The New York couple donating millions to the anti-vax movement (

92 points by dankohn1 124 days ago

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aqme28 124 days ago

> Hedge fund manager and philanthropist Bernard Selz and his wife, Lisa...

The title "philanthropist" should be revoked for cases like this.

    QuercusMax 124 days ago

    Philanthropist means something like "humanity-lover"; would they be:

    * Misanthropists (humanity-hater)?

    * Philnosists (disease-lover)?

    Apologies for my extremely poor knowledge of Greekish (by which I mean "scientific-ish English with Greek word roots").

      marak830 124 days ago

      Well they certainly don't love humans if they are anti-vax. They are instead well funded misguided fools who will cause death.

      So I'd worry less about the Greek, more just call them idiots and assistant murderers.

        SEJeff 124 days ago

        anti-vax aka pro-disease

          echelon 124 days ago

          This is a great term that clarifies the debate. We should all start using this.

            SEJeff 124 days ago

            It is why I try to use it when feasible. It does a better job of indicating "the other side's" views.

            Youden 124 days ago

            I don't think we should. Calling people names won't help change their minds.

            Call them something that indicates the true problem: misinformed.

        gelotar 124 days ago

        Right? You either love vaccines or you hate humans. It's simple.

          stakhanov 124 days ago

          I hate humans. But I'm still pro-vax.

        superpowerby 124 days ago

        Maybe they just want to see the world burn and populations cut heavily so as to avoid overpopulation and further co2 emissions. I think they are doing god's work. Where can I sign up and chip in?

      ousta 124 days ago

      thats the marketing name for tax evasion

soperj 124 days ago

>“They should be allowed to have the measles if they want the measles,”

Just inject them with measles then, and keep them away from the rest of the population.

edit: this is also an argument against charitable donations being tax write-offs.

    stakhanov 124 days ago

    ...the problem is that the test for charitable status has not all that much to do with working for/against humanity's best interests. One aspect is not generating a profit. The other aspect puts "science" and "religion" in the same category. I think that just about sums it up.

      dragonwriter 124 days ago

      > One aspect is not generating a profit.


      The “nonprofit” part means not returning a profit to investors or other stakeholders. It has nothing to do with generating profits or not.

        stakhanov 124 days ago the accounting sense YES. But in a deeper sense: If a tree fell in a forest and no one was there to see it happen, did the tree really fall? If a profit is generated that is not returned and not allowed to ever be returned, is the profit not just a loss waiting to happen? Deep shit right there. Truly deep shit.

    conanbatt 124 days ago

    > Just inject them with measles then, and keep them away from the rest of the population.

    I think people advocating for violence and assassination are a tad more dangerous than anti-vaxers.

      124 days ago

      smartmeter 124 days ago

      Are you aware that there are new strains of measles that are causing the "outbreaks" and ALL who are spreading it are vaccinated? - No different than flu vaccines. They are always at least 1 to 2 years behind the strain of the virus. I expected better research from the comments on here. - Oh wait, the government advocates the vaccines, and we all know the government is only here to help... so facts be damned.

        conanbatt 124 days ago

        Do you have sources for this? Never heard of this

        mistermann 124 days ago

        I've never heard this before, any decent articles you recall?

      pjc50 124 days ago

      Anti-vaxers are advocating for the slow unpleasant death of children. Anyway, I suppose it's all free speech, isn't it?

        conanbatt 124 days ago

        The op is advocating for the actual murder of a population. But I'm glad he feels free enough to expose his rotten moral compass.

          stochastic_monk 124 days ago

          No, infecting them with measles and quarantining them isn’t “actual murder of a population”. Strawmanning an argument to an ad hominem is two leaps too far.

    marak830 124 days ago

    You would have to quarantine them for the people who cannot have vaccines.

    Or everytime they risked someone in such a state charge them with attempted murder, or at least assault wtih a deadly weapon.

      camhenlin 124 days ago

      Exactly- if a person created a device that dispersed diseases and placed it in a public area, would they not be charged with a crime? Is it much different to enter public areas unvaccinated, knowing that you might be a carrier of a disease that could be vaccinated against, especially when there are active outbreaks happening?

        conanbatt 124 days ago

        Sure, and while at it, put every single car driver in the same space. Shouldn't people in cars be segregated as they put the lives at risk of others when they go out in the public with those metal contraptions? Shouldn't they be charged for risking the lives of all, when we already know how many people perish in their hands?

          fzeroracer 124 days ago

          This is a false analogy. Deaths from car accidents are unavoidable because driving a car is a societal requirement for many careers or needs. In the cases where those deaths were avoidable such as due to drunk driving, we rightfully penalize and criminalize people that put others at an unnecessary risk.

