The New York Times claims that this insane “presidential vaccine controversy” we’re all taking about raises important questions about “how to approach matters that have been settled among scientists but are not widely accepted by conservatives.” Well, here’s another question: How do we deal with the false perception that liberals are more inclined to trust science than conservatives? Or, how do we approach the media’s fondness for focusing on the unscientific views of some conservatives but ignoring the irrational—and oftentimes, more consequential—beliefs of their fellow liberals? It’s no big deal for us to ask Republican evolution skeptics to raise their hands or force a bogus Senate vote to try and shame Republicans, yet no reporter would ever think to ask a pro-choice politician if they believe life begins at conception. Sometimes denialism matters and sometimes it doesn’t. Though outing a GOP candidate as a skeptic of science may confirm the secular liberal’s own sense of intellectual superiority, it usually has nothing to do with policy. Then again, if you walk around believing that pesticides are killing your children or that fracking will ignite your drinking water or if you hyperventilate about the threat of the ocean consuming your city, you have a viewpoint that not only conflicts with science but undermines progress. So how do we approach matters that have been settled among scientists but are not widely accepted by liberals? Vaccines There is little proof that conservatives are any less inclined to vaccinate their children than anyone else. If we’re interested in politicizing the controversy, though, there is a good case to be made for the opposite. Analysis via TheFederalist.com.
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