Post #973: 50 million Frenchmen can’t be wrong?

Posted on January 24, 2021

Sometimes it seems like the U.S. has cornered the market on ideologically-driven foolishness.   So I always find it refreshing to hear of seemingly first-world* countries where fact-free stupidity has an even tighter grip on the population that it does here in the U.S.A.

* That’s non-sh*thole, for you Trump die-hards out there.  Or,  non-pays de merde, for my francophone readers.

In response to Post #969, my brother sent me this link:  60% of French citizens say they won’t get a COVID-19 vaccine.

The French have about as big a problem with COVID as we do here in the U.S.  They’ve already had two national lockdowns and there are some pretty strong hints that they are headed for their third.   Compared to the U.S., they’ve had somewhat fewer total cases per capita, but very nearly as many deaths per capita from COVID (below).

Behind the French unwillingness to get the COVID vaccine is a milieu familiar to us in the U.S.A.  A population that conflates adverse reactions to other drugs with this vaccine.  Celebrities who publicly doubt the vaccine will work.  Wacked-out conspiracy theories spread on social media.  Generalized distrust of politicians, scientists, and doctors.

In short, nothing that we in the U.S.A. would be unfamiliar with.

The only thing not clear about this French attitude is whether they too suffer from the same peculiar lack of cognitive dissonance that we see in the U.S. anti-vaccine crowd.  That the same people who complain most bitterly about the state of the economy, or restrictions on public gatherings, are the ones who complain about masks and and vaccines.  Apparently unable to grasp that the more we do of the latter, the less we’ll have of the former.

Maybe they don’t grasp that.  But more likely, they don’t care.  The one great advantage of rigid ideological purity is that it that it saves wear-and-tear on your brain.  You needn’t think about the pros and cons of a position, because you know the answer before the question is even asked.  The particular circumstances simply don’t matter.

Ah, well.  Storming the Bastille.  Storming the Capitol.  I guess U.S. Republicans and the French have a lot in common.  To which we can now add an irrational aversion to COVID vaccination.  That’s not something I would ever have expected to see.  From the French, I mean.