We’ve already discussed Andrew Wakefield’s book, Callous Disregard, a few times here at LeftBrainRightBrain. I discussed his chapter discussed “Why”, which is painful to read, both for Mr. Wakefield’s approach to the subject and his attempt at creative writing. I discussed his chapter 1, and some of the “myths” he claims there are in the discussion of the paper in The Lancet. In that piece I referred to wading through “Callous Disregard” as a land war in Asia. Around every corner there is a statement which just doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. Given that, you probably won’t be surprised to see that I have skipped to the end, the epilogue of the book. I’ll quote two paragraphs.
The first is voiced as a statement to those those would promote vaccines:
There is no place for indulging futile displacement activity, sanctimonious posturing, and self protectionism. In the battle for the hearts and minds of the public, you have already lost… Why? Because the parents are right; their stories are true; their children’s brains are damaged; there is a major, major problem. In the US, increasingly coercive vaccine mandates and fear mongering advertising campaigns are a measure of your failure–vaccine uptake is not a reflection of public confidence, but of those coercive measures, and without public confidence, you have nothing.
Mr. Wakefield likes to position himself as a moderate, someone still asking whether MMR causes autism. How exactly that squares with a clear statement, “..their children’s brains are damaged…” I don’t know.
The final paragraph is a closer to his “why” chapter.
Sinking low, out over Crystal Mountain, the Texan sun still hurts the land. The cedars draw on parched earth. And the sun is gone. Stars creep into the night sky and the forest begins to move. My children are asleep and my beer is cold. From the lops of Willie Nelson, the ballad of Bobby McGee falls with a salty melancholy: “I’d trade all my tomorrows for a single yesterday”. And for a moment I am there, on the cold, wet precipice of Hounds Ghyll viaduct, 180 feet above oblivion as a small boy looks questioningly into my face, slips my hand, and is gone.
I found the essay (for want of a better word) “Why” to be a bit disturbing. This closing paragraph only confirms that impression.