I am politically a libertarian. I write extensively on issues of individual freedom. You can imagine my shock and surprise, then, when I found myself the target of a "bombard this guy with e-mails" post at a Ron Paul website because I dared to support the deadly notion of vaccinating our children against dangerous and preventable diseases.
Here is the site in question:
I'm not going to link to the piece I wrote that started all this; you can track it down readily enough if you want to read it, but that's not the point. The point, rather, is to spur discussion: Why is it that libertarians (among whose number I count myself) or at least this libertarian can't differentiate between attempting to persuade, with reason, parents to vaccinate their children -- and advocating that the government force you to the same?
Exactly. "Anything you say will be misquoted and used against you." We were told we couldn't refute a point in a discussion until we had stated that point to the other person's satisfaction.
Even so, a lot of the overheated opposition to ideas isn't always to strawmen. People buy into a point of view so totally that any other beliefs are literally unacceptable to them, and need to be forcibly removed from the conversation.
We get a lot of it here even with our rules against it.
Your attempt to "persuade with reason" was, IMHO, peppered with insults toward those who disagreed with you. That almost always causes a negative reception of both message and messenger.
I agree that was most likely not your intent, but if you will reread what you wrote, including illustrations and quotes, from the perspective of a parent who honestly believes they have done their duty to protect their children from a perceived threat to their health and life by rejecting vaccinations, you might see what I am talking about.
When we are passionate about a subject it is often quite difficult to put yourself in the shoes of people who believe differently. In turn, that makes it difficult to persuade them to consider your own point of view.
You call people who would make this decision "willfully ignorant"? That isn't an insult? What about the other "buzz-words" pointed out by that poster who started people emailing you? Did any one of those words appear in your article? Note again the words he/she homed in on that stuck in their craw, ending the possibility of rational discussion and resulting in their response:...only the most willfully ignorant American citizen could choose to believe the myth of vaccination-caused autism when so much credible evidence exists to the contrary.
CodgerJust wanted to let you all know that the neocon-leaning WND has just released an article by a guy who calls all anti-vaccinators "superstitious", "ignorant", "irrational", "unreasonable", "hysterical", "frightened" - ".......all because some parents are so concerned with unsubstantiated propaganda that they are shunning vitally important medical technology and proven medical science."
They flog you because you have dared to question their orthodoxy - an orthodoxy grounded in ignorance, dedicated to the celebration of willful neglect, and personified in no less illustrious and endowed individual than the vapid Ms. McCarthy. Surely it is not surprising that their mob orthodoxy is being protected by resorting to mob behavior.
Particularly telling is the diatribe from the poster from Florida who offers the fact that his own unvaccinated children do not have a number of diseases and conditions as final proof that vaccinations are not only worthless but actually cause autism, diabetes, asthma, and a host of other problems. The illogic, anti-scientism, appeals to anonymous authority, unfounded medical claims, and hypocrisy in that post are simply staggering. I suppose that is to be expected in a post prefaced with "I'm not writing to argue or reason with you, because neither is possible."
The last I knew, calling someone "willfully ignorant" was a desciption of behavior, not the equivalent of calling someone "poop-head." If you ignore established medical fact in favor of unsubstantied and debunked quack science, then yes, you are being willfully ignorant. Taking a laundry list of words completely out of context is not the same as identifying a series of "insults," either.You call people who would make this decision "willfully ignorant"? That isn't an insult?
At a childbirthing "class" my wife and I attended recently the teacher railed against ANY kind of white fish being consumed by the mother for fear of mercury poisoning that would of course cause your child to be autistic.
No evidence at all, but it was lapped up as a fact.
My question then would be, wouldn't Norway be completely overwhelmed with autistic children?
Survival Sheath Systems
"Failing to prepare is preparing to fail."
Some people are overzealous in their protection of themselves and others from poor health. Witness the lady in the store who went into a coughing-wheezing fit when she saw me enter with a cigarette in my mouth. Unlit. I had no intention of lighting it in the store, and did not. In fact, to appease her theatrical display, I dropped the unlit cigarette into my shirt pocket and tipped my hat. Her perfume was enough to gag me though.
Regardless, a significant number of people truly believe that immunizations pose more of a danger than benefit to their children, celeb endorsement or anti-stance notwithstanding. Likewise, a number of people in the medical community agree with them. And some of the techniques used to try to convince them otherwise are as believable as that old marijuana movie "Reefer Madness" that became a cult classic among dopers in the sixties and seventies.
IMHO, if the intent of the article was to preach to the choir, I suppose it was on target. If it was an attempt to reason with people of the opposing viewpoint and perhaps convince a portion of them that they were in error, it failed, mostly because of the ill-chosen wordsmithing.
In your opinion, not in theirs. Which disease is it that is becoming epidemic among non-vacinated individuals? If most people don't subscribe to the "quackery", how are diseases spreading to those vaccinated?
My wife was advised to stay away from "fatty fish" (Salmon, trout that was caught in lakes) because of their ability to absord more mercury (naturally and from human pollution) than "thin fish" and thus potentially retard brain growth in foetuses.
We have recommended consumption of fish limits here on certain rivers and lakes due to absorbed toxin levels (lead, mercury and PCBs).
As much as we all would like things to be cut and dried, an absolute, they seldom are. Even the manufacturers of vaccines admit the side effects (obtain and read the paper inserted into every container of vaccine), including death. We here in the States and many other countries maintain a compensation fund for parents whose children are judged injured (or killed) by vaccines. That is not a myth or quackery. It is an established fact.
Regarding your other question, a vaccine is not a guarantee. Introducing into a vaccinated population a smaller group of people without vaccinations will invariably lead to outbreaks, which will affect some of the vaccinated population and cause diseases previously thought to be "eradicated" to return. I will quote a friend who put it very well:
No one has said vaccines do not have risks. There is no credible evidence linking vaccines to autism, however, and refusing to vaccinate your children causes provable, demonstrable harm to society at large by encouraging the spread of serious and preventable diseases....There are some people in the population who for sound reasons cannot receive the vaccines, such as infants, the elderly, and people with compromised immune system function - those people are placed at additional risk when enough of the rest of the population remains unvaccinated that there is a statistically large enough pool for the diseases to persist in the population.
The whole point of vaccination from a public health point of view is not to protect any given individual from a disease, but rather to create a hostile ecosystem for the disease, to reduce the likelihood of the disease being able to survive and prosper in the community.
Have you read the risk warning labels/inserts for the MMR vaccine yourself?
No, I am just not one of the "willfully ignorant" you referred to. On either side of the issue.
EDIT: If you take the time to correspond with some of the more reasonable people who took exception to your article, you might just be surprised at how educated they are on the subject. Many of those who exercise their right to refuse vaccinations have gone to the trouble to deeply investigate the development, manufacturing processes and all of the problems associated with vaccinations.
They might lave lost children or have had their children seriously affected by vaccinations. I know that many of them take the time to keep up with the most current research like the debunking of the autism fraud some time back, and do not reject medical proceedures out of hand.
Did you ask them about SIDS? Did you ask them their opinion about the approximately $125,000 the government awards a parent when their child dies from causes directly related to vaccinations?
For all of the harping many people do about wanting people to accept personal responsibility for their own lives and the lives of their families, I am really surprised that this is such an issue.
Last edited by Codger_64; 10-30-2008 at 08:30 PM.
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