Private Choices Have Public Consequences

David Roth, writing for Defector, explains the stupidity of anti-vaxxers.

That minority’s inability to take anything in stride, or to sublimate even the smallest personal comfort for the most urgent and essential collective good, invariably winds up being political, but it is also its own pursuit and even lifestyle. Some MLB players who will not be vaccinated surely subscribe to it, and live by choice amid the seething frenzy of ominous intimations and powerful enemies and heated but vexingly disconnected signifiers that comprises contemporary American conservatism. You can look at the anti-vaccination sentiments that Cubs second baseman Eric Sogard’s wife Kaycee has been posting to get a sense of the temperature of that discourse, and to see how furiously unresolved it all is. This is absolutely disgusting,” she wrote in her Instagram story about MLBs COVID vaccination protocols, which impose restrictions on teams that do not meet an 85 percent vaccination threshold. And you will not ever convince me this is still about a virus.”

If you have ever spoken to an anti-vaxx person, you have encountered this kind of doofy rhetorical flourish, which is usually delivered, as it was by Sogard, as a devastating and unassailable conclusion. If you have ever asked an anti-vaxx person to go beyond that and say what they think it all really is about, or what COVID vaccination protocols might be about beyond COVID, you’ll hear answers like money” and control” that are, again, not quite as conclusive as they are meant to be. But for all the convoluted and cosmetic suspicion of the politics and the opacity of their oafish paranoid patois, this all resolves to the precariousness that all those false choices are designed to obscure—to the suspicion that it is unfair and somehow wrong that any element of their all-important personal convenience might be contingent upon or even related to anyone else’s, and to the fear that their holy ease will be threatened by some other greater responsibility. You truly will not ever convince these people that this is Still About A Virus, because they never once believed that anything is ever about more than their own sour selves, and a jealous world’s conspiracy against their comfort. That grandiose vanity is the only force capable of holding together such a disordered worldview. In that sense, and only in that sense, it works very well.

Roth writes with such skill that I’m always in awe of his output. I just love, …because they never once believed that anything is ever about more than their own sour selves, and a jealous world’s conspiracy against their comfort.” 

His ability to get to the heart of the matter regarding vaccinations and muh freedoms” people is perfectly rendered behind the lens of professional baseball players.

April 6, 2021


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