September 16, 2011

Rick Perry's admirable eschewal of anecdotal argument about the HPV vaccine.

Arlette Saenz, at ABC News, reports:
Months after the Texas state legislature revoked [his executive order requiring young girls receive the HPV vaccine, Governor Rick] Perry expressed in very personal terms the potential the HPV vaccine holds for preventing cervical cancer in young women. Perry spoke of the missed opportunity of the Texas government at a memorial service for Heather Burcham, a 31-year-old woman who died from cervical cancer after contracting HPV.
“Though some could not see the benefits of the HPV vaccine through the prism of politics, some day they will,” Perry said in July 2007. “Someday they will recognize that this could happen to anyone’s daughter, even their own. Someday they will respond with compassion when they once responded with ignorance. And, someday, they will come to a place where they recognize the paramount issue is whether we will choose life, and protect life, without regard to what mistakes, if any, have been made in the past.”

Perry and Burcham, a teacher from Houston, Texas, struck up an unusual friendship in the months after he issued his executive order.... Despite the legislature’s decision to revoke the executive order, Perry befriended Burcham. In the final months of her life, the two took a motorcycle ride together and spent a weekend at a ranch with her friends at the governor’s invitation.

In the final days before her death, Perry even sat at her deathbed, a moment he has described on the campaign trail.  ”I sat on the side of a bed of a young lady, and she was dying from cervical cancer, and it had an impact on me.”
It's important to note that Perry's decision to use an executive order to impose the vaccine requirement — which he now calls a mistake — did not come as a result of his experience knowing Burcham. He met her after that happened. I would criticize him if he was the sort of executive decisionmaker who reacts to the vivid story of one victim. How effective is the solution you're adopting? How does it affect everyone that your imposing it on? How many other victims are likely to be spared? You have to look at the big whole picture if you're making policy, and you can't have the sort of mind that fixates on one person, feels deep empathy, and wields governmental power to do something... right now.

In fact, Perry showed a propensity to think about matters at a higher level of reasoned generality when he was challenged, at the debate, to explain his executive order. I think many politicians, in that situation, would begin with the compelling story of Heather Burcham. He said:
And at the end of the day, this was about trying to stop a cancer and giving the parental option to opt out of that. And at the end of the day, you may criticize me about the way that I went about it, but at the end of the day, I am always going to err on the side of life. And that's what this was really all about for me. 
Life. He could have said: This is about Heather Burcham. Let me tell you about Heather Burcham... I can hear Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton or Barack Obama or any number of other highly successful politics moving smoothly into that line of persuasion. Maybe Perry is just less slick, less smart. But I think it's interesting that he doesn't seem have the instinct for anecdotal reasoning.

Anecdotal reasoning is a manifestation of the human tendency to weigh the seen over the unseen. Yes, it's a terrible thing that a a 31-year-old woman died from cervical cancer caused by HPV. If she were dying right in front of you, maybe you would think, I swear I will do anything in my power to express my outrage at her death, but a mind that gets stuck in that mode can't be trusted making broad policy decisions and imposing requirements on all of us.

Consider Michele Bachmann, who famously emoted: "There’s a woman who came up crying to me tonight after the debate. She said her daughter was given that vaccine... She told me her daughter suffered mental retardation as a result. There are very dangerous consequences."

Well, that's just one instance of how Bachmann's mind processes information. It's the one we're seeing right now. I don't want to overweight one vivid bit of evidence, or I will exemplify the very kind of thinking I am trying to avoid.

112 comments:

Patrick said...

It is only one instance, but to my mind, it's a powerful statement of why Bachmann ins ill equipped to be a key decision maker. She hears one story, takes no steps to verify it, decides the anecdote helps her case, and then passes it off as fact on a national stage with very little thought. Normally, I would expect that from the Kennedy's or the President. Her too, apparently.

Shanna said...

I know Perry isn't perfect, but every time I hear a new story that is supposed to be knocking him, it makes him look even better. I agree that it makes him look so much better to me that he didn't to a drippy anecdote to explain/excuse his policies even though he had a perfect one!

That picture of the two of them on the motorcycle is really great.

Carol said...

I hate the sob stories myself, positively cringe, and that goes for the poster kids at the SOTU speeches. It's all too Oprah. But I'm a hard old beotch.

But yeah, probably not good in a politician. Sadly.

Kirk Parker said...

Am I the only one who's thinking, "Good grief, I could never vote for someone who overuses 'at the end of the day' like that!" ?

Herb said...

Couple of bioethics professors have put up 10k to talk to the lady that spoke to bachmann if she exists and review the medical charts. Bachmann has refused to identify her and the lady has not stepped up.

If it turns out Bachman made her up she's done, she may not even get reelected to her house seat when its all over.

Robert said...

Let's see, science comes up with a vaccine to prevent a disease. Rick Perry wants to use that vaccine to prevent that disease. I thought Rick Perry was anti-science?

John Bragg said...

I have to think that HPV helps him with independents--he's showing independence from scary "hardcore Christian bible-thumpers" like Bachmann, without having to insult touchy hardcore Christian bible-thumping voters. Well played.

If Perry is a political genius, maybe he's saving the story--e only gets one chance to use it effectively. I doubt that the HPV story is hurting him that much in the polls. If his numbers get close to Romney's, and his polling shows HPV as a net problem (instead of social security), maybe he deploys it.

Scott M said...

I think many politicians, in that situation, would begin with the compelling story of Heather Burcham.

A Democrat definitely would. Remember the economic summit that was televised? The GOP was trying to make reasoned arguments based on the numbers. The Dems on the opposite side of the table were trotting out one heartstring tugger after another.

traditionalguy said...

The amazing thing is that the Cowboy image of Perry as the hard man who never lets a liberal myth pass by him without attacking it was already established.

Then came these two attacks on him from the Ayn Rand wing of the Tea Party about the vaccination of female children and the tuition equity for children of immigrants who had been here and paying taxes.

