I’m publishing this series of articles to share and discuss my ruminations on coping with a troubled and messy world. You can “follow” me to never miss an article.
The Liberal enclave of Mill Valley, California is a sobering case of what’s required for substantive change to occur. Long known for its resistance to giving Vaccines for Measles, Mumps, and Rubella to children, it was the centerpiece of the Anti-Vax movement. Indeed, it not only promulgated, but held onto the belief that the Vaccines caused Autism long after it had been thoroughly discredited by the Medical establishment in a series of articles published in leading journals.
After all, Western Medicine ran counter to the fundamental belief in the power of Alternative Medicine. Thus, all the research in the world had little effect in changing beliefs. Like those who falsely continue to believe that Trump won the last election, it only hardened their resolve.
Thus, it was all the more surprising that those who opposed Vaccines for their children embraced them for Covid 19[i]. But contrary to Liberal Thought, it was not because of a Reasoned Embrace of the Evidence. Rather, it was because of Peer Pressure, pure and simple. Namely, because Conservatives mainly opposed taking the Vaccines for Covid 19, and they didn’t want to be identified with them in any way, they changed their minds. It was also because their children first took the Vaccines in school, and further, that they were not allowed into a variety of establishments unless they had proof that they were vaccinated.
Thus, although in the strongest possible terms I decry the great body of Election Deniers who continue to support the Big Lie that the last election was stolen from Trump[ii], we have no choice but to face up to the sad fact that Reason does not always play the key role in forming and changing beliefs that it should.
This of course is not to give up and thereby abandon Reason for without it, we could not establish its limitations. Thus, in showing its limitations, we thereby affirm its necessity.
[i] Soumya Karlamangla, “Ant-Vaccine Parents Snubbed Where They Once Were Welcomed,” The New York Times, Monday, October 3, 2022, P. A12.
[ii] Steve Eder, David D. Kirkpatrick, and Mike McIntire, “They Cemented the Myth Of a Stolen Election,” The New York Times, Monday, October 3, 2022, PP. A1 and A14-A15.
Ian I. Mitroff is credited as being one of the principal founders of the modern field of Crisis Management. He has a BS, MS, and a PhD in Engineering and the Philosophy of Social Systems Science from UC Berkeley. He Is Professor Emeritus from the Marshall School of Business and the Annenberg School of Communication at USC. Currently, he is a Senior Research Affiliate in the Center for Catastrophic Risk Management, UC Berkeley. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Management. He has published 41 books. His latest is: The Socially Responsible Organization: Lessons from Covid, Springer, New York, 2022.