Rothwell

subpage of democratic-fascism

Comment by Jed Rothwell on The core of fascism

In reply to Abd ulRahman Lomax.

You can be as wrong as you like, as long as you do not endanger other people.

Yes, of course. However, the core is actually “harm” other people, because “endanger” can be fuzzy, and can involve a balance of risks. It could be said that by drinking alcohol, we endanger others, because we may then exercise poor judgment, as in deciding to drive. But we decided that the harms of prohibiting alcohol (which were also many) outweighed that risk, and we address drunk driving in other ways. These are edge cases, where harm may not immediately be obvious. Who knew that outlawing alcohol would feed the growth of organized crime?

Other people include your own children. Their rights outweigh yours.

They can. However, under normal conditions, the natural advocate for the rights of children is their parents, and a common fascist move, historically, was to remove responsibility for children from parents and place it in collective activity. Against this, there are obviously some parents who are a danger to their children. The present balance is that anyone may report to child protective authorities that a child is in danger, and mandated reporters (therapists, teachers, police are among them) are legally compelled to report. Those authorities will then investigate and report. I’ve had close and extensive contact with child welfare authorities over the years. My experience has been quite positive, partly because I always welcomed the concern. This is what they know: they have the power to remove custody in an emergency, at their discretion, and to seek permanent removal through legal action. They also know that doing so may cause serious harm to the child. Foster care is available, but can also be abusive, with abusers skilled at concealing it. Normal parents love their children and do not want to harm them, so if there are problems, child protective authorities will attempt to work with the parents, providing them with support, which also increases monitoring of the situation. It works.

(Cases where social workers become abusive are rare, my impression. Parents may request that a different worker be assigned to a case, that would be ordinarily routine. Unfortunately, many parents become hysterical when they are reported, and do not respond well. And, of course, some are actually abusive and a danger to the children. But it is not correct that the child’s rights “outweigh” the parents’. In a legal action, both will be considered. The right to safety will generally outweigh the right to freedom of choice of a parent over a child. When there is apparent conflict, the state may appoint an advocate for the child, and if the child is old enough, the child’s wishes may be considered.

Society must protect them from people who would not put seat belts on them, or vaccinate them, or send them to school. I do not think parents should be allowed to educate children at home. It was not allowed until the 1960s, and it was a bad idea to let it happen.

Three cases. Does not putting a seat belt on a child create a clear and present danger? It can be so argued, though the specific risk is low. I have never heard of parental rights being terminated because of a seat belt violation. However, a bill has been filed in Florida that would allow “the Department of Children and Families to investigate adults for child abuse if a child passenger is injured or killed because they weren’t properly restrained.” Unless the law is strange in Florida about what DCF can and cannot do, anyone (at least in Massachusetts where I live) can make a report to DCF about anything believed to be child endangerment, and they must investigate. So why is this law necessary? Further, it does not allow investigation if the driver of the car is found to have failed to require seat belt usage. That would be the situation of risk. Already injured is horse out the barn door. Weird, indeed.

This report of a mother not having seat belts fastened for her kids, the seat belts were the least of it. That woman needs help, and so do her kids. None of this approaches serious fascism, but there is just a tinge of potential for it in the emotional reaction. (In that first, there is no assessment of actual risk, just some scary statistics that could easily be misinterpreted, and probably are being so. 723 auto accident child deaths in 2016. 35% were not restrained. Unstated and possibly unknown: How many deaths would there have been if all had been restrained? We know that 2/3s of the deaths occurred even if restrained. So we cannot blame all those deaths on lack of seat belts. Some of them, probably. However, the limit looks like it might be about 89.

Nevertheless, if the limit of collectivist fascism was a caregiver being investigated for child abuse because a kid was not wearing a seat belt, which doesn’t seem to be happening yet, I would not be writing about it at all.

The medical professional always informs people of the dangers of a vaccination these days.