          Deaths from people refusing to vaccinate are an entirely avoidable issue. They choose not to vaccinate and in turn threaten the lives of those around them with gross negligence, especially those that are medically unable to be vaccinated. Which is exactly what being anti-vaxx means: it means being in favor of negligence that can and does result in many avoidable deaths of people without other choice.

            conanbatt 124 days ago

            > Deaths from car accidents are unavoidable because driving a car is a societal requirement for many careers or needs

            Absolutely avoidable. Just don't get into a car. Most of humanity that ever existed was able to avoid it just fine. In fact, challenge me to not get into a car for one year for 100,000U$S and I will do it, no questions asked.

      astrodust 124 days ago

      Biological terrorism.

      Measles is one of the gentler kinds of fatal disease out there. Polio might make a come-back. Smallpox could rise again.

    snarf21 124 days ago

    Exactly this. But don't stop there, give them polio too. Let's see how their vaccines are holding up from long ago. I also think people who get one of the diseases from someone who ever visits their site or whatever should sue them for damages. We don't let people yell "Fire!" in a movie theater, it is considered a form of terrorism. This is no different. We need to prevent these people from getting access to any government services that we can until they get vaccinated.

      conanbatt 124 days ago

      > We need to prevent these people from getting access to any government services that we can until they get vaccinated.

      It's a great opportunity to apply this ban, but exempt all taxation from the individuals, as they are cut off from all government services.

    toss1 124 days ago

    There are several problems with this (other than that giving them the measles vaccine is a safer version of the same thing).

    First problem is that the anti-vaxxers are both ignorant of history and unable to reason about risk. They ignore the centuries of disease, the then-common human experience of bearing a dozen kids and having only a few live to adulthood, and they vastly distort the risks and ignore the rewards of vaccines.

    Worse yet, they are entitled freeloaders, freeloading on the herd immunity that is created and maintained by the smart people.

    This specifically endangers those who need to rely upon the herd immunity, the not insignificant part of the population who cannot be vaccinated due to other medical conditions. The anti-vaxxers are literally threatening the lives of these people.

    So, if we wanted to do that, the anti-vaxxers need to be shunned, hard. This means zero access to any public space. Remember, many of these diseases are so highly contagious that an infection can occur merely by walking through the same space hours after an infected person has been through.

    So, the anti-vaxxers exclusion list would start with: schools, govt buildings, malls, grocery stores, and all forms of public transport including buses, trains, planes, and even taxi/Uber/Lyft. Even that list is likely inadequate if we lose herd immunity, as is now happening.

    The implications to public health & the costs to society are staggering if we lose herd immunity. This must be a simple requirement to participate in an advanced society. If you don't want to do it, go live on some island somewhere.

      creaghpatr 124 days ago

      Schools make sense and most schools do this (possibly with exemptions), but how would people screen each others' vaccination status in a general public place?

        toss1 124 days ago

        Exactly the point!

        This kind of screening is largely impractical, short of tattooing anti-vaxxers' foreheads with a large red strikethru "V".

        So, it needs to be simply a requirement. If you don't have either the vaccinations or a bona-fide medical excuse, you are denied all govt services & benefits until you do. No school, driver's license, passport, benefits, etc.

        The fact that this is still in a debate at all is an enormous normalcy bias error. Some of the origins are due to stupidity, but much of the growth of the "controversy" is the result of a deliberate and sustained attack on the west by Russia. Here's just two articles, scientific & news sources:

        Damn cheap way to undermine your enemy -- directly attack your target's public health for the cost of a few bots & trolls.

          conanbatt 124 days ago

          > So, it needs to be simply a requirement. If you don't have either the vaccinations or a bona-fide medical excuse, you are denied all govt services & benefits until you do. No school, driver's license, passport, benefits, etc.

          And no taxes? Where do I sign up.

            124 days ago

            toss1 124 days ago


            If anything, it should be double taxes, since the anti-vaxxers definitely create much higher costs for society in general and for the health system & govt in particular.

