The national debate over measles vaccinations has become more than a matter of health and safety. What should have been a simple decision by parents to inoculate their children with the vaccine has become wrapped up with irresponsible libertarian notions of freedom, near religious belief in the “truth” contained in celebrity Internet postings, and a growing refusal by many Americans to trust government to protect and advance the common good.
Unfortunately, this country is going to see more and more of this toxic mix of “Live Free of Die”, Jenny McCarthy’s and Oprah’s phony medical advice and the innate evil of government programs and policies. We now live in a time when political narcissism has run rampant, professional advice is ignored and the revered concept of E Pluribus Unum holds little meaning.
Why anyone would think that unfettered freedom carries with it no responsibility,that television and movie starlets have all the answers to the world’s problems, and that government officials are part of some dark, underground conspiracy needs to check into a facility to have their common sense examined.
It is safe to say that this country will never return to the days when people talked with their doctor about medical issues, freedom was always balanced with order, and government worked to make the entire country stronger, safer and prosperous. There is no doubt that America and Americans face a dangerous range of threats both internal and external, but the measles controversy just added another one – the false notion that personal freedom to solve personal problems by surfing the Net or listening to some charlatan libertarian or ignoring the warnings of government experts has taken hold. Should this false notion continue, we as a nation are in far more trouble than we may think.