Notice the extreme language, “always.” That’s a sign of an attachment to a point of view. It’s simply not true. It may be a norm, it may be common. I’ve been vaccinated recently against the flu. I don’t recall any clear information about dangers. It is possible that I signed something with information in fine print. I really don’t recall, and I was vaccinated at a drugstore. Very informal. But voluntary vaccinations are not the issue here, the issue is (1) mandatory vaccination and (2) reliability of the information available. I know for a fact that “standard of practice” can be far, far from best practice, given all the information. I’ve learned how to extract better advice from professionals, who are faced with social and legal restraints, all in the name of preventing quackery and malpractice by punishing professionals who follow their own opinions, even if these are carefully researched. Basically, I explicity take full responsibility for my own choices, and they then will tell me what they think, having made sure I know the “standard advice.”

But the very research on which science-based medicine would be based, in theory, has been warped, at least in some cases.

Before they inject you (or your child) they make you sign a paper with a long list of the dangers. No one is ignorant of the dangers unless he signs without reading the paper.

I recall none such, ever, with seven children. Now, how do you know what “they make you do,” such as would enable you to state, with confidence, that this is what is always done? If you don’t sign the paper, is there then a penalty (yes, of course, they won’t vaccinate unless they can get a court order)! If it is constrained, it is not consent! It’s a slippery slope. The fact is that there are parents who believe there is danger, or “the risk of danger.” If they believe that, should they be legally compelled to consent? As I’m pointing out, that would not actually be consent. Rather, then, the law would allow the professional to treat without consent. More commonly, regulations on vaccination prohibit school attendance if not vaccinated. I was not allowed to volunteer at San Quentin State Prison as a chaplain without a TB vaccination. I have a daughter with a positive TB test result, because she was vaccinated in Ethiopia with a method (BCG) that creates the immune response.

Slippery slope. This is a diversion, because mandatory vaccination is the issue, not required consent.

We are now living in the golden age of personal and parental autonomy. Parents have never had so much freedom to raise their children as they see fit. If you think people had more freedom in the past, you have not read social history.

Jed, you commonly assume ignorance on the part of those you disagree with. It’s offensive. There are ways in which parents today, in the U.S., have more freedom and ways in which we have less.

For example, in New England from the 17th into the 19th century, if parents did not teach their children how to read, or did not take them to church, or teach them “an honest calling,” the state could take the children away and put them in a foster home. See the Massachusetts Bay School Law (1642):

http://www.constitution.org/primarysources/schoollaw1642.html

This was locally enforced, and the law is roughly consistent with law to this day, but obviously religious education no longer applies. This amounts to requiring that children know enough to understand the dominant culture, and is not unreasonable, and it could be argued that this is necessary.
At that point there was no mandatory free public education, so this was actually requiring either school or some form of “home schooling,” which is sometimes a misnomer. The modern movement is partly “alternative schooling” and partly “unschool,” which focuses on non-school methods of education (which has deep philosophical and substantial support from research). One of my seven children was out of school from “6th grade to 8th grade,” by her choice, and she did very well indeed. She decided to go to high school largely for social reasons. To do this legally in Massachusetts required setting up a “home school plan” approved by the local Superintendent of Schools. Without that, DCF would have declared me responsible for “educational neglect.”

Fascist? A little. Not a lot, given the available alternatives, the legal and practical realities. She signed up and personally paid for North Star, Alternative Education for Teens (she was 12 when that started, they accepted her). The last year, my plan for the Superintendent was very simple: I didn’t quite say it this way, but close: She will do whatever the hell she wants, at North Star three days a week, where she can be tutored in whatever subject she chooses, read whatever she wants or her iPhone, and be entirely responsible for her life, buying her own food and paying for everything personal on a fixed budget (social security), receiving only free rent and transportation.

That really was fascist, as were many laws into the 20th century. The Bill of Rights was a dead letter in many ways. However, I think the trend has gone too far the other direction.

For thousands of years the world has been going to hell in a handbasket. The opinion here is about the same as what Mussolini expressed in what I cited in the blog post to which Jed was responding.

