Misinformation or Healthy Skepticism? The Great Canadian Vax-Ukraine Divide
Could not let this one go by.
It seems there is a distinct correlation (among Canadians, anyway) between vaccination status and views on the Ukraine conflict and how to respond - this having been discovered in a recent survey and duly reported on by the Toronto Star. The report makes it clear that readers should find this Very Disturbing - not only for its relevance to the the immediate issue but for its suggestion of a pattern of people falling victim to insidious, unvetted media promoting irresponsible conspiracy theories.
Among the studies findings:
Unvaccinated Canadians are 12 times more likely than those who received three doses to believe Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was justified, according to a new survey by national polling firm EKOS.
The poll found 26 per cent of those who identified as unvaccinated agreed the Russian invasion is justified, with another 35 per cent not offering an opinion.
EKOS president Frank Graves said vaccination status strongly predicts views on the war, from seizing the property of Russian oligarchs to providing non-military aid to Ukraine. In each case, a vast majority of vaccinated Canadians agreed with measures to help Ukraine and oppose Russia, a view held by only a small minority of unvaccinated.
The EKOS survey — conducted from March 9 to March 13 and using a random sample of 1,035 Canadians — concludes that a “plurality of vaccine refusers are much more sympathetic to Russia.”
Of those Canadians who received three doses of COVID-19 vaccine, the study found 82 per cent agreed with imposing tougher sanctions on Russia even if it meant higher fuel and food prices at home.
Only 18 per cent of unvaccinated people concurred.
Striking a blow for correlation not equaling causality the study authors do not link the reported attitudes to the vaccines themselves or predisposition to support for Russia. What they do conclude is more disturbing, though:
“This is definitely a new and bluntly insidious force that’s contributing to polarization and disinformation and poor decision-making. And it doesn’t seem to be going away. Things are getting worse,” said Graves. “I don’t think this is because those people had an ingrained sympathy to the Russians. They’re reading this online, they’re consuming this from the same sources that were giving them the anti-vax stuff.”
“I saw it almost immediately, within days of the invasion, people supporting it and some quite stridently,” said Timothy Caulfield, a Canada Research Chair in health law and policy at the University of Alberta who has studied the rise and spread of conspiracy theories. “It was pro-Russia, pro-Putin, it was the same kind of dogmatic language you heard from the anti-vaxxers about the alleged harms associated with vaccines. And it was almost immediate and it was from the same crowd.”
Unvaccinated Canadians are also more likely to have a profound distrust of government, science and professional health experts, Graves said, and are more likely to support the protest convoy that occupied Ottawa.
Original Toronto Star article
There it is. It's that insidious force of misinformation. Threatening the very foundations of society by fostering a profound distrust of it's fundamental institutions. The Toronto Star wants you to be aware that this constitutes a Profound Threat (although they don't really want you to know to *whom*).
After all, shouldn't we place our trust in government leaders who, although they profess to be committed to democracy promulgate and demand submission to autocratic measures, who profess a commitment to diversity but ostracize those with dissenting opinions?
Trust science and health 'experts' who refuse to engage in rigorous debate, act to silence qualified professionals who fail to concur with the approved narrative, contradict themselves and have been repeatedly shown to be wrong in their claims?
Well, no. We shouldn't. Profound mistrust is a rational response to such people (reflexively rejecting everything they say is not). Trust is earned, not automatically conferred on the basis of authority.
What to make of this? As is often the case, there is a Citizen Free Press commenter that expresses it better than I'm likely to - in this case BOB P:
Here is my conclusion as someone who worked in the social research industry for my entire career. The unvaccinated think for themselves. The vaccinated let others (corrupt idiots) do their thinking for them. Those who think for themselves know there’s something wrong with the entire covid narrative and know just as well the new Ukraine-Russia narrative is just as problematic. That completely explains the results of this poll. I used to work for a competitor to Ekos, the polling firm. We used to eat their lunch all the time because we knew what we were doing.
March 20, 2022 8:07 pm
Sounds about right to me. The scary implication, though, is that more so than how it manifests on any particular issue, people thinking for themselves *itself* is viewed as profoundly threatening by elites - even if it is only a modest percentage of the population. That the phenomenon could spread is the contagion they really fear.
Is a Mass Psychosis the Greatest Threat to Humanity? view on Rumble