After denying science entirely for the first 18 months of the pandemic, anti-vaxx conservatives have lately seemed to move to a new genre of gaslighting, now chalking their vaccine hesitance up to "trusting science" that says the virus is survivable.
It's a whole new level of double-speak, and one former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican candidate for vice president Sarah Palin is the latest to adopt.
During an appearance on Fox News, Palin cited as her reason for not being vaccinated that she "believes in science" and recovery from the virus confers immunity.
Palin's comments came during an interview with Fox News host Greg Gutfeld.
Even with the most generous interpretations, they make little sense.
"I am one of those white, common sense conservatives. I believe in science and I have not taken the shot."
What Palin's race has to do with any of this is entirely unclear.
She then explained why she decided not to get vaccinated.
"One, because the waitress never came back to ask me if I'm ready for that shot."
With all due respect, huh?
Palin's comments then moved on from the inscrutable to the fundamentally ignorant.
"But two, because I do believe in science and the Fauci-ism of the day back then was, if you've had [the virus] — I've had [the virus] — well then, Mother Nature was creating an immunity."
That, unfortunately, is not how the science of epidemiology works.
Especially once the virus has had a chance—or multiple chances, in the present case—to mutate into other variants that can be more dangerous, reinfect people and to some degree break through vaccines, as in the case of the currently circulating Delta variant.
The scientific community, Dr. Fauci included, has been clear on this point.
As well as the fact it is unknown how long a previous infection confers immunity. And the CDC website clearly states, for the benefit of people like Sarah Palin who "believe in science," some studies indicate an unvaccinated person who has already had the virus is twice as likely to get it again as a vaccinated person.
On Twitter, people raked Palin over the coals for her ignorant comments:
To Palin's credit, she did recommend that people wear masks, telling Gutfeld:
"I view wearing that cumbersome mask indoors in a crowd as not only allowing the newfound luxury of being incognito, but trust it's better than doing nothing to slow the spread."
That's certainly more than most of her Republican compatriots have been willing to do.