I do not know if smallpox vaccinations were given worldwide, but in the 1950s in the U.S. and Japan, everyone got smallpox vaccinations. See:

https://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/vaccine-education-center/vaccine-history/developments-by-year

In the comment to which Jed was responding, I reported the fact about smallpox vaccination in
Australia and New Zealand.  Again, Jed, as appears common, is careless about “everyone.” Certainly many did. Smallpox was a terrifying disease, with high fatality rates. What those rates would be today, I don’t know, but the linked Wikipedia article estimates the fatality rate at 30% of those who contracted the disease, and it was highly contagious (hence quarantine was routine).

Jed doesn’t know, because he didn’t look at sources I cited. Again, this is a trait of popular fascism. He doesn’t need to look at sources, because he already knows the truth, which is about his conclusions, not the details of historical fact. He does not back up and become thoughtful and deliberate and careful. It’s not just about this!

The point is that smallpox was eliminated without universal vaccination. Vaccination played a major role, but it was not necessary to vaccinate everyone. The major concern about smallpox today is “weaponized smallpox.” It existed, and it is known to be possible to reproduce it. So if there was an outbreak, would everyone be vaccinated? That depends on details. Smallpox vaccination has risks, see Smallpox vaccination and adverse reactions. Guidance for clinicians.

For me, vaccination would be contraindicated, were I not already immune (I might still be) because I have had atopic dermatitis, a specific risk factor. However, it’s important to understand the role of quarantine.

The quarantine of persons who have been infected or with risk of having been infected is routine, with dangerous infectious diseases, and mandatory, and I have never seen this called “fascist,” nor would I call it that, because it is a prudent and necessary measure, preventing harm and not causing commensurate harm. It’s temporary, and modern testing may be able to limit its application.

In Australia and New Zealand, only strict quarantine was used, apparently, few were vaccinated.

In any case, such decisions must be made by medical authorities based on the best scientific information available. If they say everyone should get a vaccination, citizens should do as they are told.

That is the state propaganda in a fascist regime. In a democracy (practicing the real thing), public agencies make recommendations, and do have a range of active discretion, but citizens retain, to the extent possible, individual choice.

In a fascist state, Big Brother, who loves everyone like his own children, makes the decisions. The Father of the people. Now, how does Jed feel about the Father of the People’s decisions, through the Ministry of Energy? On cold fusion? After all, we can’t have millions of dollars being wasted on research into pseudoscience, proven long ago to be an error! Just the other day, there was this Answer on Quora. (I also answered that question. If I commented on that other answer as Jed often comments, he’d be whacked by Quora moderation — if anyone complained. I took a small risk with my comment. I do pretty well on Quora, but there are still complaints, and I’m occasionally warned. I appeal this and normally they are withdrawn.)

When the oral polio vaccine was developed, every single U.S. citizen lined and took it — as they damn should have.

A friend of mine died because his daughter was given Sabin oral vaccine. He actually developed polio where it was extremely rare and with no other source of infection (this was not a coincidence as is sometimes pretended, see Deaths following vaccination: What does the evidence show?

I am not arguing against vaccination, only noting how there is advocacy mixed with science, and that paper shows it. I agree that jumping to conclusions from isolated reports can be hazardous, but raising suspicion from isolated reports is not “unscientific.” That paper was designed to deprecate and defuse concern. Whether or not it actually accomplished that would require more study than I have put into this issue, and the vaccination issue is not a major focus of mine.

My actual stand is that parents, to the extent possible, with all issues affecting their health and that of their children, should research the issues for themselves, as far as possible, and have the necessary discussions with medical professionals. It is part of the job of professionals to educate them. When professionals take a paternalistic approach, and treat patients as ignorant children, to be told what to do, they may fail in their job, because many parents will detect the attitude and reject it, deciding instead to trust others.

Thus the stand of “issue is closed, vaccines are perfectly safe!” if argued with disrespect for alternate views, actually causes rejection and harm, even if it is true that vaccination is, overall, more beneficial than harmful (as I personally think likely.)

