ALYSSA ROSENBERG: Vaccine deniers, the criminalization of parenthood and the loss of community.

The refusal to vaccinate your children, relying on other families to create the environment that will keep yours safe, is a rejection of state power in favor of personal preference. The choice to call the police on parents who aren’t supervising their children in the way you think they ought to be is an invocation of state power that can have dramatic consequences. But both the vaccine refusal movement and the criminalization of certain parenting strategies (or parenting economic realities) are based on misinformation. And both are expressions of our profound withdrawal from one another.

Well, one problem is a breakdown of trust in public institutions. But that breakdown is a product of public institutions’ being untrustworthy, repeatedly, over many decades. She’s right, though, that irrational fears about vaccines have done less damage than irrational fears about, say, kids playing outdoors.