What IS it with Republicans and not wanting to get vaccinated?

So when people base their choices on ignorance, stupid ridiculous conspiracy theories and just plan stubbornness, they are being ‘rational’ because that’s what they believe.

Not in my book.

Not necessarily so. But also not neccessarily irrational. That ignorance / stubbornness would itself have to be rational, for the refusal to get vaccinated to be rational.

A person who knows nothing about how vaccines work or what they do, but knows needles hurt, is rational to avoid getting vaccinated. But a person who knows vaccines do good, who nevertheless finds themselves unwilling to get one due to a fear of needles (ETA: trypanophobia), is irrational.


Both of these excuses being ignorant and stubborn. There is no way to call either one rational.

Does person #1 not use a computer because they don’t know how they work? It’s bullshit, they are both being irrational.

I believe that most decisions, if not all, decisions seem rational to the person making them. No one ever says “this would be the rational thing to do, but I’m going to do something else.

But all decisions are based on the information available to the decision maker and the weight they give to that information. People that act on bad information or who don’t know how to properly weigh information may make decisions that look irrational from the outside, but they are rational to the decision maker.

I’m very altruistic by nature. Sometimes I will give away an item of value rather than keeping it for myself. This may seem irrational to others, but in these situations the pleasure I get from gifting the item exceeds the pleasure I get from the item itself. So, to me……it’s rational -even if it may not seem so to others.

People say that all the time. Keeping a diet, going out to exercise, stop smoking, clean the house, etc.

Even Republicans in politics (although I suspect most of them are simply political hypocrites making somewhat rational, selfish decisions). Balancing a budget, anyone?

But otherwise I think you and I are on the same page, wrt rationality.


But this logic is only rational if you assume as your premise that you are somehow unique. That premise is, of course, false. None of us exist outside of the society we live in.

The true train of rational logic runs like this:

Q: Is it better for me, as an individual, to live in a society in which people follow the rules or in a society in which people do not follow the rules?

A: It’s better for me to live in a society in which people follow the rules.

Q: Am I a person?

A: Yes.

Q: If it is better for me to live in a society where people follow the rules and I am a person, should I obey the rules?

A: Yes, because it makes things better for me.

I think it’s semantics at this point - I think that -in the moment- the person on the diet looks at their information and makes the estimation that eating the ice cream cone is the rational thing to do in the moment.

They may tell themselves that they’ll get back to the diet tomorrow and then they won’t be craving ice cream. They may convince themselves, in the moment, that they shouldn’t conform to societal body image pressures. They may convince themselves that the social benefit of sharing the ice cream experience with their friends outweighs the loss of progress on their diet. They may even make a rationalized decision to behave irrationally.

People always rationalize things. Some of them are just bad at it.

Excluded middle. You didn’t establish that a society where people follow the rules is the best, for me.

In my food example, I rejected that premise explicitly. And generalizing “following the rules” for personal/societal benefit to getting vaccinated for personal/societal benefit, I rejected the premise that getting vaccinated is necessarily the best, in the eyes of a vaccine hesitant person.


Bingo. And this is where Anti-vaxxers and others of their ilk fail. There is a pervasive thought that is a cornerstone of the United States experience (mainly seen now on the right of the political spectrum), that I am an independent island, reliant on nobody; That society as we see it is not a complex system of interrelated parts; that I exist for myself and myself only.

It’s not that these people think that they are not contributing to society and are just taking selfishly. No, rather they deny that society exists at all, and that everything that is around them exists solely because they created it by their own two hands.

A society where people do not follow the rules as laid out is no longer a society. It is a collection of individuals scrabbling in the dirt for roots and grubs.

Human beings are not particularly successful outside of a society with rules. It’s who we are. It’s where we came from. It’s our very nature as the social primates we are. It’s why we have become successful. Without a society and it’s rules, we are nothing.

Do you mean to argue that if a single person deviates once from the “rules of society”, that community ceases to be a society?

Of course you don’t mean that. So your point is reduced to, ‘a society where people do not generally follow the rules as laid out is no longer a society’. Agreed?

Then let’s say there is a society of people who generally follow the rules, but some of the population will flout them some of the time. Under certain circumstances I could be one of those people. I think we still have a society. And the thrust of your argument is thus deflected.


I agree with your correction.

And what we do as a society with people who do not follow the rules is to use coercive means to make them follow the rules. This can be carrot or stick.

In the case we are talking about here and vaccinations, the carrot has been an appeal to helping others, an appeal to helping yourself maintain your health, and even monetary incentives.
The stick is becoming more clear now - loss of job, loss of ability to participate in certain activities.

Ultimately, if a person refuses to follow any of our societies rules, we have incarceration - removal from society - as a very strong disincentive.

A single person who deviates from the rules of society cannot escape the repercussions of such a decision - no matter how much they believe that they are a rugged individual and don’t really have to follow rules.

And I still say “A society where people follow rules is best… for me.” Or for anyone.

Because if people (not just me alone) don’t follow the rules, then we are ALL fucked.

Or are you posting that the person figures “A society where people follow the rules but I DON’T is best for me”?

These are fine suggestions which I wholeheartedly support. I have been in favor of a vaccine mandate since the vaccines were first made available, so long as there are accommodations for those who truly need them. Such as a person allergic to the one vaccine being given access to an alternative.

That was my point. The retort is that you can’t get away with not following the rules, but in practice, sometimes you can. Stealing, even murder doesn’t mean definite consequences. Some people aren’t cought. Some people get acquitted. And in this case getting vaccinated isn’t even a rule… yet. One person going unvaccinated doesn’t equal definite ill consequences - there is the chance that you just don’t catch the disease, or you catch it but don’t get sick or kill anybody you care about.


I find the last three words in this post disturbing, callous and representative of everything that’s wrong with conservatism.

Agreed. I will give points for honesty though…

Although, the point stands without those last three words.


Exactly. The premise would not only be that you are unique but you are objectively more special than anyone else.

Well, that speaks volumes. But I suppose you think it’s rational.

Quite to the contrary, that was a Freudian slip.


COVID may do that anyway.