Fascism. long term, backfires, creating antifascism, which can also be destructive. As should be clear, here, I am not arguing against collective decision-making, only oppressive enforcement without necessity, not respecting freedom of choice.

We need to learn to work together, to communicate, collaborate, and cooperate, and that requires high levels of tolerance for dissent, that can be channeled into constructive discussion.

We cannot have individual parents making decisions that might endanger themselves, their children and other people.

It is already handled legally, when anyone creates substantial risk for others, that communities and authorities will intervene. However, “might endanger” could be carrying it too far. To justify intervention and the deprivation of freedom of choice (which includes religion and decisions about diet, for example), the risk must be substantial, not merely speculative.

Currently measles is in the news. The concern about measles vaccination was originally about MMR, measles, mumps, and rubella, measles itself being, I think, the major disease addressed by that triple-valent vaccine (it is three vaccines in one).

With modern treatment, I do not know the risk of death and serious complications from measles, it may be a bit more than one in a thousand. However, measles remains a rare disease, even with the “epidemic” being declared. In spite of recent media reports, the CDC does not consider that there is a measles epidemic in the U.S. There are much larger outbreaks in Venezuela and Brazil, a few thousand cases per year, and it looks like the fatality rate is on the order of 0.1%.

The public health goal for vaccination is given as 95%. It is not necessary to vaccinate everyone to create “herd immunity.” If there is more than 5% refusal, it is possible to consider alternative measures. I am following discussions in a heart-disease related blog, and there is sometimes mention of vaccination there, and doctors have spoken up that, faced with parental refusal to vaccinate, keep up the conversation, they respect the parents and their rights and their love for their children, but also don’t stop communicating what they know, and they report that, long-term, the parents agree and allow vaccination. That is how to handle misinformation, not by suppressing and condemning it. (And once in a while, what is considered misinformation is actually closer to the truth than mainstream opinion.)

With the risk of actually contracting measles as low as it is, well under one chance in a million if one is simply enrolled in school in the U.S., and then under a few chances in a thousand of long-term harm if infected (I had measles as a kid, big deal! — but sometimes it can be fatal, just not often), the risk to a child from not being vaccinated is well below other major and routine risks, including death from automobile accidents. Not vaccinating a child under those conditions is definitely not child abuse, whether or not it is optimal.

Whose welfare is being considered if the child is not allowed to attend school? The vaccinated ones will remain low risk. (But vaccinations are not 100% effective, another fact sometimes not mentioned). Which is a greater risk to that child, being excluded from school or allowing unvaccinated attendance? (Or, the ultimate consequence in some places of vaccination requirements, seizure of custody from parents, tossing the kid into a foster care system with major risks from that. Foster care is not a particularly safe choice, and child welfare authorities will avoid it unless it is truly necessary.

It would be like letting people install wiring without an electrician’s license, drive at any speed they like, ignore traffic signals, or give away tainted food on the streets. The whole point of having a government is prevent things like that.

I have installed wiring with no license. Perhaps you should report me to the police? I haven’t done it for years, so good luck. People do it all the time. Under some conditions, one might need to have the wiring inspected. If we did not want people to do this, why do we allow the materials to be sold to the general public? What is much more strictly regulated is people representing themselves as electricians without a license, which mostly happens because a customer complains.

I can drive at any speed I like. The basic speed law prohibits driving at a dangerous speed, which varies with conditions. I have been ticketed three or four times in Massachusetts (over 18 years) for exceeding speed limits (a different offense), and in every case, I appeared and appealed if necessary and, in every case, was found not responsible (by default, actually, the tickets were never fully prosecuted).

I was always driving at a normal speed for the stretch of road involved, and there are regulations governing how speed limits are set, that are often ignored. So many speed limit signs are illegal? Who watches the watchers? It is obvious why so many speed limits are set too low and I saw the actual communications between the town and the Highway Department for the first case. The city wanted a low limit so the engineers were drastically over-ruled with no justification given. Just a decision.

