Plaintiff Janice Hustvet sued Allina Health System because Allina terminated Hustvet from her job as an Independent Living Specialist (an “ILS”). Allina fired Ms. Hustvet because she refused to get vaccinated against rubella, which was a requirement imposed by Allina for ILS’s who work with immunocompromised people.

It appears that Ms. Hustvet was concerned about taking the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine  because of various allergies she has although it seems that no doctor could be found to substantiate any of Ms. Hustvet’s concerns about the vaccine.

Hustvet sued Allina for “discrimination, unlawful inquiry, and retaliation claims” and she lost her case on summary judgment. (Congratulations to the lawyers at Felhaber Larson for the win.)

Who would have thought that there could ever be a society that was both so mind-bogglingly advanced to send unmanned satellites past Jupiter and Mars, to cure diseases that ravaged humans for thousands of years, to create works of human ingenuity and creativity of staggering complexity while, at the same time, we seem to have large numbers of people among us who reject the validity of science?

One day, we might find this paradox funny, another day, bone-chilling.

At the moment, it seems to us to reflect a growing and ominous degradation of the commonweal, that is, public welfare — literally, a threat to democracy and our way of life.

The primary ineluctable facts of the birth and death of each one of the constituent members in a social group determine the necessity of education. On one hand, there is the contrast between the immaturity of the new-born members of the group —its future sole representatives— and the maturity of the adult members who possess the knowledge and customs of the group. On the other hand, there is the necessity that these immature members be not merely physically preserved in adequate numbers, but that they be initiated into the interests, purposes, information, skill, and practices of the mature members: otherwise the group will cease its characteristic life. Even in a savage tribe, the achievements of adults are far beyond what the immature members would be capable of if left to themselves. With the growth of civilization, the gap between the original capacities of the immature and the standards and customs of the elders increases. Mere physical growing up, mere mastery of the bare necessities of subsistence will not suffice to reproduce the life of the group. Deliberate effort and the taking of thoughtful pains are required. Beings who are born not only unaware of, but quite indifferent to, the aims and habits of the social group have to be rendered cognizant of them and actively interested. Education, and education alone, spans the gap.

Democracy & Education, John Dewey (1916).

The United States education system is failing. An anti-science plaintiff has lost her job and her lawsuit and our ill-educated anti-science electorate has given us the worst and plainly most unqualified President in U.S. history. 

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