About a week and a half ago, I took note of a rather unhinged rant by comedian Rob Schneider about vaccines in which he trotted out an antivaccine movement’s greatest hits compendium of pseudoscience, misinformation, and logical fallacies, all in the service of opposing California Bill AB 2109. Antivaccine activists hate this piece of legislation in particular, the reason being that it would make it just a little more difficult for parents to obtain philosophical exemptions from school mandates. Right now in California, parents basically just have to sign a form, no questions asked, no other requirements made. AB 2109 would require parents to consult with a health care professional to obtain a waiver. The purpose of this consultation is to make sure that parents understand the consequences of what they are doing, the concern being that, currently, obtaining a philosophical exemption is just so easy that some parents who aren’t really antivaccine just sign the exemption form because it’s easier than taking their children to the pediatrician to make sure they’re up to date on their vaccines. In other words, AB 2109 mandates something very simple and responsible: Informed consent. Compare that to the misinformed consent that is preferred by antivaccinationists. No wonder “Dr. Bob” Sears hates it so much. Rob Schneider is just the most recent (and stupid) of the parade of antivaccinationists expressing opposition to the bill.
Now, there are lots of issues one can discuss about this bill. It’s by no means perfect. For instance, the last version I read allows parents to have naturopaths sign their waivers, which to me is a serious flaw given how antivaccine most naturopaths are. This was apparently introduced to mollify the crunchy contingent who take their children only to “alternative” practitioners. Why anyone would want to mollify parents who take their children to quacks in preference to real doctors, I don’t know, but that’s politics. Not surprisingly, antivaccinationists are not mollified because, as Rob Schneider so Godwinly put it, AB 2109 sponsors are a bunch of “Nazis.”
Still, even a week and a half later, I still wonder where Schneider came up with one particularly ignorant thing that he said. I’m referring, of course, to his statement that AB 2109 is “against the Nuremberg Laws.” My initial take, probably due to not hearing the relevant passage of the video that well and not going back to listen to it a couple of times to make sure I heard it right, was that he was comparing AB 2109 to the Nuremberg Laws. As you may recall, the Nuremberg Laws were passed by the Nazis in 1935, stripping Jews of their German citizenship and forbidding them from marrying (or even having sexual intercourse with) non-Jews, under pain of imprisonment with hard labor. These laws are widely viewed historically as one of the major steps towards the Holocaust because, two and a half years after Hitler had taken power, they virtually eliminated the few remaining existing legal protections for Jews. This impression was cemented in my mind by Schneider’s followup remarks in which he compared AB 2109 to eugenics laws in the U.S. in the early part of the 20th century.
It turns out that I was wrong; I misheard. What Schneider was actually probably meant was that he thought AB 2109 was against the Nuremberg Code, not the Nuremberg Laws. The Nuremberg Code was delivered in 1947 as part of the verdict against Nazi doctors who had conducted horrific medical experiments on Jews and other prisoners and remains one of the foundations of medical ethics with respect to human subjects research. Some of the ten points of the code include the requirement for informed consent, the requirement that there be strong preclinical data (in vitro and animal experiments) to support the hypothesis being tested, that physical and mental suffering must be avoided or minimized, and several other principles that we accept today.
But where did this talking point come from? I hadn’t heard this one before, at least not as far as I could remember. I don’t know who originated it, but I came across another use of it just yesterday. What happened was that I was perusing my Google Alerts, one of which is for (of course!) vaccines, and I came across a post by Scott Lazarowitz attacking Drew Johnson on the Radly Balko blog for attacking Jenny McCarthy for her promotion of antivaccine views. He was apparently unhappy because the number of links in his comments held his comment up for moderation and he was unhappy that it took a day for his comment to be approved. (Hint: Whining in the comments about its taking too long for your post to be approved by a moderator is just plain lame. Writing a blog post whining about its taking too long for your post to be approved by a moderator is beyond lame.) A couple of the links were antivaccine misinformation about Andrew Wakefield and how he’s being “persecuted.” Then I came across in the list of links, however, is on Food Freedom News and entitled Unspeakable Outrages Across the Country. It’s by a guy named Brian Gaston, and he is very upset about Vermont’s attempt to tighten up its philosophical exemptions, which is why he was gloating shamelessly in his post about the failure of the Vermont legislature to get the law passed.
