21 October 2009

There's poo in there

I seem to be awash in crankism lately (truthfully I've become pretty fascinated by it after reading Pope Brock's book on John R. Brinkley). I've been digging into the famous New Madrid earthquake prediction of Iben Browning for the museum, and now I've stumbled upon the weird world of anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists, who have apparently become re-energized with the availability of the H1N1 flu vaccine.

While the anti-vaccine people are wrong, it's worth nothing that, as far as I can tell, their instincts aren't necessarily incorrect.* As long as we maintain a for-profit health care industry which can control and manipulate government regulatory agencies, people ought to be skeptical about the appearance of "wonder drugs" which coincidentally give pharmaceutical companies a license to print money. Capital can and will attempt to purchase scientific credibility to suit its interests; global warming denialism being the most ready example.

As with many conspiracy theorists, vaccine cranks end up doing their own side a disservice by making actual muckrakers of corporate malfeasance look crankish by association. They should be dealt with according to their ineptitude, but not without reminding the public that they are the natural byproduct of an inhumane system.

*Okay, there are also your bog-standard nihilists who think the world is doomed to be run forever by a cabal of Jews and Masons, but there's no saving those folks.