Contamination requiring ritual purification: Superstitious concepts at the heart of antivaccine beliefs

Over the years, I’ve frequently contemplated just where many of the ideas that underlie alternative medicine in general come from. Certainly, I’m not the first to have thought of this by any stretch of the imagination, but over the last 13 years, I’ve become convinced that it is a fear of bodily “contamination” that harks back to ideas found in many religions. Think about it. Where does the fear of “toxins” in vaccines come from? Vaccines are portrayed as “foreign,” as something “unnatural” that is “injected right into the bloodstream.” Never mind that vaccines are not injected directly into the bloodstream. To the antivaxer, there is no difference between an intramuscular and intravenous injections because to them both are equally “contaminating.” It’s also not a coincidence that many of the treatments for “vaccine-induced autism” or any other condition falsely attributed to vaccines are represented as “detoxification.” They are basically purges, to purge the “evil humors” that antivaxers believe vaccines to be packed full of. It’s not for nothing that I’ve not infrequently described alternative medicine “detoxification” as being akin to ritual purification of the sort found in many different religions.

Sometimes, antivaxers even help to make my case for me. For instance, here’s antivaxer and all-around supporter of everything quacky, John Rappoport, declaring the The Occult Archetype Called Vaccination. Here, Rappoport claims to examine the “archetypes and symbols” that surround vaccination and to him “give it occult power.” My first reaction was: Projection, thy name is antivaxer. You know he’s off the rails from the very beginning when he begins with a claim that vaccination was begun as a “crude version of homeopathy.” Here’s a hint. Variolation predated homeopathy by 75 years, and other investigators had tested vaccination with cowpox to protect against smallpox a couple of decades before Samuel Hahnemann dreamt up the sympathetic magic that is homeopathy. Even Jenner’s work was roughly contemporaneous with Hahnemann’s first descriptions of homeopathy in the late 1790s. Homeopaths (and quacks like Rappoport) love to claim that vaccination was somehow an imitation of homeopathy (or, these days) that homeopathic nosodes are the equivalent of vaccination because of homeopathy’s “law” of “like cures like.”

Then we get to the “meat” (if you can call it that) of Rappoport’s comparison:

Today, as a revival of ancient symbology, vaccination is a conferred seal, a sign of moral righteousness. It’s a mark on the arm, signifying tribal inclusion. No tribe member is left out. Inclusion by vaccination protects against invisible spirits (viruses).

The notion of the tribe is enforced by dire predictions of pandemics: the spirits of other tribes (from previously unknown hot zones in jungles) are attacking the good tribe, our tribe.

Mothers, the keepers of the children, are given a way to celebrate their esteemed, symbolic, animal role as “lionesses”: confer the seal on their offspring through vaccination. Protect the future of the tribe. Speak out and defame and curse the mothers who don’t vaccinate their children. Excommunicate them from the tribe.

Or it could just be that they understand that herd immunity is important and that unvaccinated children can serve as vectors for disease outbreaks.

There’s also a rather amazing extension of normal antivaccine arguments in which Rappoport claims that the child is “more than the offspring of the parents” and is now the “property of the village” You might remember how often I point out that the invocation of “parental rights” by antivaxers often assumes that children are the property of the parents. Indeed, I often quote Rand Paul, who, referring to the “right” of parents not to vaccinate their children, once said, “The state doesn’t own the children. Parents own the children, and it is an issue of freedom.” Now get a load of what Rappoport says:

The ceremony of vaccination is a rite of passage for the child. He/she is now more than the offspring of the parents. The child is in the village. The child is property of the village. As the years pass, periodic booster shots reconfirm this status.

See what I mean? The only difference between this remark and Rand Paul’s objection to vaccination is that Rappoport substitutes the “village” for the “government” referred to by Paul.

Now here’s where Rappoport really lets you know that I’m right about their viewing vaccination as contamination by the way he describes what he perceives to be the mystical aspect of vaccination:

Some ancient rituals presented dangers. The child, on his way to becoming a man, would be sent out to live alone in the forest for a brief period and survive. Vaccination symbolizes this in a passive way: the injection of disease-viruses which might be harmful are transmuted into protective spirits in the body. The injection of toxic chemicals is a passageway into immunity. If a child is damaged in the process, the parents and the tribe consider it a tragic but acceptable risk, because on the whole the tribe and the village are protected against the evil spirits (viruses).

