(From The Anti-Vivisection Journal)
“My dear LYTTON: Beware of the experts, they are dangerous fellows. According to the theologian no one is innocent; according to the doctor, no one is wholesome; according to the soldier, no one is safe. The strong wine of the experts needs diluting always with the insipid water of common sense”.
(In a letter form the late LORD SALISBURY to the late LORD LYTTON, in 1877.).
THIS age will surely be dubbed by posterity that of the tyranny of the expert. In all walks of life, from the cradle to the grave, the ordinary citizen finds his freedom encroached upon by those who claim to know how he should order his life, or, more correctly, how he should allow them to order it. These encroachments come with such subtlety that the experts in most cases get away with it; only in a very small minority are the cases where the average citizen asks himself whether these, indeed, are wise guardians or are the “dangerous fellows” against whom Lord Salisbury warned his fellow statesman so many years ago.
Nowhere is this domination more powerful than in that section of medicine which particularly concerns itself with public health. When we view the growth of bureaucratic control which this has achieved within the present century, we can see how insidiously such things make their way, helped on alike by political opportunist and biased expert.
The obsession with that germ-theory of disease which the chemist Pasteur thrust upon medical science, thus leading to the usurpation of power by the bacteriological laboratory, has proved the ideal foundation for a system of medicine which should hand the citizen over to the bureaucrats, whose activities may range from peaceful persuasion to downright persecution.
No one denies that in our complex present-day civilization there must be certain ordered measures for the preservation of public health. But we have to come down to fundamentals and ask – what is meant by public health. To the lay man it may mean one thing and to the “expert” another. Among the more pushing of the experts to-day it obviously means, in the main, the fallacious doctrine that health can be guarded and disease prevented by artificial “immunization”; if one comes across any article on public health in a printed journal, be it medical or lay, it is ten to one that it will be about the advantages of such “immunization”, in one form or another.
There is always, in all classes of “experts”, a section which sees compulsion as a desirable method, and in medical matters particularly is this to be observed, as witness the history of vaccination. Later evidence is not wanting that the same point of view exists in regard to diphtheria “immunization”, and that the apathy of the public to the blandishments of the immunizers is deplored, if not indeed deeply resented, by those whose idea of a really well-ordered community is one immunized, from cradle- days onwards, against all and sundry diseases.
During the past year or so the situation has been rapidly developing on account of the great diphtheria-immunization drive which has been carried out, with official sanction and active support, in practically all parts of the country and the position demands the most serious and urgent attention of all who oppose these futile and dangerous practices.
The most recent development, and the most serious, is the action taken by the British Medical Association in regard to “immunization”.
In 1933, at the Annual Representative Meeting of the Association, a resolution was passed expressing the “emphatic belief” of that Body in the efficacy of vaccination against smallpox and suggesting the investigation of methods to extend the practice, and so forth.
In 1934 the Council set up a special Committee to deal with the matters covered by the Resolution.
But though the Representative Body had thus signified its intention never, never, to desert Mr. Micawber, it must surely have seemed that vaccination as a subject must partake of the nature of a purely academic discussion. On the other hand, in 1934 the diphtheria-immunization campaign was being prosecuted with vigour. Whether or no this view occurred to the Council we obviously do not know, but anyway, it decided to add a further reference to the terms of the Committee, thus:.
“To consider the desirability of preparing a practical scheme for informing the public generally regarding the protection afforded by various methods now available of immunization against diseases”.
We have before us the Report of this Committee (its title is The Committee on Immunization, including Vaccination) in the British Medical Journal Supplement of June 22nd.