In one quick series of answers Perry showed us his empathetic heart that uses common sense the way good men use it:
That is by using a pragmatism that cares instead of using an ideology that doesn't care.


Was that luck? Or was that Branch Rickey's good planning?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I hate the sob stories myself, positively cringe, and that goes for the poster kids at the SOTU speeches.

Me too. It is like the latest victim on a stick. Sob story d'jour.

I'm a pretty mean beotch myself.

traditionalguy said...

Hey today's theme is either eschewal or chewal, take your pick.

m stone said...

AA:Well, that's just one instance of how Bachmann's mind processes information. It's the one we're seeing right now.

Brilliant point and we should look to clarity of thinking even on the fine points of all the candidates instead of lock-step approval.

Weepy anecdotes by pols are such tiresome appeals to emotions.

DaveW said...

I disagree that it would be smart and slick to dump this in the debate.

What they've done is arguably the smart thing. This has been all over the right leaning twitterverse for several days. Presumably Perry's campaign leaked it to sympathetic bloggers after the debate. I'm not sure that's the wrong approach since people most concerned about this have been getting hammered with the message for days now.

Here's a local media report describing the thing (being pushed on twitter).

Fred4Pres said...

The only mistake Perry made was making the vaccine mandatory. There should have been a parental opt out. Because the disease in question is not communicable in a manner that warrants mandatory vaccination (like mumps, measels, rubella, etc.). Other than that, nothing Perry did was wrong.

I suppose you could argue that government should stay out of vaccinations, but given how cost effective they are, that seems foolish.

Joe said...

Fred4Pres, there was a parental opt out.

Thorley Winston said...

Couple of bioethics professors have put up 10k to talk to the lady that spoke to bachmann if she exists and review the medical charts. Bachmann has refused to identify her and the lady has not stepped up.

So what’s in it for the woman who spoke to Congresswoman Bachmann to incentivize her to share her daughter’s private medical charts with an MSNBC talking head?

traditionalguy said...

Fred 4 Pres... The HPV disease is communicable by penis insertion with or without condoms.

The special gift women of a vaccine to make the young sexually active immune is the difference between a horrible death around age 27 and a full life span of happiness, marriage, children and grandchildren.

Not that Bachmann cares. Her ideology uber alles.

pbAndjFellowRepublican said...

"Hey today's theme is either eschewal or chewal, take your pick."

Or, it seems, self-identifying as a Beotch/bitch.

Where is Liz Wurtel when you need her?

ndspinelli said...

For those of you over 50 years old; maybe it's time to bring back, Queen for A Day!

Thorley Winston said...

The only mistake Perry made was making the vaccine mandatory. There should have been a parental opt out. Because the disease in question is not communicable in a manner that warrants mandatory vaccination (like mumps, measels, rubella, etc.). Other than that, nothing Perry did was wrong.

There was actually a limited “opt out” for religious reasons but I agree that the vaccination should not have been made mandatory because it was not communicable through casual contact that was reasonably likely to occur while the children were attending school. I do think that trying to do this on his own through an executive order rather than having it go through the legislature was also problematic even if it was legal. For a decision like this, I think that the executive (whether a president or a governor) should get the buy in of the duly elected members of the legislative branch rather than going it alone.

David said...

Bravo, Althouse. Taking it to a higher level.

David said...

Kirk Parker said...
Am I the only one who's thinking, "Good grief, I could never vote for someone who overuses 'at the end of the day' like that!" ?

Almost certainly there are other pedantic snobs just like you, Kirk.

Shanna said...

If Perry is a political genius, maybe he's saving the story--e only gets one chance to use it effectively

Or maybe he’s genius enough to know that it sounds WAY better for this story to come out through the media than it does to come out of his mouth in typical politician speak. And they get to see the motorcycle pict! (and yes it helps with to look pro science, pro women not dying from cancer, and independent enough from the overly religious folks who imagine their precious innocent kids will never have sex!) This whole thing knocked Bachmann completely out for me, when I was kind of eh on her before.

Also, the Social Security is a Ponzi scheme thing is helping him with people my age, even the ones who don’t typically vote Republican. I have cousins who always vote Dem who are seriously impressed.

edutcher said...

The one thing about this that impresses me is that Perry actually admitted he was wrong.

Willie apologized all over the place about Monica, but he acts like a 3 year old if you challenge any decision he ever made.

Romney, OTOH, could have saved himself a lot of problems if he'd said going along with RomneyCare was a bad idea.

Politicians willing to admit a mistake are few and far between.

Ann Althouse said...

I think many politicians, in that situation, would begin with the compelling story of Heather Burcham.

Like Albert Gore or Jean Francois Kerry, whose hat is seared... seared into his memory?

PS Should this post be re-titled, "How Bachmann lost me"?

Geoff Matthews said...

DBQ,

I think you mean 'victim on a schtick'.

ricpic said...

I'm confused. Was Perry's order a requirement? Or was there an opt out? Can't be both.

If it was a requirement that young women MUST take the drug he's no conservative.

Thorley Winston said...

The one thing about this that impresses me is that Perry actually admitted he was wrong.

. . .

Romney, OTOH, could have saved himself a lot of problems if he'd said going along with RomneyCare was a bad idea.


I think you’re right about that (although I’m still on the fence between Romney and Perry now that Pawlenty has dropped out) but I think there’s another angle to this as well that hurts Romney. When Romney was criticized for his previous “pro-choice” views, he said that he held them at the time because someone in his family or that he was close to died of an illegal abortion.

When Perry was criticized for his support of the vaccination mandate, he didn’t invoke this story of someone he knew who died of cancer but instead focused on the policy reasons for why he made the decision even while admitting later that it was a mistake.

Triangle Man said...

I would criticize him if he was the sort of executive decisionmaker who reacts to the vivid story of one victim.