Makes it easy to “tax” out-of-town people driving through. Safety? It is well known that speed limit signs have little effect on travel speeds, so putting up a sign doesn’t make the road safer. But it means that any time the town police want, they can go out, and since nearly everyone is travelling faster than the speed limit in that place, stop whomever they like. Steady revenue. And I also talked to a neighbor who had been stopped in that same location (it was two towns to the east of mine). The officer would let you go if you showed some “affinity.” This was never prosecuted, but if I had needed to go to an appeals court, I’d have subpoenaed the town records to see how many tickets were issued to out-of-town residents. I’d bet resident speeding citations were rare.

(I considered all this fun and educational. The judge in the last dismissal joked with me, and the rapport created helped a bit, maybe, in a later case before that judge (completely unrelated, but the legal system is staffed by human beings. At least so far!)

As to giving away tainted food on the streets, this is a much fuzzier issue than it might seem. Actually tainted food, yes, obviously a problem, but free food programs have been shut down for technical issues where the real goal was to prevent feeding unwanted poor people and the homeless, considered a nuisance. No actual problem with the food. Fascist? Maybe, sometimes.

The main problem I see here is knee-jerk expression of opinion without actual research and consideration of alternate points of view. As well, demonstrated is a strange knee-jerk trust in “the authorities,” which is, in some senses, un-American.

That happens all over the place, particularly with social media, and I gave examples in the blog post.

Rothwell’s response

You wrote: “I have never heard of parental rights being terminated because of a seat belt violation.”

Neither have I. In Georgia, violators are fined $50, and the law specifies “violation of this Code section shall not constitute negligence per se nor contributory negligence per se.” What is your point?

It would appear that Jed considers parents who do not consent to vaccination to be neglectful, such that parental rights might be terminated. What did he actually write?

To take a far less extreme example,  parents in Georgia are not allowed to drive children in cars without seat belts. I think that is a reasonable law. On rare occasions, seat belts have caused casualties, but we insist that parents must use them because they save many more children than they kill. I think it is equally reasonable for the law to say no parent should be allowed keep a child from being vaccinated for common, dangerous diseases such as tetanus or polio. The benefits of these vaccinations far outweigh the dangers. Only a doctor should be authorized to exempt a child, and only for a valid medical reason.

Now, he did not recommend that rights be terminated, though that would be a logical extension of the idea. Do we “insist that parents must use [seat belts].” Not actually. Rather, we set up a possible consequence. The fine is small and a citation is not terribly likely under most circumstances where seat belts are not applied for all children. I was in a car with a woman with two children, and one of them refused to sit with his seat belt. We stopped the car and waited until he put on the belt. Some parents, though, might tell the kid he’s in trouble when they get home, particularly if they are not willing to be patient. There are two risks there: there is a small risk of injury to the child from a short period without a belt, and there is a risk of a citation, which is larger but much less serious. Parents balance risks all the time. But here we have a suggestion that the state interfere, and that the state mandate “valid medical reason,” where any doctor may reasonably fear prosecution if he or she agrees with a parent’s concern about vaccination. That’s a huge consequence. For what is arguably a very small risk. Terminally small, under most conditions. (I estimated something like one in a hundred million of a serious consequence to the child.) Not putting on a seat belt is probably a larger risk. And that is the point: from hysteria over a non-existent “measles epidemic,” fascist measures are justified.

Again, to emphasize, I am not claiming that the health risks from vaccination are major, rather I am concerned about the political risks of extending the loss of individual freedoms. There are ways to both protect the public and preserve freedom, but they are commonly passed over, and the general excuse is that the public is ignorant and does not deserve freedom, they will be deceived by quacks and charlatans and pseudoscientists and fanatics of all kinds. Jed ignores all this in favor of shallow “I’m right and you’re wrong” arguments, and the propensity for that was part of my original topic on this issue.

https://www.gahighwaysafety.org/campaigns/child-passenger-safety/ocga-40-8-76/

“That’s a sign of an attachment to a point of view.”

No, it is a sign that I know the laws, and I know how to use Google.

