woodworking business Thursday where nurses used up every available dose of vaccine — and then ordered 300 doses more, said Pam Palm, a spokeswoman for the Knox County, Ohio, Health Department.
“Not getting immunizations has been the way the Amish have felt in the past, but they certainly have responded in this situation,” Palm said.
The outbreak was detected this week when four unvaccinated Amish community members showed evidence of measles infection following a March trip to the Philippines to offer humanitarian aid to typhoon victims. More than 20,000 people have caught measles in the Philippines and at least 50 have died in a severe ongoing outbreak.

I think this might be a good example of stated preferences vs. revealed preferences. Revealed in a most uncomfortable manner. I assume most of my left leaning friends here in the Madison area would do the exact same thing in the circumstances.

My wife, while succumbing to some of the marketing for organic and natural products, thankfully didn’t fall for the vaccine scares that were prevalent when our children were born.

I think if anyone were going to a third world place that was under duress (like the typhoon ravaged Philippines) that they would be REQUIRED to get boosters for measles, cholera, and whatever else I could think of. And why wouldn’t you anyways? But I guess that is my Midwestern common sense sneaking through again, and heck, what do I know.

I do know this. Kids with measles = parents getting measles vaccines for everyone.

16 thoughts on “It Is Great, Until It Isn’t”

  1. I was listening to a microbiologist on the radio a few years ago. He was talking about the difference between antibacterials and disinfectants. In his words, antibacterials were similar to antibiotics, they were selective in what they killed. However, once you killed all the susceptible germs, the ones left to reproduce were resistant super-germs. Disinfectants, things like bleach (or Pine-Sol, oddly enough), killed all the bacteria they contacted. He likened them to nuclear weapons for germs. Needless to say, he recommended disinfectants for cleaning.

    Pesticides can behave in those ways, depending on what’s used. If they’re selective, they can breed superbugs among those resistant. If they kill everything, they, well, kill everything. Which is not good either. I used to wonder why farmers didn’t use more praying mantises or spiders. But I guess billions of ravaging, starving praying mantises would wreak more damage on the insect world than pesticides. No easy answers here.

    I was immunized, and had all my kids immunized. Still, I can understand someone being frightened of them and the effects they might have, minuscule as that chance might be. I don’t share that fear, but I understand it. I don’t know what the answer is to that. It seems wrong, morally and legally, to require immunization.

  2. “Traveling to a typhoon raved archipelago, sans vaccinations, is a borderline suicide mission.” I can’t believe they didn’t all, at the least, get cholera. Makes me wonder exactly what they did, but I guess that really isn’t my business.

  3. There are a few reports of immunization failure which becomes more of a problem as community ( “herd”) immunity levels fall below 90%. If you live in a community where there are a lot of leftists and other anti-vaccine types, immunization boosters in older kids may be a good idea. This is a real problem in the UK where there are lots of Muslim immigrants who have failure rates for immunization of their kids of over 20%.

  4. The other problem with killing all bacteria is there are good and bad kind with good and bad effects. The thinking now is that we need to work with our microbiome rather than conquer it. There’s something like ten times as many microbe cells on us and in us (hundreds of trillions) then there are human cells. We can’t win any arms race. Conditions like allergies, asthma, eczema, irritable bowel syndrome, and probably many others are caused by an imbalance of good and bad bacteria or an outright absence of the good kind. These are afflictions of modern civilizations and modern civilizations’ propensity for top down centralized control and organization.

    Immunizations follow the same logic, and it turns out groups of people work work the same way.

    I meet parents like that too, and the irrationality drives me up the wall. Learning to live with nature doesn’t mean completely surrendering to it. There’s a constant struggle and give an take to our existence. Denying this doesn’t help anyone and sure enough will be bad for everyone.

  5. “The other problem with killing all bacteria is there are good and bad kind with good and bad effects.”

    Not cleaning the lavatory. In that realm, kill it all.

  6. I think if anyone were going to a I think if anyone were going to a that they would be REQUIRED to get boosters for measles, cholera, and whatever else I could think of. And why wouldn’t you anyways? But I guess that is my Midwestern common sense sneaking through again, and heck, what do I know. that they would be REQUIRED to get boosters for measles, cholera, and whatever else I could think of. And why wouldn’t you anyways? But I guess that is my Midwestern common sense sneaking through again, and heck, what do I know.