Rather than using a single anecdote to outweigh a mountain of statistical information, it can be helpful to remember that behind every numbing statistic is a collection of similar stories.

An interesting aspect of the HPV vaccine is that the prevention effort is not aimed at preventing person-to-person transmission like measles (for example). Rather, the HPV vaccine is aimed at protecting the individual receiving the vaccine.

sorepaw said...

I think many politicians, in that situation, would begin with the compelling story of Heather Burcham.

Nearly all politicians would.

So much the worse for them.

Richard Dolan said...

"Anecdotal" argument here really means an argument addressed to the emotions. Anecdotal arguments are fine so long as the chosen anecdote is reasonably presents the salient characteristics of whatever problem is being addressed. If it does, the anecdote makes the issues concrete and easily understood; if not, it is using (typically) using emotion to create confusion, usually in service of some agenda.

It's certainly true that people react stronger emotionally to the specific case rather than an abstraction. That's not always a bad thing, of course. But as Ann says, it's often a poor guide when making general policy.

Coketown said...

I suspect that Perry eschewed anecdotes because scrutinizing one case leads to the damning discovery that said case represents 1 of 4,000 cases of terminal cervical cancer for the year in the entire country. That's .0145 percent of the population. As a conservative voter, I don't care whether the vaccine works or whether it causes mass retardation (actually, it seems to be causing retardation in people who've never even used it). I care about the gross invasion of privacy and bullshit "compassionate conservative" argument that tries to rationalize, on both moral and cost-benefit grounds, the mass vaccination of every teen girl in a state against a disease that is responsible for 70% of the deaths of .0145% of the population.

Actually, pap smears do as much as HPV vaccines to prevent cervical cancer. But pap smears seem more intrusive than vaccines, so nobody's going to mandate them. We're okay with the government administering shots, but stay out of my vagina!

Kirk Parker said...

David,

Don't take this personally, but if I were you I'd go in and get my facetiousness detector checked.

CEO-MMP said...

That's more like it, Ms. Althouse. Glad to see you still actually have your fastball. I'd been worried for a while.

LilyBart said...

Rick Perry wants to use that vaccine to prevent that disease.

No, Perry wanted to mandate the girls receive the virus.

Two different questions are
- Is the vaccine a good thing?
- Should the government mandate it?


My bias: Government mandates should have a VERY high bar - and be avoided unless absolutely necessary. "Its good for you" is not good enough. There are lots of things that are good for you. The government intrusions would (will) never stop if that's the criterion.

Perry should have highly recommended it, not mandated it for the girls. I think he's admited that.

His mandating it give me pause, but its not a deal killer for me.

Thank you.

Lance said...

How do you know he didn't start with a different anecdotal experience and only latch on to the "life" principle after he'd made up his mind to "do something"?

DADvocate said...

But I think it's interesting that he doesn't seem have the instinct for anecdotal reasoning.

Anecdotal reasoning is a manifestation of the human tendency to weigh the seen over the unseen.


Ancecdotal reasoning is fallacious reasoning. (In Titus' case, phallacious reasoining.) Yeah, it tugs at the heart strings, brings in emotion, etc, but in the long run bad logic leads to incorrect conclusions and usually incorrect, ineffective actions, and, too often, unwanted, poor results.

Perry actually had a foundation in logic and values for his actions and could explain that without resorting to anecdotal reasoning that implied you're a cold-hearted, uncaring cad if you didn't agree with him.

Screw anecdotal logic. It's lead to many bad laws.

WaitingToBuy said...

Very interesting analysis, and I agree with your view of Perry, But the problem is really the issue that Santorum brought up. Perry thinks the government should decide and pass legislation. Whether it had an opt in, or an opt out provision, the government should not do either.

DADvocate said...

BTW - We're mandated to recieve several vaccines. I had to receive the small pox vaccine and polio vaccine when I was little. These weren't without risks.

Anecdotally, my daughter has had the HPV vaccine. She's fine. So that offsets Bachmann's anecdote.

Mary Beth said...

Am I the only one who's thinking, "Good grief, I could never vote for someone who overuses 'at the end of the day' like that!" ?

I feel the same about, "As I've always said...."

*****

If the vaccine is mandatory for girls it should be mandatory for boys to prevent them from being carriers. I would think that the goal of vaccinations is not just to protect the person who receives the shot but to try to make the number of people who can spread the disease as small as possible.

chickenlittle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chickenlittle said...

His mandating it give me pause, but its not a deal killer for me.

That's the name of the game for the Sullivanists at this point: they're looking for "deal killers" to obliterate everyone except...Huntsman?

Even then, they'd turn on Huntsman in a heartbeat in deference to Obama.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Bachmann finally and irrevocably lost me with that one. Anecdotal evidence is just not sufficient in a case like this. Even if the questionable evidence of the grieving woman were true, it has to be judged against the many thousands of lives that the vaccine could save. Bachmann should have said that it is not in the purview of the executive to mandate things like vaccinations, but that the vaccination itself is a very good idea.

gerry said...

You know, I've noticed my thought processes are slowing down as I get older. I think it's a delayed reaction to the polio vaccine I received 50 years ago.

It could be the Jim Beam, too, I guess.

BJM said...

It is amusing to watch the media shoot arrows at Perry and hit their own GOP stalking horses.

Bachmann's done. Next!

Cedarford said...

Romney, OTOH, could have saved himself a lot of problems if he'd said going along with RomneyCare was a bad idea.

==================
Except he was governor of Massachusetts back in a time when jobs were not a problem - but the budget and the access to healthcare were. The insurance program crafted was by Romney and a very heavily Democrat Legislature in careful compromise. It was what the voters of Massachusetts wanted and what they kept after Romney left.

To me, he has an effective line of argument that it doesn't matter if hushpuppy and fried catfish munchers in Alabama don't want Romneycare because he wouldn't force it on Alabama or any other States because he knows other States are not Massachusetts.