The psychological and occult and archetypal impact of vaccination is key: modern parents are given the opportunity to feel, on a subconscious level, a return to older times, when life was more bracing and immediate and vital. That is the mythology. Modern life, for basic consumers, has fewer dimensions—but vaccination awakens sleeping memories of an age when ritual and ceremony were essential to the future of the group. No one would defect from these moments. Refusal was unthinkable. Survival was All. The mandate was powerful. On a deep level, parents today can experience that power. It is satisfying.

There is no doubt that there is a feeling of satisfaction that vaccinating one’s children can bring. It is indeed the feeling of protecting one’s offspring against diseases that might threaten their lives. It has little to do with the “mandate” of the “tribe” or anything else like that. What’s interesting is that Rappoport tries to dismiss the societal mandate to vaccinate as though it were nothing more than some ancient tribal ritual transplanted into modern society. I think that’s very telling. He can’t explain vaccine mandates any other way than as ritual. He also represents vaccination as some sort of dangerous process that might damage the child, when in fact it is very, very safe, with serious adverse reactions exceedingly rare.

Then there is the religious aspect. Note the language: “Injection of the disease-virus.” This is a very clear reference to the “contamination” that I was talking about. Indeed, this choice of phrasing is very common in antivaccine circles, where vaccines are often referred to as “injecting disease matter,” which is technically true but phrased to make it sound as scary as possible.

And, of course, who is at the center of this “mystic ritual”? You guessed it. It’s the physician, who is portrayed by Rappoport as a shaman:

The doctor giving the injections is, of course, the priest of the tribe, the medicine man, the holder of secrets. He is the spiritual source of, and connection to, “unseen realms” where opposing spirits carry out warfare and struggle for supremacy. Without the medicine man, the tribe would disintegrate.

The medicine man is permitted to say and do anything. He can tell lies if lies serve a noble purpose and effect greater strength of the tribe. He can manipulate language and truth and meaning. He can turn day into night. He can present paradox and contradiction. No one can question his pronouncements.

Loyalty to the medicine man is absolute. In this regard, a rebel is exiled or destroyed.

Methinks that Mr. Rappoport vastly overestimates the power that physicians have in society. Oddly enough, what he is describing seems to be an extreme version of medical paternalism that was common 70 years ago but hasn’t been a part of medicine for decades. There is much projection here, as well. In fact, the real shaman/healer/medicine man tends to be the alternative medicine practitioners and the antivaccine doctor-“heros” like Andrew Wakefield whom antivaxers do basically idolize much like the description of medicine men above. Indeed, I’ve explained in depth why the appeal of this sort of unscientific medicine, part of which includes antivaccine beliefs, is the appeal of the shaman, a view that Dr. Mehmet Oz, of all people, appears to support without realizing it.

The sort of thinking that Rappoport is attributing to those advocating vaccination is in actuality much more characteristic of believers in alterntive medicine in general and the antivaccine movement and their quacks in particular.They are the unquestioned, shaman-healer so common in so many societies in pre-scientific times. Bringing us back to the religious aspect of “contamination” that I started out with, as I’ve pointed out time and time again, in ancient Egypt, physicians were also priests; both functions, physician and priest, were one, which made sense given how little effective medicine there was. Praying to the gods for patients to get better was in most cases as good as anything those ancient physicians could do. All of this is of a piece with the antivaccine view of vaccines as “contamination” that makes the child “unclean” such that he must be ritually purified with “detoxification.”

I sometimes like to reference the über-quack and über-scammer Mike Adams, because he goes so over the top that he often illustrates my points for me, albeit in a sort of reductio ad absurdum manner. A couple of days ago, he was claiming that Facebook was “censoring” Natural News. Today he’s claiming that is “declaring war on children” by “censoring him.” I must admit that in this rant Adams outdoes himself in pure looniness, but inadvertently he helps make some of my points for me, again largely by projection.

