One aspect of the anti-science, antivaccination movement I find compelling is their need to sell the belief of being dehumanised, whilst at the same time mockingly dehumanising mainstream behaviour.
Added to this is implied alienation of followers who may manifest, sometimes quite trivial, independence. Thus the goal of an antivaccination lobby is to largely create the illusion that a threat to the Self exists.
Yet at the same time this threat must be far worse than the ongoing cost to the Self that followers already pay. Such as money, the cost of implied alienation, lack of independence, having no control over leadership or methods employed.
A great deal of anti-science and particularly antivaccination rhetoric is devoted to the promotion of impending danger. Imminent compulsory vaccination. Financial entitlements being taken away.
Your “health choice” being under threat is bundled more and more with outrageous fantasies about modern medicine failing at every turn and personal attacks on the integrity of those who suffer because of vaccine preventable disease or from ignoring medicine.
The success and failure of meeting this goal also depends greatly upon how well followers can be fooled into thinking the greatest democracies on Earth are in fact dehumanising the public. Next comes selling the cost to Self as an investment, an escape from guilt, more fear or a way of belonging. Presenting themselves as persecuted helps to provoke outrage in would be donors.
Antivaccination, anti-science and anti-conventional medicine proponents:
- Promote the notion that governments and science institutions dehumanise
- Promote the notion that social conformity is a symptom of dehumanisation
- Exert retribution (usually public ostracism) upon followers who seek to express independence
- Convince followers through guilt and fear to contribute a material cost to themselves
- Strive to trap followers between the illusion of dehumanisation and the reality of manipulation
- Continually refer to “an enemy” when none exists
- Succeed in prompting followers to act antisocially thus, actually dehumanise
A short while ago Mia Freedman wrote an article on the perils of favouring Google over advice from trained professionals. Meryl Dorey of the Australian Vaccination Network Inc. attacked her immediately whilst threats and abuse from antivaccination followers (Point 6 above) rolled into Mia’s social network and email accounts.
There’s no doubt that a number of parents concerned about vaccination wanted to have a say on the AVN Facebook page. Any comments that sought common ground were deleted and the person abused. The connotation was clear. There is no middle ground. No understanding, no compromise, no evidence. One member, who also enjoyed Mia’s work on Mamamia commented twice. The second included:
… why are you being so mean? You do realise that lots of people – genuinely curious people – will come to this page after reading Mia’s column? If I were you I’d be using the traffic to make a reasoned argument in a friendly forum. Mocking and insulting a well loved and popular writer (even if you disagree with her) is not doing your cause any good.
In fact a thread of over three dozen comments has been culled down to 12. To top off application of Point number 3 above an administrator posted the image to the left, with a reminder not to “feed the trolls”.
One might guess it’s a bit of damage control. Having just banned genuinely curious readers and members who dared speak their minds it’s time to apply Point number 2 above.
Any reference to social responsibility or consideration of vaccination or even independence must be labelled “the enemy”. In this case the AVN want members to believe – and many do – that you could only query an AVN stance if already dehumanised. A mindless sheeple with nothing to contribute.
Another tactic to also convince members they should comply to demands for a “greater good” is the abuse of quotes from famous thinkers. I particularly like this once from scientist Albert Einstein, used to advance anti-science agendas by the AVN:
Quote abuse is simply rampant in conspiracy circles and Ms. Dorey is an obsessive user. This one from Margaret Mead is her favourite:
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has
Of course a quote can be used in almost any context. Horribly, Andrew Wakefield and other “committed citizens” just like Dorey already have changed the world. If I were to use a quote by Mead it’d be Children must be taught how to think, not what to think, which is arguably the antithesis of the antivaccination approach. Much like severe religious adherents the in-group cult-like observance of the anti-science movement is on constant guard from the “dangers” of a world offering education, robust health, extended lifespan and complete freedom.
Filling their children’s heads with fear, alienation and nonsense is regrettably a symptom of deeper psychological issues that drive some parents to exploit what is a proxy of their own instability. We’ve all seen the photos of “unvaccinated and healthy” kids. Dorey is even calling for them to place on her website. Why? What type of person exploits children for a reason that a child cannot possibly understand?