Simple, obvious truth. If he was governor of Wyoming at the time, he and the Legislature and the voters would have come up with a program that reformed unsatisfactory health coverage IF voters had placed a priority on that - and in all likelihood what they came up with would not resemble the Romneycare devised in Massachusetts.

I also don't fault Romney for having views as a private citizen that were shaped in addition to facts by his circle of family, friends and acquaintances. What we believe on matters is not just "data from media and school" but people we know. So he was to the left of Ted Kennedy on gay rights issues....and had taken some of his Mom Lenore's strong beliefs on ending women killed in unsafe abortion mills.

As a politician though, Romney was forced to adjust some views to take the opinion of a broader constituency he represented or hopes to represent into account. That to me is important in a politician - that they listen to the voters they represent and sometimes shift personal views to take their wishes into account. Give me a politician who does that anyday over one who says "Everything I believe and needed to know I had by 6th grade and I never flip-flopped on anything from then, ever". That is a rigid mind, locked in comfortable dogma.

Cedarford said...

I tend to favor Romney over Perry on the issues, but I do think Althouse is right that Perry does devote serious thought to some issues.

chickenlittle said...

Cheddarford wrote: Give me a politician who does that anyday over one who says "Everything I believe and needed to know I had by 6th grade and I never flip-flopped on anything from then, ever". That is a rigid mind, locked in comfortable dogma.

Well, Obama said his greatest political influence was his mamma and you voted for him so...everything fits!

CyndiF said...

@Mary Beth

At the time Perry made his executive order, Gardasil was not yet approved for boys.

Revenant said...

What I learned from this whole tempest in a teacup is that my left-wing friends were right; Michelle Bachmann is as dumb as a bag of hammers.

Mercifully, it doesn't seem likely that she'll be the nominee.

slarrow said...

On the Perry action: the "mandatory" aspect, as I understand it, was to get insurance companies to pay for it. In other words, an "opt-in" policy might have meant that those who opted in would have to pay for it themselves. There's a legitimate case to be made against the state paying for that kind of vaccine. But if you make it, then that's what you're objecting to, not the desire of a governor to override parental concerns. Those were handled by an opt-out process which appears more onerous than it could have been.

The second thing is that it was a tactical error to use an executive order instead of a legislative process. That's a fair claim, but it goes against his political judgment, not necessarily his principles. (As always, I get this Rick Perry info here.

Finally, on seen and unseen, that made me think of Ron Paul's hypothetical 31-year-old dying in the hospital. That's another textbook case of what Althouse is talking about.

traditionalguy said...

I guess going overseas or volunteering to be Uncle Sam's soldier needs to be made libertarian safe too.

There is a rumor of mandated shots.

Quelle horreur!

Paddy O said...

"For those of you over 50 years old; maybe it's time to bring back, Queen for A Day!"

My grandmother won one episode of that.

Paddy O said...

Got all sorts of goodies.

Fred4Pres said...

DADvocate said...
BTW - We're mandated to recieve several vaccines. I had to receive the small pox vaccine and polio vaccine when I was little. These weren't without risks.

Anecdotally, my daughter has had the HPV vaccine. She's fine. So that offsets Bachmann's anecdote.

9/16/11 2:32 PM


I do not disagree. My daughters got the HPV vaccine also.

But you were mandated to get small pox and polio because they were highly contagious. Now that small pox is eliminated, the vaccine is no longer available at all (let alone given). Do they still give the polio vaccine in the USA (other than if you are traveling overseas?). It is only present in a couple of countries now (like Nigeria) where (ironically) those opposing vaccinations are a few Muslim radicals claiming it will make you sexually agressive or it has pig serum in it.

I do not have a problem with the state mandating vaccines for highly communicable diseases. As a matter of privacy, diseases that are less communicable should provide for an opt out on the vaccine.

Seeing Red said...

Unless she had 1 of the 4 HPVs the shot covered, she might have still died.


That shot is not all-encompassing.

E.M. Davis said...

So, for the record, we loathe Bloomberg-style municipal nannyism, but we're cool with Perry's state version?

I'm not necessarily anti-Perry, I'm just seeing a disconnect.

E.M. Davis said...

I guess going overseas or volunteering to be Uncle Sam's soldier needs to be made libertarian safe too.

There is a rumor of mandated shots.

Quelle horreur!


TradGuy, the entire armed forces has an opt-out, if you hadn't noticed.

Revenant said...

Nannyism has nothing to do with it, EM. This is about herd immunity, not about protecting individuals from bad decisions.

traditionalguy said...

In 1990 the 82nd Airborne in northern Saudi Arabia were given experimental Nerve Gas shots...very much against their will.

They were expendable. The Officers only needed the men alive long enough to finish off Saddam. Side effects were not considered.

Now why cannot the Anwar oil and the Gulf oil be drilled for and make every drop of oil in the Arab lands worth half as much?

The reason must be a suicide pact in DC. That is what Palin is preaching.

Coketown said...

Revenant: This is exactly the opposite of what you said. Unless the herd is so densely populated that its members cannot move without engaging in accidental sexual intercourse, the only way to get HPV is through a "bad personal decision." The herd immunity argument only makes sense for diseases communicable by air.

BJM said...

@waiting

Perry thinks the government should decide and pass legislation. Whether it had an opt in, or an opt out provision, the government should not do either.

Huh? You lost me on that one...isn't that exactly how representational government is intended to work? Public safety is one of the prime responsibilities of both the executive and the legislative branches of govt.

At the time the CDC was really pushing HPV vaccination, the public was bombarded with PSAs, mailings and handouts at medical facilities. If a young girl is vaccinated at 11 or 12 she will have completed the series and built up an immunity by the time she chooses to become sexually active...which is usually much younger than parents wish or believe.

Perry included a parental opt-out so I don't understand the objection other than from an ultra conservative wing of the GOP base who don't want any sexual information distributed.

