Bachmann’s Anti-Vaccine Rhetoric is Bad Science and Bad History
Hey, Michele Bachmann, you know who was really, really pro-vaccination? The Founding Fathers. Read all about it in my new article at The Nation.
George Washington argued for mandatory inoculation of citizens against smallpox and mandated the inoculation of the Continental Army, under the supervision of fellow signatory of the Declaration of Independence, Dr. Benjamin Rush.
Thomas Jefferson was so enthusiastic about Jenner’s smallpox vaccine that he invented an insulated vial to ship the serum and helped test the vaccine himself.
It wasn’t just a coincidence that Washington, Jefferson, Rush, and other Framers were pro-vaccination (or inoculation). They were sons of the Enlightenment who believed in the power of science to better people’s lives.
They rejected primitive superstitions about how God makes us sick because we sin, and trying to avoid getting sick through technology invites the wrath of God. That’s what people used to believe about smallpox inoculation, and what Bachmann still believes when it comes to cancer caused by sex.
[Photo credit: Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons.]