Sunday, February 8, 2015

Should RFK Jr. Go To Jail for Anti-Vaxxtivism?

Of course not, but there is a certain symmetry in asking about it:
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the prominent environmental activist, thinks people who disagree with him on climate change should go to jail and corporations that disagree “should be given the death penalty” by having their charters revoked. He even goes after Charles and David Koch, accusing them of “treason,” which is a violation of the Constitution, for their purported views on climate change.

“Do I think they should be in jail?” Kennedy asks. “I think they should be enjoying three hots and a cot at the Hague with all the other war criminals.” He adds, “Do I think the Koch brothers should be tried for reckless endangerment? Absolutely, that is a criminal offence and they ought to be serving time for it.”
. . .
In 2005, Kennedy appeared on the Late Show with Jon Stewart to peddle his anti-vaccine lunacy; claiming vaccines cause autism and that there is a massive conspiracy to cover this up involving the U.S. government, academic researchers and the vaccine industry. Stewart, normally a skeptical host, sat entranced — even fawningly telling Kennedy “I appreciate you getting the word out” — in what amounted to a seven minute anti-vaccine infomercial.
In recent weeks, Jonathon Leibowitz Stewart has been rather harsh to Republican candidates, not for opposing vaccines, which absolutely none of them do, but for waffling on the issue of whether they should be mandatory:
Just this week, he called out two likely Republican presidential candidates; Senator Rand Paul for views on vaccines much milder than Kennedy’s, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for saying parents should have some choice in vaccinating their kids. Stewart also conveniently glossed over his embarrassing 2005 love-in with Kennedy.
Which brings us to this essay on Macusean Intolerance, by Stacy McCain.
Marcuse has sometimes been called the “Father of the New Left,” his books Eros and Civilization (1955) and One-Dimensional Man (1964) credited with inspiring the so-called “counterculture” of radical youth in the 1960s. However, it may be that Marcuse’s most lasting contribution to progressive politics was his 1965 essay “Repressive Tolerance,” in which he sneered at “abstract tolerance and spurious objectivity” and coined the phrase “totalitarian democracy” to describe Western society. Marcuse claimed that “the concentration of economic and political power . . . in a society which uses technology as an instrument of domination” means that “effective dissent is blocked.” He claimed that it was possible to determine “the most rational ways of using [economic] resources and distributing the social product,” that “it is also possible to identify policies, opinions, movements” to accomplish this goal. However, he insisted, it would be necessary to suppress opposition to these “rational” socialist policies:
Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left.
This was plainly a call to suppress dissent. Marcuse insisted that “progress” — i.e., a socialist policy to redistribute “resources”– required silencing opponents of such policies. Marcuse was arguing fortyranny in the name of liberation.

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