Anti-Vaccine Movement – A HUGE Libertarian Fail

Measles Patient
Measles Patient

Why are people still listening to a guy who’s had his medical license revoked and his report on the dangers of vaccines debunked and retracted?

Andrew Wakefield is Agent Zero in the anti-vaccine movement. He’s the (now unlicensed) doctor who came up with the idea that vaccines, including the measles/mumps/rubella (MMR), could cause autism. This set off a wave of panic and paranoia, albeit a seemingly small wave, that has nonetheless led to a resurgence of measles and whooping cough in this country. Memes like this one, posted on Tumblr, fueled the flame:

Anti-Vax Meme

Fortunately, a self-described rage-filled, alcohol-induced immunologist decided to educate the anti-vaxxers about vaccines by taking umbrage with the above meme, both for its message and its spelling errors. On an Internet posting, s/he breaks down each element of the meme, beginning the rebuttal with “You are the worst person.”? It is definitely worth a read.

According to a paper published by the National Institutes of Health,

?Currently, the weight of the available epidemiological and related evidence does not support a causal association between MMR vaccine, or any other vaccine or vaccine constituent, and autism.?

Study after study has turned up no link between autism and vaccines. So why all the uprising against a practice that has saved lives and has been proven to cause little or no harm? While fear drove the initial decrease in childhood vaccines, it now seems that Wakefield’s ?findings? have been hijacked by some Libertarian-types who view vaccines as an infringement on their rights. You know the old saying ?the well-being of the many outweighs the rights of the few?? Or is it the other way around? See, this is the age-old question. Pro-vaxxers, as they are known, are now trying to make the case that if you don’t care enough about your kid to have him/her vaccinated, you should do it for the good of the ?many.? Anti-vaxxers don’t believe it’s their responsibility to worry about the good of the many. Now it has become a matter of public health. While some school districts require that children be vaccinated before they are allowed to attend school, there are enough loopholes to allow parents to shun the recommended series of shots that were once 100% effective in eliminating many childhood diseases.

For more on the debunked study, check out this article on, which reports that:

?A now-retracted British study that linked autism to childhood vaccines was an ‘elaborate fraud’ that has done long-lasting damage to public health, a leading medical publication reported Wednesday.?


“Wakefield has been unable to reproduce his results in the face of criticism, and other researchers have been unable to match them. Most of his co-authors withdrew their names from the study in 2004 after learning he had had been paid by a law firm that intended to sue vaccine manufacturers — a serious conflict of interest he failed to disclose.”

Sometimes the health and well-being of the many DOES trump the rights of the few. Especially when the minority is basing their cause on a paper written by a doctor exhibiting an abhorrent lack of ethics, honesty, and professionalism.


Beth is a lifelong bleeding heart liberal who has become more intense and adamant (but not dogmatic!) about her politics the older she gets. This is not a popular stance in a red state like Georgia, but it is moderately better than when she lived in Birmingham. She has found like-minded individuals through her Episcopal church and websites like LiberalAmerica.