            So, yes, a big surcharge would be a good idea... maybe they could use part of it to pay for the red tattoos ;-)

              conanbatt 124 days ago

              You mean collect taxes and give no benefits? Is that..slavery?

                zentiggr 124 days ago

                That is a societal level ticket for "disturbing the peace"

                toss1 124 days ago

                No, they still get all the collective benefits of the govt -- common defense by the most powerful armed forces ever, foreign & monetary policy, road & economic system, use of the world' primary reserve currency, and many other benefits. I'd even suggest that we give them a passport for free if they stayed away until they decided to get vaccinated.

    astrodust 124 days ago

    Bring back the leper colonies, but for anti-vax people.

    tlogan 124 days ago

    I wonder if these donations were related to his work on wall street. Maybe he was shorting some vaccine markers or something similar.

user00012-ab 124 days ago

Weird, they don't allow you to use "private/incognito" browsing unless you pay a fee.

Simple solution to the problem though, I just won't go to anymore.

    kevincrane 124 days ago

    Or pay for your news sources.

      cujic9 124 days ago

      I recently paid for in an experiment to support the publishers.

      Even after paying, there were still a hugely distracting number of ads embedded every few paragraphs.

      In addition, I got bombarded with emails from multiple mailing lists.

      124 days ago

    charliesharding 124 days ago

    While effective and (some might argue) the only way to deal with the washington post.. You can also just disable javascript with dev tools

      user00012-ab 124 days ago

      The best way to deal with said tom-foolery on the web is to just not go to those sites.

        douglasisshiny 124 days ago

        Not a fan of paying for things?

          Beldin 124 days ago

          Not a fan of having malware on my computer. Not a fan of being tracked and my information sold to the highest bidder.

          Interestingly enough, everything in my place is paid for. So it seems i am a fan of paying for things. Just not for the abuse Web companies elect to inflict.

          maxerickson 124 days ago

          I think you've replied to the wrong comment though, because they aren't taking the thing they aren't paying for, a course which lots of other comments in the surrounding context are recommending.

        swiley 124 days ago

        IMO it’s not safe to leave JavaScript enabled for the majority of sites anyway (especially news sites due to the advertising networks.)

    enitihas 124 days ago

    If you are using Chrome, you can simply create a separate profile and treat it as an incognito profile, by clearing browsing data whenever needed. Unlike the incognito mode, it isn't possible to detect the use of such profiles.

    nickthegreek 124 days ago

    You can put the headline or URL into google and click on it from there now. This seems to work. Cant wait for new browser updates that make it so websites do not know that you are in incognito.

jahlove 124 days ago

It's pretty funny that everyone is commenting about the private mode detection that WP is doing (and has been doing for months), and no one is commenting about these wealthy anti-vax donors.

    kabwj 124 days ago

    They can’t comment on the donors because they can’t read the article.

      echelon 124 days ago

      I don't know why you're being downvoted.

      It's as if this story hasn't even happened. I certainly don't want to comment about a subject I've learned nothing about.

      objectivetruth 124 days ago

      Then they should create a new HN thread about paywalls, plenty of articles to use as a seed for this conversation.

      Meanwhile, the majority of us that are trying to discuss a very important public health issue have seen the thread derailed into the millionth iteration of "But I don't wanna have to open a new browser window / pay for WaPo / view any ads whatsoever."

teilo 124 days ago

Can someone explain the discrepancy here? I don't get it:

> Before 1963, when the vaccine was introduced to the United States, 3 million to 4 million Americans were infected each year, with thousands developing complications that led to hospitalization or lifelong disability. Approximately 400 to 500 people died every year.

> Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one to three children out of 1,000 infected with measles will die from complications.

Even after taking age distribution into account, this would mean that measles is at least 10 times more deadly today than it was before 1963. Is this actually a typo?

    Andrex 124 days ago

    The first quote is about Americans of all ages, second quote concerns children specifically.

    Edit- Missed your last line. "Children" is also a fairly broad categorization that may include infants. I would expect measles to be at least 10 times more deadly on younger children than healthy adults. So those numbers kind of add up to me.

igor47 124 days ago

Hacker news usually doesn't disappoint with contradictory view points, e.g. on climate change. Makes sense -- the hacker ethos is traditionally anti authoritarian, and both climate change denial and anti-vaxx are a rebellion against the authority of the scientific establishment.

