I encourage the members of the scientific community to take note of two numbers. The first is that according to the Centers for Disease Control the rate of autism for children born in 2002 is 1 in 68. The second number is that according to Professor Eric Oliver, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago, 20% of the public believes that vaccines are linked to autism.
For those who believe there is absolutely nothing wrong with the way we currently try to protect the health of our children, this is very alarming information. However, for the rest of us, this is all very clear and predictable.
The number of children with autism and other autoimmune problems is going up dramatically. The members of the scientific community say they don’t know what’s causing it, maybe something new in the environment, maybe better counting (although nobody really seems to believe that any more), and even though it’s got to be something that the vast majority of kids are getting exposed to, you really need to make sure you cram as many shots in as possible at that well-baby visit.
How is it then, that 20% of the public now believes vaccines are linked to autism?
I like to think it’s because there are a significant number of people who actually look at all this and say, hmm, something’s wrong with this picture. On the one hand I’ve got my pediatrician telling me one thing, and on the other I’ve got that long-time friend who tells me something went wrong with her kid after a vaccination. Who makes more sense? Let me think about it, says the parent to herself. Vaccines work by causing an immune reaction, and a lot of these kids are the victims of an overactive immune system. Hey, doc, could anything possibly go wrong when you try to stimulate the immune system of an infant?
I say this somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but it is the future of the human race we’re talking about here.
And for me, that’s where the scientific community comes into this discussion. The mainstream media likes to play the “Science vs. Parents” card in this debate, but I see a different reality. There are really three actors in this drama. There is Science, there are Parents, and there’s Big Money. Science isn’t the enemy. Big Money is the enemy, and it can come from the government or the pharmaceutical companies.
Because, you see, I really like scientists. I say this having worked for a summer at Lawrence-Livermore National Laboratories in a virus lab where I received a bio-safety level 2 clearance and having spent the past two years writing the book, PLAGUE, and interviewing many of the country’s top scientists.
I’ve been surprised, and frankly delighted, to discover how many leading scientists share many of the same concerns expressed regularly in the stories on Age of Autism. But they are scared. Scared that Big Money will cut off their funding. Or that they will be shunned by their colleagues if they get too vocal about these concerns. And I say this without passing any judgment on the scientists who make that decision to remain quiet and continue their careers. How many of us would risk our professional careers to do the right thing? I’d like to think I would, but I’m not sure.
Even with all of these obstacles many of these scientists make their own plans for how they will fight the system. “I’m not a sweep it under the rug kind of person,” one scientist told me of her research which had skated perilously close supporting the belief now shared by 20% of the population that vaccines are linked to autism. “I will find a way to keep researching this.”
But if many of these scientists plan to keep going in ways that keep their research under the radar, and yet still hold out a chance of improving the health of our population, I have a suggestion.
Now is the time to be bold.
This is the age of revolution and the future belongs to those who take a risk for the truth. Edward Snowden showed the lies behind the Surveillance State, and I know there are those among the readers of this article who can do something similar to the Vaccination State. (And I don’t think you’ll have to flee to Russia in the aftermath, but I’m not making any promises!)
I encourage you to use your analytical skills as scientists to predict the future. You cannot keep hurting children and get away with it. Big Money has been successful at keeping our voices off the airwaves, but it cannot stop the conversations which take place between families and friends. Think of it. Even though there has been a blackout of parent and scientific voices who assert that all is not well in the vaccination program, 20% of the population believes they are not being told the truth.
Lest you think that the magic number is somewhere over 50% and you may have years, or even another decade in which to perpetuate these lies, I suggest the time-frame is much shorter. With our political system perched somewhere around 45% democratic and 45% republican, it doesn’t take a genius to see where the votes necessary for victory are located.
For me, this issue trumps all others. I think there are probably a number of voters like me. Tell me you are going to make sure children are safe, and I really don’t care much about your position on a chained or floating consumer price index. All of those are secondary issues to me.
For those scientists who have been part of the machine, it’s time to surrender, and take your place among the people. We will be good to you, but you must stop being part of the Big Money machine. You know that ultimately the people are the ones who will decide where the money goes. I doubt that Big Money will come after us with snipers and attack helicopters. Even now, as they try to attack us in the media, their own research shows that the more they talk about this issue, the less they are believed. People may not hear the voices of the silenced, but they know when they are being conned.
We need good scientists on our side. It is true, however, that we will want an accounting, just as Nelson Mandela did in South Africa with his Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I do not envy the questions you will be asked, and how your actions will look in the eyes of your friends and family. But if you undertake this hard road there will be redemption.
I am sorry that you in the scientific community have been lied to by those who were supposed to be your guides in the search for truth. They didn’t tell you that you were really serving the interests of Big Money. They didn't tell you that when the machine got too large, it would be very difficult to "self-correct." However, I know there are heroes among you. I've heard your tales of disillusionment and I sympathize with them.
But the time has come for you to take action. For the sake of our children, for the sake of your own career and honor, it is time for you to make a choice. Parents and scientists must make common cause to fight the lies spread by Big Money. It is only then that science can regain the honor it has lost as this epidemic has ravaged our beloved country.