Two things for your Friday reading: 

The South Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be

1. 8 interesting factoids about the American South and Southwest, which reveal how stubbornly poor it is, and how people continuously vote against their own self-interests. Are taxes lower there? Probably. But as with most things in life, you get what you pay for.  If you like poverty, crappy schools, and bad healthcare, the South might be for you!


2. There is a dangerous trend among some parents to withhold from their children disease-preventing, life-saving vaccinations. It’s a weird intersection of pseudoscientific holistic natural gobbledygook with the completely discredited mythology that vaccines are more dangerous than the diseases they’re designed to prevent. (For instance, a lie was spread for years linking the MMR vaccine with autism. It wasn’t true.)

The anti-vaccine crowd may think they’re only making a decision for their own family. In fact, they’re threatening to make the rest of us sick. Refusing to vaccinate your children means you are contributing to a worsening public health crisis. There is no denying it, and there is no point in sugar-coating it.

I hope the anti-vaccine movement somehow loses steam. Perhaps America will take note of the return of long-gone illnesses and will stop treating vaccine denialism as a viewpoint worth considering. Perhaps vaccine-refusing parents will consider whether it’s worth the anxiety of knowing that a person who coughed in their grocery store two hours earlier could infect their kids as they do the week’s shopping together, and will reconsider their choices.

The point of vaccines isn’t just to protect your kid from unnecessary disease – it’s a public health matter designed to rid society of these diseases altogether. Some of these vaccines lose their potency over time, but it didn’t matter so long as the diseases themselves weren’t reintroduced into society thanks to 100% vaccination. 

If you think your kid isn’t strong enough to overcome the non-existent effects of a vaccine, what makes you think your kid is strong enough to overcome mumps, measles, or some other 19th century disease?