But it's been crickets so far. I'd love to hear a defense of this couple and their cause. Or -- is this so far outside the Overton window that folks are afraid to speak up?

    sambroner 124 days ago

    The Overton window refers to things that are not allowed to be considered in public discourse for fear of public shaming.

    There's another option: No one agrees with the anti-vax movement, the couple's cause, or the cause's tenuous relationship to free speech enough to pen a comment in support.

      creaghpatr 124 days ago

      Also it's unclear if the couple is funding the groups because they actually disagree with the science- rather than some kind of religious or money motive. If I had to guess, I would say they themselves are vaccinated.

    JumpCrisscross 124 days ago

    > I'd love to hear a defense of this couple and their cause

    Okay, let me try.

    There is no reasonable objection to the measles vaccine per se. The problem is with normalizing the population to the government mandating injections. Informed consent requires both consent and being informed. If someone isn't giving informed consent, the government cannot simply coerce them into complying (e.g. by withholding access to public spaces).

    It's not like the American government hasn't previously abused this power. We have the Tuskegee syphilis experiment [1] and fake Pakistani vaccine drive in the hunt for bin Laden [2]. The Jewish population, specifically, has reasonable historical basis for suspecting the state-mandated introduction foreign compounds into their veins.

    (Counter: We have consensus among a diverse population of doctors that the MMR vaccine is a good idea. New vaccines face medical and scientific skepticism. If a group were legitimately concerned about government overreach, an independent testing body would be a better approach than scaring people from prudent medical care.)



      124 days ago

    JudgeWapner 124 days ago

    On a similar note: despite the tens of articles/comment series I've read on HN about Bay Area housing, I've not once heard an actual NIMBY defend the status-quo. All I've ever heard is that NIMBY's are the primary cause. If they are powerful enough to cause the BA housing crisis, I'd expect that at least some of them would state their case online.

      scarmig 124 days ago

      No one identifies as a NIMBY in general: the sense is, of course if I lived in neighborhood X, I'd be happy if they built it up for the sake of the common good.

      The only time anyone makes NIMBY arguments is when something's actually being built in their backyard. Then they quickly realize how YIMBY arguments often ignore local context and negative side effects.

      Also, no one is happy with the status quo. I'm relatively on the pro-NIMBY side (at least for the median HN commentator). I support development. I also think impacted communities, particularly marginalized communities, do deserve substantial say in how that development takes place, up to and including veto rights.

    spamizbad 124 days ago

    I feel like anti-vaxx talk is much more tolerated these days than when I was a child (in the 1980s). Back then, you had a much larger group of people who lived through terrible diseases that were eradicated through vaccination.

    It's much easier to make an argument against vaccination when the vast majority of your audience hasn't lost a loved one (like a child or sibling) to a (now) preventable disease.

    xwdv 124 days ago

    I can usually come up with a contrarian view point if summoned but on this topic all I can say is that while I personally don’t care if people do not want to vaccinate themselves or their children, them not doing so causes problems for herd immunity, so for that reason they should be forced to.

      conanbatt 124 days ago

      When people sit around in their homes playing video games instead of doing charity, they deprive the community of valuable human labor. So for that reason they should be forced to work.

        zentiggr 124 days ago

        Again, false analogy.

        Video game players are not putting other people at risk by not being social.

          conanbatt 124 days ago

          People that are unvaccinated are not putting anyone at risk. It's people that are vaccinated that create a safer environment.

    wowzap 124 days ago

    The problem is that people hold vaccines and "herd immunity" so dearly to themselves that they're afraid to accept that they have side effects just like any other medication. Gardasil (HPV Vaccine) for example is responsible for a slew of well-documented side effects (paralysis, GBS, etc) causing countries like Japan to stop recommending them. Add in it's inefficiencies at actually vaccinating against HPV and that the big risk of catching HPV is through an elective behavior and it's clear it shouldn't be mandatory.

    Individual vaccines can be argued against their own merits, but unfortunately as you say the "Overton Window" is rife with people who are swallowing down opioids like candy and believe anything that comes in the form of a pharmaceutical is gold. The reality is most medications have extensive side effects, and vaccines are no exception. Unfortunately nobody can have an honest conversation on which ones are worth it and which ones aren't because of the uneducated stigma associated with the average anti-vax beliefs.

    I'd cater that the same thing is the case with climate change. I read some comments today from people who unironically believe that humanity will be wiped out within 12 years. Al Gore said that 20 years ago and here we still are.

