By Dan Olmsted
Medical authorities, as you may have noticed, don’t like to be challenged. The fact that they have been so wrong, so often, so long and so recently does not in the least change their view of the matter. They are angry you would even bring it up! They may have advertised the throat-soothing properties of filter cigarettes, bled patients dry (probably killing the father of our country) and pushed stupid stuff from Viagra to thalidomide to the first deadly rotavirus vaccine because their phrat brothers told them to. But no matter. This time, and forever after, they are exactly, completely, unchallengeably, unconflictedly right.
As Mark Blaxill and I pointed out in our book The Age of Autism, this long history of bad medicine is blithely subsumed -- submerged and suppressed might be better words -- under the medical “march of progress” – as in, OK, getting syphilis patients to drink mercuric chloride may have been misguided, but it was the best practice at the time (even if it did cause the worst form of the disease, general paralysis of the insane, but let’s not dwell on that), and after a few hundred years of that they accidentally came across penicillin, which did cure it, so why are we even bringing this up? And Freud was wrong about hysteria, which got psychiatry off to a catastrophic start (hysteria was actually caused by mercury poisoning), but now the "experts" really do understand the human psyche, so get off their case already! Take two Seroquel and don’t call us in the morning.
I’m bringing this up because realizing how badly and self-righteously medicine has behaved ought to make parents far more cautious than most of them are (although the numbers are growing) about the proven, study-after-study-vouched-for-safety of the current vaccination schedule. This is not just "presentism" -- judging history by the impossibly high standard of what we have learned since then. The medical establishment really messed up with impunity for most of its long history and a lot of people suffered and died for it. Until at least germ theory came along, people would have been much better off with homeopathy, whether it worked or not, because at least it did no harm.
This month my mind is on a very topical example of medical arrogance and iatrogenic harm, the idea that homosexuals were sick, needed to be treated, condemned or just locked away in jail (or, in Iran, killed, and in Russia, bullied and beaten). June is gay pride month, timed to the Stonewall riots that triggered the gay rights movement. And this month may be the most historic and decisive ever, as the Supreme Court rules on gay marriage rights.
We’ve come a long way, baby. Just this week the New York Times – where medical “experts” still reign on all things vaccination – looked back at its own often-sordid history of treating homosexuality as an evil disease. The headline from 1964 (when I turned 12): “Homosexuals Proud of Deviancy, Medical Academy Study Finds.” It would be a medical academy, wouldn't it? And it would be The Times, wouldn't it!
As David W. Dunlop wrote this week: “There it was, to shock anyone whose eye fell on the front page of The Times: news that homosexuals had ‘gone beyond the plane of defensiveness and now argue that their deviancy is ‘a desirable, noble, preferable way of life.’ ” According to the original article, medicine was not going to let the homosexuals get away with having a decent life:
“The report is the first recognized study of homosexuality by a recognized organization representing all branches of medicine, a spokesman for the committee said” – the Committee on Public Health of the New York Academy of Medicine. Homosexuality, the story went on, “is an ‘illness’ that can be treated ‘in some cases’ but is more easily dealt with by early preventative measures, the report concludes.” Maybe a vaccine?