In a recently published opinion piece, The New York Times all but declared war against Americans who question the safety of vaccines. Of course, the war being waged is – for the moment – a war of words, an Information War.
This skeptical and vocal group – collectively and pejoratively known as anti-vaxxers – have successfully built a movement of parents, activists, doctors, and journalists who question the safety of vaccines; the schedule and frequency of immunizations; the legality and morality of forced vaccinations; and the influence of Big Pharma on vaccine safety studies.
Yet, according to the NY Times, Americans who question vaccines, or those who simply support freedom of choice and bodily autonomy, are a part of the roadblock to public acceptance of a coming COVID-19 vaccine and they must be stopped. The Times’ piece, Get Ready for a Vaccine Information War, outlines how “social media is already filling up with misinformation about a Covid-19 vaccine, months or years before one even exists.” The writer goes on to outline his worst fear – “What if we get a Covid-19 vaccine and half the country refuses to take it?”
“It occurred to me that all the misinformation we’ve seen so far — the false rumors that 5G cellphone towers fuel the coronavirus, that drinking bleach or injecting UV rays can cure it, that Dr. Anthony Fauci is part of an anti-Trump conspiracy — may be just the warm-up act for a much bigger information war when an effective vaccine becomes available to the public. This war could pit public health officials and politicians against an anti-vaccination movement that floods social media with misinformation, conspiracy theories and propaganda aimed at convincing people that the vaccine is a menace rather than a lifesaving, economy-rescuing miracle.
Scariest of all? It could actually work.”
The writer goes on to express his fear there are several reasons the “anti-vaxxers” might succeed in their efforts to “sow doubt” about a COVID-19 vaccine.
The writer admits that the “pandemic’s urgency” increases the likelihood that a COVID-19 vaccine will be fast-tracked through testing and approval. “It may not go through years of clinical trials and careful studies of possible long-term side effects, the way other drugs do,” he concedes. However, rather than exploring the potential pitfalls of approving an untested vaccine and attempting to inoculate the entire world, the writer focuses his efforts on making sure the reader is aware that the lack of testing “could create an opening for anti-vaccine activists to claim that it is untested and dangerous, and to spin reasonable concerns about the vaccine into widespread, unfounded fears about its safety.”
The writer (and his editor) seem more concerned with scoring points against the vaccine skeptics rather than investigating whether fast-tracking vaccines is the best path forward.
The second reason he believes the skeptics could succeed in creating doubt about a COVID-19 vaccine relates to those who are involved in the production and distribution of future vaccines, namely the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Health Organization. He warns if these two organizations lead the way “anti-vaccine activists, who have been crusading against these groups for years, will have plenty of material stockpiled to try to discredit them.” Once again, rather than exploring the concerns of the public and fact-checking the many existing conflicts of interest involving Bill Gates, The Times dismisses the concerns as “baseless conspiracy theories.”
The Last American Vagabond has repeatedly exposed how the Gates Foundation (and the Gates-funded WHO) are funding a nexus of various non-profits, NGOs, government bodies, and pharmaceutical companies.
Finally, The Times acknowledges that one of the biggest fears of the skeptics – that travel, work, and normal life might not resume without proof of vaccination – is likely true but dismisses any attempt at dialogue on the topic. “Third, if and when a Covid-19 vaccine is approved for widespread use, people may be required to take it before being allowed to fly on certain airlines, attend certain schools or enter certain businesses,” he admits. Of course, to this writer and The NY Times, “That’s a good idea, public health-wise, but it would play into some of the worst fears of the anti-vaccine movement.” The writer does acknowledge that many activists are concerned about mandatory vaccinations.
Beyond the one sentence acknowledgement, he does not dare dive deep into the constitutional questions surrounding forced vaccinations. While he notes that people may be required to receive a vaccine to fly, work, attend school, or enter certain businesses, he does not bother answering the question of why Americans are concerned about such policies.
Instead, the writer and The Times stake their claims on the pro-vaccine, pro-government force side of the debate. In their declaration that a “vaccine information war” is coming they clearly establish their position and make it known they believe in the “need to mobilize a pro-vaccine movement that is as devoted, as internet-savvy and as compelling as the anti-vaccine movement.” They call for the CDC and WHO to wage a “hearts-and-minds campaign to restore faith in the medical establishment,” social media companies to “take the threat of vaccine-related misinformation seriously,” and for the pro-vaccine, pro-force crowd to “do everything we can to reach the people in our lives who might be susceptible to anti-vaccine propaganda.”
While The Times believes that public desire to “return to normal life might overpower anti-vaccine activism,” it appears the COVID-19 pandemic has invigorated the vaccine skeptics and supporters of health freedom. However, The Times is correct – there is an information war taking place at this very moment. This information war has been waged throughout the history of kingdoms, churches, and states.
At this point in history one of the most crucial aspects of this information war is the vaccine information war. We are in the final stages of the battle for hearts and minds – the struggle between those who believe in freedom and those who believe in control. More specifically, the fight between the principles of self-ownership, freedom of choice, freedom of association, and basic human dignity.. and those who believe in collectivism, force, and slavery.