There were rumblings about Merck's contributions to Perry's campaign but they continued after the order was revoked so I'm not sure that is an issue either...especially when compared to Solyndra and LightSquared.

This issue will not hurt Perry with moderates or Indies.


vw= mulecars What we'll be driving if the greenies get their way.

DADvocate said...

Fred4 - good points and I don't disagree with anything you say. Compare this with the secret cloak they put over anything to do with HIV. It's almost like they want HIV to spread.

Shanna said...

the only way to get HPV is through a "bad personal decision."

I don't get this line of thought. Is having sex ever a "bad personal decision". You can still get STDs from having sex as an adult. You can get STDs from someone you are married to even if you don't sleep with anyone else but THEY do.

Not even getting into stuff like rape. So. That argument just doesn't fly with me.

Ralph L said...

Perry spoke of the missed opportunity of the Texas government at a memorial service

No one objects to him speaking about politics at this venue?

That's the worst thing I've heard about Perry yet. Sounds like something Gore would do.

John Bragg said...

I said If Perry is a political genius, maybe he's saving the story--he only gets one chance to use it effectively

Shanna said:

Or maybe he’s genius enough to know that it sounds WAY better for this story to come out through the media than it does to come out of his mouth in typical politician speak.

Hmmm. So maybe he does get two bites at this apple--once from the story going viral, and deploying it once from the candidate's mouth.

traditionalguy said...

Bachmann is quadrupling down on her anti vaccine position.

She now calls vaccines PerryCare and vows to end them like she will end ObamaCare.

At this rate she will be lucky to get her own vote with such a narrow position that her latest opinion always trumps Medical Science.

That is not about the power grab of Nationalized Health Care.

It is about the impossibility of Michelle Bachmann ever being wrong.

Coketown said...

I don't get this line of thought. Is having sex ever a "bad personal decision". You can still get STDs from having sex as an adult. You can get STDs from someone you are married to even if you don't sleep with anyone else but THEY do.

If you sleep with someone and contract an STD from that decision, it is a bad decision, unless you think the sexual gratification was worth the disease. If you're married to an unfaithful spouse, marrying them was a bad decision. So to answer your question: Yes, sometimes having sex is a bad personal decision.

Cedarford said...

Revenant said...
Nannyism has nothing to do with it, EM. This is about herd immunity, not about protecting individuals from bad decisions.

================
Yeah, that is a real problem with reality for pure libertarians along with things like Open Borders and only relying on volunteers to defend the nation in time of national emergency and if not enough volunteer - mercs...

The problem with Freedom for Freedom-Lovers to opt out of any goldarn vaccine people choose to was illustrated by a virulent polio outbreak in the Netherlands that centered with a large Mennonite religious sect that won exemption from any vaccination under Dutch MultiKulti.

If only they were affected, and everyone else who took the vaccine was immunized, then the libertarian ideal of "only the Mennotites paid a price for Freedom!!" would be valid. But as Revenent said, public health counts on herd immunity, not individual immunity because no vaccine is remotely close to 100% effective.
In the Netherlands, the consequences of the MultiKulti exemption was not only were the Mennonites hit hard in two colonies, but serving as a reservior population, they spread polio to vaccinated people in school, in the workplace, on mass transit in one case, and a couple of vaccinated people with weakened immune systems that had only minimal contact with the host population.
Because if all but a few people are vaccinated, even if the vaccine is 90% effective or so, you have erected enough firewalls to protect nearly 100% of the population from disease outbreak. Enough exemptions for Freedom!!! from vaccination people, you lose enough firewalls disease vector firewallls are created - such that herd immunity no longer works.

Revenant said...

the only way to get HPV is through a "bad personal decision."

"Having sexual contact with anyone ever" is not a bad personal decision.

The herd immunity argument only makes sense for diseases communicable by air.

You don't understand what "herd immunity" means. Herd immunity means that the population that is vulnerable to infection is too small for the virus to survive. It has nothing to do with the manner of infection.

You can't avoid infection by avoiding infected people, because most people who are infected don't know it. Half of Americans will eventually contract the virus. The only way to assure you will avoid it lifetime abstinence from sexual activity -- kissing included, sad to say.

Revenant said...

Yeah, that is a real problem with reality for pure libertarians

Er, no. I think you're confusing libertarians with anarchists.

WaitingToBuy said...

BJM said:
Huh? You lost me on that one...isn't that exactly how representational government is intended to work? Public safety is one of the prime responsibilities of both the executive and the legislative branches of govt.

This isn't a communicable disease so I don't buy the "public safety" argument. There are lots of things that are good for you. Some vegetables prevent cancer. Should the government require us to eat 5 servings of veggies everyday? I could go on, but I'm sure you get the point.

BJM said...

@Ralph L

No one objects to him speaking about politics at this venue?

I object to using the term "venue" to denote a funeral far more.

Perry was not just a Pol preening and sucking up opportunistic face time as Obama and co did in AZ. That was offensive.

We do not know what Perry discussed with her family or if they encouraged him to speak out so that others would be vaccinated. A friend lost her son to a drunk driver and she had a MADD representative speak at his funeral to beseech others not to drink and drive.

Revenant said...

If you're married to an unfaithful spouse, marrying them was a bad decision. So to answer your question: Yes, sometimes having sex is a bad personal decision.

Oh, please. We don't refer to outcomes that could only have been avoided through precognition and telepathy "bad personal decisions".

Jesus, you might as well say that all rape is the result of bad personal decisions: "you were raped because of your bad decision to stay home and bake cookies instead of going bar-hopping. If you had gone bar-hopping you wouldn't have been home when the rapist broke in."

If you know your husband's cheating on you, sleep with him anyway, and contract an STD he picked up from his partner, THAT is a bad personal decision. Having sex with a spouse you think is faithful is called "being a good and loving spouse". Even the most deranged corners of the anti-sex religious right generally acknowledge THAT much.

Coketown said...

