For about five years, between 2006 and 2011, HuffPo was a hotbed bed of anti-vaccine conspiracy theorizing. I remember this well because back in those days, when I ran this site’s Big Hollywood vertical, our contributors regularly responded to this madness.
The whole anti-vaxx (as it became known) thing was nuts, a way for fading celebrities to pretend to be the vanguard of a Great Cause that Saved The Children from a sinister government conspiracy. The destructive narcissism on display as they held themselves up as America’s brave truth-tellers was as nauseating as watching them virtue-signal their way into the spotlight.
Bill Maher, Jessica Biel, Charlie Sheen, Kirstie Alley, Selma Blair, Rob Schneider, Erin Brockovich, Juliette Lewis, and, before he became president, even Donald Trump, all helped to spread this nonsense.
By 2015, Republicans like Chris Christie and Rand Paul were flirting with it.
The idea behind the conspiracy is that these miracle vaccines — and they are medical miracles — can cause autism, when there is no data to back that up.
Nevertheless, HuffPo, with its open forum that allowed anyone to publish pretty much anything, especially if that person’s celebrity made founder Arianna Huffington look connected and plugged in, took what was a harmless groups of celebutard quacks and weaponized them into the mainstream. Suddenly the lunacy of not having your child immunized became an act of being down with Playboy Playmate Jenny McCarthy’s struggle.
And now, as was expected, America is dealing with a serious measles outbreak.
Did you know that 19 years ago we completely eradicated measles in this country?
With the return of this disease, what had been working just fine — a sensible opt-out policy that still kept vaccination rates high enough to protect what is known as herd immunity — is now, by necessity, becoming yet another coercive government program.
For example, earlier this month, New York repealed its religious exemptions for vaccinations.
You see, once upon a time, before the Huffington Post decided to treat Jim Carrey like a Big Thinker, it was not necessary to force everyone to get immunized. If the immunization rate is somewhere around 90 percent, that’s good enough, and this ten percent leeway (that’s a ballpark figure) allowed for parents to opt-out based on religious, philosophical, or medical concerns.
These opt-out opportunities, which varied state-by-state, were able to hit the perfect American sweet spot — that spot between public safety and the individual conscience.
But after a bunch of cynical preeners jumped on the bandwagon, that sweet spot is probably going to have to close even more. Even California has had to clamp down.
Also unfortunate is the fact that a major left-wing publication has now been shamed into memory-holing dozens of opinion pieces. But that is only the fault of Arianna Huffington and the Huffington Post, who could have and should have handled this debate more responsibly at the time. No one wants any debate shamed out of existence, but here we are…
Back in 2015, in a piece critical of Christie and Paul, I warned: “If you want the government to truly mandate vaccinations, keep feeding these anti-vaxx conspiracies. Once the anti-vaxx movement grows in size to where immunization rates drop to dangerous levels, the government will definitely step in.”
This has been today’s episode of “Liberals Eventually Ruin Everything.“