atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#4567: It's a sequential numbers post again!

I always get a kick out of sequential numbers popping up here and there. It may be kind of silly, but I like it.

* * *

A medieval scholar explains why Obama's invocation of past Christian "atrocities" is no defense for islam in the 21st century.

The First Crusade was called in 1095 by Pope Urban II in response to desperate appeals from the Christians of the Middle East, who had lately been conquered and continued to be persecuted by the Turks. And these were only the latest in more than four centuries of attacks on Christian peoples by Muslim powers. At some point Christianity as a faith and as a culture had to defend itself or else be subsumed by Islam. The work of the Crusader, who put his life at risk and underwent enormous expense, was to save Christian people and restore Christian lands.
The Spanish Inquisition--it was meant to shield people from brutal punishments doled out by local Spanish governments, and probably saved many more people than it killed:
Medieval European kingdoms held heresy to be a capital crime against the state. (The Church had no capital offenses.) That meant that people were arrested and tried in state courts on religious charges and, when found guilty, executed. The purpose of the Inquisition was to place Church courts using Roman laws of evidence between the accused and the state. The Inquisition not only discerned whether the accused was a heretic, but also provided a means for him or her to repent and escape the fires of the stake. The Inquisition actually saved uncounted thousands whom the state courts would have roasted. Indeed, the witch crazes that ravaged Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries occurred only in those areas in which there was no well-developed Inquisition.
Why am I not surprised by this?

The thing that I find dreadful is that whenever Obama opens his piehole and makes a declarative statement I am immediately suspicious of what he says, even if it's something that's agreed with popular perception for decades. ("Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!") And every time--every time--my suspicious turn out to be well-founded, because Obama lies about everything.

It has seriously gotten to the point that if Obama said the sky was blue, I'd look out my window to double-check. Holy shit.

* * *

So there was a measles outbreak at Disneyland (California) and now all the coastal elites are losing their shit over vaccinations.

Well, gee, Obama let several million illegal aliens into the country. Some of them are going to be carrying diseases. That's not an assertion which is open to debate but a fact of biology; Ellis Island incorporated quarantine for a reason and it wasn't because of anti-immigrant bigotry. (Of course that was back when the US had a system for limiting immigration to a reasonable level. We can't do that any longer because raciss.)

So the measles outbreak happened because someone had the measles and was at Disneyland, and other people got sick because they weren't vaccinated--and a dollar and a donut say no one cared until some rich white liberal's kid became polka-dotted.

Now we must use this crisis to institute forced immunization, because after all government is here to keep you safe and you're too stupid to make such decisions for yourself.

So it turns out that the vaccine has killed more people than the disease, in the US. In the past twelve years, zero deaths from measles, 108 deaths from adverse reactions to the vaccine.

Yeah. And do me a favor and think, just for a moment, about who gets measles shots. Hint: it is usually not adults.

On balance I believe that vaccination against certain diseases is a good thing; I am certainly not anti-vaccine. But I am against aggressively pumping kids full of every damned vaccine that exists almost as soon as they're out of the womb, and I most definitely do not want the government deciding for me what shots I (or my kids) should be getting, and when. I find the constant exhortations to get vaccinated against the flu, against pneumonia, against bronchitis to be oppressive.

The thing to remember is that the shot doesn't magically make you immune to the disease. When you get vaccinated, the injection kickstarts your immune system, and your immune system develops antibodies to fight off the (admittedly weakened) deliberate infection that you've been given. That way, when you're exposed to the disease for real, your immune system already knows how to fight it off, and you therefore don't develop the symptoms of the disease.

That's what we forget: when you get a cold, and you drip snot and your head's blocked up and your tonsils are swollen, that's not the virus doing that. That's your body fighting the virus. Those are all defense mechanisms designed to give your immune system time to figure out how to make antibodies. When you are exposed to that virus again, you've already got antibodies against it, and your body doesn't need to fight a holding action, so you don't display any symptoms.

