Chris Christie joins the burgeoning ‘vaccine choice’ movement. I’m not sure whether this was by design – an effort to appeal to fringe libertarians in the GOP primaries or just a goof because he wasn’t thinking before he opened his mouth. I would say this. It is uncharacteristic for almost everything we know about Christie. Whatever else you think of the guy, it is his calling card to respond with impatience and even anger to people who are quibbling or yapping about silly points. You’d expect Christie to the type barking “C’mon, take your shots, you idiots” and then fine someone to yell at. That tendency, when he’s identifying genuine nonsense, is one of his more endearing qualities. So this does make me wonder.
There’s a more general point though about this conversation. Over the weekend I was watching the conversations on social media sites. And I noted repeated references to the “right” or “not right for my family” phrasing – something we know from the school choice movement, home schooling and ad campaigns about new-fangled drugs marketed to consumers, perhaps the generalized streak of libertarianism in our culture today that exists on the right and the left. “Not right for my family”, what on earth does that mean? A bizarre conversation of marketing speak and derp.
The whole conversation really brings to a decision point our societal obsession with choice and our drift toward atomization because epidemiology is a team sport. It’s not just that society pays the cost if you make stupid decisions and end up with diseases that society has to pay for. These are stupid decisions that endanger society at large.