The same who attend pox parties, intentionally seek out measles infection and crop their brand new babies life potential by fleeing hepatitis B immunisation despite certain maternal transmission.
Indeed it is the very presence of such bizarre movements that usurps the claim of genuine resistance against so-called foes. Foes who supposedly seek to suppress their rights of expression and choice, appear strangely absent. Consider Mike Adams “Vaccine Zombies” attack on the 90 plus percent of people who choose to vaccinate. So dehumanised are these sheeple they’re also made into zombies by the vaccine itself.
Added to the abuse of quotes is the association with giants of history, just in case you missed the nobility meme. They laughed at Galileo. The Vatican executed Giordano Bruno. Columbus was mocked as a madman.
But, then again, as Carl Sagan said:
But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.
Sagan reminds us of how ridiculous it is to believe that opposition is proof you are a genius who will one day be a household name. Or that those who patiently explain your errors are malignant forces. Yet how do you reason with groups like the AVN or Age of Autism who use terms like “health fascism”?
You’ll notice Meryl’s tags include “McCaffery”. Yes, with “Health Fascism”. Her gutter level record in attacking this family is truly shocking – as recent events indicate.
Age Of Autism
Meryl Dorey – AVN
Today Meryl Dorey managed to combine all the bullet points in one mad retributive “survey” in response to Have Vaccine Critics Made You More Of An Immunization Advocate? This piece offers some great insight into how antivaxxers are sabotaging their stated goal.
But then, what is their real goal? As is pointed out Adams makes millions from selling magical (but untested and impurity laced) “potions” and “solutions” purporting to reverse the damage vaccines do. Without vaccination his business would vanish. The amount of lead, arsenic and mercury found in “original” Chinese herbs is testament to their lack of quality control. He’s a typical con artist and crook, also harvesting and selling to spammers the email addresses readers must supply to finish his articles.
Dorey herself profits only from doom and gloom. Fighting funds abound. The more enemies identified the more reason to ask for money… to save oneself by keeping the AVN ready and willing to support your choices. Never mind that not one of these choices is under threat. From 2004 – 2010 $1.8 million in profit rolled in to the AVN. To my knowledge not one promised project – not one – has been drafted much less completed. Where is the money?
So, wham scam thank you m’am, onto the survey.
A rather fascinating meander, is it not?
Parents who choose not to vaccinate are often better informed than their doctors on this subject. But today the effort to restrict our right to choose – not only whether or not to vaccinate but whether or not to have access to natural therapies – is being threatened like never before.
This is quite misleading. No data indicate such parents are “better informed”. Ms. Dorey has made that up. No threat to inhibit natural therapy choice exists beyond the growing requests to justify placebo based therapies (sold at exorbitant prices) with evidence.
Ironically it is a fact that the push for Conscientious Objection has backfired. Doctors actually are reporting that once provided with both sides – not just the antivaccination side – parents are significantly more likely to choose vaccination.
Yes some doctors are refusing to see non-vaccinating parents. And this is where I’m sick and tired of hearing Dorey use the terms “freedom” and “choice” specific to basic child abuse. This is not a choice being made. It is a mistake.
The survey itself is simply:
Again this is deceptive. “Informed vaccination choice” is once again code for child abuse. At best, code for “using my child to tell Big Brother to get lost”. Yet look at the final option: “I’m too scared to openly support the AVN”. I’ve no idea what it’s doing on an anonymous survey beyond pushing the notion of a non-existent enemy.
Whilst there are examples of mothers retracting stories from Facebook following attacks by Meryl, I’m not aware of the opposite trend. This is more clever manipulation to keep followers undecided, fearful of unseen and arbitrarily described “fascist”-like enemies whilst dehumanising devotees who actually believe their choices, freedoms and health are under threat.
As tragic as it seems this argument is moving on many levels well away from any dissemination of evidence. Appeals are being made to basic human instincts. Reward and ostracism of antivaccination followers is based almost entirely on acceptance and accusation respectively. Parents are being fed increasingly absurd deception, around increasingly irrelevant notions for demonstrably fallacious goals.
On the bright side, as annoying, offensive and nauseating as this now is it’s a change that will drive uncertain parents well away from the line of fire.
That of course, can only be a good thing.