You're still sick, mind you; it's just not obvious.

When we give toddlers these mulitplexed vaccines, we're essentially getting them sick with several diseases at the same time--and they're severe enought that we've vaccinated against them for decades, things like polio, smallpox, measles, whooping cough--all the "childhood diseases" which had a decidedly nonzero fatality rate before the invention of vaccines.

But getting someone sick with many severe diseases at once puts a serious strain on the immune system, and that's something the immune system is not designed to handle. One of these diseases can kill by itself; two at the same time almost certainly would. The fact that the vaccine is a benign version of the infection does not change the fact that it's still an infection.

That, I think, is the connection between vaccinations and autism: not the vaccines themselves, which are harmless when given individually and spaced over a longer period of time, but the combination of several vaccinations given at one time.

I was born in the late 1960s and spent my childhood in the 1970s. My vaccine schedule was spaced out over many years. I never got any serious disease, was never exposed to any; I had chicken pox when I was about ten years old and lived through it just fine. Viral infections are no more dangerous today than they were forty years ago, and there's no need to immunize babies against every possible disease when it materially increases their risk of mental disability and death.

Do vaccinate; don't vaccinate like you're sending your baby on a trip through the Congo.

* * *

So, last night Mrs. Fungus and I watched 1984. She'd never seen it before, never read the book, and so I had to explain a lot of what was going on in the story and why they were doing the things they did.

The movie was no less depressing than the book.

Still, when I think about the story I realize that all things made by men are impermanent. IngSoc could not endure for eternity; sooner or later it would come apart and freedom would reign again.

One of the basic tenets of the story is that people can't think of certain concepts if they don't have symbols to think with, but I have never agreed with that thesis. Concepts come to us and we invent symbols to match them.

In a post-IngSoc world, the word might be "grebnil" or "loort" or "talpinga" but it will still refer to the concept we've labeled freedom, and despite the best efforts of the Ministry of Love and the Thought Police, freedom will still flourish, eventually.

The other thing: the story is told in third person limited; we only know what Winston knows or is told by the people controlling him. So we don't know who Oceania is actually at war with, nor do we know if it's actually at war with anyone. We don't know what the world outside of Oceania looks like; we never see it, and our only source of information is IngSoc (and its agents) which--as is demonstrated repeatedly throughout the story--lies all the time about everything.

The constant switching between enemies--one week it's EastAsia, the next EurAsia--may only be propaganda, designed merely to help the Thought Police ferret out people who develop an immunity to pravda: "Joe Blow in sector 16 is saying that we were at war with EastAsia last week. Go arrest him." It may be nothing more than forcing the populace to accept pravda in order to ensure they don't start believing in objective truth.

But my first instinct with any story I am told is not to believe anything the bad guy says, because--for fuck's sake!--he's the bad guy. Okay, in Empire Strikes Back I did not believe Darth Vader when he said he was Luke's father. I didn't actually accept that until Yoda confirmed it, because Darth Vader is the bad guy.

So when IngSoc says there's a war, I don't believe it. Winston knows that there are three governments in the world and they're all socialist like Oceania, but--again--that information is pravda and comes straight from IngSoc, and therefore is not trustworthy.

End result: it's going to come too late for Winston, but Oceania will be liberated, eventually.

I had originally intended to go to bed relatively early last night, but someone had to warn Mrs. Fungus about the rats in the movie.

* * *

Incidentally, the fragment of a situation that I'd been thinking about--about the kid making a hideout from an interstellar shipping container--is slowly turning into a setting, and I might be able to get a story out of it.

I'm actually thinking about what happens on that planet before the kid is born, and have some nascent ideas about what a supernova does to hyperspace physics--this would be the same world with the simple "one second per light year" hyperdrive--and ideas have begun to come to the surface like methane bubbles in tar. Further bulletins as events warrant.

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