    I'd advise people to be more open minded and try and convert the anti-vaxxers to the correct side. Of course you can admit that measles isn't so bad of a disease while still promoting it's vaccines, and surely that will garner more support than advocating strapping anti-vaxxers to a table and shoving a needle in their arm.

      dragonwriter 124 days ago

      > read some comments today from people who unironically believe that humanity will be wiped out within 12 years.

      If they are the widely reported ones for which that timeframe is cited, that doesn't seem to be the consequence they were talking about. (Yes, the phrase “the world will end” was used, but the world ending is a common hyperbolic metaphor for things other than the end of humanity—and even with the end of humanity it's still a hyperbolic metaphor, since that does not literally end the world.)

      > Al Gore said that 20 years ago and here we still are.

      No, he didn't.

    mistermann 124 days ago

    > But it's been crickets so far. I'd love to hear a defense of this couple and their cause.

    I wouldn't offer a defense, because I'm not an anti-vaxxer, and I am not supportive of this couple's actions, but there is plenty of material on this topic here for an interesting epistemological discussion.

    Staying emotionally disengaged seems rather difficult for most people though. Vaccines are safe, full stop, is only true for particular definitions of the word safe, not all. The fact that people have died from from vaccinations should be enough to demonstrate this from an objective/logical perspective on a hacker website, but this is where human psychology comes into play. Hackers, while highly logical, are first and foremost human.

    > Or -- is this so far outside the Overton window that folks are afraid to speak up?

    Well, you wouldn't be able to have much of a conversation on HN or in most subreddits, because the inevitable downvotes would render the person playing devil's advocate unable to respond.

    I also don't have much time today despite how much I enjoy such conversations, and I'm quite confident it would rapidly descend into a shitshow of a conversation demonstrating various peculiarities of the human psyche, which you'd think would be interesting to those with a hacker mindset, but there seems to be limits to people's curiosity - certain topics seem to be off limits (this article touches on this phenomenon:

    Just as a hint, I would be starting with questions along the lines of:

    How do we know vaccines are safe?

    What exactly is the definition of the term "safe" in this context? Does safe possibly have somewhat distinct meanings at the micro-level vs the macro-level?

    Are there any imperfections in the current vaccine delivery and monitoring system that might allow unrealized risk to go undetected.

    124 days ago

    catacombs 124 days ago

    What's there to defend? People who support not vaccinating their children are delusional.

    astrodust 124 days ago

    When your "rebellion" aligns with the objectives of big oil, or your "anti-authoritarian" movement is part of a Russian disinformation campaign you may need to consider you're not actually either of those things.

    The hacker ethos is not to be contrarian, it's to explore.

    s_m_t 124 days ago

    The only reasonable form of vaccine skepticism would involve publically exholting the benefits of vaccines while not taking them yourself. Build up herd immunity, avoid any potential side effects yourself.

    So the crickets are actually part of the conspiracy.

      conanbatt 124 days ago

      That is a long, abstract, con.

    Aloha 124 days ago

    There are justifiable and reasonable questions about climate science, specifically in re proposed solutions.

    This is not the case with Vaccines.

      vixen99 124 days ago

      Do the downvotes mean there are no justifiable and reasonable questions to ask about climate science? Some science that would be but of course there are! For example, there are intense discussions regarding the magnitude of the climate sensitivity and be clear about it, there is no consensus view. It's spoken of in terms of probability. The influence of cloud cover is immensely complicated and little understood in terms of its contribution to the earth's energy balance.

        mistermann 124 days ago

        > Do the downvotes mean there are no justifiable and reasonable questions to ask about climate science?

        My downvote was for the "This is not the case with Vaccines" assertion. It is imperfect from a factual and epistemological perspective, at least.

      gdhbcc 124 days ago

      Sure it is, there's plenty of reasons to be skeptical.

      From concerns regarding their safety (see the quality control issues with Chinese vaccines), to nefarious government intervention (such as unethical medical trials) to concerns about espionage and data collection ( see the CIA and their vaccines as cover for spying in Pakistan and Afghanistan).

      To say "there is no reason to ever question or be against vaccines" shows a disturbing ignorance and naivety on how the world works

        WkndTriathlete 124 days ago

        That's just needless pedantry. Production questions don't address the efficacy of population vaccination; likewise with unethical medical trials or espionage. I don't deny any of these happen, but the fact they did doesn't invalidate an effective vaccine.

