ALPERN AT LARGE--There is a difference between liberal and being closed-minded.
Most true liberals are aware of what that term means, and fighting scientifically-proven vaccination, and promoting an economic system that leads to chaos (in particular, socialism) is neither liberal nor open-minded. Ditto for true conservatives. The tried and true, and repeatedly-proven, are concepts adhered to by both liberals and conservatives who choose to be adults.
If experience is any indication of the bigger picture, it's to be guessed that most who promote "socialism" have different ideas of what that term means, and are all too quick to point out that our own nation has features of socialism in place. And maybe they're right...but there's also a difference between a capitalism system with socialist aspects (a sort of "necessary evil") and a "Big Brother" nation that crushes individual thought.
And it's to be considered that "individual thought" is also the impetus by which vaccination techniques get questioned (overall a good thing), and vaccinations that are necessary for society to function also are at risk of being underperformed (overall a very bad thing). But more on this to be continued a few paragraphs later.
Is there a concern for what a "public investment" in roads, defense, infrastructure and the like should be, versus an unacceptable clustering of power that leads to financial and political instability? Yes.
But let's talk Venezuela. Home of the latest example of socialism. And let's not forget that there's growing turmoil in Europe about the role of the European Union versus local control in that area of the globe.
Venezuela is very different than either Japan or Scandinavia, the latter of which are as culturally monomorphous as any nations found today on Planet Earth. Japan and the Scandinavian nations are all founded in both a work ethic and a commonly-agreed-to series of high taxes, for which hard work and education are considered among the loftiest of goals. Slacking off is held in blatant contempt by those societies.
But the overarching reach for POWER isn't part of the Japanese or Scandinavian societies who embrace what so many Americans view as "benevolent socialism". Seeking and consolidating power is part of human nature, and certainly occurs in Japan or Scandinavia, but individual thought and free speech are cherished and protected to a fault.
Socialism is all-too-often a system that devolves into Venezuela, or into Cuba, or into Zimbabwe. These are nations who created a ruckus by "opposing THOSE people", which usually meant "the rich" or "the foreign occupiers" and based on half-truths that became moot once the socialists entered into power. And the current leaders of Venezuela, Cuba, and Zimbabwe are probably more dangerous than any they rebelled against.
In particular the example of Venezuela comes to mind. And what is truly amazing is that those promoting more "socialism" are often college-educated, and are either guilty of being misinformed, educated by some very improper teachers, or just angry individuals who've pushed away all that they were taught, and/or what they see in the news today.
And if those promoting "socialism" want to forget that George Orwell predicted all the problems with that system, and predicted that the problems with Karl Marx, Josef Stalin, Mao Tze-Dung, and Fidel Castro were all predicted and proven true again and again and AGAIN, that is their right.
And usually those who've lionized socialism have proven repeatedly that history was never their strong suit, and/or that if the history they've learned and experienced crosses their own angry and frustrated views of life...well, they'll conveniently ignore or forget all that they previously learned and experienced.
There are those who point out where socialism, and/or public investments, are beneficial to society, and there are those who are "Perpetually Pissed-Off People", aka "PPOPS", pronounced "pee-pops". The former group is often thoughtful, although potentially dangerously naive, while the latter are just dangerous and should never be given power.
And it's to be remembered that Simón Bolívar original dream of a South American "United States of America" was destroyed at its outset by his own conclusion, and that of others, that he needed to consolidate POWER in order to "liberate" the people. And, of course, the POWER became consolidated by him and others like him, in particular the example of Venezuela comes to mind.
Compare George Washington, who was all too aware of the limits of unbridled power, and Simón Bolívar, and you'll perhaps come to the sad conclusion of why these two leaders of needed revolutions created a milieu that led to very different outcomes. To this very day, it's to be mourned that South America did not follow the example of the United States.
Enter measles (and yes, there's a point to all this), which is as avoidable as it is deadly, and a host of other biological threats that have existed since civilizations forced many millions of human beings into relatively close proximity, and which allowed viruses or bacteria the opportunity to wipe out many people in a relatively short period of time.
The anti-vaxxers, whether they be above-average educated white liberals, or anti-government libertarians or conservatives, will lead to avoidable deaths and misery. Again, the deaths and misery are entirely AVOIDABLE. Ditto for any socialism of any sort--whether it be government oversubsidization of big business or any other entity that gets a preferred "step up" over the competition.
Is there a concern for vaccination being tested and minimized for reactions and long-term sequellae? Yes. And our mercury-free vaccinations result from that. It's ALWAYS consistent with the Scientific Method to question what we know to be "true" and "correct". Anything you read from me or anyone else, physician or otherwise, should be questioned.
But if we choose to ignore the reams of scientific research and scientific history that promotes vaccination and the push for public health measures, we are NO better than those who choose to ignore the past and present histories of those who opt for a failed system--that of those socialist countries who are tightly controlled by a few connected powerful individuals, and who probably believe they're doing a "favor" for those who they control, and rule over with the tightest of fists.
Venezuela has turned from one of the Western Hemisphere's richest nations into one that is descending into chaos and a public health nightmare. And the fleeing millions from Venezuela is metastasizing into a public health nightmare for Brazil and other nations as well.
Here in the City of the Angels, Los Angeles is also turning into a one-party, tightly-controlled civic nightmare that rivals Chicago in its corruption, its public health problems, its worsening crime, and a system that certainly has created winners and losers.
And it's almost certain that the coin-operated Mayor Garcetti, and those like-minded on the City Council, are certain in the conclusion that they are "right" and "smart" and "woke" to all that is needed for us all to succeed...if only we all were as intelligent and enlightened as they are.
Never mind the scientific, public health, and economic histories that Garcetti and others at City Hall, and their cronies in City government are ignoring while they create a few well-connected winners at the expense of the majority, who are rapidly becoming losers as the middle class gets smashed, environmental law gets shredded, and homelessness and accompanying diseases are rapidly becoming the "new normal".
And woe be unto us if we dare speak out against what is increasingly an economic, political, and public health nightmare that cannot last without a further deterioration of society...like Chicago.
(Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D. is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud husband and father to two cherished children and a wonderful wife. He is also a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently is Co-Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee. He was co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chaired the nonprofit Transit Coalition and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)