Posted by: ericgrimsrud | October 8, 2021

Are US citizens going for the Darwin Award?

The Darwin Awards salute the improvement of the human genome by honoring those who accidentally remove themselves from the human gene pool in a spectacular manner. By the various actions it has taken during the recent Covid-19 pandemics, the citizens of the USA have become dangerously close to receipt of this dubious honor.

US citizen’s case for “winning” this award is based on the following observations. The US government and its scientific communities have been strong driving forces behind the development of Covid-19 vaccines and have made these readily available to the American public at no cost. Nevertheless, the total number of deaths in the USA due the Covid-19 viruses have been the highest of any nation in the world due to the fact that a significantly large number of the American citizens have refused to be vaccinated. Their reasons for this behavior generally defy conventional scientific logic and tend to be based, instead, on various conspiracy theories or political affiliations. These folks appear to have forgotten the great accomplishments our country has already made in fighting infectious diseases, such as Polio for example, in the past.

 After Jonas Salk’s vaccine was licensed in 1955, the annual number of polio cases in the USA fell from 35,000 in 1953 to 5,600 by 1957, and down to only 161 by 1961. Thus, the dreaded disease of my 1950s childhood was eliminated by the timely actions taken by our government and its scientific community. A half century later, our scientific knowledge and capabilities in this area has been further expanded.

So why would a citizen of the USA refuse to protect himself or herself today from a virus that is likely to do great damage to all members of their species? After pondering some of the possible answers to this question (other than legitimate medical reasons), abject stupidity and a propensity to embrace wingnut conspiracy theories come to mind.  Hopefully US citizens will come to their senses faster than the viruses can spread throughout our population. Any country that boasts about being “exceptional” should not be in the running for a Darwin Award.    

In addition, the covid conundrum we now face poses a threat to our democratic means of governance. Do we need to force our citizens to comply with vaccine regulations by the authoritarian methods commonly used in China? If so, that step would further distance ourselves from the free democratic society we have tried to maintain for the last 250 years. If US citizens want to maintain our version of democracy, they must remind themselves that “freedom” in the USA does not include an escape from our responsibilities to the welfare of all citizens of the world. The version of freedom offered by the USA requires a strong sense of responsibility and a thorough education.  

(Note: Charles Darwin was a 19th century scientist who proposed that changes to all forms of life on Earth have occurred via natural evolutionary processes in which the fittest members of those life forms have higher rates of survival.)


Responses

  1. Eric,

    I feel that your following statement regarding Freedom to be your strongest point in this, your latest post. ” “freedom” in the USA does not include an escape from our responsibilities to the welfare of all citizens of the world. The version of freedom offered by the USA requires a strong sense of responsibility and a thorough education”. And I could not agree more. I just wish that more people in this country would pay attention and realize this privilege that they so often just take for granted. They are indeed lucky to be able to offer their jilted points of view and exercise their selfish behavior in pursuit of their “rights’ without regard to the unselfish sacrifices that were made to put them in this position.


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