This post is in response to a Facebook meme picturing Amanda Peet, with a quote attributed to her as, “Frankly, I feel that parents who don’t vaccinate their children are parasites.” A friend shared the image and noted, “Well…she’s a bit harsher than I would be. But still….” Here’s my take on the semantic implications of “parasite,” as well as some recommended alternatives to the term.
|Mistletoe: Our Favorite Parasite.|
I agree it's a little blunt.
But it does seem supported by one prevalent thread of the logic. It seems to go like this:
First, let's say that I believe the potential side-effects of vaccinations could pose a risk to my children.
Second, again imagining, I hypothetically believe that prior generations of vaccinated children and the majority today who vaccinate their children have so reduced the risk of certain diseases that, even unvaccinated, my child is unlikely to contract those diseases.
Therefore it follows that I can avoid one remotely potential risk to my children (vaccination) because the other potential risk (disease, disability, and/or death) has been made even MORE remote by the majority who have chosen (past and present) to vaccinate their children.
Given that thread of logic, "parasite" is entirely accurate. I would be leeching benefit from the resources accrued through the risks and responsibilities of others.
But there is at least one alternative thread of logic.
|Clearly, this is far preferable...|
1-If vaccinations are an unnatural intrusion into the natural order, and
2-if they do pose a risk of potential side-effects from proactively disrupting the regular decimation of the human population through epidemic disease, then
3-it stands to reason that a more natural course demands that we only react to disease once it has occurred, and then only to quarantine all who have potentially been exposed. This will allow us to see whether our children are genetically preferred or not (or, for those who object to the "survival of the fittest" implications, more divinely loved or not) on the basis of whether or not they survive the outbreaks of measles, whooping cough, polio, etc.
Of course, those who would choose this second option, to impose their own preferences in this risky experiment upon the lives of others' children, would not accurately be considered "parasites."
|...to this. Isn't it?|
Some have called them psychopaths, which denotes them as responding appropriately, but to a reality other than what the rest of us are perceiving. (Remember, it's always the "sane" majority who gets to define "crazy.")
To others, their inability and/or unwillingness to consider the needs of persons with whom they interact would label them sociopaths.
Either way, to be clear about our main point here: "parasite" would not apply.
Instead, by inevitably introducing disease into their surrounding networks of trusted relationships, they would more accurately be described as "pathogens."
I am in favor of inoculating ourselves against them.