You don't understand what "herd immunity" means. Herd immunity means that the population that is vulnerable to infection is too small for the virus to survive. It has nothing to do with the manner of infection.

Good point. I was sloppy with my language. My point was that the only ones at risk are those a) not vaccinated and b) engaging in sex. The two major HPV vaccines are 100% effective, so unlike polio and measles vaccines, the only person one puts at risk by refusing the vaccine is oneself.

You can't avoid infection by avoiding infected people, because most people who are infected don't know it. Half of Americans will eventually contract the virus. The only way to assure you will avoid it lifetime abstinence from sexual activity -- kissing included, sad to say.

I think avoiding infected people is the best way to avoid infection. You're saying it's impractical because of how many people have it, which is true. But you can minimize exposure by such things as abstaining, limiting the number of sexual partners, using protection, etc. And to my knowledge, transmission of HPV by kissing has never been shown.

Cedarford said...

Coketown said...
Revenant: This is exactly the opposite of what you said. Unless the herd is so densely populated that its members cannot move without engaging in accidental sexual intercourse, the only way to get HPV is through a "bad personal decision." The herd immunity argument only makes sense for diseases communicable by air.

==============

If true, then by your argument few parents would want it or a hypothetical AIDs vaccine because they would have confidence that their kids would never, in the folly of youth, EVER make a bad personal decision.

Human behavior being what it is, and the elaborate lies and deceit that accompany both sexes in pursuit of their choices for intimacy - the common sense decision by most parents is that given a good share of the population will have multiple sex partners and perhaps successfully lie to a future potential partner - the vaccine is a prudent choice to make.

And given the rapid spread of AIDs in populations the reality of human nature DOES make AIDs a communicable disease that hits even people very careful in selecting sex partners. So given the communicability factor is there, and it doesn't stay locked in a small population that all made "bad choices" - then the herd immunity argument for deploying vaccines against HPV and hopefully HIV at some point is perfectly valid. Done as a general vaccination program. Including Daddy's hopefully celibate for life, little darling, Jennifer..

Coketown said...

Human behavior being what it is, and the elaborate lies and deceit that accompany both sexes in pursuit of their choices for intimacy - the common sense decision by most parents is that given a good share of the population will have multiple sex partners and perhaps successfully lie to a future potential partner - the vaccine is a prudent choice to make.

Nowhere did I argue against the prudence of getting your kids vaccinated. I'm arguing against treating HPV as categorically identical to polio as far as externalities and public communicability are concerned.

And contrary to what you said, AIDS actually has remained locked in small populations, namely homosexuals and intravenous drug users, though it's also rising among black women. The hysteria around heterosexual AIDS in the 80's and 90's never materialized.

Cedarford said...

Revenant said...
Yeah, that is a real problem with reality for pure libertarians

Er, no. I think you're confusing libertarians with anarchists.

=============
No, pure liberarians have plenty of utopian, detached from reality views such as vaccination should be a pure personal choice. And America with no Borders, just available for billions, if they want, to come in and compete to work for less than any citizen would. Just as long as no goldarn gummint stops laissez faire and the losers, citizens or not, then should leave and find a nation where they can make it on the lowest wage owners will give - hopefully all with Ooen Borders themselves..

Shanna said...

This isn't a communicable disease so I don't buy the "public safety" argument

Yes, it is. It’s just not spread by air.

Jesus, you might as well say that all rape is the result of bad personal decisions:

Seriously. I notice he didn’t touch that one.

If you sleep with someone and contract an STD from that decision, it is a bad decision, unless you think the sexual gratification was worth the disease.

You go into these situations with imperfect information, always. You can do your best to be careful and make good decisions, but you can’t live no life just to avoid all risk.

But you can minimize exposure by such things as abstaining, limiting the number of sexual partners, using protection, etc.

Minimize, not eliminate.
If there were a vaccine that protected against all STDs, we as a society would be absolute fools not to vaccinate against it, not matter how perfect and pure we think our children will be.

BJM said...

@waiting

This isn't a communicable disease so I don't buy the "public safety" argument.


I'm guessing you're a guy cuz I can't imagine any sexually active woman advancing that argument.

From the CDC:

Persistent HPV infections are now recognized as the cause of essentially all cervical cancers, as well as most cases of anal cancer. In 2011, more than 12,000 women in the United States are expected to be diagnosed with cervical cancer and more than 4,000 are expected to die from it (2). Cervical cancer is diagnosed in nearly half a million women each year worldwide, claiming a quarter of a million lives annually.

250,000 deaths annually from a contagious virus seems pretty much a public health issue.

There are tens of millions of American women infected with HPV who were not promiscuous, but their male partner was and they were infected. Perhaps you've never heard the old saw that one is having sex with every person their partner has ever had sexual contact with.

Oh, and you can get HPV from oral sex and develop throat cancers too.

Those infected with HPV will require medical treatment and procedures and others will develop cancer that we all pay for in healthcare costs.

Titus said...

I saw so many hot guys today I cried.

They were everywhere.

Huge arms, great complexions, small waists, hot noses, amazing tits, asses you could bounce quarters off of.

Do you know that if you speak with any gay guy in the U.S. who has traveled around he always says Boston has the hottest guys? And Boston does. Thank you Boston for being so fucking hot.

cubanbob said...

Fred4Pres said...
The only mistake Perry made was making the vaccine mandatory. There should have been a parental opt out. Because the disease in question is not communicable in a manner that warrants mandatory vaccination (like mumps, measles, rubella, etc.). Other than that, nothing Perry did was wrong.

I suppose you could argue that government should stay out of vaccinations, but given how cost effective they are, that seems foolish.

