Visitors Now:
Total Visits:
Total Stories:
Profile image
By ScienceBlogs (Reporter)
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views

Now:
Last Hour:
Last 24 Hours:
Total:

The annals of “I’m not antivaccine,” part 22: The Godwin of “We didn’t know” [Respectful Insolence]

Friday, November 25, 2016 8:17
% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

(Before It's News)

This post is a bit later than usual, but there’s a good reason for it. Last night, I was in full food coma, having consumed the traditional Thanksgiving feast, along with a fair amount of wine. Besides, even a sometimes arrogant bloviator like myself, who uses a pseudonym based on a fictional, near-all-knowing supercomputer from a 35-year-old British cult science fiction series needs a break now and then.

So today I’ll be, for the most part, slumming a bit today as I recover. What better place to look for material when you’re not interested in exerting yourself too hard than the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism? And what better member of the hivemind that is AoA to take a look at than Anne Dachel, the “media editor” of the blog, who is best known for looking for stories about vaccines or the antivaccine movement and sending up the Flying Monkey signal to her minions to inspire them to fly over to the comment sections of those stories and drop their poo in the form of comments full of rabid antivaccine fury?

This time around, however, Dachel isn’t doing that. Instead, she’s decided to promote more antivaccine propaganda from the makers of VAXXED, the movie by Andrew Wakefield and Del Bigtree that is basically one long propaganda film disguised as a documentary promoting the “CDC whistleblower” conspiracy theory that claims that the CDC “covered up” evidence that the MMR vaccine causes autism in African-American boys. So I thought I would add to my continuing series of “The annals of ‘I’m not antivaccine,” because if there’s one thing many AoA bloggers claim, it’s that they are “not antivaccine” but rather “pro-vaccine safety.” Then they go on to go full Godwin about vaccines, as Dachel does here.

Predictably, it doesn’t take long for Nazi analogies to pop up:

I clearly remember one time sitting in a train car in Switzerland talking to a German woman. She was fluent in English and very friendly. At one point she said she was sure that all Americans think the Germans who lived during the time of Hitler hated the Jews and everyone was a Nazi. I told her I understood the severe economic conditions that gave rise to fascism in Germany and that people didn’t support Hitler because he promised to create a Holocaust of the Jews.

The lady went on to tell me about the wonderful things the Nazis did for Germany in the midst of the depression and the aftermath of World War I when she was growing up. As far as the Jewish situation, she empathically said, “We just didn’t know what was happening.”

I never have forgotten that conversation. Here was someone who was a little child in the 1930s and the Nazi provided her with summer camps and lots of fun activities. Granted, she didn’t know back then what was really going on, but she knew all about mass slaughter in Hitler’s death camps when we were speaking in the 1980s. Still, there were no expressions of remorse or horror at the outrages of genocide perpetrated by the Nazi regime, just the often repeated, we didn’t know.

Autism and the connection to vaccinations wasn’t even remotely in the picture back then, but they are very much on my mind today and everyday. This leads to me think about the future. Why? Because the truth has to come out, or we have no future. And when we wake up to the reality of the holocaust created on the high altar of corporate greed, what will be the response of those in positions to have known what was happening?

What about the doctors and nurses who witnessed horrible vaccine reactions? What about the researchers hired to design studies to cover up any hint of vaccine damage? How will they explain what they did?

Sigh. Here we go again.

Yes, it’s true. There was a lot of support in Germany for the Nazis in the early years of the regime because Hitler appeared to be delivering on his promise to make Germany great again. (Yes, the wording was intentional; I couldn’t resist.) People were going back to work. The Autobahn was being constructed. One thing that’s unknown to many people about the Nazi regime is that it enacted some of the most sweeping social programs in history. There were workers’ welfare programs, subsidized vacations, and welfare programs like Winterhilfswerk (“winter relief”). Of course, I can’t help but point out here that, although the Nazis called Winterhilfswerk a “voluntary” charity program, failure to contribute not infrequently resulted in—shall we say?—unpleasant consequences, such as social ostracism, loss of employment, and even worse. And, yes, there were summer camps for children.