For instance, to him vaccination goes beyond mere “contamination” and becomes both violation (as in rape) and contamination with something even more unspeakable than “toxins” or “disease matter”:

Mark Zuckerberg isn’t accused of raping little children with his biology, but he controls the social media network that openly espouses the medical violation of childrens’ bodies with toxic injections — a form of “medical rape” that obscenely violates the American Medical Association’s medical ethics when mandated by coercive government (as has already happened in California with SB 277).

Further adding to the horrifying truth of what Zuckerberg and Facebook are really up to, many vaccines given to children in America today are made from the ground-up, homogenized, disease-inoculated organs of aborted black babies. These “human embryonic lung cell cultures” are openly listed as chicken pox vaccine ingredients by the CDC and vaccine manufacturers, all of whom also openly admit that vaccines are made from diseased animal organs such as African Green Monkey kidney cells. (MMR vaccines are also made from the tissue of aborted human babies.)

I will give Mikey credit for one thing. I’ve heard and debunked the claims that vaccines are made from the “tissue of aborted babies” (dude, cells isolated from a fetus in the 1960s and maintained in culture over 50 years are not the same thing as “tissue from aborted human babies”) and many others, including the fear mongering about African Green Monkeys. I’ve also dealt with the vile simile that likens vaccination to rape. However, I’ve never heard the claim that vaccines are made from the “ground-up, homogenized, disease-inoculated organs of aborted black babies.” I did some Googling and was unable to find the origin of that incredible (and false) claim. Seriously, Mikey. Now you’re just making shit up even more than usual.

Now, as ridden with hyperbole this is, it is far too close to normal, common antivaccine claims to be Mike Adams. So, naturally, Adams has to ramp the stupid and outrage up to 11 and beyond by likening vaccination to ritualistic child sacrifice and cannibalism:

Today, Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook demand the ritualistic sacrifice of children to the “vaccine gods” as a way to appease their globalist controllers. Just like in the era of the Maya, children are especially prized for their innocence which is violated by puncturing the skin and injecting the child with foreign DNA extracted from other children sacrificed at abortion centers.

Quite literally, the dead children are liquefied and “fed” to other children, many of whom are maimed or killed by the toxic intervention (yes, this is how vaccines are manufactured). This is all carried out in the name of “science,” just as the Maya high priests carried out their sacrifices in the name of “cosmic powers.”

What few people have recognized yet is that in the realm of globalist power, the sacrifice of children is always required for an ascending globalist to “prove” their commitment to the cause. Zuckerberg, you see, wants to become a “high priest” of the modern technocracy which is founded in a scientific dictatorship, medical tyranny and the power of the coercive state. The ritualistic sacrifice of children is a necessary component of those ascensions to power.

I had to read that passage three times because I couldn’t believe what I had just read, Yes, Adams really wrote it. So let me get this straight. Dead children are somehow “liquified” and “fed” to other children, thus both contaminating them in such a way that “violates” their innocence, presumably both because it is (to Adams) like rape and because it also somehow “contaminates” them. Again, projection is the key here. This is how hard core antivaxers think.

Lest you think that Adams is so over-the-top, that Natural News is a wretched hive of scum and quackery so much scummier and quackier than all the other wretched hives of scum and quackery that it can be ignored, let’s take a look at another article, over at Megan Heimer’s wretched hive of scum and antivaccine quackery, entitled What You Didn’t Know About the Aborted Baby Parts in Your Vaccines:

You might have also heard that only two babies were used and it was a really long time ago, which justifies the continued use of shooting up live babies with dead babies. This just simply isn’t true and if you think it is, watch one of the many Planned Parenthood videos. These people are harvesting baby parts for a reason.

Aborted baby is supposedly some sort of magic that makes vaccines more effective (albeit safely untested and could contribute to conditions like autism and cancer).

No, the only people invoking “magic,” “ritual,” “contamination,” and “purification” with respect to vaccine components are people like Mike Adams, John Rappoport, and Megan Heimer. That’s because so much of the antivaccine belief system is rooted in ancient superstitious and religious concepts, the most prominent aspect of which are contamination and ritual purification. Sometimes they even throw violation (rape) in there for good measure. Basically, to many antivaxers vaccines are like fluoride in Dr. Strangelove. They sap and contaminate your precious bodily fluids, but they’ll go even beyond that. They’ll contaminate you so much that they corrupt your DNA. I wish I were exaggerating about these beliefs, but I’m not.