Up@dawn 2.0

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Aversion to the Unnatural

Eula Biss does a phenomenal job of presenting the sides of the vaccination debate. I have some VERY strong feelings about the subject, so it's cool that she's able to show how the anti-vaccination rhetoric can appeal while not demonizing anti-vaxers. I may not agree with them, but we gain nothing when we fail to see the opposing side as people, complete with relatable concerns and realistic motivations.

And the motivation that strikes me as most convincing of all the arguments you could give to choose not to vaccinate your child, is the appeal to a "natural immune development". Now look, I'm all about technological assistance. Medicine and engineering can do wonders to help humans survive in a hostile world. Do you know what I don't like? Contaminants. That's all you have to do. A one-word relabel is all it takes to give me an icky feeling about the whole business. Connotations have power. So if clever language is all it takes to play on emotions, I can see how people can get swept up. That someone would rather risk fatal illness than potential autism is still hideously offensive, but not wanting to have mysterious chemicals affecting your body seems . . . well, sensible. More sensible, anyway. When you put it like that. We're thankfully more aware of what we're doing to nature now, as well as what increasing industrialization can do to harm us, but that awareness can also bite us by leaving us open to these knee-jerk reactions.

I guess what I'm coming away with, at least here at the beginning, is more willingness to engage in polite discourse with those on the other side of the debate, but also a heightened awareness of just how easy it is to spin things. Even when you have all the information, how it's said is just as important as the content itself. We can all afford to hear each other out, especially when it comes to such a stressful, pressure-ful topic.

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