Of course, the point of this analogy is that, in addition to the things the Nazi regime did that made it popular in its early years, the regime went on to launch what became the bloodiest war in history and commit many of the worst atrocities in history and advanced an ideology in which Aryans were the Master Race, justified in doing almost anything in order to attain their Lebensraum (living space), with Jews portrayed as the implacable enemy of the race, attempting to undermine its rightful goals at every turn. One result was that, when the war was over and the Nazis defeated, many Germans denied knowledge of Nazi atrocities and, like the woman in Dachel’s anecdote, claimed that they only knew about the good things. While that’s likely true of Germans who were children in the 1930s, it’s a harder line to take for Germans who were adults, because, even if most German citizens didn’t know about the death camps, the did have a pretty good idea that “resettlement to the East” was not a good thing for the Jews rounded up and sent East. Also, the sheer size of the German war machine and state ensured that millions of Germans knew what was happening to the Jews and others in the subjugated nations to the East.

So Ms Dachel, thinking herself clever, tries to make an analogy between the vaccination program and the Holocaust, starting with that old woman on the train who enjoyed the camps and activities the Nazis provided for children when she was growing up but knew, of course, from the rest of her life what the Nazi regime went on to do. Dachel, being Dachel, is not subtle:

I never have forgotten that conversation. Here was someone who was a little child in the 1930s and the Nazi provided her with summer camps and lots of fun activities. Granted, she didn’t know back then what was really going on, but she knew all about mass slaughter in Hitler’s death camps when we were speaking in the 1980s. Still, there were no expressions of remorse or horror at the outrages of genocide perpetrated by the Nazi regime, just the often repeated, we didn’t know.

Autism and the connection to vaccinations wasn’t even remotely in the picture back then, but they are very much on my mind today and everyday. This leads to me think about the future. Why? Because the truth has to come out, or we have no future. And when we wake up to the reality of the holocaust created on the high altar of corporate greed, what will be the response of those in positions to have known what was happening?

What about the doctors and nurses who witnessed horrible vaccine reactions? What about the researchers hired to design studies to cover up any hint of vaccine damage? How will they explain what they did?

Because saying “I don’t know” about Germany’s role in sending roaming murder squads into conquered countries to round up and kill Jews and partisans and in setting up death camps to slaughter millions of Jews and other enemies of the Reich with industrial efficiency are just like not accepting the pseudoscience of the antivaccine movement that promotes the conspiracy theory that the CDC and pretty much everyone in medical and public health professions “knew” that vaccines cause autism. OK, that’s not exactly what she’s saying. Rather, she’s engaging in a bit of wishful thinking, a bit of fantasy that I like to refer to as the fantasy of vindication, in which someday soon there will be evidence so compelling that the world will have to admit that antivaccinationists were right all along, hence the Nazi analogy. When that day comes, according to the fantasy, all those scientists, doctors, and public health officials will be like Germans who supported the Nazi regime dismissing its atrocities by saying, “We didn’t know.”

In an attempt to “prove” why health officials “should have known,” Dachel trots out a bunch of YouTube videos from the VAXXED crew in which various parents and others provide anecdotes of “vaccine injury.” She clearly thinks she’s doing the same sort of thing as when Allied officials, right after victory, marched German civilians through Nazi concentration camps like Dachau, Ohrdruf and Buchenwald to show them what had been done in their names. So what we get is an “integrative” pediatrician named Dr. Ramon Ramos spouting antivaccine views and “health freedom” propaganda:

We also get parental anecdotes. Such anecdotes, as I’ve described more times than I can remember, are generally full of the selective memory that is confirmation bias and the human cognitive tendency to confuse correlation with causation. They are seldom particularly convincing from a scientific standpoint, but can be very convincing on a human basis because humans instinctively tend to understand and believe compelling stories over data.

Obviously, for a tactic like Dachel’s Godwin, in which she likens scientists, doctors, and public health officials to Germans who later said, “We didn’t know” about Nazi atrocities, to have any validity, two things would have to be true. First, we would have to know that vaccines do cause autism and all those other conditions. Unfortunately for Dachel, scientists know that multiple large studies have failed to demonstrate a link between vaccines and autism, asthma, autoimmune diseases, and all the other diseases and conditions blamed on vaccines. Vaccines are effective and very, very safe, with serious adverse reactions being quite rare. Second, autism would have to be as bad the death and suffering caused by the Nazis. We know that’s not true.

The sad thing is that Dachel clearly doesn’t. Indeed, Dachel couldn’t have made such an analogy if she didn’t implicitly believe that describing the increase in autism diagnoses over the last 25 years as a “holocaust” is a massive and offensive exaggeration. The “autism holocaust” canard so beloved by antivaccine propagandists like Dachel does, however, show what antivaccinationists think of autism.

Report abuse

Comments

Your Comments
Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

Top Stories
Recent Stories

Register

Newsletter

Email this story
Email this story

If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.