I have to say it’s feeling a lot like THE FRENCH REVOLUTION around the vaccine-autism issue these days.
Not really up on your history?
All you really need to know is that the French aristocrats who lost their heads in the Revolution were unbelievably blind to the reasonable calls for reform and engaged in monumentally stupid acts which ensured their complete destruction.
It’s one thing to be on the losing side of a fight.
It’s another to know you’re losing.
The white majority in South Africa knew they were losing to Nelson Mandela’s call for justice and they took actions which averted a catastrophe. Even though the British ended up fighting a war with us, there were voices in England who thought that the whole affair was utter madness. Eventually, their views prevailed. Hell, even some Nazis could see where Hitler was leading them after D-Day and tried to change things by blowing him up.
But those Vaxxers, they’re an entire breed of STUPID unto themselves.
On the bonehead roll-call of history I think there are going to be two people topping the list, Peter Hotez, writing in The New York Times and Rachel Roberts writing for The Independent.
Peter Hotez’s idiocy starts with the very title of his piece, “How the Anti-Vaxxers are Winning.” (February 8, 2017) Now, for those who have been in a coma for the past year, “winning” has become something of an American tag-line. Regardless of your political philosophy, when you say somebody is “winning”, the natural psychological inclination is to say, wow, those people who are “winning” must be stronger, smarter, and more deserving of the favor of heaven then those people who are “losing.” I’m not saying that’s fair or right, just an observation.
So, after admitting he is among the “losers”, Hotez trots out that tired old line that “vaccines don’t cause autism,” and in case readers who wonder why they have family members with a kid or two on the spectrum, or that family a few doors down the street has a child with autism, he gives his best scientific explanation. “Researchers have suggested that damage could be done by the drugs thalidomide, misoprostol and valproic acid; by exposure to the insecticide chlorpyrifos; and by infection of the mother with the rubella virus.”
There’s so much stupidity in that single sentence it’s going to take me a few paragraphs to fully unravel it.
So, let’s do that…
Thalidomide was a drug used in the late 1950s and early 1960s for morning sickness, which resulted in birth defects in children. In the United States it was discontinued in 1964. (It never received “official approval” but was used.) Growing up I knew two people who had limbs which were deformed due to their mother’s use of the drug.
Misoprostol is a drug used to start labor, cause an abortion, or prevent and treat stomach ulcers. I can understand how some suspicion might fall on this type of drug, especially as it is used to start labor, but can this really be the cause of one in fifty children coming down with the disease? But is this really going to be the hill upon which you fight and die? I know what’s causing autism in children! An abortion drug!
Valproic acid is better known as Depakote, used to treat seizures. Again, maybe there is a small subset of women in their twenties and thirties taking the drug, and there may be problems, but is this your big explanation? Unfortunately, many kids with autism are NOW on the drug to control their seizures, like my daughter. Just for the record, my wife has NEVER taken valproic acid, so that’s another strike, Peter.
The insecticide, chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate, which are usually bad actors on the scene, but when you go to the web-site for the National Pesticide Information Center (a collaboration between Oregon State University and the Environmental Protection Agency – for those of you at home keeping track of things like “credibility”), they report that the “only legal indoor use for chlorpyrifos is in containers with treated baits.” I know that pregnant women get some strange cravings, but until you show me some data on women devouring containers with treated bait, along with pickles and ice cream, I’m going to have to reserve judgment on this claim.
Finally, you note that infection of the mother with the rubella virus has been linked to autism. Yes, Peter, you and I finally have something upon which we agree. I know the study of which you speak, performed in the early 1960s. Bravo! However, we really haven’t had many rubella outbreaks since then, so probably not a good explanation for the massive increase in autism since that time. However, many parents have reported that their children changed after, oh what’s the name of that shot? Oh yeah, MMR, which stands for measles, mumps, and . . . wait for it . . . RUBELLA!
So, you admit that the rubella virus can cause autism in children if the mother had it, but you think it’s a good idea to inject this virus into children, knowing that sometimes these things cause the very disease against which they were supposed to protect? Peter, suddenly I’m understanding why people like you moved vaccines out of the traditional civil justice system with the passage of the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. It’s because we attorneys would make doctors like you look like fools!
Britain is no better…
Now, from the idiocy of America, we go across the Atlantic to the sheer, raving lunacy of the English. In an article published on February 10, 2016 in The Independent entitled “Donald Trump’s New Health Secretary Tom Price was a Member of an Ultra-Conservative Anti-Vaxxer Group”, by Rachel Roberts, you see how completely the Vaxxers have lost touch with reality.
You see, all good people are well-aware that when you call somebody “ultra-conservative” it’s a bad thing because those conservatives want to give political power back to the people and when you call somebody an “anti-vaxxer” they don’t believe the claims of the beloved Dear Leader (i.e. pharmaceutical giants) that vaccines are as safe as sugar water.
Now if you combine those two terms together, you have a nefarious mega-villain who believes in less government power, and is concerned about the influence of powerful corporations on our public discourse. However, what Rachel Roberts sees as a nefarious mega-villain, many others simply see as a reasonably informed individual.
And what are the claims by this “ultra-conservative, anti-vaxxer group” that Rachel Roberts finds so appalling? Rachel Roberts writes “A resolution by the group in the year 2000 stated: ‘Safety testing of many vaccines is limited and the data are unavailable for independent scrutiny, so that mass vaccination is equivalent to human experimentation and subject to the Nuremberg Code, which requires voluntary informed consent.’”
I see it so often in history, and in action-adventure movies, that the greatest villains are always claiming the Nuremberg Code (the set of international laws passed by the United Nations after World War II to keep government from doing things like the Nazis did) in their defense and calling for independent scrutiny of data that is kept away from the public and things like informed consent.
Rachel Roberts is much more comfortable with companies concealing data from independent review and dispensing altogether with informed consent. Does that sound like good public policy to you?
Let’s talk about what’s really causing the Vaxxers to lose their f******* minds.
Donald Trump won the American election. He doesn’t trust the pharmaceutical companies and he is going to put into positions of power those people who don’t trust them, either.
The free ride is over.
Hell, he even nominated Robert Kennedy, Jr., member of a legendary Democratic dynasty and well-known environmental lawyer, to head a Commission on Vaccine Safety and Scientific Integrity.
I remember my wife’s Jewish grandfather telling me a joke once. In the days after the Nazis were defeated there was a Jewish man living in Berlin. Every day he goes to the same newsstand and asks “Can I get a copy of the Nazi Party newspaper?”
“I’m sorry,” the news-seller says, “But there is no more Nazi newspaper.”
“Okay,” the man says and leaves.
He keeps coming back day after day, asking the same question and receiving the same answer. Finally, the news-seller explodes in frustration and asks, “Why do you keep coming back and asking the same question?”
“It just makes me so happy to hear that every morning that it gets my day off to a good start.”
I know just how he feels.
Donald Trump is President of the United States and he doesn’t trust the pharmaceutical companies. Tom Price is the head of Health and Human Services and he doesn’t trust the pharmaceutical companies. Robert Kennedy, Jr. is head of the Vaccine Safety and Scientific Integrity Commission and he doesn’t trust the pharmaceutical companies.
The day is off to a VERY good start.