As the highly contagious Delta variant rampages across the country — particularly in states where Republican leaders have made a concerted effort to give the virus as much leeway as possible — a strange schism has begun to appear within the rectum-shaped conservative echo chamber.
On one side there are the overt death-cultists like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas’ Greg Abbott, GOP heavyweights who have bet their political futures on killing as many of their constituents as possible by blocking mask mandates, and rejecting vaccination requirements. But there’s a growing sentiment among the conservative punditry that when it comes to the 30 percent or so of eligible recipients who simply refuse to inoculate themselves against coronavirus, the best thing for the other 70 percent of us to do is just, like, chill the fuck out about it maaaaaaaan.
Here’s conservative pollster and former Bush-Cheney webdork Patrick Ruffini:
Let’s see how Commentary‘s Noah Rothman is taking all this:
And because bad things usually come in threes, here’s Emily Miller, who had a very brief tenure as a spokesperson for the Food and Drug Administration.
Taken in aggregate, the “fuck you, I’ve got mine” messaging is obvious. In no small measure, it’s the perfect distillation of modern conservatism: selfishness above all, and a willful ignorance of what living in an interconnected community actually means. As ever, we’re left to decide whether these people are stupid or evil. Or both. It’s probably both.
Look, I can understand why people are frustrated at those who pointedly refuse to get vaccinated. And I can understand the inclination to say “well, fuck them then” if and when they’re faced with the consequences of their (in)actions. But like that old lady in the car insurance commercial said: that’s not how any of this works.
Why should “the average vaccinated adult w/o comorbidities or vulnerable family” care that a sizable portion of the population isn’t doing a very simple thing to help mitigate a raging pandemic? Maybe because this is exactly how we get more and more dangerous variants? Maybe because we’re still learning about how the virus can be transmitted by — and break through in — the vaccinated? Maybe because caring whether people live or die is just the fundamentally decent thing to do, and a crucial part of what makes us human?
You can’t ignore your way out of a public health crisis. And even if you could, what would that say about you?