Arnold Schwarzenegger — muscle man, movie star, and former governor of California — has got some advice for people who are hesitant about getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
Arnie made the comments in a Facebook thread back in January 2021 alongside a video of him getting the jab at a drive-through vaccine clinic, after which he quips “Come with me if you want to live,” citing his famous line from Terminator 2.
In the comments of the video, he added: “I always say you should know your strengths and listen to the experts. If you want to learn about building biceps, listen to me, because I’ve spent my life studying how to get the perfect peak and I have been called the greatest bodybuilder of all time. We all have different specialties.”
“Dr Fauci and all of the virologists and epidemiologists and doctors have studied diseases and vaccines for their entire lives, so I listen to them and I urge you to do the same.”
“In general, I think if the circle of people you trust gets smaller and smaller and you find yourself more and more isolated, it should be a warning sign that you’re going down a rabbit hole of misinformation. Some people say it is weak to listen to experts. That’s bogus. It takes strength to admit you don’t know everything. Weakness is thinking you don’t need expert advice and only listening to sources that confirm what you want to believe,” he said.
In other words, Arnie is saying trust the science. Schwarzenegger has never been shy to offer his opinion on scientific topics. Back in 2015, he remarked: "I don’t give a **** if we agree about climate change."
This century will see humanity face many huge challenges — including climate change, food and water insecurity, and potential disease outbreaks — that require the integration of science into policymaking. For this to work, public trust in science is critical. However, these challenges have coincided with an increasing mistrust toward the scientific community and a vague antipathy towards experts of any field.
Some suspicion of science is not unfounded — it does not have the cleanest track record when it comes to ethics — but seeds of distrust have also been planted by an ever-growing “anti-science empire” that has tentacles in the media, politics, and other powerful institutions. COVID-19 has seen scientific understanding unfold at never-before-seen speed, but some reports have shown the ongoing pandemic is also likely to hurt public trust in scientists and vaccines.
However, like Arnie points out, your Google search powers are not equivalent to dedicating your life to studying a subject. In the last year, scientific experts have identified a new virus and produced and made available multiple vaccines against it, when for most of us, our proudest achievement was learning to make sourdough.