Then later, he cites a passage from an article entitled Have Rabbis Forgotten The Experiments on Jewish Women at Auschwitz?:
Needless to say, giving untested, unknown vaccines is a “medical experiment” and violates the core principles of the Nuremberg – informed and unambiguous consent. Forcing people to take vaccines, whether by a proclaimed “emergency,” by a “public health” order from the WHO, or by threat of loss of rights over one’s children or of imprisonment, removes consent, as does giving vaccines to those unable by age or mental status to legally consent. “Informed,” as well, is hollowed of all meaning when people are tricked into taking vaccines by the use of false or frightening “information.”
This particular article is full of crazy, and conflates Nazi experiments designed to sterilize Jews and other “undesirables” surreptitiously with today’s vaccination program.
Rabbis are aware of Mengele’s experiments on twins, perhaps of other hideous experiments done to Auschwitz prisoners, but seem unaware of or to have forgotten one specific type of medical experiment – the sterilization experiments done with untested, unknown vaccines, on Jewish women who could not say no.
This was the first I had heard of vaccines being used in Nazi sterilization experiments. It’s true that Nazis tried a lot of methods to sterilize Jews and other people whom they considered “inferior” and therefore not worthy of reproducing or enemies of the state whom they wanted to eliminate after the then current generation. The way that Nazis did this first consisted of injecting prisoners with various nasty chemicals that were toxic to the reproductive system. However, the Nazis soon found that radiating genitals and female reproductive organs was the most effective method of sterilization, and that became the favored method, and the Germans learned how to administer the radiation without the victims knowing that they had been subjected to high dose X-rays. Many suffered radiation burns, and women in particular suffered because the radiation was directed into their pelvises, where there was a lot of collateral damage due to the X-rays hitting bowel, bladder, and other organs.
It is true that the Nazis did do other horrific experiments in which they tried to develop vaccines and antisera for various diseases plaguing their troops, such as malaria, typhus, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, yellow fever, and infectious hepatitis. They would develop the vaccine, inject prisoners with it, and then expose the control and treated groups to the infectious agent being vaccinated against. Perhaps the worst experiments described are Dr. Josef Mengele’s twin experiments, which apparently at times involved vaccines.
But back to Gaston’s article, which is even fuller of crazy than the article I just cited. What does he base his linking of Nazi experiments designed to rapidly and secretly sterilize Jews and other racial “undesirables”? This:
Parents not only have the right to philosophical objection to any or all vaccines, but most certainly have the right to informed consent. All of the mandated vaccines for their children must include information that polysorbate 80 is a sterilizing agent and one that is “preferred” as such in a pharmaceutical industry patent, and therefore deemed effective.
Parents in all states have the right to protect their children from being compulsorily sterilized in this deceptive manner. This is a criminal assault on their children’s bodies. In truth, parents should give this attack an even more seriously criminal label, because “imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group” meets the UN”s definition of genocide.
I’ve written about polysorbate-80 on several occasions. It can cause infertility in rats, but the doses required are so far above the content in vaccines that the claim that its presence in vaccines is a danger to fertility is pure idiocy.
Yes, because Gaston thinks that vaccines sterilize children, he equates them to Nazi experiments designed to sterilize Jews rapidly without surgery and other horrific Nazi medical experiments. And, to him, that means that vaccination and vaccine mandates are the equivalent of Nazi experiments, which makes them against the Nuremberg Code. It goes even beyond that, though. No, the crazy does not stop there. According to Gaston, not only is vaccination a crime against humanity on the order of Nazi sterilization experiments, but it’s a way for big pharma to cement its hold on humanity:
The Nuremberg Code was written to protect the world from the gruesome experiments performed on concentration camp prisoners by the pharmaceutical industry. They industry sought a means to covertly sterilize those they wished to use merely as workers or slaves, and to take over control of the world. The same industry is still covertly sterilizing. And just as Monsanto is attempting to “own” food through patented intellectual property claims and is abetted by spread of its GMOs through contamination by pollen, vaccine-enforced DNA contamination through injecting patented GMOs into children’s DNA provides a means to take control of human DNA. Here the companies are abetted in this human-DNA contamination not by pollen but by corrupt state legislators.
