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"First They Came for the Anti-Vaxxers" by Bretigne Schaffer

Human rightsExcerpted from Lew Rockwell.com site:

By Bretigne Schaffer

Earlier this year I spent a few days at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center with my daughter who was having an EEG done. On our way home, I learned that there had been an outbreak of an antibiotic-resistant bacteria while we were there, that it had infected seven people and killed two of them. My daughter and I were fine – the infection having been limited to people using a particular kind of duodenoscope.

When the story hit the news, I fully expected nationwide outcry similar to that inspired by the recent measles “epidemic” that began at Disneyland. That outbreak killed no-one, yet set the country on fire with calls for mandatory vaccination and even prison sentences for parents who choose not to vaccinate their children. Drug-resistant “superbugs” kill nearly 15,000 people a year in the US and a recent report predicts that they could kill as many as 300 million people by 2050. Surely this far more deadly health threat would lead to similar widespread outrage and calls for those even remotely responsible to be held accountable.

I expected to see editorials calling for anyone who engaged in the overuse of antibiotics to be shunned by society; doctors who prescribed them unnecessarily (around 50% of all prescriptions by some estimates) to be censured and perhaps lose their licenses; parents who asked for antibiotics every time their child had an ear infection – despite the fact that the vast majority are not bacterial and are unaffected by antibiotics – to be thrown in jail for endangering the rest of us. But I saw nothing along these lines. Why not?

The manipulation of the conversation around vaccines in the mainstream media has been nothing short of a tour de force. If you read only mainstream publications, you might come away with the impression that outbreaks of measles are the most serious public health crisis since the Black Death. You might think that those who do not vaccinate are uneducated, superstitious, “anti-science” zealots who get their information from daytime talk shows. You might even start to feel outrage at these people who – for no good reason at all – have decided to endanger everyone else by refusing to do what every doctor knows is perfectly safe, effective and the socially responsible thing to do.

The presentation of this issue has been a study in just how easy it can be to generate mass hysteria around a particular threat – even while much more serious threats inspire no such response. It’s as if every mainstream reporter has been given the same playbook to use in putting together their articles about vaccines – a playbook designed to elicit the above response from the public. I’ve tried to imagine what this playbook must look like and I think I’ve come up with a pretty decent facsimile. Here it is, along with my own annotations:

1. Make it clear that parents who choose not to vaccinate their children are only getting their information from Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carey and other celebrities with absolutely no scientific credentials.

Read the full post here.

Comments

Jeannette Bishop

I think that to many of the readers of lewrockwell.com societal/governmental restrictions and mandates on an individual's health choices are equally dangerous and the antibiotics examples point was to show how absurd all this is and probably generally works in our favor. I often live with a "please don't give the authoritarians any more ideas" feeling though, so thanks for raising the point, greyone.

Lets get on the offensive

Also many think that the true cause of antibiotic resistance is that animals are given anti-biotics just so that they will grow fatter. However, what an awesome article. Thank you.

greyone

When discussing antibiotics please remember there are some patients with borreliosis infections who require very long or frequent courses of antiobiotics, IV and or oral, to maintain some functionality and dignity and that we are still in the trenches to allow treatment without persecution of drs and their patients by medical boards and the media and insurance cos.
There was an article about one such patient, Vicki Logan, featured in the NYT in 1993 and in the recent edition of Lyme Tymes. There are other such patients who succeed witht long term treatment by brave drs as seen in the documentary Under Our Skin and the sequel Emergence. There are discussions in Pamela Weintraubs book Cure Unknown about many such patients herself included.
I bring this up because there are people (not yourself) who want to restrict treatment for lyme patients to 30 days of oral treatment if even that, which if the infection is in the central nervous system or brain can leave patients in the lurch.
The vaccine business model has played a part in this for lyme sufferers due to the Lymerix vaccine. Media propaganda similar to that used against vaccine choice and vaccine safety advocates and by the same venues abounds against lyme advocacy.

You make the point very well that words matter.
Please know that when antibotics enter the conversation generalizations can unintentionally hurt this community a great deal.
Thanks for advocating for choice.

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