    Not just “a third world place that was under duress (like the typhoon ravaged Philippines),” ANY Third World place. For my first extended trip to Latin America, I got a whole smorgasbord of shots- cholera, yellow fever, typhoid, whatever. With the exception of occasional diarrhea – which became practically nonexistent the more time I spent in Latin America- I had no health problems there.

    Back in my twenty-something days, some friends of mine made excursions to India to see various gurus. One time I attended a reunion of a cohort of guru seekers. An appreciable number of them told of being very sick in India- not just the ordinary turista diarrhea. I do not remember all the diseases they had suffered in India, but nearly all of the illnesses could have been prevented had the guru seekers bothered to get the array of booster shots available. But those who visit gurus are not necessarily known for the logical thinking.

    [One reason for minimal diarrhea in later trips to Latin America was my use of Polar Pure to disinfect drinking water. There was an iodine taste to the treated water, but it was bearable. Unfortunately, Polar Pure is no longer available for purchase.

    The advantage and the issue with Polar Pure Water Disinfectant is the iodine.

    While iodine proves to be an effective method for water disinfection, it can somehow be used as one of many ingredients used in the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine. There are apparently many methods used to manufacture methamphetamine using common household products, but not all require iodine.

    The DEA and the State of CA (as well as other states) implemented stricter regulations for iodine as well as many other products (such as ephedrine) in an attempt to control possible diversion for illicit use. Iodine was reclassified as a “controlled substance”. While individuals still find an illicit way around the regulations to continue to manufacture meth., we are unable to purchase iodine for the legitimate purpose of manufacturing Polar Pure.

    Because Polar Pure uses iodine as its method to disinfect water, it, by default, becomes a “controlled substance” and falls under these rules and regulations. These regulations must be followed by our company as well as any retail merchants wishing to sell Polar Pure. Please refer to our Water Disinfection page for a brief history of our company, Polar Equipment, Inc. and Polar Pure Water Disinfectant.

    According to these regulations, we, and any retail merchant wishing to sell Polar Pure, or any other non-exempt iodine containing product must obtain DEA registration (and any state requirements where they reside). The permit and registration process include a $1000 application fee to the state of CA and nearly $1200 to the DEA plus annual renewals as well as an extensive company investigation.

    Without the state permit and DEA registration, we are unable to purchase iodine in order to manufacture and sell Polar Pure. Retail merchants cannot purchase Polar Pure for resale without the same permit and registration documents (including fees and renewals) and following the same record keeping and paperwork required for every sale. Other requirements and restrictions are also imposed, which are not listed here. For further information, refer to the links below to the regulation documents for the state of CA and the DEA.

    ]What a shame.

  7. I also live in an area with very many liberals and I always do my best to avoid political comments. In general when you have a dialog with someone it is useful to acknowledge some merit in the other sides’ arguments to be polite but sometimes, like with your vaccines, there is literally no merit at all and the “big guns” come out.

    The problem of course is that they aren’t going to change their mind and you are going to look like a bully but it can’t be avoided on some issues if you are cornered.

    Luckily most people except the deranged can usually see the signs and step back.

    Cutler’s dumb wife is never going to escape from her idiotic comments because she is putting other kids (of rich and powerful ones, at that) at risk with her bad plans. I don’t know where they will go into school. Of course by then Cutty will be hurt and out of football in a couple years’ anyways so it won’t matter.

  8. Most people don’t learn by argument. They learn by experience. Modern life for the most part is so easy that people spend their entire lives, if they are lucky, without being exposed to the kinds of hard experience from which until recently everyone learned basic truths. It’s a pity that people have to keep relearning such truths at sometimes great personal cost. A better educational system might help here.

  9. My aunt used to give injections to children and said that some had a reaction to them if all were given at the same time. She liked to space them out, but obviously insurance companies and the government did not like this. There isn’t any scientific evidence for this, but forty years of experience and anecdotal stories seem to prove her right.

  10. Out here, we have been confronted with the West Nile Virus for some years. Carried primarily by mosquitoes, our city has sprayed neighborhoods via airplanes.

    It is amazing – but a few people – are virulently against spraying. I guess they are close cousins

    to the anti-vaccers.

    From what I have read of it – I don’t want it.

  11. “It is amazing – but a few people – are virulently against spraying. I guess they are close cousins”

    They are probably related to the anti-DDT people. Rachel Carson was the first successful propagandist on ecology. Her arguments have been disproved and hundreds of millions have died of malaria in Africa but she is still revered.

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