As biblical rains – euphemistically called atmospheric rivers – pound the Northwest and flood plains, roads and sweep away livestock, houses and infrastructure, we’re enjoying a pint at our harbourfront pub, nice and cozy, looking at a curtain of water where islands and mountains are supposed to be. This also marks the week when BC is rolling out vaccinations for children 5-11 years old.
‘If the parents are not vaccinated, then the kids will not be either,’ Camp said when I mentioned that.
‘That’s a rather generalized opinion,’ I said, ‘but you’re right: you cannot convince people with reason and logic, statistics and common sense when their minds are made up that the earth is flat and we are the center of the universe.’
‘Anti-vaxxers consist mainly of supporters of populist and far-right parties, but also acolytes of alternative medicine, religious and ideological zealots, some new age hippies and libertarians. Hard to argue with those who are convinced of their own righteousness or have a direct line to God or the Devil.’
‘There is an excellent study published in the Toronto Star: Who is getting sick?
‘We function as a society when we follow the same rules of conduct and behaviour, like rules of social interaction, as saying ‘thank you’ when somebody does a service or a kindness and driving on the same side of the road as everybody else. Society breaks down when people go rogue and flaunt those rules and don’t respect the laws and common directives any longer.’
‘I know. It’s called anarchy and chaos.’
‘Some people prefer those disorders, gives them reasons to arm themselves, howl against the state and authority,’ Camp shrugged.
‘We were able to convince most people that smoking cigarettes is a bad and an unhealthy habit at best and a killer at worst. You think putting pictures of black lungs and dire warnings on cigarette packages helped the message?’
‘Not really. You want to smoke you don’t care about the message,’ Camp said.
‘Why aren’t we forcing Coca-Cola to put pictures of obese children and exploding hearts on their cans?’
‘Good question. They can reduce the sugar in pop but you cannot take the smoke out of cigarettes or the room you smoke in. Logic also dictates that in order to stay healthy and live longer we take precaution against disease and harmful activities. We don’t drink dirty water and we don’t expose ourselves to extreme conditions.’
‘And we take a vaccine if it helps to prevent contagion, sickness and death,’ I said.
‘Sounds logical and common sensical to me,’ Camp said.
‘Logic and common sense apparently didn’t convince enough people in Austria where now there is a vaccine mandate and the message also does not get through to many people in Wyoming or Romania and much of the developing world. Are logic and common sense acquired skills?’
‘I believe so,’ Camp nodded, ‘and passed on from parents, teachers and community leaders and opposed by dogmatic preachers, misanthropes and social trolls.’
‘In other words, it’s education and erudition, science and empirical evidence as opposed to conclusions based on heresy and unsubstantiated opinions. Exactly what we’re facing with regards to the vaccine, which is a single issue, and our self-defeating, destructive habits with regards to our environment which is a tragedy unfolding on a much larger scale.’
‘We have the knowledge, the means and the evidence. Then why are we not following through and apply logic and common sense to solve these problems? Is it because of greed, short sightedness and selfishness?’
‘Well, it’s not self-preservation, altruism and community spirit that drives our societies but consumer orgies like ‘Black Friday’ and Christmas,’ Camp said, just a tad cynical.
‘Bo-humbug,’ Vicky quipped while swapping our empties out, ‘you two need to have a laugh once in a while. It’s the season to be merry after all.’