The Tl;DR Key points
WHY PHIL DIED, AND WHY YOU SHOULD CARE ABOUT IT
Today I learned that Phil Valentine died from COVID-related pneumonia. This is genuinely sad, as anyone’s untimely death is.
Phil was a well-known conservative radio host in Tennessee, known especially for his controversial views about vaccines. It is unfair to say he was an anti-vaxxer; he specifically said some people “probably need to get the vaccine”, after all.
But he did contribute to vaccine hesitancy and, as a result, possibly the deaths and illness of some of his listeners. He did this in at least a few ways:
And I find this interesting because, if he had studied philosophy—or at least relevant parts of it—then, in a very real sense, he and some of his listeners might still be alive today. So while I don’t mean to unduly bag on Phil, I do want to extract lessons from his story that may hold value for others.