Two very interesting articles published last Thursday by The New York Times point out that anti-vaccine activism is largely on the political Left. In light of a measles outbreak in Rockland County, New York, the Grey Lady profiled the Green Meadow Waldorf Schools based out of Chestnut Ridge that are bastions of anti-vaccine activism.
According to The Times, the school’s base philosophy is based on the teachings of early 20th century educator Rudolf Steiner. While Steiner did not entirely reject vaccines, he did state that diseases were formed by astral bodies and that rosemary baths were better for diphtheria and that smallpox could be avoided by being mentally prepared to confront it.
There are close to 150 Waldorf Schools around the country, with several branches in the New York City area and the school does not require vaccines for children to attend. Two schools (one in North Carolina and the other in Calgary, Canada) have had disease outbreaks and are of concern to authorities resulting from New York City’s measles epidemic.
In California, actress Jessica Biel was profiled giving testimony at California’s state capitol in Sacramento testifying against proposed legislation that would mandate all children who attend schools in the state to be vaccinated. She joined with the likes of environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. who is also an opponent of vaccines.
After public outcry occurred resulting from Kennedy praising her on his Instagram account, Jessica Biel attempted to backtrack issuing a statement saying that she opposed vaccinations being mandatory but was not against vaccines. The damage, however, was done. Despite receiving many compliments for her activism, the backlash against Biel was far larger, negative, and louder.
As The New York Times correctly points out, there are some elements on the political Right that, while not necessarily opposed to vaccines, tend to reflect Jessica Biel’s view opposing mandatory vaccination. None the less, anti-vaccination is a view that originated on the Left among environmentalists and, unfortunately, it has had some influence among certain elements of the Right too.
Back in 2012, ReasonTV interviewed Alex Berezow and who co-authored the book Science Left Behind. During the interview, the two discuss that much of the anti-science political positions are being disseminated hail from the Left.
NOTE 06/24/2019: The California bill (SB 276) Jessica Biel and RFK, Jr. lobbied against passed.
UPDATE 09/09/2019: SB 276 was signed into law in which the legislation had minor modifications added.