Standing In The Gap Of The Real And Perceived
In a recent column, 2016 Republican presidential hopeful Dr. Ben Carson reinforces the media-invoked hysteria over a recent outbreak of measles by saying that “certain people have discussed the possibility of potential health risks from vaccinations. I am not aware of scientific evidence of a direct correlation.”
Well, it’s a little more complicated than that, Dr. Carson. Contrary to popular belief, Jenny McCarthy is not the Susan B. Anthony of the anti-vaccination movement. And, yes, Virginia, there is “scientific evidence of a direct correlation,” right here.
To be sure, the enthusiasm of the sponsors of scientific research to fund conclusive studies on the correlation between vaccines and sickness or injury that seems to follow them sometimes is not great. I can’t imagine why. Some scientists would, similarly, though, question the correlation between the introduction of vaccines and the precipitous decline in the diseases they target. Here is one such scientist, arguably Dr. Carson’s equivalent in the field of immunology.
But the federal government has certainly recognized such a correlation through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), which, within the last three decades, has paid out over $3,000,000,000 to families of over 4,000 persons, mostly children, who suffered serious injury or death not readily attributable to any other discernible cause than the recent administration of vaccines. Even if one notes that the program claims over 80% of settlements and/or payouts under it were not admissions that the vaccines caused the reactions, that also means that in 800 cases, vaccines were shown to be at fault. And that’s not counting those cases where the connection was never made, because we’re all told we’re crazy to even consider the possibility, and so many of us don’t. Click here to see the VICP’s 2015 report, released on June 1st.
Before the measles vaccine was widely available in 1963, measles was a relatively common childhood disease, lightly regarded by parents, that had been in steady decline in the United States for at least 40 years due to other factors. In fact, in 1962, over 99% of those infected with measles in the United States survived and over 90% of them did so without hospitalization. I’ve crunched the real numbers from original sources myself, not from paranoid anti-vaccination websites. But, hey, see for yourself.
Even if one believes that overall the benefits of vaccines outweigh the risks, just saying to parents that they must accept the risk that their children might be acceptable collateral damage, involuntary human sacrifices on the altar of the greater good, is an untenable and dangerous position to take for anyone who values the Constitution. That risk is real, and easy to pass off, I guess, until it’s YOUR child that has that reaction. Then defending YOUR child is all that matters.
My suspicion is that, as educated as Dr. Carson is in neurology, he has not really educated himself on this particular issue with his typical independent mindset, but has instead swallowed whole the conventional wisdom of his profession, much as geologists often date rocks by the fossils in them, and paleontologists often date fossils by the rock strata around them, both groups assuming the other has done its homework.
But even if the correlation is inconclusive one way or another, shouldn’t Dr. Carson give the benefit of the doubt to individual rights? I would urge him to reconsider his position. But if he’s just hellbent on falling on a sword, and he wants to prove himself a candidate for real change, then maybe he should tackle the IRS and the Federal Reserve, instead of parents trying to raise their children conscionably.
Otherwise, Dr. Carson should just go ahead and out himself as a statist, and be done with it.