With the ongoing measles outbreak that started at Disneyland now rapidly closing in on 100 patients, a disease that was previously thought eradicated in the United States is now coming back in a big way.
On Tuesday night's edition of the still-new Nightly Show, host Larry Wilmore was quick to blame the anti-vaccination movement and argue that anti-vaxxers are putting their and other people's children at unnecessary risk just so that they have a reassuring power trip.
"Parents are opting not to vaccinate their kids, and their kids are opting to get sick. We asked the question: 'Are vaccinations dangerous?' Yes, if you don't get them!" Willmore began.
After comparing measles to another plague eliminated in 2000 (the Baha Men), he exasperatedly told anyone who takes "vaccines cause autism" quack Jenny McCarthy the truth: "Maybe it's just me, but i don't think it's a good idea to take medical advice from a non-doctor. i mean, a lot of my old friends disagreed, and I miss them every day."
As for her qualifications, Wilmore mocked her for attending the fictional Google University:
(Over here in Reality Town, medical professionals usually discourage people from seeking medical advice solely via Google, because the Internet is full of terrible and unvetted information.)
Later in the episode, Wilmore's discussion panel had a pretty good theory as to why parents are willingly exposing their children to such severe, unnecessary risk: It gives them a false sense of control over their world. Prominent anti-vaxxer Zoey O'Toole, one of Wilmore's guests, asked whether Wilmore knew that "vaccine manufacturers stand to make $40 billion from vaccines this year."
"But if somebody cures your kid of a disease and makes a lot of money, are you mad at them?" the host responded.
CBS News health correspondent Dr. Holly Phillips added that she thought "people want some sense of control."
You know, the kind of control that only comes from putting helpless children at risk of a deadly disease.
This lines up with the argument Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig outlined in The New Republic that disproportionately rich and well-educated anti-vaxxers who are deliberately foregoing vaccinations are pursuing an American an old ideal: supposedly enlightened personal choice for some, and who cares what the consequences are for the rest of us. It's bad enough when the issue is mundane public policy, but it's downright infuriating when children are getting sick because someone else decided they were smarter than the rest of us.
h/t Raw Story