“Distrust of Government is Bad for You,” Part Deux

Part One, posted on December 27, wound up on a Twitter screenshot and brought a number of responses. So did the original post, a response to COVID Vaccine Hesitancy and Risk of a Traffic Crash, a recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine (AJM). 

“The logic that an unvaxed person is irresponsible and, therefore, a bad/risky driver is such a stretch,” stated one commenter. According to another, “the ridiculous question they asked BEGGED for a fallacy correlation and they didn’t fail to find it.” 

Yet another called the study “absolutely rubbish,” but “one would also have to wonder about the agenda of Billingsley himself.” Another contended, “Studies show the author of this article is a government shill,” but didn’t reveal the actual studies. A following comment suggested reading the conclusion of my article, which yet another commenter said, “glows so brightly I’m using it to light my home.” 

The COVID vaccine hesitancy authors should have tackled why people may distrust the government. The reality that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines do not prevent infection or transmission of COVID could play a role in that distrust. The authors fault “misgivings around public health guidelines” but fail to assess how such guidelines accord with actual medical science. The principles of “first do no harm,” and informed consent also deserve consideration. 

Recall that White House Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, who claims to represent science, recommended that people wear no masks, one mask, and then two masks. That might elicit more than a few misgivings. Remember that Dr. Fauci’s bio shows no advanced molecular biology or biochemistry degrees. A government bureaucrat since 1968, Dr. Fauci has headed the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 1984. 

“Alternative factors” in vaccine hesitancy include “political identity.” Still, despite a wealth of choices, the authors don’t identify or detail the identity. Vaccine hesitancy, they contend, could be due to a “belief in freedom,” and that remains one of those topics “for more research.” 

Authors Donald A. Redelmeier, MD FRCPC MSHSR, FACP; Jonathan Wang, MMASc; and Deva Thiruchelvam, MSc, are welcome to show how belief in dictatorship or totalitarianism factors into vaccine hesitancy. That would be a fine sequel for the American Journal of Medicine

Meanwhile, a more general distrust of government could be due to factors such as military conscription, false claims by politicians and bureaucrats, and the government waste, fraud, and abuse regularly chronicled on this website. As always, comments and Twitter screenshots are welcome. 

K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at American Greatness.
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