And this is a sign of how careless Jed is. He cites the Georgia law, over which there is no dispute, except in one way: that’s a law and enforcement of the law is distinct and can be different. Nevertheless, that law as written has many ameliorating provisions, and all this reduces the possible oppressive impact. I support that law myself. Further, fines are not automatically levied upon citation, generally, the person may appeal the citation and go before a judge, and judges may then use discretion.

My comment about attachment was in response to this:

The medical professional always informs people of the dangers of a vaccination these days. Before they inject you (or your child) they make you sign a paper with a long list of the dangers. No one is ignorant of the dangers unless he signs without reading the paper.

“It’s simply not true. It may be a norm, it may be common. I’ve been vaccinated recently against the flu. I don’t recall any clear information about dangers.”

Then your memory is faulty. It is Federal law that all patients must be given this information, and they must sign for it.

Jed thinks in black and white. If the law says that something “must be done” therefor it is “always” done. I was not talking federal law, but actual practice. Now, could my memory be faulty? Well, what I said was true. “I don’t recall.” My memory is not, then, complete, because I was not watching for a paper. What I remember is that it was all very quick. I might have signed something. I recall nothing about dangers, nothing was said about dangers, but it is entirely possible that  I considered the paper a mere formality, I had already decided to get the vaccination, trusting my doctor (who has generally recommended flu vaccination, but I’ve never had an extensive conversation with him, and flu is a clear and present danger. One of my children nearly died a few weeks ago from H1N1 flu. Now how thoroughly has this year’s vaccine been tested?

What was obviously false is “always.” My friend who died from polio contracted from his daughter’s live oral vaccine, was he informed of the risk to him? Did they even ask? I don’t know, but my sense is not, this was in the 1970s. As well, there was obviously no vigilance, he was sent home from the hospital twice, and the second time only readmitted because the taxi driver refused to take him, he was so obviously and dangerously ill.

Jed is claiming something on which he could not possibly have information (unless there is some central database verifying all consent forms for authenticity.) If millions of vaccinations are being given by pharmacist’s assistants, how many times will the assistant forget to get the consent form? It’s not that it is a crucial issue. I did obviously consent, but without actually reading the form, that I’m clear about. I have never read one such, and I have been extensively vaccinated (for adoption travel, in particular).

Ironic here is that Jed is claiming that parental consent should be irrelevant, so why is he insisting that written consent is always obtained? It’s obvious to me: Jed will drag up any fact he can to make his position seem reasonable and necessary. And that is an element in popular fascism. We saw it in what I mentioned about the argument tweeted at Sarah Wilson, when she asked about documentation on vaccine effectiveness. The answer was “smallpox,” vaccine for which was certainly effective, but it was also risky, and has been terminated as a program because the risk of being infected with smallpox has gone to very low levels, vaccination now being mostly limited to military that might be exposed to weaponized smallpox (and there is controversy over that).

Jed then brings in more irrelevancy, not on a matter actually being disputed. Nevertheless I read it.

See:

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/about/facts-vis.html

“What’s a VIS?
A VIS or Vaccine Information Statement is a document, produced by CDC, that informs vaccine recipients – or their parents or legal representatives – about the benefits and risks of a vaccine they are receiving.

VISs are required by law
All vaccine providers, public or private, are required by the National Vaccine Childhood Injury Act (NCVIA – 42 U.S.C. § 300aa-26[2 pages]) to give the appropriate VIS to the patient (or parent or legal representative) prior to every dose of specific vaccines.

The appropriate VIS must be given prior to the vaccination, and must be given prior to each dose of a multi-dose series. It must be given regardless of the age of the recipient. See ‘Ways to give a VIS.’ . . . ”

I suggest you be a little more careful before asserting what is “simply not true.”

I have long suggested Jed be careful how he interprets what he reads, and he has long dismissed it, even when I demonstrated that he was drastically misquoting the target of his criticism.

I never denied that there is a requirement, and actually wrote  “It may be a norm, it may be common.” Something mandated by law is a “norm. ” But Jed, in his mind, equates “legally required” with “always is done.”

