Fighting the New Stupidity

February 6, 2015 10:28 PM

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Fighting the New Stupidity

The ridiculous right and the loony left are in agreement: Vaccinations are a government plot to give your child autism. As longshoreman philosopher Eric Hoffer noted long ago, the nominal ideological differences between different groups of extremists are negligible. However divergent their doctrines, fringe groups are united by a deep bond of irrationality. The nuts we will have with us always, even unto the end of the world, so why get too exercised about this latest excrescence of goofiness? Two reasons: First, some of the prospective GOP presidential candidates have made noises friendly to the anti-vaxxers. Rand Paul offered an anecdote about children who are "walking and talking" but then develop severe mental problems after being vaccinated. Wow. Did this guy get his medical diploma from a Crackerjack box?

A second and deeper reason for being concerned is that the anti-vaccination clique, though small, is another symptom of what I call "the New Stupidity," the flight of sizable segments of American society and culture from scientific rationality. As I noted in an earlier post ("How did we Become a Soc...

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