9/16/11 1:46 PM

Hepatitis B vaccines are required and other than blood transfusions its communicable sexually and not by other common vectors. Hepatitis A is food and water born yet it is not mandated. If you eat raw fruits and vegetables, seriously consider getting vaccinated for Hepatitis A since you never know who picked the foods. Perry could have been more articulate but frankly its just good sense to have girls vaccinated for HPV. Even if your daughter is a virgin on her wedding day, how can you be sure about your son-in-law? Vaccines are a form of insurance, why expose your children to unnecessary risks? Besides all th e autism scares about the preservatives have disprove numerous times and the author of the autism claim has been found to have committed fraud in his research.

LilEvie said...

Here's what really happened - Rick Perry wasn't quick enough on his feet to pull out the anecdote, or his debate-preppers didn't even know about it, so it was leaked afterward. Yeah, that really makes Perry look good. That and mentioning the politics of the vaccine at her memorial service.

Just what we need - another "compassionate conservative".

If it's about herd immunity, vaccinate all the boys too; they are the ones spreading it. Sure, that would happen.

If he wanted to force insurance companies to pay for the vaccines, that and all the other mandates are exactly what makes health insurance so expensive.

Mandatory vacs and Texas dream act and the "puppy mill" bill that turns every hobby breeder into a commercial regulated enterprise, wow he's some conservative.

cubanbob said...

Coketown said...

Are you serious? HPV doesn't leave a permanent mark of Cain so one can easily avoid the infected person.

Writ Small said...

Rick Perry said...

And at the end of the day, this was about trying to stop a cancer and giving the parental option to opt out of that.

Ann Althouse said...

But I think it's interesting that he doesn't seem have the instinct for anecdotal reasoning.

The only "opt out" was for those parents who dangerously opt out of all vaccines. Selectively opting out of just Gardasil was not an option. What Perry said was true, but only in the narrowest, most legalistic sense. So while he may not have an instinct for "anecdotal reasoning," he has the typical political instinct for distorting the hard truth.

BJM said...

@LilEvie

"puppy mill" bill that turns every hobby breeder into a commercial regulated enterprise, wow he's some conservative.

I volunteer at a shelter and foster dogs in breed rescue and I've seen the results of the "hobby breeder" who doesn't bother to test for genetic diseases. I personally have no problem with restricting "hobby breeders" then perhaps our shelters wouldn't have to kill tens of millions of dogs a year.

Ralph L said...

A friend lost her son to a drunk driver and she had a MADD representative speak at his funeral to beseech others not to drink and drive.
That's a mother's perogative, but didn't everyone know how he died?

I certainly hoped Perry cleared it with her family first, but it was still crass and jarring to everyone else. Wrong venue, absolutely.

At my b-i-l's funeral in July, the preacher first told a brief story about something that happened to himself which barely related to his theme. His mother and my sister remembered on the drive to the cemetery. It's easy to say something offensive at funerals.

Revenant said...

The odds of developing lung cancer are around 15% for smokers and a tenth that for nonsmokers.

Now, question: if there was a safe and inexpensive treatment that could make your kids immune to lung cancer, would you give it to them? Or would you say "well so long as they don't smoke they will probably be fine"? And what would you think of a parent who said "I refuse to let my kids go through that treatment. It'll just encourage them to smoke"?

I know what I would think of them, but it isn't printable on a family blog.

Revenant said...

The only "opt out" was for those parents who dangerously opt out of all vaccines.

That makes it sound like opting out of the HPV vaccine isn't dangerous.

In reality the opting-out parent is tripling their kid's chance of dying from that form of cancer (and, of course, tripling the chance of their kid killing OTHER people through transmission of the virus).

Writ Small said...

Revenant said . . .

And what would you think of a parent who said "I refuse to let my kids go through that treatment. It'll just encourage them to smoke"?

Since lung cancer isn't communicable, I would think "whatever - it's a free country."

Revenant said...

Since lung cancer isn't communicable, I would think "whatever - it's a free country."

Burning a child with cigarettes isn't communicable either, but I would still think poorly of parents who did it.

E.M. Davis said...

Burning a child with cigarettes isn't communicable either, but I would still think poorly of parents who did it.

What?

Carol_Herman said...

I was born back in 1939.

Back then men feared their daughters would get pregnant. Before they brought some guy home and introduced him as being interested in marriage.

My dad need not have feared. I was such a late developer I didn't need to wear a bra until I was about 23.

On the other hand?

I remember some girls showing off their diamond engagement rings in high school.

And, the few who got to take a year off. But no one spoke about the baby put up for adoption.

Today's parents have better choices. And, so, too, do doctors. Who can recommend to parents all sorts of things ... from the "pill" ... to arm inserts, where the hormones prevent pregnancy ... and you don't depend "on the pill."

I didn't know cervical cancer was at epidemic proportions, now, though.

But the woman who died ... died at 31 years of age. Why did she need the vaccine when she was 12?

Even the pill. I remember a gynecologist who said "you don't need an elephant gun to shoot a fly."

Carol_Herman said...

When I was 12, the only thing I wanted was a padded bra.

My request was turned down.

I did get vaccinated against, polio though.

And, long ago, and far away ... boys were introduced to pictures of what syphilis does ... before they even thought they'd want to ever play with a girl. They were shown the pictures from medical textbooks.

Why did Perry leave out the worries parents of sons have?

Matt said...

Scott M

Remember the economic summit that was televised? The GOP was trying to make reasoned arguments... The Dems... were trotting out one heartstring tugger after another.

Did you miss the part where Michele Bachmann [a GOP candidate] did what the Democrats apparently did? Yeah, it's not only Democrats who use anecdotal heartstring arguments. Most all politicians do at some point.

sydney said...

For the past twenty years, this has been a common tactic of vaccine manufacturers - lobby politicians to make their vaccines mandatory to attend school. Once they become mandatory, then insurance companies are compelled to pay for them. That's why we have mandated hepatitis B vaccines and that's why Perry mandated the Gardasil shot. If they had to make the case to the parents to purchase those shots themselves, they'd say - correctly - no thank you. They are expensive, and the chances that your child is going to come down with the disease is slim.