        Would you prefer "There is no reason to question vaccines produced to FDA quality guidelines based on established and well-accepted efficacy, completed within an ethical and rigorous set of clinical trials"? Because I'm pretty sure that's what people generally mean when saying "there is no reason to ever question or be against vaccines" even if they don't state that explicitly.

        jhayward 124 days ago

        This argument is one of basic innumeracy.

        Those things mentioned, to the extent they exist, are tiny nits on the enormous benefit. They are always discussed in isolation complete with heart-rending horror stories of suffering and no countervailing presentation of massive benefit of vaccines. It's a common tactic of subversion - essentially "how to lie with facts".

    conanbatt 124 days ago

    I think this happens because the vast majority of participants in this topic cannot distinguish between the overwhelmingly convincing evidence of the good of the vaccine and the terrible morality of the government forcing them down on people.

    In this topic you can often find individuals complaining about the threat of internment camps while simultaneously arguing to round up all anti-vaxers together and punish, humiliate or segregate them. [In the HN thread a participant that has been voted up has literally suggested inoculating people and placing them in ghettos]

    To satisfy your original request, I will offer the counter-weight: my core argument is that herd immunity is a privilege not a right. You are not entitled to it, and thus if you want it, you need to pay for it. The vaxers need to compensate the anti-vaxers for their perceived inconvenience. There are more worthwhile details in the debate: medicine is not about forcing treatment on people, but public health often is (through some mechanisms like segregation). It also could be very counter-productive to do the latter, since the most dangerous clinically wise is someone lying about getting the vaccine, than someone not getting it.

    Fundamentally my request to those that wish to use force against the anti-vaxers is to grow a pair and try to go with a vaccine in hand into these people's homes and inject it themselves, since they are so brave to ask for drastic measures.

      dctoedt 124 days ago

      > the terrible morality of the government forcing [vaccines] down on people

      For many of us, there's nothing moral about an anti-vaxxer's insistence on personal autonomy (read: "You're not the boss of ME!") when it could endanger thousands of others. Anti-vaxxers had better be prepared for an effort to get them to do otherwise — OK, sure, by kindly persuasion if that's possible, but if not .... And yes I do realize that's a two-way street.

        conanbatt 124 days ago

        I hope you have the courage to get the vaccine yourself, break into an anti-vaxers home and risk your life in a fight to inject them with it. After all, it is for your child's life.

        Then I will believe your argument about sacrificing individual sovereignty for a common good.

          dctoedt 124 days ago

          I've had all the recommended vaccines myself, as have my wife and our kids. I won't personally force vaccination on someone on my own, but courage has nothing to do with it: Taking matters into my own hands would be a breach of the peace, and we have settled, accepted ways of doing that kind of thing, with checks and balances to reduce the chances of error; those ways of doing things ARE very, very high in my personal value system (I'm a lawyer and former military officer).

            conanbatt 124 days ago

            If peace is a worthy objective to sacrifice the health risk for, then accepting anti-vaxxers as a legal and legitimate position will get you there the fastest. However, if the argument is what level of pressure should the government apply to this group of people to coerce them into something they don't believe in, I demand that the advocate take the matter on their own hands and not place third parties in danger for their own beliefs.

              dctoedt 124 days ago

              > I demand that the advocate take the matter on their own hands and not place third parties in danger for their own beliefs.

              Demand all you like, but we have established processes for this sort of thing. If I were a physician or nurse tasked by a government with vaccinating people against their will, then certainly I'd do the job — assuming of course that the vaccine had been appropriately tested, etc., and that due process had been followed. Likewise, if I were a police officer and it was my job to make sure someone stood still to be involuntarily vaccinated, then sure, I'd do that job too, subject to the same assumptions. This is not a novel problem nor are we lacking in solutions; what I've described has been painfully worked out in the course of thousands of years of communal life.

                conanbatt 124 days ago

                There is a public policy angle of debate, and a moral debate. There is no morality in absolute obedience: you can invent a process to do anything at all for any reason whatsoever. If we debate what a process should be to satisfy some morality, we need to debate on that ground first, and then the policy that enacts that morality as consistently as possible.

