Groucho Marx

Blog Archive – June 2006

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Big Brother

“ It is becoming ever more obvious that it is not famine, not earthquakes, not microbes, not cancer but man himself who is man's greatest danger to man, for the simple reason that there is no adequate protection against psychic epidemics which are infinitely more devastating than the worst of natural catastrophes. ”
C G Jung, The Undiscovered Self

“ I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would be such as oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives. ”
Leo Tolstoy

June 28 2006

1984 in 2006

What a seriously depressing past 24 hours! Having taken a long and deliberate break from it, I made the mistake of paying some attention to the daily news. There should be a government health warning attached to it. Perhaps we could even get vaccinated against it?

First we have the leaders of both main political parties in the UK falling over each other to instigate the repeal of what little human rights legislation we have left. Apparently this is all in the interests of protecting us from "terrorists". That excuse is wearing dreadfully thin these days. The simple fact is there would be no "terrorists" if our government weren't meddling in business it's no business trying to make business out of in the first place. So who are the real terrorists? The governments who blithely march into other countries as if they had the god-given right to do so on the basis of a lie, or the people of those countries who quite rightly object to being invaded for no good reason?

Then we have a piece in the Daily Telegraph – for those that don't know it, a paper with rather right wing viewpoints and not one I usually find much sympathy with – by Social Affairs correspondent Sarah Womack on "the biggest state intrusion in history into the role of parents". We are told that, subsequent to the provisions of the 2004 Children's Act, the government is to maintain a database on the nation's 11-12 million children, monitoring everything from their educational performance against state targets to whether or not they're eating their five portions of fruit and veg a day, and that transgressions on more than 2 counts will automatically spark an investigation. (Quite how they propose to action this is anyone's guess, given the startling incompetence habitually displayed by state bureaucracy at all levels of organisation, but it's the thought that counts.)

I'm not sure where it came from, but all of a sudden John McEnroe's voice sounded loud and clear in my head (I guess it must be about Wimbledon time again?). "You cannot be serious!" At least the leader in the same paper had the sense to highlight the sheer insanity of giving more power to state intervention in children's lives when it was the failure of every single existing state intervention that was largely responsible for the incident that supposedly sparked off this entire initiative!

And lastly – things always seem to come in threes – there are 30 members of the medical profession attempting to cajole the population into greater uptake of the MMR vaccination, claiming there are no proven associations with autism and that the risk of not having the vaccine is far greater than having it. If these people are to be taken seriously, it really is little short of a miracle how the human race has managed to survive for so long against the onslaught of so many dangerous diseases without the benefit of modern pharmaceutical interventions. The reason we have is that we possess immune systems which, like muscles, need to be exercised if they're to build up any strength. Childhood diseases were traditionally (and still are in many cultures) regarded as an essential part of the maturation of a healthy immune system. In some parts of India, measles is regarded as a visitation from a goddess for the developmental leap that children frequently take after a bout. And yes, there are casualities, but there will always be casualties. Sickness and death is an inescapable part of life, and survival of the fittest is nature's way of ensuring the health of all species.

Ultimately, it all seems to be about a need to feel in control. It's apparently acceptable for there to be casualties from vaccination, because it's being done under human control, ostensibly for the benefit of all (leaving aside the pharmaceutical industry agenda for the moment). But it's not acceptable to leave it up to nature to do the same thing for the same reasons, because it's not under human control. Western society's distrust of what created us, what we're part of and what we're evolving within is almost incomprehensible from any objective standpoint. Personally, I'll take my chances with nature any time. Not least because in trying to reduce the relatively few casualties of relatively minor childhood diseases by supplanting the role of the immune system rather than supporting it, it would appear that what is being sacrificed is the immune system's long-term strength and integrity. Is it any accident that the rise in immune-deficiency conditions and syndromes is almost an entirely post-vaccination phenomenon, and that the more pharmaceutical interventions a person is subject to, the weaker their immune system becomes?

We have naturally evolved to be cooperative but predominantly self-supporting organisms, and the ability to exist as such might be considered a partial definition of health, not least in the freedom it gives us to pursue our own paths, our own genius in life, whether that be a solitary path or one dedicated to working with others. The more dependence we place on external agencies – pharmaceuticals, bureaucracies or governments, for instance – the less ablility we have to be self-supporting, the more subject we become to the vagaries and agendas of those external agencies on which we depend, and the less freedom we have as individuals. It seems somewhat illogical that we should so willingly give up our freedoms just because some external agency claims it's "on our side", and continue to do so even when its actions frequently contradict its claims, while another which dosn't make such claims we will fight tooth and claw. Giving up freedom is, after all, giving up freedom, whoever it's given to.

Of course we need to cooperate as a species to survive and build our societies. But the willing cooperation of free individuals (government by the people for the people) is a long long way from the situation that presently obtains pretty much anywhere. It's what we hold as our ideal. It's what we think we're fighting for. But it's not what we've got. Isn't it time we woke up and noticed the difference? And realised that the main repositories of power in our societies are on an express train headed in precisely the opposite direction? Western society is firmly in the grip of the oldest mafiosi trick in the book; a protection racket of global proportions.

June 28 2006 | | | Permalink

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“ Democracy is an abuse of statistics. ”
Jorge Luis Borges

“ In the Garden of gentle sanity may you be bombarded by coconuts of wakefulness. ”
Chogyam Trungpa

June 02 2006

Monsantoing the line

Following on from last month's blog (Evidence? What evidence?) on the lack of depth and rigour in much of what passes for scientific analysis these days, we veer back again into the dirty tricks department.

This from George Monbiot writing in The Guardian, Tuesday May 14:

The Fake Persuaders
Corporations are inventing people to rubbish their opponents on the internet

Persuasion works best when it's invisible. The most effective marketing worms its way into our consciousness, leaving intact the perception that we have reached our opinions and made our choices independently. As old as humankind itself, over the past few years this approach has been refined, with the help of the internet, into a technique called "viral marketing". Last month, the viruses appear to have murdered their host. One of the world's foremost scientific journals was persuaded to do something it had never done before, and retract a paper it had published.

> > read on

What is even more interesting is the extent to which this form of 'marketing' seeems to have acquired tacit acceptance even amongst those who are holding it up to us as a shining example of corporate immorality. The thing is, we already have a perfectly good term for 'viral marketing'. It's called fraud, and there's pretty clear and long-standing legislation available in most countries for dealing with it.

Further reading on Monsanto's style of doing business:
The Ecologist

June 02 2006 | | | Permalink

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smeddum.net – Blog: Confessions of a Serial Prover. Weblog on homeopathy, health and related subjects by homeopathic practitioner Wendy Howard