Why Conservatives Won’t Get Vaccinated


David Pakman was asking why it is the conservatives won’t get the vaccine when they give Trump credit for creating it. I have some thoughts on this.

To start with, that may be an overstatement. Not that much time was spent trying to convince the nation that Trump belched the vaccine out on to a grateful public. So I don’t think that is prominent in the Republican brain.

Regardless, Pakman isn’t taking into account people’s ability to hold two contradictory truths in their minds at the same time. Humans are great at cognitive dissonance but modern conservatives have brought it up to the level of art.

The Anti-Vax Pleasure

But I think the big issue here is that conservatives get a certain amount of pleasure by not getting the vaccine. It makes them feel good that they are depriving liberals of getting something they want.

It’s the same old thing. That’s the basis of modern conservatism. They don’t actually believe in anything except doing things they think will annoy the libtards. In fact, they spend a lot of energy convincing themselves that we liberals are offended even when we really don’t care most of the time.

This is a great example of a self-satisfied conservative thinking he’s offending the liberals and the liberals just not caring.

The Quartering - She-Ra Tweet - Cope - So Very Edgy! /s
The idea here is that liberals will be upset because he’s posting an image of a sexualized She-Ra. But it was conservatives who were upset about a non-sexualized She-Ra. Liberals didn’t care either way.

The (Nonexistent) Anti-Vax Pain

Normally there would be a trade-off. They would realize that by getting this small thrill of sticking it to the liberals, they were losing something. They weren’t getting the vaccine. And as a result, their lives are more limited. But that’s not the case!

These are the people who have claimed almost from the start that there should never have been any shutdown of the economy. There should never have been any mask mandates. Because it’s only the old and sickly who died anyway. Blah, blah, blah…

Also: it is widely believed that Covid-19 is just a hoax. It’s just something the liberals made up so that they could turn America into a communist state. Or whatever. Again that is totally contradicted by their belief that Trump is brilliant and he brought us the vaccine out of his gold-plated lab inside Trump Tower. But who cares?

So there you have it: in the minds of the Republican base, there’s an upside to not getting the vaccine. And there’s absolutely no downside to not getting the vaccine.

Useless Evidence

Now I know that some of you will counter that there are all these stories about anti-vaxxers not getting vaccinated and then getting very sick and even dying. But those are stories that only occur on the regular news.

If you’re watching Fox News and Newsmax and OAN News, you’re not seeing those! And if you happen to hear about them? Well: fake news!

It’s a mistake to think of anti-vax people the way you would others. It’s not that they are irrational. They are, in fact, very rational! They simply believe we live in a different world. The logic is the same; the facts are different!

Conservative Belief in Social Cohesion

It’s kind of funny really. Because for decades conservative intellectuals have made the argument that liberals were dividing the country. It was always liberals who didn’t care about social cohesion. We saw this in many books like a couple by Charles Murray.

Just as with conservative fears of relativism, it turns out that the mechanism was backward. A lack of social conservatism wasn’t tearing our society apart; authoritarianism was destroying social cohesion.

That’s because the people who follow conservative ideology are authoritarians. Why else would a poor person vote for a party that mostly just gives tax cuts to the rich? It’s because they believe in the authoritarian underpinnings of conservatism.

And all the rich people who kept the poor and middle classes wedded to this ideology were sowing authoritarianism. Because that is literally the only thing that conservative ideology offers regular people.

The Freedom to Die

And now we have a deeply divided country. We have people who will not get vaccinated because they claim it is about their freedom. Meanwhile, they are putting all the rest of us at risk. And the entire world at risk. It’s very sad.

And there will never be an accounting. The closest that we might get is that millions will die. But it will not be those great Freedom Fighters who wouldn’t get vaccinated. It will be everyone.

Governor Wolf Receives COVID- 19 Vaccination by Governor Tom Wolf under CC BY 2.0.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

6 thoughts on “Why Conservatives Won’t Get Vaccinated

  1. I think the genuine effort by prominent American conservatives, over many decades, to decrease trust in science (eg creationists saying there’s no such thing as evolution, or prehistory or geology, climate change deniers) has made a lot of conservative voters vulnerable to the nonsense, lies and conspiracy theories.

    It used to be thought that the scare stories about vaccines causing autism were ‘left’ irrationality. But the same poll that showed 29% of Trump voters think it’s definitely or probably true that the U.S. government is using the COVID-19 vaccine to microchip the population (Biden voters: 8%) also shows 27% of Trump voters think that about “vaccines have been shown to cause autism” (Biden voters: 8%). https://docs.cdn.yougov.com/w2zmwpzsq0/econTabReport.pdf

    • That’s certainly a factor. Another I’d add is the right-wing obsession with “toughness” and mockery of liberal “fear.” Which takes strange forms! Fear that the planet is being warmed past a point of civilized society to exist is liberal scaremongering; fear that Saddam Hussein was about to nuke NYC constituted “toughness.” Fear that unchecked COVID could mutate into something much worse is liberal scaremongering; fear that your home can be invaded by rapist robbers at any moment and only your guns will protect you is “toughness.”

      • On the “You’re Wrong About” podcast, they were just talking about how weird it is that people so easily ignore real threats like global warming but get hysterical about fake threats like Satanic cults. It doesn’t help that there’s a billion-dollar industry that pushes this kind of nonsense.

    • I think the claim that the left was anti-vax was always based on anecdotes (A shopper at Whole Foods!) and it caught on because the press desperately wanted to both-sides it. I’m about to write an article about how white evangelicals are the most prone to conspiracy theories. I have my own thought on why that is.

  2. Frank! So glad you’re back. So why is right wing media now starting to tell people to get vaccinated, in their half assed way? Sure, a variant that the vaccine can’t stop may eventually present and kill millions eventually if COVID isn’t stopped. But what is going to happen right now is that Delta is going to cull Republican voters. Did they just figure this out? Because I have been wondering how they could be so stupid on this point for some time.

    • I don’t think they care about the voters. The change seemed to happen when the stock market had a bad day. I really think it’s the billionaires behind the scenes telling them to stop it. But it’s really hard to convince people to take the vaccine when you’ve told them (even if not explicitly) that there are nefarious forces at work. If Trump came out and made a very clear statement, they would just think, “The Deep State got to Trump!”

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