Anne Dachel continues her interview with Toby Rogers, PhD. Read Part 1 here.
#2 More questions for Dr. Toby Rogers
Here Dr. Rogers comments on “the strange moment that we’re in.”
“In 2012 I was teaching in Cambodia. I had just graduated with a master’s degree from UC Berkley, and I’d gone off to teach gender studies in Cambodia.
“During the time that I was there, the King [Norodom Sihanouk] died. This was a big deal, and the night the King died people poured out into the streets of Phnom Penh and throughout Cambodia.
“It was strange because they were all looking up at the moon. It was a beautiful night, there was a full moon. Everybody was all in the streets. They were all looking up at the moon.
“I wanted to understand what was happening so I went down to the street. I asked a young lady, ‘What’s happening? What’s going on here?’
“The young woman said that the King had died. I said, ‘Yes, I know the King has died. I’m sorry for that.’
“And she said, ‘The King’s face is there in the moon. Can’t you see it?’
“And I looked up at the moon, and it was a full moon. It was a nice moon, but I didn’t see the King’s face. ‘What are you talking about?’
“And she said, ‘Well the King’s face is in the moon right now. That’s what we’re all looking at. We can all see the King’s face in the moon.’
“At the time this was a very strange social phenomenon that several hundred thousand, actually it was probably more than a million people, in the space of a day could physically see something in the moon that I couldn’t see.
“It was a social phenomenon that I’d never seen before, and it was an example of a collective delusion on a scale that I had never even thought was possible.
“The reason I bring that up is that what we’re experiencing now today in the United States regarding the denial of the autism epidemic is an even stranger social phenomenon than what I witnessed on the streets of Cambodia that night back in 2012.
“Autism is all around us. It’s three percent of the population. Everybody knows somebody who has a kid who’s on the spectrum. Every extended family in the United States is affected by this epidemic, and yet government officials don’t want to talk about it, the New York Times doesn’t want to talk about it, the mainstream media doesn’t want to talk about it.
“As a society the United States is engaged in not seeing something that all of us know is right there right in front of us, and it is very strange.
“What the experience in Cambodia showed me is that it is possible for millions of people, in a fairly short space of time, to see things that are not actually there or to not see things that are there.
“The ways that denial works, the ways that we lie to ourselves as a society, are complex and layered, but we’re in the midst of these unprecedented epidemics of childhood illness in the United States right now. Simultaneously, as a society, the United States is engaged in levels of denial that are on a scale that we’ve never seen before in the United States.
“Maybe we have. Maybe this is in our DNA as a society that we overlooked the sin of slavery, and we overlooked the sin of Jim Crow, and now we overlook the sin of the pharmaceutical industry inflicting unbelievable harms on our children.
“Maybe we’ve been engaged in denial for centuries. Certainly if we asked the native populations they would say, ‘It’s about time that you woke up. We’ve been dealing with suffering and official denial for centuries now.’
“As a social scientist these are some of the things I want to sort out. How do we break through that denial, and how do we get people to engage with the world as it really is and to really begin to grasp what’s happening with these epidemics?
“The tragedy in all this, in addition to all the suffering, is that the remedy is relatively straightforward. We simply need to put fewer toxic chemicals in the bodies of children. That starts with better regulation of the pharmaceutical industry, and it starts with rolling back the vaccine schedule to something that’s more sane and based on science, not based on profits of the pharmaceutical industry and trying to make them rich.
“These are just strange times that we’re living in, and I’m grateful for your work. I’m working with a lot of other people who are just trying to figure out how to wake people up to deal with reality as it is instead of engaging in denial and cover-up and ignoring the crises that are right there in front of us.”