Yes, words matter, and conservatives have a lot to answer for

As we have discussed before, words matter.

Matt Yglesias:

As a person with a platform, the best thing I can say is that you should get vaccinated and boosted, you should get your kids vaccinated, and you should encourage others in your lives to do the same.

Kevin Drum:

If Donald Trump and the rest of the conservative establishment had gone into full battle mode over COVID vaccinations, urging everyone to get their shots immediately, the crisis would be all but over. We all know just how effective the conservative media machine can be, and if Trump and McCarthy and Fox News and talk radio and Dan Bongino and all the rest had been telling their fans to get vaccinated, Republicans would probably be somewhere in the vicinity of 96% vaccinated too.

Everything else pales in comparison. This is who to blame. If conservatives hadn’t deliberately fought vaccination, we would probably be the most highly vaccinated country in the world right now. And life really would be nearly back to normal.

Many* self-proclaimed libertarians and classical liberals are just as guilty as Republican politicians and the Republican-aligned media.  Instead of using their influence to encourage people to get vaccinated, they produce endless arguments against vaccine mandates, including arguments that encourage vaccine hesitancy.  Sometimes they feel compelled to say that they support vaccination, but this is only necessary because they so regularly give the opposite impression.  Thus, Boudreaux found it necessary to include the following disclaimer in one of his posts:

To anticipate reactions, I again declare that I am not anti-vax, although I am deeply opposed to government-imposed vaccine mandates. I myself am fully vaccinated and, judging from what I know about Covid vaccinations and the risks posed by Covid, I believe that Covid vaccinations for older adults who have not had Covid are advisable. Yet because no Covid vaccine is risk-free, and because children are at virtually no risk from Covid, insisting on wholesale vaccination of young children seems to me to be madness.

He can’t stop himself from throwing shade on vaccines even when he’s trying to persuade us he supports vaccination.  Boudreaux might ask himself how his readers get the impression that he is anti-vax.

(*Not all – Cowen and Tabarrok for example have been consistently and unequivocally pro-vaccine.)