What Are No-Vaxxers Thinking?

Derek Thompson, writing for The Atlantic:

What are they thinking, these vaccine-hesitant, vaccine-resistant, and COVID-apathetic? I wanted to know. So I posted an invitation on Twitter for anybody who wasn’t planning to get vaccinated to email me and explain why. In the past few days, I spoke or corresponded with more than a dozen such people. I told them that I was staunchly pro-vaccine, but this wouldn’t be a takedown piece. I wanted to produce an ethnography of a position I didn’t really understand. […]

This is the no-vaxxer deep story in a nutshell: I trust my own cells more than I trust pharmaceutical goop; I trust my own mind more than I trust liberal elites.

This reminds me a lot of Isaac Asimov’s “cult of ignorance”:

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge”.

The problem is deeply exacerbated by right-wing news media, particularly Fox News, and particularly Tucker Carlson’s top-rated nightly show. Has Anthony Fauci been wrong about some things during the COVID crisis? Yes. Has he been far more right than wrong? Definitely yes. But the Fox News take on Fauci (and the CDC writ large, but it’s very much personal about Fauci) is that he’s an egghead careerist bureaucrat who has been wrong more than right about COVID. That’s just not the case.

Monday, 3 May 2021