A measles epidemic has started spreading its way through much of the U.S. after a small outbreak in Disneyland. The recent outbreak has sparked a nation-wide debate (especially in the political word) about whether measles vaccines should be mandatory for children or something that is "up to the parents to decide".
Both Kentucky senator Rand Paul and New Jersey governor Chris Christie have made controversial public statements regarding their views on the vaccine. They have both said that there needs to be a careful respect for an individual's liberty and that a person - not the government - should have the right to choose what they want put into their body. Paul, in particular, referenced several (alleged) tragic cases where children have wound up with "profound mental disorders" (i.e. autism) after being vaccinated.
Several media personalities have slammed Paul and Christie for being dangerously 'libertarian' with their views regarding the vaccine and have even said that the foolish views indicate that the two potential 2016 presidential candidates are not fit to run for president. Some of the more extreme media personalities have suggested that parents who don't vaccinate their children should be put in jail or don't even deserve to have children to begin with.
In previous articles, I have talked about how there seems to be a gradual ongoing attack on the U.S. Constitution by our government, especially ever since 9/11 with the Patriot Act (see my "Sony Hack" article for more on this). The measles debate may potentially be another extension of this broader attack on the Constitution and our personal freedoms. A mandatory measles vaccine has the power to set an entirely new precedent where the government - not the individual - will have the power to decide what goes into a person's body.
Supporters of the measles vaccine point out that there is no scientifically-proven link between vaccines and the mental disorders (like autism) Rand Paul has been referencing. Though these supporters are respectful of personal freedoms, they believe that government should override this freedom when the health of other people is at stake. Measles is supposedly a highly contagious disease that has the power to infect 90% of the people exposed to an infected individual. If a person (or the parents of a child) decide not to vaccinate, it could potentially put a whole lot of people in danger.
Assuming that the measles virus is as threatening as pro-vaccine people are saying it is (though I would argue there has been fear-mongering and exaggeration), maybe it is a good idea to make vaccines mandatory. Maybe there are definite cases where government should override personal freedom and this is, indeed, one of those cases. Valid or not, there is certainly logic in this pro-vaccine perspective. Then again, there is also much logic in the anti-vaccine perspective...
Which brings me to my next point:
The measles debate may just be another media-contrived debate where no one side (pro-vaccine or anti-vaccine) wins. In other words, the agenda here may be something bigger than having the pro-vaccine people be victorious over the anti-vaccine people. The more general goal may simply be to debate and divide the American population. I've written several articles discussing how our own government (via the media) is trying to polarize the people and the measles debate may be yet another extension of this. Are you pro-measles vaccine or anti-measles vaccine? Pick a side and fight with each other about it!
Distract and divide. That is the overall goal of a government trying to preserve its power and hide the fact that it has become dysfunctional, inept and borderline-corrupt (when I say 'borderline corrupt' I'm likely making an understatement).
So, yes, the measles debate could be indicative of another way our government is trying to take away our personal freedoms. It could also be indicative of our government's attempt (via the media) to distract and divide us with an un-winnable - though successfully-polarizing - debate. But maybe there's one other possible agenda at play here and it may be the most important agenda above all else. The measles debate may simply be another media-manufactured BIG NEWS event that...well...makes them a whole lot of money.
We live in a strange time now with the Internet being the predominant means of people getting their news. The news industry has become a money-making business that shows reverence to nothing but blog hits ('blog' being a general term including any kind of online news article, both professional and amateur). The more hits a story gets, the more ad revenue that comes in because the ad revenue is all determined by the number of blog hits.
And what gets the media the blog hits?
Big news events...like ebola and Ferguson race riots and Bill Cosby rape allegations and Sony hacks and AirAsia plane crashes and sensational Isis be-headings and NFL scandals like 'deflate-gate' and - now that the deflate-gate story has...um...deflated a bit - a measles outbreak. The ebola threat proved to be a profitable big news story for several weeks. Why not make a sequel to the ebola story by blowing a rather small and not-too-threatening measles outbreak way out of proportion? It's a perfect big news event to serve the media's interests. New blog hits. New ad revenue. Big money!
And so the media monster feeds on its newest big meal. The measles vaccine debate will distract us and polarize us this week - maybe it will even rape our personal freedom a little bit. More importantly, it will surely make a ton of money for the news outlets thriving off blog hits and ad revenue. Maybe the story will live on into the next week like what happened with the ebola scare. But, then, after a couple weeks or so, the story will inevitably fizzle out like the other big news stories and then another big news event will come out of the woodwork. This has been the pattern for the past several months now - Isis, ebola, Ferguson, Bill Cosby, Sony hack, CIA torture report, AirAsia crash, Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris, Deflate-gate, measles...what will be next? The machine will keep cranking the big news stories out as long as the stories keep proving themselves to be extremely profitable.
The question is how long will we be suckers and feed into all of this? When will we wake up and realize we're eating right out of the media's hands when we keep shifting our attention from one big news story to the other? When will we realize that there are more important things to focus our attention on? When will we come to the understanding that buying into these big news stories is buying into a complete unreality?
That's right: our reality has essentially become one that is manufactured by an ad-revenue-hungry media. This reality is a construction of big news events that have been carefully chosen and then built up (if not outright manufactured) by media outlets wanting to maximize blog hits. Yes, this is what our reality has become: polarizing debates with no clear victor, distractions that keep our focus off of an inept and borderline-corrupt government, and the media recklessly perpetuates the cycle of distractions because the only god they answer to is a god named ad revenue. Little do they care that they are polarizing, distracting and immersing all of us in an unreality of irrelevant and unimportant "big" news.
True reality does not consist of big news stories. True reality consists of small, unexaggerated (and certainly non-manufactured) news stories that don't accumulate many blog hits or ad revenue. However, as long as ad revenue is god, exaggerated and even outright contrived big news will replace small (i.e. real) news. And when this big news reigns, so doesn't unreality.