Other vaccines are different- polio, diphtheria, pertussis, HIB (against a bacteria that used to cause a lot of meningitis in toddlers- hardly ever see that now), smallpox. They are easily caught while breathing the air, and they are deadly.

More recent vaccines are against not so deadly disease. Even the chickenpox vaccine had to be mandated to catch on because parents new it was not a dangerous disease. Hepatitis B vaccines were sold to politicians as prevention against cancer since Hepatitis B can cause liver cancer in some people who become infected. A more cost effective approach, however, is to aim the vaccine at those populations at risk - healthcare workers, first responders, sexual high risk takers.

They've made meningitis vaccines mandatory in some school districts now. It is a deadly disease, but also not very common. Before the lobbying, this, too was aimed at high risk populations and usually given only when there was an outbreak in a community. Again, more cost effective.

Gardasil costs $185 per vaccine and is a series of 3 vaccines over a six month period. That's almost $600 per child vaccinated to prevent a disease that is 1) rare and 2) preventable and treatable with regular pap smears.

It made no sense to mandate it. It is these kinds of mandates that have caused the cost of insurance to rise so much over the past two decades. And it is the one thing that gives me pause about Perry. Is he a nannystater in disguise or is he a crony capitalist or both?

Mutaman said...

"I know Perry isn't perfect, but every time I hear a new story that is supposed to be knocking him, it makes him look even better."

Does this make him look better?

http://stevedeace.com/news/iowa-politics/rick-perry-vs-rick-perry/

Shanna said...

The only "opt out" was for those parents who dangerously opt out of all vaccines.

Ok, this was mentioned on another thread, but considering the fact that most vacinations are given in very early childhood and the HPV vaccine was given at 12, how exactly does that work? Did they go back and make sure the kids never got vaccines 10 years ago?

to prevent a disease that is 1) rare and 2) preventable and treatable with regular pap smears.

I know several women who have had cervical cancer and it's not treatable like getting a wart removed. People still die from it. It's a very serious disease. A pap smear is no substitute for never getting cancer in the first place!!!!

Jason (the commenter) said...

This isn't the first time Bachmann has magically met someone with the perfect anecdote to back up her position. She also claimed to have been talking to a restaurant-chain owner who was not only getting ready to fire a percentage of his staff but was literally turning away job applicants as they spoke. Of course the part of Obamacare which would make this necessary doesn't go into effect until next year.

She's a liar in the same vein as Hillary 'sniper fire' Clinton.

Paddy O said...

Has Sarah Palin declared her candidacy yet?

Kim Priestap said...

Here's the opt out language from Perry's HPV vaccination EO:

Parents’ Rights.The Department of State Health Services will, in order to protect the right of parents to be the final authority on their children’s health care, modify the current process in order to allow parents to submit a request for a conscientious objection affidavit form via the Internet while maintaining privacy safeguards under current law.

Source: http://governor.state.tx.us/news/executive-order/3455/

LilEvie said...

BJM, it doesn't matter if you think a puppy mill bill is a good idea or not, it's not a conservative idea. It's treating every small time quality breeder the same as a huge commercial enterprise, with permits, regulations & inspections. It won't keep a single dog out of a shelter. Dogs aren't in shelters because of overpopulation, they are there because their owners didn't care. Sorry if OT, but this is about what being a conservative means. Some of Perry's backers are big-time in animal rights; that is why he signed the bill.

Writ Small said...

I just looked up the language of the executive order myself.

The 2007 press release had the following:

Parents may choose to opt out of mandatory vaccinations for reasons of conscience, including religious beliefs. The governor’s executive order directs DSHS to ease the opt out process by providing exemption request forms online.

That's actually a fairly generous opt out. Advantage Perry. That's what I get for repeating what radio talkshow hosts say.

Simon said...

Patrick said...
"She hears one story, takes no steps to verify it, decides the anecdote helps her case, and then passes it off as fact on a national stage with very little thought."

That's desperately common; that's why our inboxes are filled with email forwards from credulous relatives.

Perhaps if we spent less time worrying about diversity and climate, there would be time in the curriculum to teach critical thinking? Why is there not a vice-provost for critical thinking?

jimspice said...

Why would he drag out the Burcham anecdote when he's dancing like mad trying to get away from the issue. Associate himself with some ne'er do well that contracted HPV? That's ridiculous. It's very difficult to avoid the corollary to the logic that the life-saving HPV vaccine is bad; that people who contract HPV are bad and deserve the consequences.

John Lynch said...

Bachman was the anti-Romney. Now that we have a serious candidate, who is not in the US House, her support evaporated.

Totally, 100%, predictable.

I don't know why anyone took her seriously. People don't go from the House to the Presidency.

Revenant said...

What?

I thought the point was clear, but ok:

"I'm only hurting my own children, not anybody else" is not a valid defense for parental behavior.

HT said...

Let me ask a question: should I, should we all, get this vaccine? Is it too late to get it now?

Triangle Man said...

@Sydney

A disease does not have to be deadly to be worth preventing throughout vaccination. Modern treatments can keep many people alive through illnesses that would have killed them in the past. Relatively few people who get it die from measles anymore because critical care good. Chicken pox vaccine prevents the initial disease but can also prevent shingles (though a booster may b required). Polio wasnt killing many people by the time the vaccine came along because we had wards full of people in iron lungs. Mortality isn't the most useful statistic for evaluating vaccine policy.

Triangle Man said...

@HT

The vaccine is only given to people who havent had prior sexual activity.

Shanna said...

A disease does not have to be deadly to be worth preventing throughout vaccination.

And people DO die from cervical cancer. It's not a walk in the park and a vaccine is prevention, a pap smear is not.

jimspice said...

T-man: have a source on the "prior sexual activity" claim? That's just not true. Where do you come UP with this stuff?

West said...

"victim on a stick."

Oh man, that is too perfect. Made 1000 fruitless links fron Insty finally worthwhile.