                If the morality you advocate is that vaccines should be administered against the will of the patients, then the policy I suggest you advocate for might be to have Vaccination squads that break into people's homes in the middle of the night and inject people with vaccines. It's better than demanding doctors to do it that as their Hippocratic oath bounds them not to do it and will fight you tooth and nail because of it. You could get to them as well by making it illegal for them to practice medicine unless they forcefully vaccinate all the patients as soon as they see them - without any medical reasoning that could be used as a lever for civil disobedience. But non-medical staff is the way to go, as brute and unapologetic as possible.

                The morality I advocate for is for vaccines to be administered at will, and for the anti-vaxers to be first persuaded, and then held reasonably accountable by their personal choice. If some anti-anti-vaxxer find themselves trapped in a dangerous situation because they are surrounded by anti-vaxxers, then they should get vaccines themselves and physically force it down on people, risking their own lives in the process (to get, in exchange, better life themselves). I would not advocate against those people, but neither for the anti-vaxxer that violently defends himself. I assure you that if these were the options for anti-anti-vaxxers, you would achieve much more peace and calm than with a system that gratifies their perverse pleasure of violence without risk or danger.

              dctoedt 124 days ago

              You might wish to re-read what I said. I'm NOT willing for global society to incur major health risks for the sake of placating anti-vaxxers' irrationality, even if that means forcibly imposing consensus solutions on them (e.g, by quarantine). But it's not black-and-white: Any such involuntary measures must be done in accordance with our established processes. Otherwise, we risk anarchy.

    twy5790 124 days ago

    I have commented in the past but no longer do so because of the downvotes that come my way. This is the only topic on HN where I censor myself in this way. And I am someone who is fully vaccinated and who vaccinates her family.

      conanbatt 124 days ago

      This topic is vitriolic here as it is on twitter, and even the public discourse in other countries.

      One upvoted comment literally mentions murdering and ghettos, something that would get you banned and possibly fired if you replaced the word anti-vaxxers with anything else, but applauded in a forum of wealthy intellectuals.

      124 days ago

      twy5790 124 days ago

      And I can see I'm getting downvotes even for posting this response. Why downvote someone for answering a question about their behavior on HN?

      Seems like folks just view anyone who isn't fully and unquestioningly bought-in on vaccines as the enemy, and worthy of downvotes for that reason. Sad day for HN. Hopefully this won't spread to other topics.

khalilravanna 124 days ago

It strikes me that vaccines are, in a way, a form of insurance. If I drive my car into your house, you can sue me for damages. So I pay for car insurance so I'm not bankrupted in case I make a mistake. But I'm also free to not be insured (in some places), and in those cases I get sued in case I make a mistake. As a result, some states require car insurance, so that you can't cause damage you ultimately won't be able to pay for. (I'd describe this bluntly as: "Why should society let someone be so stupid?")

I think you can view vaccines in the same lens. As another commenter suggests, if I get infected with something that's vaccine-preventable because that person decided not to get vaccinated, I should be able to sue them. And similar to car insurance, some states can make vaccines a mandate ("Why should society let someone be so stupid?"). If you don't want to get the vaccine--if you want your freedom--you don't live in the society.

    TeMPOraL 124 days ago

    The difference between getting rammed by a car vs. catching an infectious disease from someone is traceability - in the former case, one can reasonably identify who did the damage; in the latter, good luck finding that one person out of 1000+ you passed by during the day.

    Which is to say, it's only all the more reasons for a blanket mandate of vaccination. The society should not allow someone to be this stupid especially when it's not possible to make the stupid pay for their mistakes using regular means (like lawsuits).

      khalilravanna 124 days ago

      Great point. Yeah for a lot of things it's likely impossible to know who infected you. And in those cases, my gut would tell me "blame the people who didn't get vaccinated" which brings us to the same conclusion.

      I mean even if we were able to identify the people responsible and make them pay damages, it seems unethical to allow parents to make decisions like these that in the end subject the innocent child to illness and even poverty (in the case where the parent is sued).

pavel_lishin 124 days ago

Interesting; the full content loads for a second, and then is replaced by a popup asking me to subscribe.

    maximente 124 days ago

    if you don't use WP as a subscriber you can block cookies on their domain to avoid this while reading normally

Doubl 124 days ago

Apparently by the age the average person catches the measles naturally, in a society where there is herd immunity because of vaccination, they are unlikely to become too ill. So it's not so risky not vaccinating your child so long as everyone else does it. But if nobody does it then the average age of infection goes down and these infections are then much more serious

ghthor 124 days ago

Let me share a story about why we need to be questioning the the pro-vaccination movement.

