bad science coronavirus empathy deficit

The Politics of Spite: Right-winger refuses to get vaccinated to “trigger the libs”

There’s an episode of Seinfeld in which the titular character tries to return a jacket to a high-end boutique. When asked why, he answers “for spite” — he doesn’t much care for the salesman to sold it to him in the first place. That doesn’t go over well with the staff at the boutique and they refuse to take the jacket back.

At times it seems like right-wing politics today is about nothing but spite. Donald Trump spent his four years in the White House trying to undo virtually every one of Obama’s accomplishments; his followers try to “trigger the libs” by refusing to wear masks indoors in the middle of a devastating pandemic.

Now a right-wing activist has written a little spitist manifesto for a reactionary America First publication called American Greatness in which he admits straight up that “I Won’t Take the Vaccine Because It Makes Liberals Mad.”

Peter D’Abrosca begins with a cursory run-through of some of the legitimate and quasi-legitimate medical reasons some cite as the reason they’re not getting the vaccine.

I will never allow myself to be injected with Big Pharma’s mass-produced mystery juice, in part because it was rushed out of the lab and into the manufacturing line like a replacement for a Honda Civic’s recalled airbags.

Never mind that the various vaccines have been thoroughly tested and serious side effects have been vanishingly rare.

But possible side-effects aren’t what’s driving his decision.

“But in truth,” he writes,

I’m not really avoiding the vaccine due to potential medical complications, or because of the speed with which it was produced.

And he’s not doing it because he’s some sort of libertarian fanatic.

Personal liberty is not the reason I’m avoiding it, either. I’m not a member of the “don’t tread on me” club.

No, the real reason is, to put it plainly, spite.

My primary reason for refusing the vaccine is much simpler: I dislike the people who want me to take it, and it makes them mad when they hear about my refusal. That, in turn, makes me happy.

Maybe it’s petty, but the thought of the worst people on planet earth, those whom I like to call the Branch Covidians, literally shaking as I stroll into Target vaccine-free, makes me smile. …

So I have decided that because the vile political Left, which I despise in the abstract, wants me to take their coveted vaccine, I simply will not.

None of this would matter if it were only D’Abrosca who would be hurt by his decision. If he wants to gamble with his life — he describes himself as “a healthy 29-year-old” whose chances of dying from COVID are “practically nil” — that would be fine by me. I honestly don’t care if he gets COVID or a piano falls on his head.

But by not getting the vaccine he puts others at risk; everyone who doesn’t get the vaccine makes it harder for the population as a whole to reach the “herd immunity” that makes viruses stop spreading.

And as long as some unvaccinated people are passing the illlness on to other vaccine-refuseniks, newer and potentially more deadly strains of the virus are more likely to develop — and some of these strains might be different enough to render our current vaccines moot.

If you want to know what it might look like if significant numbers of Americans refuse to get vaccinated, take a look at India today, where a lack of vaccines is sending the country into crisis. The US now has more vaccine than it needs; we need to help India out both because it’s the right thing to do and because it will help us too. If we don’t, we’re really no better than D’Abrosca.

I can’t help but think of that HuffPost piece a couple of years ago “I Don’t Know How To Explain To You That You Should Care About Other People.” Because I don’t know how to do that either, and if our country is going to be able to move on from the current pandemic (and survive all the other crises to come) we’re got to learn how to make people like D’Abrosca care, at least a little bit.

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57 replies on “The Politics of Spite: Right-winger refuses to get vaccinated to “trigger the libs””

Hbomberguy is working on a couple of videos about vaccines (it was originally a single video, but got too long). He’s released the first twenty minutes to patrons, and based on that it looks like it’ll be very good. He goes into detail about Wakefield.

Antivax opinions are not new. Charles Alfred Wallace, Darwin’s contemporary,was antivax.

@ Kevin
It kind of stands to reason that there would have been anti-vax people for as long as there have been vaccinations. There was probably some reason to be wary back when germ theory was still new and not really a proven thing, what with no one being able to explain how some people with the invisible tuberculosis thingies do not have any symptoms of tuberculosis and all that.

Some sciencing and eradicated diseases later, not so much.

@ Masse_Mysteria

Good point. Some early vaccines (cowpox, I’m looking at you) could have dangerous side effects too, which alarmed a public who were effectively subject to compulsory vaccination in some jurisdictions. ‘Raggedy Ann’ was one consequence of this.

Just to avoid confusion, that kumiss mention is apparently a reference to “plant based beer” vs. “animal based beer” from previous page.

“I will never allow myself to be injected with Big Pharma’s mass-produced mystery juice, in part because it was rushed out of the lab and into the manufacturing line like a replacement for a Honda Civic’s recalled airbags.”

You know, the funny thing is that he is technically not wrong here. The replacement for the faulty (read: exploding) Takata airbags for Honda Civics (as well as many other models) had to be rushed, distributed, and fitted on a very tight schedule.

The thing is that these new airbags that were rushed out were safe and prevented the faulty old airbags (which in his metaphor would be COVID) from literally exploding in your face and cutting you to pieces with shrapnel. So yes, not getting those rushed (but perfectly safe) new airbags fitted to your Civic (for free!) would mean that you are putting yourself in considerable danger of sustaining serious or deadly injuries in an event of an accident, in the same way that not getting the COVID vaccine puts you in danger of dying from COVID.

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