I sign many, many consent forms, and where I generally trust the provider of the form, that if there is really something I need to know there, they would tell me, I often don’t read it. A provider is waiting for me, and to read a long form with small print will waste their time. Yes, I could insist, but I usually don’t. What I know is that I am still protected, legally, if the provider is negligent. Those forms provide a layer of protection, but not absolute protection.

Reading that, I now remember more, because what is described on that page, a computer display being allowed, is what I do, now, recall. And it was not working properly. It was impossible to read the detailed statement on that display, which only showed maybe two short lines at a time, so I skipped it. Was I properly informed? Questions like that make lawyers rich. It could be argued either way.

And is that VIS accurate? The current VIS are here.

Are these balanced? Are possible controversies explained neutrally? I did read the statement for the flu vaccine I took. It can cause some serious problems, but only rarely, the VIS claims. I am personally in a higher-risk group as to possible harm from flu. If I were more seriously concerned here, I would read the antivax material on the VIS, I’m pretty sure there are likely to be criticisms. But I’m not. I might talk with my children about this, there are still two young grandchildren.

And what all this boils down to is “Do we trust the government?” As a state is fascist or devolves toward fascism, trust becomes mandatory, it is no longer voluntary, if it ever was.

Government, in my view, can be trusted only to the extent that the public is vigilant and collectively identifies and challenges governmental excess and error. Institutions that form to do that are themselves subject to fascist tendencies. There is really no substitute for an informed public.

The public need not be informed on everything, it is enough if some serve and report and warn. When those who criticize the government or “false consensus” are rejected ipso facto, as “fringe,” say, we have popular fascism.

Personally, I generally trust the U.S. government, but not without exception, and provided that criticism of the government is not suppressed. Hence I am quite concerned about the situation with Andrew Wakefield  (warning-Wikipedia article, likely to be a battleground, not necessarily reliable), not because I believe he was right, but because, quite simply, it’s worrisome. Many published papers, in hindsight, have drawn unwarranted conclusions, but punishment for that is rare, only deliberate fraud is commonly sanctioned, and this is because science requires freedom of speech, which must includes the freedom to be “wrong” by some standard or other.  The issues are complex and I do not consider myself adequately informed to come to final conclusions, but I can see the operation of popular — and governmental — fascism. “Fascism” is not a problem because it is necessarily wrong. It is generally harmful because it suppresses the freedom that allows full consideration of every issue to proceed in depth.

(And anti-vaxxers can be just as fascist, or even more so.)

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  1. You wrote: “I have never heard of parental rights being terminated because of a seat belt violation.”

    Neither have I. In Georgia, violators are fined $50, and the law specifies “violation of this Code section shall not constitute negligence per se nor contributory negligence per se.” What is your point?

    https://www.gahighwaysafety.org/campaigns/child-passenger-safety/ocga-40-8-76/

    “That’s a sign of an attachment to a point of view.”

    No, it is a sign that I know the laws, and I know how to use Google.

    “It’s simply not true. It may be a norm, it may be common. I’ve been vaccinated recently against the flu. I don’t recall any clear information about dangers.”

    Then your memory is faulty. It is Federal law that all patients must be given this information, and they must sign for it. See:

    https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/about/facts-vis.html

    “What’s a VIS?
    A VIS or Vaccine Information Statement is a document, produced by CDC, that informs vaccine recipients – or their parents or legal representatives – about the benefits and risks of a vaccine they are receiving.

    VISs are required by law
    All vaccine providers, public or private, are required by the National Vaccine Childhood Injury Act (NCVIA – 42 U.S.C. § 300aa-26[2 pages]) to give the appropriate VIS to the patient (or parent or legal representative) prior to every dose of specific vaccines.

    The appropriate VIS must be given prior to the vaccination, and must be given prior to each dose of a multi-dose series. It must be given regardless of the age of the recipient. See ‘Ways to give a VIS.’ . . . ”

    I suggest you be a little more careful before asserting what is “simply not true.”

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