I read the following excerpted comments in a Slate article by Renee DiResta titled “This Dramatic Graph Shows How the Pro-Vaccine Movement Can Win” this morning:
The anti-vaxx movement is well-organized, it’s well-funded, and it’s media-savvy. … There are more anti-vaxx groups, and groups devoted to anti-vaccine advocacy have greater numbers than pro-vaccine groups. They are more inclined to participate in mass collective action… But just because the anti-vaxxers know how to speak louder doesn’t mean that there are actually more of them. In fact, it’s not even close; more than 90 percent of the population vaccinates their children.
My first thought was, “Wow, thanks Renee! Mighty kind of you.” From a grassroots standpoint, we are well-organized. I’m not so sure about well-funded. But yes, we are fairly media-savvy.
Of course, we’re still at a huge disadvantage because the pharmaceutical industry has obscenely deep pockets and they’ve succeeded in coercing or co-opting the vast majority of medical doctors, legislators, public health officials, and media types. The industry loves to spread the wealth in the name of preserving its market. Hey, after all, it’s a lucrative and captive market! The money just falls from the sky. Best of all: No liability.
Yes, we do speak louder, more coherently, and more intelligently. You know, it’s not even close. But no question… we’re clearly the minority in the debate over vaccine safety and effectiveness.
Let’s say that we vaccine dissenters are no more than 10 percent of the population in the US and other countries in the industrialized world. It sounds small, but I think the figure is deceptive, because you have to keep in mind that it’s not like we have to get that number up to 60 or 70 percent to win this thing. All we need is “critical mass,” and that may not be so far off as the mainstream vaccine community may think.
Ms. DiResta seems to assume that just because more than 90 percent of the population vaccinates its children, that means that more 90 percent strongly believes in the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. Not true. Most of those people vaccinate blindly, ignorantly, carelessly. They do so because that’s what their doctors and their government tell them to do. They naively trust their doctors and their government. But it wouldn’t take much to break that trust.
In other words, it’s a fragile trust. Many many pro-vaxxers have turned on a dime. Anti-vaxxers? Yeah, they’re pretty committed. Why? Because they’ve done their homework. They know what they’re talking about. Hey, they’re warriors. They’re not going to be intimidated or swayed by propaganda, slogans, superficial reasoning, and incomprehensible logic.
All it takes is for the minority in this debate to continue to aggressively and consistently and clearly present its case. In time, the majority will start to crack. Little cracks will appear here and there. Before you know it, the dam will burst and the waters of truth will gush.
The following is one of my favorite quotes from Søren Kierkegaard:
Truth always rests with the minority, and the minority is always stronger than the majority, because the minority is generally formed by those who really have an opinion, while the strength of a majority is illusory, formed by the gangs who have no opinion—and who, therefore, in the next instant (when it is evident that the minority is the stronger) assume its opinion… while truth again reverts to a new minority.
So don’t despair. The end is not so far as you might think. Okay, it’s not around the corner. But paradigm shifts in history often have a way of accelerating when least expected.