Anti-Maskers are the New Anti-Vaxxers

Image from Business Insider. Apparently a “clever” dig at the pro-choice movement that actually proves the point of the pro-choice movement?

I have little respect for Anti-Vaxxers.

Correction: I have zero respect for Anti-Vaxxers.

They reject science. They put others in danger. They are entitled and selfish.

They might argue that there is science connecting vaccinations to autism, thus justifying their choice. While there is a rise in diagnoses of autism, and while those increases may be outpacing additional screening, there is no credible evidence linking vaccines with autism.

If you want to know where it all started, thank Dr. Andrew Wakefield. He and 12 colleagues published a study in The Lancet, a well-respected medical journal. The study suggested a possible causal link between the MMR vaccine and autism.


However, the study involved only twelve children (yup, more doctors than subjects) and suffered from a lack of control group and unsubstantiated conclusions. The study was so bad, in fact, that it was later retracted, and Wakefield was found to have perpetrated deliberate fraud and falsification of facts.

(This may not shock you: some of the funding for Wakefield’s research came from lawyers pursuing cases against vaccine manufacturers.)

But let’s be real: no amount of science or fact will change the mind of the Anti-Vaxxer. Studies suggest the opposite: showing data to this group will only entrench them further in their beliefs. Sure, they’re wrong, but they won’t have you question their overt wrongness.

They will insist that their fear is warranted and that their children’s lack of debilitating disease is proof that the body’s natural immune system is enough. They’ll tell you they’ve grown stronger against virulent attacks. They’ll show off their health as proof that skipping vaccines works.

They are wrong.

In fact, vaccines are probably what are saving their lives, despite their unfounded animosity.

You’ve heard a lot lately about “herd immunity” regarding the novel coronavirus. The scientific maxim is that we can achieve immunity from a disease when enough of our society has been exposed to that disease and successfully fought it off. We win with teamwork.

Here’s the thing that Anti-Vaxxers don’t acknowledge: It’s the vaccinated kids that are providing the privilege of herd immunity for them. The rest of us are vaccinated, so we’ve exposed ourselves to the viruses deliberately. By getting vaccinated, we’ve done the work for the Anti-Vaxxers. They can thrive because we all did our part. And they can be smug because we’re preventing them from getting polio, measles, and smallpox.

And I can’t respect people who don’t do their part on the group project and still get the “A.”

Which brings me to the Anti-Maskers, the latest version of a privileged group refusing to do the right thing in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence.

They reject science. They put others in danger. They are entitled and selfish.

From ABCNews. See? Even he can learn. Despite SO much evidence to the contrary.

Masks work.

Everyone knows it.

Every quality scientist and medical organization agrees.

· Dr. Fauci, the leading infectious disease specialist in the country, says to wear a mask.

· The National Institutes of Health say to wear a mask.

· The Surgeon General says to wear a mask.

It’s simple. And effective.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), whose job is, literally, controlling disease, says that mask usage for 4–8 weeks would control the virus in the United States. One to two months. And all it takes is mask-wearing. Why can’t we wear a small piece of cloth for a few weeks to save thousands of lives? That seems like a small price to pay.

From the New York Times. Fun when “health” is confused with “tyranny” and when all of the worst types of people can find each other.

But there are still people who won’t do it because it infringes on their freedoms. Or it’s uncomfortable. Or it’s un-American.

I’m old enough to remember when seat belt wearing wasn’t mandatory. And do you know how people argued against that mandate? It infringed on their freedom. It was uncomfortable. It was un-American.

In fact, one staunch Anti-Belter wrote in an op-ed in 1987: “In this country, saving freedom is more important than trying to regulate lives through legislation.”

In 2002 (!), another Anti-Belter wrote this: “Such laws are an unwarranted intrusion by government into the personal lives of citizens; they deny through prior restraint the right to determine one’s own individual personal health-care standard.”

Sound familiar?

If not, here’s a quote from a recent Anti-Masker protest: “Our freedoms are being hit hard from so many angles right now, and this protest is going to bring to light TRUTH about COVID-19, why a virus or really NOTHING is ever an acceptable reason to take away your rights.”

Another suggested “It’s not connecting to the science. It’s propaganda… I trust myself. I am the science.”

(If “I am the science” isn’t the perfect encapsulation of the cult-like science rejection of the last almost-four years, I’m not sure what is.)

Like the Anti-Vaxxers, the Anti-Maskers also conjure fringe scientific “proof” that masks don’t work and are actually harmful. Here are the two main arguments:

1) The size of the particles of this virus are so small that they would easily penetrate the cloth mask, making it easy to get infected anyway.

2) The mask forces the wearer to breathe in their own carbon dioxide, thus poisoning the body with its own emissions.

What’s amazing is that the Anti-Masker crowd will claim that both of these are true simultaneously. In essence, a mask is so porous it allows viruses to penetrate, yet also so impermeable that carbon dioxide can’t escape.

Masks aren’t hurting anyone, and they aren’t letting the virus win. They are the simplest, most cost effective, most readily available way to stop the spread of a deadly pandemic. Most of us feel more comfortable without a mask and don’t like being told what to do, but we have to get over it. It’s a societal pandemic that can’t be solved until society deals with it.

The reason that you, the Anti-Masker, can scream in a Costco or yell at a barista without fear of infection is that the rest of the people around you are doing their part. They are saving your life, despite the fact that you show disdain for theirs. They protect you by believing the science that you reject.

You are relying on herd immunity because you don’t think you’re vulnerable. Perhaps you’re listening to the Bystander-in-Chief or perhaps you haven’t seen the virus wreak havoc on someone you care about yet. But you will.

Herd immunity is a LONG way off. Even once we have a vaccine, it’ll take a while for it to get to everyone. And herd immunity requires hundreds of millions of people in this country to build up antibodies. Your plan is a faulty one.

It’s time for a new plan: Put on a mask. Wear it for the limited time that you are outside and exposed to other people. Protect them and yourself from a deadly pandemic that has already claimed over 140,000 in this country.

You claim to be proudly American? Prove it. Save some Americans.




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Jamie Kanter

Jamie Kanter

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