Respectful Insolence

I’ve never been able to figure it out. Antivaccine zealots seem to have an intense love of Nazi analogies and comparing those supporting science-based medicine to Nazis. While from a strictly nasty point of view, I can sort of understand the utility of such analogies to demonize one’s opponents. After all, to political extremists of nearly all stripes (excluding actual real neo-Nazis, of course) Adolf Hitler is the gift that keeps on giving. Antiwar activists liked to try to tar George W. Bush with the Hitler appellation, and, now that Barack Obama is in power, right wing Tea Party types have an even greater tendency to try to paint (or to slime) Obama with the very same brush. So, from that perspective, I get it. Hitler and the Nazis are an excellent all-purpose tool to demonize your opponents. Just compare them to Hitler! It’s easy! It’s also incredibly stupid in most cases. If you don’t believe me, just check out the last couple of times that I’ve seen antivaccinationists comparing their opponents to the Nazis or likening vaccine programs to the Holocaust.

Yes, those two examples were really dumb, but I think I just found something even dumber. It’s an article by Hilary Butler. (You remember Hilary Butler, don’t you? She has a proclivity for vile analogies.) This time around, Ms. Butler pulls out all the stops, asking Are non vaccinators the “new Jews”? Before we get to the “substance” of her article (such as it is), I’ll take ignorant historical analogies for $1,000, Alex:

Most adults tread very lightly when criticising the medical profession, particularly when willing parents put their children forward to be used as instruments of the next emotional blackmail campaign. What these same adults don’t realise, is that once the clampers are screwed down, and their right to also say “no” has gone, then they too will be lined up, and jabbed without being able to say “no” for themselves either.

And when a person is too scared to say “no”, to anything, then choice, … and informed consent has disappeared. And if people stand around and do nothing about it, then they will join Germany in the Hall of Historical Shame. For that reason, this letter has been sent to Fairfax Media.

Ms. Butler, of course, is just warming up. What’s gotten her Hitler thing on are two articles published by the Sydney Morning Herald. The interesting thing about the articles (to me, at least) is that one of the two (an editorial entitled Immunisation levels a cause for concern – and timely debate) is actually more deferential to the “freedom” of parents not to vaccinate than much of what I can imagine being published in the U.S. In Australia, it informs us, unvaccinated children are not banned from schools except during outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, which means that, unlike the US, there appears to be no school vaccine mandate. What got Ms. Butler all worked up is the effort on the part of the NSW Labor opposition to introduce a bill to “allow childcare centres and kindergartens the option of banning unvaccinated children.” In the U.S., such a bill would be completely uncontroversial. In fact, nearly all U.S. states not only allow daycare centers to ban unvaccinated children but many require it. For instance, the state of Michigan requires the following vaccines: DTaP, hepatitis B, Hib, MMR, PCV, and varicella. It does, however, allow philosophical and religious exemptions. So the hilarious thing is that NSW appears to be proposing to do something that is very reasonable and very defensible. It’s only a change from what is done now, which appears to be less restrictive than my country.

Of course, what Ms. Butler objects to is that the articles are sympathetic to minimizing argues that the measure doesn’t go far enough because it only provides the option of banning unvaccinated children, pointing out, again quite sensibly, that because daycare centers depend on fees there is a financial incentive not to refuse non-vaccinating parents. To Ms. Butler, this is the equivalent of…well, I’ll let her tell you. I’ll start with her attack on the second article (Vaccine fears could lead to ‘epidemic’) because it’s the one that brings out the most hyperbole-filled analogies and provokes Ms. Butler to let her Hitler flag fly high:

Your second article is tantamount to fear mongering worthy of the Gestapo. If you had talked to the STATISTICIANS in Australia’s Ministry of Health, you would know that vaccination rates in Australia in 2010 which were published in March 2013, were the highest they have ever been at 92.3% though I find it highly ironic that while 99% of Australian children are on the national immunisation register, your experts are THREE YEARS BEHIND in the compilation and publication of their data, so I would challenge the figure of 92%. The real rate could well be 94 – 95%.

I do so love me some all caps. It’s a sign of only the finest crankery. It’s also a misunderstanding of what was actually said. The article actually does mention that immunization rates are 92%. That’s irrelevant to the point of the article, which is that, while overall vaccination rates are high, there are areas with very low uptake. For instance, it’s pointed out that some areas of New South Wales have “lower vaccination rates that Rwanda.” The point, of course, is that such pockets of low vaccine uptake are ripe for outbreaks because herd immunity is degraded. but, hey, what’s a little fact or two between antivaccine cranks, particularly when they can really get the Hitler juices flowing:

There is a cynical hypocrisy surrounding the medical professions’ silence regarding your published inaccuracies on the Australian vaccination rates. Perhaps you need to consider that, like the Germans before the second world war, Fairfax media COULD BE being used by the medical profession, to mindlessly yell “Heil Hitler” – as in the media campaign orchestrated by Dr Michael Wooldridge in 1997.

The first article, as I pointed out, was actually highly deferential in tone to parental rights but ultimately concluded that the proposal to allow childcare centers and kindergartens to ban unvaccinated children didn’t go far enough. In fact, Ms. Butler goes beyond just attacking the Herald, generalizing government statements supporting measures to increase vaccine uptake and expressing alarm at low vaccine uptake and likening them to…well, I have to let Ms. Butler tell it again. I just can’t capture the combination of spittle-flecked ranting and argumentum ad Nazium with a description:

Are you innocently painting non-vaccinating parents the “new Jews” as a result of the medical profession’s complicit silence?

And:

Will the next edict from the medical profession be that you publish a demand, whereby parents must sew a yellow star onto unvaccinated children, as well? You remember where the yellow star led, don’t you? Isn’t it interesting that the current mob attack on the unvaccinated is very like the sentiment which lead to the anti-Jew pogroms? It’s ironic that “history” runs the risk of repeating itself….

Yes, in Ms. Butler’s fevered imagination, the Australian health authorities are Nazis who just can’t wait to force unvaccinated children to wear the yellow star that Hitler forced Jews to wear. Of course, Ms. Butler knows as well as the editors to whom she writes and anyone who reads her letter know what ultimately happened to the Jews in Hitler’s Germany. The yellow star was a step along the way from marginalization to separation from society to elimination in the Holocaust. It was a direct step on the road to the death camps and gas chambers. Does Ms. Butler really think that the Australian government is planning on sending unvaccinated children to the gas chambers and then to the ovens, the way that Hitler sent the Jews to death camps? Probably not. Playing the Hitler card is just a suitably shocking tactic to use to demonize the government health authorities who want to increase vaccination rates in areas where they are low.

If we’re going to play the Nazi card, though, it’s highly tempting of me to do so with the “autism biomed” movement. After all, what were the Nazis known for besides the Holocaust? Horrific unethical human experimentation (including with children), for one thing. Who in the autism biomed movement is known for unethical human experimentation with children? Why Mark and David Geier, two former “icons” of the autism biomed movement who’ve fallen on tough times. They first came to my attention several years ago for their rather “original” idea that chemical castration with Lupron would be a good treatment for autism, to help chelation therapy work better. They’re also known for running unethical clinical trials approved and overseen by an IRB stacked with their cronies. Indeed, the entire autism biomed movement is little more than unethical experimentation on children using quackery.

See how easy it is to play the Hitler card? I can do it too if I want to. Of course, I only did it this time to make a point, not because I really believe it (unlike, apparently Ms. Butler). I’m also in a benevolent mood because I’m very happy to have learned that Mark Geier has lost his medical license in the last state in which he had one, Hawaii. That’s right. He’s now lost his medical license in all 12 states in which he had a license. Not that that has stopped the quackfest known as Autism One from featuring Mark and David Geier as speakers this Saturday, with a talk that looks like a barely warmed over rehash of their same ol’ same ol’. I wonder if they’ll mention Dr. Geier’s most recent loss of medical license. Now he and Andy Wakefield have something to talk about. In fact, Mark Geier has gone Andy Wakefield 11 better in that he’s had 12 medical licenses stripped away, and Wakefield’s only been struck off once.

In the end, it never ceases to amaze me how little self-awareness antivaccine cranks like Ms. Butler are. It’s easy to shout “Nazi!” at your enemies. It’s hard, apparently, to see that it’s pure nonsens to do so. Still, Ms. Butler has a lot in common with our homegrown antivaccinationists. She’d be right at home at Autism One.

Comments

  1. #1 Adam
    May 24, 2013

    Wow that’s a pretty ludicrous slippery slope argument.

    Anyway if this fevered insanity were to come true I think these people would less likely have a star sewn to their coats than IDIOT stamped on their foreheads.

  2. #2 Michael
    Los Angeles
    May 24, 2013

    Technically, Holocaust denialism (and even antisemitism) is exhibited by the comments of Ms. Butler. By thinking that a few anti-vaxxers are being “marked” is equivalent to the Holocaust, implies that she thinks that the Holocaust was just a few Jews who had to wear yellow stars. Because if she’s trying to make a few stupid parents who refuse to vaccinate their children out to be “Jews”, she must be in denial that real Jews in the real World War II were really killed. Six million of them.

    Her comments are insulting and degrading. Because the whole vaccine conspiracy is run by the Jews. She couldn’t even get that straight. Or is it the Illuminati. Or is it the New World Order.

    I get my conspiracies all tangled up.

  3. #3 Simon Clendon
    Auckland, New Zealand
    May 24, 2013

    Brave of you to read the vile pages of Butler’s beyondconformity blog. Her ranting and shrieking must result in a spittle flecked screen that requires wiping every few seconds.

    Butler helped founder the now floundering rabid anti-vax Immunisation Awareness Society (IAS) in New Zealand. She feels the tide turning and doesn’t like it. The lack of oxygen her and her kin are getting means their relevance is slipping away to nothing and vaccination rates are climbing steadily.

  4. #4 Darwy
    Børk, børk, børk....er herp, derp, derp
    May 24, 2013

    Just when I thought Miss Butler couldn’t descend lower than the Mariana Trench with her vile comparisons, she manages to outdo herself.

    Perhaps she should take a tour of Auschwitz or Buchenwald to understand what she’s really making a comparison to.

  5. #5 The Smith of Lie
    May 24, 2013

    I think that comparison between Jews and antivaxxers might have unitantionally be correct in one aspect. What was one of the most important parts of Jews national idenity, that allowed them to remain a distinct group and avoid “going native” in the countries they lived in? Religion. How do antivaccine cranks treat their “great” cause?

  6. #6 Renate
    May 24, 2013

    On the other hand a change of religion didn’t save Jews.

  7. #7 Sebastian Jackson
    May 24, 2013

    An anti-Vaxxer makes a tasteless Nazi analogy — what else is new?

    What’s new, perhaps, is that Mark Geier just lost his last medical license (in Hawaii) on the eve of his Autism One appearance. Doesn’t this mean that he has effectively been barred from practicing medicine in the entire U.S., then?

  8. #8 Militant Agnostic
    In the Belly of the Beast
    May 24, 2013

    Micheal

    Because the whole vaccine conspiracy is run by the Jews. She couldn’t even get that straight. Or is it the Illuminati. Or is it the New World Order. – I get my conspiracies all tangled up.

    It is Big Storage that is behind the conspiracy to kill 90% of the population with vaccines, fluoridation, WiFi and chem-trails. We recently had customer rent a self-storage unit because their been some deaths in her family and she had no place to keep the stuff she inherited. It suddenly became clear to me that the surviving 10% can’t leave all the furniture, tools etc. they inherit in unoccupied houses. They are going to have to rent secure storage space. WAKE UP SHEEPLE!!!!!

  9. #9 Militant Agnostic
    Where 2 weeks after a couple of major forest fires we get snow
    May 24, 2013

    Renate

    On the other hand a change of religion didn’t save Jews.

    Butler ignores this distinction – The Jews did not choose to be “the other”. For the Nazis the Jews were a “race” much more than they were a religion.

  10. #10 herr doktor bimler
    May 24, 2013

    I am happy to boast that I am keeping several anti-vax families in the attic here at Maison d’Etre, saving them from the Vaccination Gestapo.

  11. #11 elburto
    May 24, 2013

    Trufax – the six million Jews and five million others who died in the camps, the (apparently forgotten) hundreds of thousands of “Leben unswertes Leben” killed before anyone else, and the (roughly) 40 million wiped out across Europe and the Soviet Union, were killed because Hitler didn’t like their stance on vaccination.

    They were being stubborn and illogical, refusing to uphold their section of the social contract while relying on the adherence of others, and old Adolf got p¡ssed off.

    Oh wait, hang on… On one hand we have Jews, gypsies, LGBT people, feminists, activists, people with physical/mental/learning disabilities, Poles, Slavs, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and basically anyone who was an untermensch. They were ripped from their homes, rounded up, and starved/shot/stabbed/gassed/tortured/r*ped, forced to work, forced on death marches, forced to desecrate the dead, und so weiter. Oh, and that was just the victims of the camps, not the bombed/blockaded/blitzed Europeans and Russians.

    Now, on the other hand, we have the science-deniers. Threatened with maybe not being able to register their kids at certain educational establishments, being blamed for low vax levels and outbreaks of VPDs that had almost been eradicated due to decades of public health work, and called meaaaan names like “anti-vaxer” or “crank”.

    Right, let. me weigh up my magic balancing hands here….

    Ooh, it’s close guys! The War dead win, but only by the hair of my own bias due to the obliterated branches of my family tree, branches that are mere stumps.

    So maybe someone a little more impartial can weigh it up? Give the science-deniers a fair shot.

    Not even 70 years since the liberation of the camps, and the Holocaust is reduced to nothing more than a tool for cranks to pump out fallacies. Most of the victims are forgotten, the horrors of Block 10 and Aktion T4 mean nothing, and the millions of dead men, women, and children are merely mantles of appropriation donned by the wretched caste of conspiracy theorists, quacks, and fantasists, to prop up their cries of “OPPRESSION!”.

    So f*ck you Hilary. Jews are Jews, holocaust victims are holocaust victims, and you’re nothing but a modern flat-earther, or a witchfinder who sees medical conspiracies instead of evidence of sorcery. Your appropriation of the suffering and pain of millions is testament to the tragic combination of paranoia and ignorance that swirls inside your empty skull.

  12. #12 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    May 24, 2013

    @Sebastian Jackson

    What’s new, perhaps, is that Mark Geier just lost his last medical license (in Hawaii) on the eve of his Autism One appearance. Doesn’t this mean that he has effectively been barred from practicing medicine in the entire U.S., then?

    He cannot treat or prescribe medications in the U.S. He can, however, operate through others, like Dr. John Young, who is getting into hot water with his medical licenses because he treated patients and wrote prescriptions without ever actually examining them. He simply followed Mark Geier’s orders without question. Maryland suspended his license, and a couple other states have followed suit.

    My guess it that Geier is hoping to continue to promote his Lupron protocol at AutismOne in the hopes that people will keep going to his medical centers for his quack treatment. Maybe he even hopes to woo any medical types in attendance so he’ll have more puppets through which to harm autistic children in a misguided belief he’s actually helping.

  13. #13 Becca Stareyes
    May 24, 2013

    Because pretending you are in a great battle of Good versus Evil is more emotionally satisfying than admitting that the people asking you to vaccinate your kids are doing so because they are just as concerned about their kids (or kids in general) as you are about yours, and that you do have to ask yourself ‘how do I balance the best thing for society (no outbreaks) versus the best thing for my kid*’.

    * Even the science points out there’s a tiny risk of a bad reaction from a vaccine, just a lot rarer than the anti-vaccine folks think. There’s also the fact that no one likes needles. It’s just most of us consider these points as being outweighed by ‘you are way less likely to get sick with a given disease’ as well as the societal benefits.

  14. #14 palindrom
    May 24, 2013

    elburto @11 — Powerful comment. You tell ‘em!

    Doesn’t Godwin’s law say that when you involke the Hitler analogy, you automatically forfeit the argument?

  15. #15 Orac
    May 24, 2013

    No, all Godwin’s law says is that, the longer an online discussion goes on, the probability of someone invoking Hitler of the Nazis approaches 1. It’s merely longstanding discussion forum custom that the first person to invoke Hitler or the Nazis is usually considered to have lost the debate.

  16. #16 lilady
    May 24, 2013

    So, are we all jack-booted Nazis, who herd the innocent babies aboard boxcars to gas chambers and ovens…saving “choice specimens” for doctors to use as lab rats…to experiment on?

    Cripes, what a deranged and evil woman Butler is. The cranks at AoA, the TMR and Sid Offal, who post racist remarks about vaccines and “the victims” of vaccination, are no better…when they defile the memory of those who died in the holocaust.

    Dear Ms. Butler:

    (I know you were in fine fettle (orgasmic, perhaps?), when you wrote that spittle-filled letter to the editor). Could you get out a map of the United States to correct it?

    “Letter to Editor, Sydney Morning Herald.

    Dear Sir,

    I am responding to two pieces published in your paper. The Editorial yesterday, and your article today:

    First your editorial: states:

    “By contrast the US state of Washington passed a law in 2011 that bans unvaccinated children from preschool and school. To gain an exemption, parents must first hear information from a doctor, present a doctor’s certificate and submit a signed letter. This model encourages the forgetful to vaccinate, gives objectors information that may change their mind and still accepts that some people make informed choices. It has lifted immunisation levels.”

    While “someone” might have said that, the statistics from Oregon show the increase was 0.1%. Please see the data below, and note which Department made that information. The text boxes are additions.

    I presume you can do basic maths, therefore why did you not notice this?….”

    Hmmm, Hilary, seems to me your last remaining neurons are shot through and through with your bile.

  17. #17 Eric Lund
    May 24, 2013

    elburto @11: Thanks for that righteous rant.

    What Ms. Butler and those of her ilk seem not to understand is that they are insisting on having the right to allow their children to endanger other people’s children who depend on herd immunity to not contract vaccine-preventable diseases. This is on a par with “your right to swing your fist in the air ends at my face”. It’s one thing for her to not vaccinate her kids and then homeschool them. But if those kids are going to be placed in daycare or school, there is exactly one acceptable reason for not vaccinating them: they have a medical contraindication. Every kid who can be vaccinated should be vaccinated.

  18. #18 The Smith of Lie
    May 24, 2013

    n one hand we have Jews, gypsies, LGBT people, feminists, activists, people with physical/mental/learning disabilities, Poles, Slavs, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and basically anyone who was an untermensch. They were ripped from their homes, rounded up, and starved/shot/stabbed/gassed/tortured/r*ped, forced to work, forced on death marches, forced to desecrate the dead, und so weiter.,/blockquote>

    Thenks to elburto’s (justified) outburst we gain interesting context. We know that people with such conditions were opressed in Nazi Germany due to cultivation of the master race trope. So, if we (the servants of Draco Seneca, the Overlord of Big Pharma) were truly Nazis we are described as, wouldn’t we want to eliminate autistic people, rather than create more of them with the “evil vaccines”?

    On the other hand I seem to recall someone defending viewpoint that a child is preferable dead over autistic…

  19. #19 Denice Walter
    May 24, 2013

    re Becca Stareye’s
    “pretending you are in a great battle of Good vs Evil”

    Exactly. In my travels around Woo-topia, it is glaringly obvious to me that black-and-white contrast can be the most frequent mode of communication. Woo-meisters and anti-vaxxers need resort to it because otherwise their argument often evaporates. It’s also a way to rev up emotions.

    SBM discusses incremental advantages or disadvantages to particular treatments, weighing risks to benefits.
    Vaccine prevaricators use graphs that illustrate that ” diseases were already diminishing before vaccines” using figures about DEATHS. Deaths may have decreased because of other factors – like better medical care- and there are other measures that could be considered- days of school/work missed by the family, costs, hospital stays, sequelae..- an illness that doesn’t result in death may still have serious consequences.

    Similarly, woo-meisters, whether discussing ASDs, SMI or cancer, utilise very unsubtle terms – such as “complete cures”. SB practitioners know that these conditions result in a continuum of outcomes- which also can be measured many ways – not a simple “perfect” cure/ disaster.

    As we all know, learning is incremental. Children increasingly understand the world in more complex ways, using qualifiers and integrating more factors as their development progresses: more adult characteristics begin to show up around adolescence – which would make perfect sense as an adaption. The black-and-white thinking we find at woo-ish websites is childish technically as well
    as stylistically.

    We shouldn’t forget that many of those we survey are speaking to an audience and trying to recruit followers, enlist clients or boost their own ratings. They are also in a war amongst themselves: who is the most ‘outspoken’ alt med spokesperson or anti-vax advocate- or at TMR, who has suffered, sacrificed and endured martyrdom most. A game of “Can you top this?”

    Even as we speak, a few thousand heroes ( if we can believe their estimates) are fighting the good fight against entrenched evil incarnate ( us) at AutismOne.

  20. #20 al capone junior
    Utility muffin research center, USA
    May 24, 2013

    Vaccinations ARE required to go to public school in the US, and that’s a GOOD thing. It’s NOT controversial. The only controversy over this policy is manufactured by cranks. I can’t understand why so many modern countries don’t have the same policy. People’s rights should not include the right to undermine public health policy based on crankery.

    I’m not going to go the Godwin route here, but refusal to allow your children to receive potentially life-saving vaccinations is abusive. Call a spade a spade people, and quit beating around the bush When your crankery extends to allowing your children to be exposed to dangerous, but easily and safely preventable diseases, this is child abuse.

    Even the US needs to go further towards ridding the world of this ridiculous antivax quackery and crankery. Education needs to be greatly stepped up in every level of schooling, starting with the very youngest and continuing through university levels. MORE laws requiring vaccinations need to be passed, especially in Europe and Australia, and in every country for that matter. It’s time for serious action to be taken to rid the world of the pestilence of antivax quackery.

    You know the thing that amazes me most about antivax cranks is their unwillingness to re-evaluate their positions in the light of better evidence, for the sake of their children. Instead, they waste time making Hitler comparisons to public health advocates and officials.

    To the antivax quacks that may comment on this: Make all the Hitler comparisons you like. I WON’T be getting easily preventable contagious diseases because I’ve been vaccinated. Same goes for my children, nephews, nieces etc. It’s the right thing to do, and it’s the only sensible option.

  21. #21 mandrake
    May 24, 2013

    re: the Smith of Lie’s “On the other hand I seem to recall someone defending viewpoint that a child is preferable dead over autistic…”

    exactly. If anyone’s arguing that people with autism are “less than human”, it isn’t the pro-vaccine crowd.

  22. #22 mandrake
    May 24, 2013

    ugh, hit post too early.
    The Holocaust saw people rounded up and killed because of what they *were*, not what they *did*. That was part of the horror of it; you were damned by your very existence. OTOH, anti-vaxxers are “oppressed” (such as it is) by something that they are choosing to *do*.
    And the next step is that the anti-vaxxers are damning their own kids for what they *are*.
    My irony meter, it has exploded again. I have to start buying them in bulk.

  23. #23 Sebastian Jackson
    May 24, 2013

    @ToddW: Look on the webpage for the Geiers’ Autism One presentation and you will notice they don’t mention the Lupron protocol by name.

  24. #24 Sebastian Jackson
    May 24, 2013

    You will also notice that they aren’t webcasting even the main conference over streaming video, which I don’t remember them not doing before. (I was hoping to see if Jake Crosby crashed the AOA crew’s talk.) They’re not taking any chances about letting the wrong people see anything, are they?

  25. #25 Denice Walter
    May 24, 2013

    @ The Smith of Lie:

    PharmaCom is an equal opportunity employer: autistics can be very pleasing to Lord Draconis because they have great detail skills amongst other qualities.

    It takes all kinds of species-traitors to enslave a planet.

  26. #26 Dangerous Bacon
    May 24, 2013

    Since AutismOne is so attracted to speakers who’ve lost their medical licenses (Geier and Wakefield), maybe they should comb disciplinary hearing reports for the 50 states and automatically send out speaker invitations to every physician who’s had a license suspended or revoked.

    Just think of all the “alternative” views they’re missing out on.

  27. #27 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    May 24, 2013

    @Sebastian Jackson

    Yep. They do, however, mention leuprolide depot, the generic name for Lupron, as well as hammering home the “mercury” and “hormones”, with special emphasis on testosterone. Same as it ever was.

  28. #28 Shay
    May 24, 2013

    Speaking as a military historian, people like Butler make the toe of my boot itch.

  29. #29 TBruce
    May 24, 2013

    If pro-vaxers are Nazis, why aren’t we getting uniforms? I want a pair of those cool jackboots!

  30. #30 Narad
    May 24, 2013

    I guess Hilary is unfamiliar with the halachot of vaccination, from variolation being permitted by several posekim on Shabbat if the opportunity were unlikely to come around again soon, to the recent wholesale rejection of vaccine exemptions by Pittsburgh Jewish day schools.

  31. #31 Narad
    May 24, 2013

    Oh, and the Tiferes Yisroel labeled Edward Jenner a righteous Gentile, something the likes of which is never, ever going to happen to Hilary Butler.

  32. #32 ConspicuousCarl
    May 24, 2013

    Pro-vaxxers are the new atheists.

  33. #33 Chris Hickie
    May 24, 2013

    If non-vaccinators are the “new Jews”, then I guess Hib, pertussis and pneumococcus are running the concentration camps–because if you get enough of a concentration of nonvaccinators, some of them will fall to these infections.

  34. #34 elburto
    In my rage chamber
    May 24, 2013

    I’m still stewing over this.

    As much as I wish more holocaust survivors (from every group of victims) were around, to beat some education into these dangerous weirdos, the numbers are dwindling. This will sound bizarre, but it’s times like this that I’m glad that the (now deceased) survivors in my family are no longer here. I’m glad they’re not seeing these disgusting creatures appropriating their pain, their damaged lives, to take cheap shots at anyone who disagrees with them.

    My granddad, in particular, suffered every day of his life, both physically and mentally. The legacy of the ghettos and the camps lived alongside him, as solid and present as another person would be, like a conjoined twin he couldn’t be separated from.

    I wish I could invent a device that could capture and distill all of that pain, loss and physical damage. I would use that device to give five second tastes of that unending misery to science-enying, Godwinning muppets. I guarantee they’d be begging for mercy after a second.

  35. #35 Richard Smith
    May 24, 2013

    So… Are we the baddies?

    Since the skull’s already been used, I guess our uniforms will have to be emblazoned with a rat’s anus…

  36. #36 Spectator
    May 24, 2013

    “Trufax – the six million Jews and five million others who died in the camps, the (apparently forgotten) hundreds of thousands of “Leben unswertes Leben” killed before anyone else, ”

    A nit to pick: There’s now evidence that the number of executed was greater than 11M in total, due to the number of Jews killed being greater than the 6 million counted through German documents after the war. The extermination campaign through Russia and various smaller killing sites about another million Jews beyond what was known previously. For these, there were not records of the type done at the main camps.

    Does it matter? While it’s “only numbers” it is numbers of human beings and thus I feel worth a slight OT diversion.

    Nut cases of any stripe are not going to understand or care about their misappropriation of the Holocaust or any other historical horror. One characteristic of such people is typically extreme selfishness; all that matters about the world around them is how they can use it for their ends, or else degrade it to be a little closer to their level.

  37. #37 Grant
    May 24, 2013

    Hilary Butler also believes baking soda can cure cancer, follows the ‘cancer is a fungus’ meme, offered homeopathic remedies for radiation illness among other gems.

    I sometimes feel all that would be mostly a curiosity if it were not for the group she founded but is apparently no longer active in, the (misnamed) Immune Awareness Society, adulating her rants and occasionally promoting them. There is no sense in promoting nonsense like hers.

    For what it‘s worth, New Zealand parents have the choice to not give their kids vaccines – our Ministry of Health prefers the education route over enforcement. (It also makes the bleating from the IAS about ‘choice’ pointless as they already have it.)

  38. #38 Politicalguineapig
    May 24, 2013

    Spectator: all that matters about the world around them is how they can use it for their ends, or else degrade it to be a little closer to their level.
    Basically describes every comentator at AOA and TMR.

    Grant: It’s also fairly easy to get an exemption in the US.

  39. #39 nz sceptic
    May 25, 2013

    Apologies if Grant or Simon has posted this before me but I’ve only just tuned in, and of course my first thought was to Google Hilary Butler news. On TVNZ’s website they have referred to her as a ‘vaccine expert’. All and any NZers reading please help me bombard TVNZ and have this reference removed! http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/expert-calls-nsw-immunisation-law-over-top-5444614

  40. #40 PCM
    New Zealand
    May 25, 2013

    ….nz sceptic @39

    …even worse they also call her a “health professional”. But at least they did have some real expert comment from a Pediatric ID physician for a change.

  41. #41 Grant
    http://sciblogs.co.nz/code-for-life/
    May 25, 2013

    nz sceptic,

    At first I thought it yet another example of poor headline writing but they also err in the body of the article.

    You’d hope that the ‘expert’ they intended to refer to was Dr Elizabeth Wilson, but the opening paragraph uses the plural ‘experts’ and the first person’s words the reader encounters are Hilary Butler’s, placed alongside ‘health professionals’, — “But the idea is raising eyebrows with health professionals in New Zealand, including the founder of the Immunisation Awareness Society.”

    That has them saying she is a health professional in the body of the article, which she certainly isn’t.

    The article looks to be essentially a transcript of the Breakfast interview.

  42. #42 nz sceptic
    May 25, 2013

    I’d better look at that clip Grant, thanks!

  43. #43 Joseph Hertzlinger
    May 26, 2013

    Weren’t you supposed to speculate about how a brain-eating zombie caused this rhetoric?

  44. #44 Stuartg
    Kiwiland
    May 26, 2013

    Maybe this is where I should mention the derivation of the word “expert”?

    X = unknown quantity.

    Spurt = drip under pressure.

    (Ducks and runs for cover)

  45. #45 lilady
    Wee hours of sunday morning and birds are chirping
    May 26, 2013

    Definition of “idiopathic”

    (Told to me by a pathologist)

    The idiots in pathology don’t know what causes it.

    (Ducks, runs for cover and heading off to bed)

  46. #46 Graham
    May 26, 2013

    Or this doozy of a quote from an anti-vaxer in the comments to a story covering the four year long campaign of harrasment of a family whose child died of whooping cough.

    “Did the child really die because it was not vaccinated, some people even have been led to believe that America has done nothing to the rest of the world to deserve terrorist attacks!”

    http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/2013/05/26/14/57/dead-baby-s-family-harassed-by-anti-vaccination-campaigners

  47. #47 Karl
    May 26, 2013

    This is exactly how you get sympathy, trying to free ride on a people who have suffered for centuries for simply being born into who they are. Yes, clearly you’ll get their sympathies and people who are sympathetic to those who suffer from this exact form of persecution.

    Or not. No, you’ll just get haters joining you as fellow travelers. And they’re the only ones who will try to amplify your message.

    Hey, have at it.

  48. #48 The Smith of Lie
    May 26, 2013

    @Graham
    Well, there’s no surprise that antivaxxers need to villify their opposition by drawing comparisons to Nazis. Otherwise there’d be no way they could have seen themselves as a good guys in comparison.

  49. #49 BrewandFerment
    In Ireland with Jonathan Swift (metaphorically anyhow)
    May 26, 2013

    So if antivaxxers are “new Jews” how about requiring them to wear clearly identifiable symbols of their potential to spread death and injury, say with a puke green background patch and a quarantine symbol in bright orange? After all, UNLIKE Jews in Nazi Germany, they are actually risking the lives and health of innocent bystanders who don’t know who’s a potentially filthy carrier of VPD. Said patch must be clearly visible at all times on the persons of all VOLUNTARILY unvaccinated. Clearly, those who cannot be vaccinated due to medical reasons would be exempt, and medically vulnerable people would be able to maintain a safe distance from contagion carriers.

    Satire ends.

  50. #50 Barnesm
    Melbourne
    May 26, 2013

    So if the Anti-Vax are the ‘new jews’ does that make me a person who supports vaccination a Nazi?

    mm You’d think I’d dress better. Those Nazi’s were pretty sharp dressers.

  51. #51 Shay
    May 26, 2013

    So if antivaxxers are “new Jews” how about requiring them to wear clearly identifiable symbols of their potential to spread death and injury

    BAF — I believe that claim was made during the H1N1 pandemic when some hospitals required staff who refused the vaccine to wear masks while on duty.

  52. #52 lilady
    May 26, 2013

    Wait…Meryl Dorey and her crew have stooped to new lows, when they harass parents of dead children, who died from vaccine-preventable-diseases:

    http://thepoxesblog.wordpress.com/2013/05/25/what-people-do-during-their-day/#comments

  53. #53 Politicalguineapig
    May 27, 2013

    I’m impressed, actually. I didn’t know they could go so low.

  54. #54 Delurked Lurker
    May 27, 2013

    RE liladys comment @ 52 More on Meryl Dorey can be found on meryldorey dot org including a detailed breakdown of this latest disgusting episode.

    Meryl is shifting blame from where it should be directed, namely herself and seeking attention at the same time. A repugnant act from a loathsome individual.

    I have a feeling she bit off more than she can chew this time, I bloody hope so.

  55. #55 Grant
    http://sciblogs.co.nz/code-for-life/
    May 27, 2013

    Delurked Lurker,

    It reminds me of the IAS, the organisation Hilary Butler founded. Some time last year they decided to “push” their posts to others via Facebook’s page promotion (i.e. advertising) scheme. In response they got commentary objecting. The IAS, in turn, objected to the feedback from their own advertising effort, “blaming” those writing – seemingly entirely missing that they’d brought it on themselves. (They went on to delete comments that showed to their readers that they had made some basic statistical errors, errors of fact, etc.)

  56. #56 ChrisP
    May 27, 2013

    Pgp, Meryl Dorey can be every bit as low as this. You need to read her “justification”. I would feel dirty linking directly, but you can find it on Peter Bowditch’s web page. http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/history/2013/05may.htm#25tele

  57. #57 elburto
    May 27, 2013

    Attention RIers

    There’s a new Aussie documentary called Jabbed-Love, Fear, and Vaccines. I’m only a third of the way through, but it’s very good.

    It shows how Brahmins essentially immunisdd against smallpox 1000 years ago, about an English woman who brought the idea of smallpox immunisation from Constantinople 70 years before Jenner invented vaccination.

    The official homeopath to the Queen features in it, promoting vaccination and relating that Samuel Hahnemann was a big fan of vaccines. Paul Offit’s in it too, and other scientific luminaries.

    I’ll warn you now that as well as some crackingly well explained science behind vaccines, there are some incredibly distressing scenes. The film starts with a baby, only seven weeks old, hospitalised with pertussis, and pneumonia secondary to the infection. Watching such a tiny being struggling so hard to just get some air. Not even a tiny bit ashamed to say that his plight made me just sob until my eyes hurt.

    No doubt there are more distressing scenes ahead.

    What I’ve seen so far is really very good though. I know that recommending it to fellow RIers is almost preaching to the choir, but it’s interesting and well made.

    It doesn’t shy away from explaining that some children have real but rare vaccine damage, and hopefully it can get through to a science-denier or three.

    There’s a piece about how research into several children who had apparently been “vaccine damaged” had Dravet Syndrome* (and other de novo genetic syndromes) that could have been sparked off by any stressor.

    Chris, is it you who has a son with Dravet Syndrome? I was sure someone here does.

    *Disappointingly the featured father called his son “broken”, which hit me hard, so I want to prepare other viewers.

  58. #58 Krebiozen
    May 27, 2013

    elburto,

    It shows how Brahmins essentially immunisdd against smallpox 1000 years ago, about an English woman who brought the idea of smallpox immunisation from Constantinople 70 years before Jenner invented vaccination.

    Lady Mary Wortley Montagu – she even used this crude immunization on herself and her children. Some of those early British women explorers were formidable, disfiguring their faces to reduce unwanted attention from men, disguising themselves as men and visiting Muslim countries etc. etc.. BTW, Lady Montagu wrote that nowhere else were women as free as they were in the Ottoman Empire. Things have changed a bit I think.

  59. #59 Chris,
    May 27, 2013

    elburto:

    Chris, is it you who has a son with Dravet Syndrome? I was sure someone here does.

    Nope, sorry. He did have seizures, but they stopped. His known genetic disorder deals with his heart anatomy, but the genetic testing just revealed it was a sequence they don’t know about (negative on the eighteen known sequences).

  60. #60 elburto
    May 27, 2013

    Ah my mistake Chris! My brain’s tagged you instead of someone else. That’s brain damage for ya. Still, it’s better than the random occasions where it only remembers certain nouns in German. Other Mrs elburto has an Usborne book designed for kids, that has pictures of objects labelled in German. That way she can find out what I mean by mikrowelle or or Spiegel!

    Krebiozen . Yep, she’s the one! It was a great documentary. I was a bit perplexed when I clocked the homeopath, but he was really pushing vaccination.

    The worst story was of a family with an antivax paediatrixian who old her that “Normal healthy kids” didn’t need to be immunised against varicella or pneumococcal disease. You can guess what happened next.

  61. #61 Politicalguineapig
    May 27, 2013

    ChrisP: It fits with what I know of the anti-vax movement, but I’m still surprised at the way they can jettison all sense of human decency.

  62. #62 Chris Hickie
    May 28, 2013

    If you go to the avn.org web site and click on the “Professional Members” link on the top menu, you get a “page not found” response.

    How appropriate, since there is nothing professional about Dorey and her pathetic gang.

  63. #63 lilady
    May 28, 2013

    @ elburto: I don’t think anyone has ever posted here that their child was diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome.

    I know that I and other posters have often referred to studies of children who reportedly were injured by whole cell pertussis vaccine, who were tested for Dravet Syndrome…and found to have that Syndrome which is usually diagnosed in early childhood, and first suspected when a child has prolonged (non-febrile) seizures after immunizations.

  64. #64 Magpie
    May 29, 2013

    Australian context: just wanted to jump in regarding Australian legislation, and the relative slackness of it. Basically, we’ve been very consistently holding at over 90% coverage, so I think our medical community has wanted to focus more on education to gently lift rates, rather than give the nutbags airtime by letting them shout about the scary government coming to git ya.

    Our conscientious objector rate has come up – but there are a series of government payments that only kick in if you either get your kid immunised, or actually sign that you’re objecting. Even with the increase, that rate is still only 1.5% (or thereabouts).

    In other words, of the 8% or so who don’t get immunised, probably 5.5% of that is people who just don’t realise what they’re supposed to be doing, or who are just too slack and lazy to do the right thing (and get *paid* a couple of hundred bucks to do it!).

    Hey, even idiots have kids.

  65. #65 Rebecca Fisher
    That London
    May 29, 2013

    Oh look, Olmsted and Kennedy “Playing the Nazi card”…

    Each of us will have our highlights from last weekend’s extraordinary Autism One gathering in Chicago, but for me it was Bobby Kennedy Jr. saying, “To my mind this is like the Nazi death camps.”

  66. #66 Orac
    May 29, 2013

    Oh, yeah. I saw that. I wonder if the video is posted yet.

    I’m also currently debating whether to take Dan Olmsted up on his offer of a blog post topic. :-)

  67. #67 Rebecca Fisher
    May 29, 2013

    <subliminal>Do it… Do it…</subliminal>

    :-)

  68. #68 Denice Walter
    May 29, 2013

    Holy Frick!
    Dan characterises *Orac’s* work as flinging poo?
    And RFK wants Dr Offit and others in jail ? Why?

    ir appears that the perseveration on Hg continues with RFK’s book, Brian Hooker, Blaxsted’s video and other presentations at the conference.

    What is wrong with these people?
    And where’s Jake?

  69. #69 lilady
    May 29, 2013

    I’ve just been over to AoA to read about Kennedy…truly a spectacular display of ignorance.

    Autismum and I are on “Scotsman.com” where Anne and her cronies are posting nonsense about Martha Herbert’s upcoming lecture in Scotland (her theory that autism is caused by inflammation due to blocked calcium channels).

    http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/features/autism-unlocking-a-generation-1-2944710

  70. #70 lilady
    May 29, 2013

    Kennedy forgot to mention how his grandfather arranged to have his aunt Rosemary lobotomized, because she had mild intellectual impairments. Grandma Rose Kennedy never forgave her husband Joe Kennedy, who managed to have Rosemary lobotomized, while Rose was out-of-town.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosemary_Kennedy

    The surgery did “change her behavior”…she became more docile, but she was left profoundly intellectually impaired. Joe never saw the child again…too painful for him, and too reminiscent of Nazi medical experiments, I suppose.

  71. #71 Shay
    May 29, 2013

    Take him up on it, Orac — it will be interesting to see if/how fast he backpedals….

  72. #72 TBruce
    May 29, 2013

    The late Dominic Dunne’s opinion of RFK Jr:

    “I don’t give a f**k about what that little shit has to say,” Dunne spits back. “That f**king asshole. This pompous, pompous, POMPOUS man. I don’t care what he has to say. He’s not a person that I have any feeling or respect for.”

    I agree entirely.

    (I have quoted this previously, but it deserves immortality IMHO)

  73. #73 Broken Link
    May 29, 2013

    At AoA, the moderators are letting the opposing side comment. Go take a look.

  74. #74 lilady
    May 29, 2013

    (I really should not be posting this YouTube video, y’know, because Ms. Kennedy is not a wastral, y’know, like most of the, y’know, male descendants of, y’know, the Kennedy dynasty). :-)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZT8G6Qf7Ngo

  75. #75 Narad
    May 29, 2013

    At AoA, the moderators are letting the opposing side comment. Go take a look.

    A more profitable endeavor might be to see if the ADL has any comment on RFK Lite’s remarks.

  76. #76 lilady
    May 29, 2013

    @ Broken Link: Do you mean this Olmsted blog at AoA and the comments from the “Justice League” poster?

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2013/05/rfk-jr-nazi-death-camps-and-the-battle-for-our-future.html

    Where’s Jake? Shouldn’t he be weighing in on Kennedy’s speech? He’s been busy posting on his FB page about the Geier tag team’s attempt to bill (bilk) the Vaccine Court for their “expert testimony”:

    http://thepoxesblog.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/you-expect-politicians-to-do-better-to-protect-public-health/

  77. #77 herr doktor bimler
    May 29, 2013

    Bobby Kennedy Jr. saying, “To my mind this is like the Nazi death camps.”

    On one hand, such stupidity probably deserves getting angry about. On the other hand, who cares what the wee tosspot thinks and says in his attempt to prolong his 15 minutes of fame?

  78. #78 Narad
    May 29, 2013

    Do you mean this Olmsted blog at AoA and the comments from the “Justice League” poster?

    I thought “these folk show up here and arent worth bothering with but it heartens me as they are clearly using AOA as a barometer – yep its defo hot” summed things up pretty well, as it were.

  79. #79 Paul
    United Kingdom
    July 31, 2013

    Hilary Butler writes extensively. It is perhaps inevitable that, like all of us, she will sometimes make exaggerated analogies or express herself inappropriately – especially when heart-felt issues are perceived to be at stake.
    The unpleasantness of the denunciations of her here and the nastiness of the language used make it clear that the danger of emotion overwhelming clear-thinking is not a monopoly of one side or other on the issue of vaccines.
    The trouble with this site (as well as the pro-vaccine forums) is that the participants all basically agree and rub each other into a frenzy of indignation about their opponents.
    It is very hard to remain open-minded (I find!) but making an effort to not personalise issues that should be addressed rationally helps.

  80. #80 Paul
    July 31, 2013

    LIne 7 should read “anti vaccine forum”

  81. #81 Chris,
    July 31, 2013

    Paul, please tell point to the examples showing “nastiness of the language.” And why anyone would value Ms. Butler’s opinion.