My fiance has a daughter that had an extremely bad reaction to her age 3ish(she was young, maybe 5) set. Her immune system started filling itself full of heavy metals, she went into shock, wouldn't stop screaming and rocking. When my fiance took her to the hospital, not a single doctor would acknowledge that the only new thing introduced to her system was the mandatory vaccination.

What my fiance ended up doing was forcing the hospital to discharge her daughter and went straight to the alternative medicine. Dosed her up on herbal detox and needled her multiple sessions. Finally her body relaxed from the shock and she stopped feeling like she was dying.

Put yourself in my this mothers shoes? How would you feel about mandatory vaccinations if this had been your previous experience? We recently had to give this same little one a tetanus shot, the only shot is also bundled with diptheri and pertussis, called the TDAP shot. Thankfully the little ones immune system didnt go haywire over this one but it was a stressful moment of faith that we labored over.

In the end, none of the science was what lead us to say yes. We prayed to God, and we asked for peace within her body and we took a step of faith despite our fear. We asked שטן to shoulder our suffering and we let our ego die a little, we let go of our fear.

As a society... are we acting out of fear? We must ask ourselves this, we must face our ego down and let it die.

JustSomeNobody 124 days ago

> “They should be allowed to have the measles if they want the measles,”

My knee-jerk reaction is no, no they should not. But that's a slippery slope.

So, I will say, sure, they are allowed to have the measles if they want. However, if they choose the measles, they MUST have a plan in place to quarantine themselves from the rest of the population. Your right to have measles should not allow you to impinge upon my right to not have them. The compromise is quarantine.

mensetmanusman 124 days ago

In the U.S. :

-speech is free -money is power -power is speech

What is the balance?

JumpCrisscross 124 days ago

> How the Selzes came to support anti-vaccine ideas is unknown

Anyone have a hypothesis?

hi41 124 days ago

I am not lying. This is a true story. This my own personal experience. My neighbor’s son was a toddler at that time. I used to see him in the park. He used to smile and respond just like other kids. He used to play with me and laugh. Then he was given the mmr vaccine and almost immediately he stopped interacting with people. After a year he was diagnosed with severe autism. His mother says this was the vaccine. It is heartbreaking to see it. I don’t know how to explain this. What do you make of this?

    lowdose 124 days ago

    Correlation is not causation.

      hi41 124 days ago

      Yes, I agree. And then there is the daily and hourly toll of caring for the child. I am just saying that the mother’s voice regarding the matter must also be taken into consideration.

      I am not an anti-vaxxer. I have vaccinated my kids. But having seen what happened to my friends, I couldn’t explain what occurred.

s9w 124 days ago


zigzag448 124 days ago

Hope they get HPV like god intended.

124 days ago

pjc50 124 days ago

They should be hit with one of those medical malpractice lawsuits I hear so much about.

    mcguire 124 days ago

    Actually, that's an interesting question: Is a donor to a charity liable for harm derived from the activities of the charity? In this case, Lisa Selz is the charity's president, so I guess the question would be, is the charity liable?

    "In recent weeks, Bigtree has headlined forums in ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn and Rockland County, N.Y., both areas confronting large measles outbreaks."

    Hmm. One of the possible consequences of mumps is hypofertility. I wonder if the Anti-Defamation League would be interested.

mensetmanusman 124 days ago

To help keep people grounded in numbers, measles cases in the U.S. has not surpassed injuries from cosmetics.

    yellowstuff 124 days ago

    To steal an idea from Taleb- we should worry about things based on the capacity to do harm in the future, not just the number of cases, and the potential distribution of outcomes matters. There were 4300 cosmetics injuries last year and there will be about 4300 cosmetics injuries next year. It won't be 8000. There were 372 measles cases in the US last year and 1044 in this year so far, so about 5X. Next year it could increase 5 fold again, or more. There were millions of measles cases per year in the US in the 1960s. People may worry about measles too much, but it is still silly to compare it to something that has no chance of a disastrous outcome.

    Here's a video where Taleb makes this argument about Ebola at some point in the first few minutes:

    acdha 124 days ago

    Why do you believe that's relevant? People get injured from household goods all the time but those also have a reason for existing, whereas measles is cheap to prevent and there's no good reason to expose anyone to it.

    marak830 124 days ago

    Maybe because the vaccines work?