The Washington Post has a profile today of Dr. Jack Wolfson, an Arizona cardiologist and holistic medicine, uh, doer or whatever, who's made something of a name for himself by providing a flimsy, fraudulent rime of expertish cover to the reprehensible, morally criminal anti-vaccination crowd in the U.S. It's really something! Which is a way of saying that, if you read it, it will make you punch a hole in something and mutter things under your breath that will include the word "prison."

The claims of this lunatic fringe have been debunked so utterly, repeatedly, and absolutely, by literally every single credible authority that has ever, ever, ever examined them, that to acknowledge their existence, even for the purpose of repudiating them, is to lend them a credibility they will never come close to earning for themselves. Unfortunately, the not-completely-derelict segment of the populace occasionally is forced to engage with the stupid, baseless conspiranoia gibberings of these "anti-vax" shitheads, for the sole reason that the proliferation of these gibberings does active harm to the human race—by providing vectors for harmful diseases such as, for example, the measles, currently doing its thing in a California populace left exposed by gaps willfully blasted into herd immunity by the state's many affluent anti-vax morons. And so it is that a psychotic clownfraud like Jack Wolfson must be treated with more seriousness than the sad raving crazy person wearing a sandwich board in your local city intersection: Wolfson, unlike that feverish, bad-smelling outcast, is an actual danger to the public.

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The first point that must be made, as the Post points out, is that Wolfson is neither an infectious disease specialist, nor an epidemiologist, nor a practitioner of any other branch of medicine that would give him more insight into the efficacy of vaccines than the unanimous body of credible scientific and medical authorities who have disproven every goddamn letter of every claim made by anti-vaxxers. He is a trained cardiologist. He has as much to say about vaccination as a proctologist does about macular degeneration. Not that this makes too much of a difference, mind you—he could be King Of Virus Doctors, and if he was saying shit like this, he'd still belong in a fucking circus, or a jail cell, or an inpatient mental health facility:

He said viruses — not vaccines — are a part of the natural world. "Unfortunately, they mean that some people get sick and some people die," he said. "But the reality is that we can't inject our children with chemicals."

Yeah, "chemicals" is a good place to draw the line, when it comes to what we will or won't put into our kids. I mean, sure, they'll die in about three minutes from suffocation, but at least they won't get any of those spooky chemicals like oxygen and nitrogen inside their pure little bodies, which are made up entirely of chemicals.

Oh, but maybe he means spooky non-nature chemicals. Good thing literally none of those exist or will ever exist.

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Let's play a fun game, here. Let's pretend he was talking about any other harmful part of the natural world, rather than viruses. Here.

He said hurricanes — not storm shelters — are a part of the natural world. "Unfortunately, they mean that some people get injured and some people die," he said. "But the reality is that we can't stick our children in enclosed spaces."

He said parasites — not sanitation — are a part of the natural world. "Unfortunately, they mean that some people get worms and some people die," he said. "But the reality is that we can't wash our children's hands with soap."

He said bear attacks — not walls — are a part of the natural world. "Unfortunately, they mean that some people get mauled and some people die," he said. "But the reality is that we can't obstruct our children's view of nature."

He said terminal ignorance — not the preservation of knowledge for future generations — is a part of the natural world. "Unfortunately, this means that some people eat poisonous plants and some people die," he said. "But the reality is that we can't teach our children the stuff we've figured out."

Lightning. Subzero temperatures. Food poisoning. Poison ivy. Dangerous creeps who want to steal little kids away from their families and do vile shit to them. All parts of "the natural world" from which reasonable people protect their children, via reasonable applications of the knowledge and technology we've developed in all the millennia since the perilous shit-smeared Paleolithic Age this moral dwarf and his batshit compatriots point to as an imaginary purer time while withholding harmless and beneficial medicine from their goddamn children. Does Jack Wolfson shit in the woods? Endurance-hunt bison across the fucking plains? Medicate myocardial infarctions with the judicious application of chanting and human sacrifice?

No. Of course he does not. And so a very stupid person might be tempted to conclude that Dr. Wolfson's selective adoption of modern practices is a sign of rigor, of an admirable skepticism, if not for the fact that vaccination might well be the most unambiguously good thing human beings ever came up with.

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Amid this outbreak, Wolfson actively urges people to avoid vaccines. "We should be getting measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, these are the rights of our children to get it," he told the Arizona Republic. "We do not need to inject chemicals into ourselves and into our children in order to boost our immune system." He added: "I'm a big fan of what's called paleo-nutrition, so our children eat foods that our ancestors have been eating for millions of years … That's the best way to protect."

I mean ... not to point out the obvious, here, but that shit didn't work the first time, buddy. That's why people invented vaccines. Imagine if some very dumb and mentally ill person said that the best way to cure epidemic diseases in our communities was to identify, kill, and eat the member of the rival tribe responsible for casting witchcraft upon us, the way that our Paleolithic ancestors did. That would be no less a ludicrous, flatly incorrect thing to say, whether the person saying it was a cardiologist, a hare-brained former MTV VJ, or a sweaty flower-child with dilated pupils accosting you on your way out of the subway station.

(Incidentally, as a concept, fetishizing the lifestyles of the Paleolithic Age as an ideal for modern humans involves actively pretending that the constant, desperate drive to develop technology and medicine that would render the lifestyles of the Paleolithic Age obsolete was not the defining feature of the lifestyles of the Paleolithic Age. If you want to live like a fucking cave-person, the best place to start is by adopting a frantic all-consuming desire to become a modern non-cave-person. It's literally the only reason why cave-persons survived cave-personhood. The only thing they were good at was recognizing that Paleolithic lifestyles were awful.)

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When some nitwit celebrity withholds vaccines from his or her children, that is its own brand of dereliction, from the responsibilities of a worth-a-shit parent and from those of a member of society who has benefited from public health practice. It puts that celebrity's children at risk, and also weakens the communal net of immunity that protects those who don't have access to vaccines from exposure to communicable diseases. Jack Wolfson's medical certifications, in the context of a disgracefully under-educated culture accustomed to treating the "Dr." honorific as a badge of expertise in all medical matters, compound the dereliction. He is in a position to mislead, meaningfully and harmfully, even certain people who might be smart enough not to take medical advice from Jay Cutler and his criminally derelict idiot of a wife.

Whipping out the tenets of the Hippocratic oath is the "Oh, you can make stats prove anything" of layperson discussions of medical controversies. Even so: Willfully and publicly disseminating public-health-imperiling pseudoscientific quackery, behind the imprimatur of doctorly credentials, is as unambiguous a violation of the promise to abstain from doing harm as if this toxic insane person were going around hocking flu-mucous onto grade-school cafeteria lunches. That disgraced and cosmically undermined "Dr." in front of his name transforms Jack Wolfson's stupid opinions into potent societal poison.

The ongoing measles outbreak—84 confirmed infections so far, in 14 states—is proof of it, and it shouldn't just jeopardize the credentials this pied piper uses to lend gravity to his insane, irresponsible pronouncements; it should jeopardize his access to his fellow humans. Jack Wolfson is fucking evil. To the extent that any kids ever have been exposed to inoculable disease because their parents followed his medical advice against vaccination, he belongs in prison.

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Vaccinate your goddamn children.

[WaPo]

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty