Wearing the Big Sign that Says: “Lie to Me! PLEASE!”

“It didn’t come from the Government down. There was no dictum, no declaration, no censorship, to start with, no! Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick, thank God. Today, thanks to them, you can stay happy all the time, you are allowed to read comics, the good old confessions, or trade journals.”– Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

“Remember the firemen are rarely necessary. The public stopped reading of its own accord. You firemen provide a circus now and then at which buildings are set off and crowds gather for the pretty blaze, but its a small sideshow indeed, and hardly necessary to keep things in line.”– Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

“Love me love me/ Say that you love me/ Fool me fool me/ Go on and fool me/ Love me love me/Pretend that you love me.”– “Lovefool”, the Cardigans

“And the big lie is always present when we get played. To be a chump (not merely the victim) is to be open to the big lie. Not merely open to it, eager to buy into it.”Seth Godin

Question: What would happen if entrepreneur/author Tim Ferriss were to interview me on one of his podcasts?

Answer: No one knows for sure, but it would probably stoke up more controversy than any of his other podcasts. (And he’s interviewed Dr. James Fadiman about micro-dosing with psychedelics for therapeutic use and chemist Patrick Arnold, known as the “father of prohormones”, controversial substances used by some athletes convicted of doping.)  He would need to consult his attorney for one helluva disclaimer. His sponsors might pull out. He could receive a lot of very bad press for a time.

A little while ago I was listening to a podcast between Tim and Ryan Holiday (author of The Obstacle Is the Way, a book I highly recommend to anyone). Over the course of the interview, Tim brought up an experience he had when he had been asked to speak at a large, prestigious university (UCLA, if I am remembering correctly). He had been asked what he perceived the greatest threat to be to America. And he responded that he felt like the greatest threat to America was the kind of over sensitivity towards offending people that causes us to avoid discussing uncomfortable subjects in an honest and open manner. (Which he pointed out to his audience is often perpetuated by idealistic young college students.) Ryan brought up the book Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, saying that when he had read it initially as a teenager, he thought it was about a totalitarian government that wanted to keep its people from thinking and becoming educated. However, upon a second reading as an adult, he noted that it wasn’t a government mandate that led to the burning of all the books. It was the desire of the people themselves to avoid dealing with unpleasant ideas. (See the above quotes from the book.)

That vaccination may not be as effective or safe as we have thought is probably one of the most unpleasant of these unpleasant ideas.

Saying that vaccination is anything less than lifesaving- even certain vaccines on the current American schedule that are not considered important by other developed countries- is considered heretical in the United States. When Jenny McCarthy was granted a spot on “The View”, I remember people saying that because she is an advocate for vaccine choice and believes her son’s autism was caused by vaccines that she should not be hosting such a popular talk show. Her views were just too dangerous. (Comments such as these were frequently preceded with phrases such as “I’m against censorship, but…”.)

You can throw actual facts and statistics from public health records and medical journals at vaccine believers until you’re blue in the face, but unless they are open to hearing a different point of view, you will probably be met with a broken record response of the following statements: “Vaccine save lives”, “People used to die from mumps/rubella/measles”, and “Which deadly disease do you want your child to catch?”

The biggest problem with our culture of vaccines, biased media coverage and even public health measures and legislation promoting vaccination lies in the fact that the vast majority of Americans want so badly to believe that vaccines are 99.999999% safe and effective- despite all evidence to the contrary. The only thing that gives these public health agencies, the medical establishment, the government, pharmaceutical companies, schools, and your friends and family any power is the widespread desire for vaccination to be the cure-all for diseases of all kinds. Essentially, most people are walking around wearing a big sign that says “Lie to Me! PLEASE!”

And there are plenty of people who will tell them what they want to hear. Some have financial motivations, but most, in my opinion are motivated by fear. Fear that maybe vaccination is actually more harmful than they have been told. Fear that it isn’t very effective and that their child could contract what they view as a deathly illness. I think the greatest fear is that the people we trust most with our health- doctors, public health agencies and and pharmaceutical companies- are either ignorant or dishonest. It means losing our heroes as we find out that some vaccine pioneers like Jonas Salk and Louis Pasteur were not as selfless as we thought, but rather people who had interests and egos like the average person or business. When I was first questioning vaccines, this was the thing I was most afraid of.  It’s painful to find out that the people you looked up to were not as altruistic as you thought. It’s kind of like finding out Santa Claus doesn’t exist.

We can talk about legislation to protect our rights against mandatory vaccination. We can blame “Big Pharma”. But really it’s all of us wearing the big sign that says “Lie to Me! PLEASE!” that are to blame. These entities would have no power if the public actually wanted the truth. Their power comes because people desperately want a lie. The change will never come from the top down. It will come from the bottom up as more people take off that big sign.