My earliest experience with what you might call activism was as a vocal online supporter of the women who were raped by Bill Cosby. Some of the women became (and remain) personal friends of mine. One woman in particular and her husband became what I would call close friends, and together comprise among the finest two human beings it is my privilege to know.
It’s impossible to reconcile that gentle and honest woman with the hateful, slut-shaming infamy thrust upon her by the virulent pro-Cosby faction that insists she was lying. She was not lying, of course, I know that with the certainty that I know the sun will come up tomorrow. William Henry Cosby Jr. drugged and raped her.
A lot of these “people,” if I may employ an overly generous word to describe them, who spent so much online time slut-shaming Cosby’s victims are now aware that the women told the truth. I only suspect this, of course, because all of them disappeared shortly after Cosby went to prison. They ceased supporting Cosby and quietly crawled back to the anonymous holes from which they first collectively emerged.
My point in telling you all this, brothers and sisters, is to illustrate the price those former Cosby supporters must pay to openly admit they were wrong. It’s clearly not the same kind of price one pays when one gets it wrong which teams are going to play in the Super Bowl next year.
If they’re honest (and none of them ever were), former Cosby supporters must today admit that they spent years holding innocent rape victims up to public scorn. That is the price they must bear for coming clean, and since every one of the ones I got to know were cowards and human excrement, none of them have the courage to do so.
In any forum of public controversy there is a price to pay for admitting you’re wrong. The price former Cosby supporters must pay (and therefore virtually never do) is a high one. The price that anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers must pay for admitting they’re wrong is higher still. They must admit that they are accessories to murder — morally if not legally. Of course, there exists no mechanism with which to criminally charge most of them with that crime.
I think this is why most anti-vaxxers will never admit they’re wrong. The cost of unburdening themselves of the lie they have lived is simply too great to bear. In some cases some of them will have to admit they helped kill their friends, their relatives, their loved ones and even their very own children.
What gives me positively no compassion for them is they never seem to consider the possibility and consequences that they are wrong before opening their stupid mouths. I have considered it, and it’s a possibility that I can morally live with. For one thing I am advocating for science, and if science has it wrong then science will take the blame. I cannot be held accountable for being “stupid” when there is so much hard data to support what I’m saying. I am not an originator of that data, merely one of millions of messengers with a modicum of common sense.
But anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers are directly shaming people from taking life-saving precautions. In their arrogance they have discouraged and shamed people from taking precautions against a deadly disease that could cost them their lives. The fact that these human scum never stop for a moment to consider the implications of what they’re doing is why they are so morally despicable and never to be pitied.
Most of these pieces of human excrement are laughably ignorant of the science they disparage. Their arguments are full of holes that are simple to discover, holes that can easily be filled for the price of five minutes of thought and research. They make these mistakes because they’re stupid. I have no problem with stupid people, mind you, I just object to the ones who are proud of their stupidity, particularly when their stupidity costs lives.
Again, they will never admit they’re wrong because the moral price is too high. But we don’t have to get them to admit they are wrong, we just have to get them to shut up. The best way to do that is to show them public scorn and contempt for their stupidity. Whenever humanly possible we must turn our collective backs on these monsters. The ignorant game they are playing could literally cost us the earth. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.