Those legislators are abetting both the covert compulsory sterilization of America’s children (genocide), and the deceptive take over by multinational corporations of the ownership of American children’s human DNA (biopiracy). Vermont stood firm that parents decide. But there must be “informed” consent and information on what is really happening with the vaccines has been missing since it is unlikely that parents in the US would allow their child to be vaccinated with vaccines that increase their risk of disease, sterilize them, and steal their legal rights to their own DNA.
That’s right. Big agricultural companies own the patents on DNA sequences in their genetically modified organisms. Pharmaceutical companies own the patents on their own vaccines, many of which these days are produced using recombinant DNA technology. To Gaston this means:
Those being vaccinated with the new DNA vaccines are automatically turning their “intellectual property” over their own DNA over to the vaccine manufacturers by allowing that DNA to be contaminated. The vaccines replicate how seeds are genetically engineered (patented GMOs are shot into the DNA), permanently corrupting it. But putting aside the damage to DNA, there is a undeniable commercial issue here. NONE of the legal issues of intellectual property rights over the DNA have been mentioned much less settled. What claims might the vaccine companies (or government which shares patents with it) make over the child’s “patent-tagged” blood, organs, etc. since patented DNA would be in all of it? Given the aggressive actions of Monsanto, a biotech company, against farmers whose fields were contaminated – involuntarily – by Monsanto’s patented intellectual property via pollen drift, and Monsanto’s refusal to say they will not sue those who were unwillingly contaminated, there is no reason to believe that the vaccine industry, biotech companies, will behave any differently. In fact, there is already action in Colorado to show how the drug companies may behave around control over what is in someone’s body.
Help! Help! My precious bodily fluids have been contaminated by evil big pharma vaccines! Well, actually, it’s my DNA. The entire paragraph above is silly beyond belief. For one thing, most vaccines, except for live attenuated virus vaccines, don’t have appreciable DNA left. There might be tiny traces that require highly sophisticated PCR techniques to detect, but that is not enough to do much of anything. However, like homeopathy, Gaston seems to think that such tiny amounts of DNA can somehow integrate with and contaminate a child’s genome, while the polysorbate-80 in them render children infertile. To him they’re nothing more than a tool for big pharma to use to assert patent rights over the child’s very DNA. Of course, I could never figure out why big pharma would want to sterilize everyone this way. Wouldn’t that be rather self-defeating, given that, according the the conspiracy theories of people like Gaston, big pharma requires new generations of people to become dependent upon its products. Be that as it may, if I were to try to make up a parody of the most extreme antivaccine propaganda, I’d be hard-pressed to come up with something this risible. In fact, I don’t think I could. It just goes to show that, whenever I thought I’ve seen the craziest thing ever in the antivaccine crankosphere, I find out that I’m wrong.
It’s easy to laugh at this stuff, some of which is so extreme that some of the less radical antivaccinationists would probably be embarrassed and want to hold this at arm’s length, but in many ways Gaston is emblematic of the sorts of beliefs that drive antivaccinationism. He just isn’t very good at disguising them or doesn’t even want to try to do so. He lets his antivaccine freak flag fly proudly, trumpeting his belief that school vaccine mandates are the equivalent of a mass involuntary sterilization program of the sort developed by the Nazis, as well as a ticket to altering children’s DNA. These extreme views inform and influence the views of more “moderate” antivaccinationists (i.e., those who don’t think that vaccines are a plot by lizard men to take over the world by altering humanity’s DNA). All that’s left are talking points, such as that school vaccine mandates are somehow “against the Nuremberg Code,” talking points that mindless drones like Rob Schneider parrot as though they were fact, not understanding where such claims come from and that the Nuremberg Code has nothing to do with school vaccine mandates because they are not human experiments.