Plague of Corruption: Restoring faith in the promise of science
Judy Mikovits & Kent Heckenlively
ISBN 978-1-5107-5224-5 (2020) 221 pages
In his 1961 Farewell Address, President Eisenhower famously warned about the “Military-Industrial Complex”. Less well remembered is that in the very next section of that speech, Eisenhower warned about the dangers of the politicization of science, as research became increasingly expensive and dependent mainly on government funding. Eisenhower knew what he was talking about. He had been President of Columbia University after leaving the US Army. A monopoly in research funding is potentially as harmful as a monopoly in any other area.
The politicization of science is now glaringly obvious in Politically Correct but scientifically dubious dogma such as the Lock Down scam, the Climate Change scam, the Renewable Energy scam, the Peak Oil scam. Scientific researchers have in too many cases traded objectivity for a research grant. Outside-the-box thinking is not respected, not encouraged, and — most importantly — not funded.
Dr. Mikovits has paid a heavy price for asking Politically Incorrect scientific questions about the vaccines used to treat certain viral diseases. She went from being awarded government research grants worth several million dollars and publishing award-winning papers in scientific journals to being a non-person, an outcast held in jail for 5 days without even being charged. The clear message to all government-funded researchers is – Stick to the politically approved script!
This should be a fascinating story, complete with run-ins with such unsavory bureaucrats as Anthony Fauci. Unfortunately, Dr. Mikovits – how to say this without annoying the distaff side of the Ratburger community? – writes like a teenage girl talks.
An attorney told his colleague after speaking with Dr. Mikovits: “… I don’t know if the case is hard because the client [Mikovits] is so emotional and tortured by the factual circumstances that she has trouble articulating herself …”. (p. 49) The first act of her current attorney was to go to the judge and ask for time to redraft Mikovits Pro Se 42 USC 1983 complaint. “I need to talk to my client and figure out what this case is really all about”. (p. 50). After one particularly dense jargon-rich paragraph in this book, Dr. Mikovits added: “My coauthor, Kent, is always telling me I need to simplify things and break it down so that the lay reader may more clearly understand my points. But realize that to me, the above paragraph is perfectly clear”. (p. 121). This reader concludes that Dr. Mikovitz is not a good communicator, but she is open & honest.
Dr. Mikovits has been lumped in with “anti-vaxxers”, who are apparently as far beyond the Politically Correct scientific pale as those dreadful “Climate Change Deniers”. However, it seems the heart of her concern is not so much with vaccinations as with potential safety problems with current manufacturing processes for anti-viral vaccines. Given her writing style, it is a challenge to understand precisely what those concerns are. She emphasizes that in order to work with a virus, it is necessary to grow it. This seems to require finding some tissue in which the virus can be persuaded to multiply – and that tissue often is from an animal such as a mouse or a monkey. This sets up a situation where a vaccine may unknowingly be contaminated with other viruses, helping viruses to jump from animals to humans. Additionally, the vaccines manufactured from animal tissue may unintentionally activate suppressed segments in human DNA, with unforeseen effects.
Who could be opposed to making vaccines safer? Dr. Mikovits focuses most of her ire on dastardly pharmaceutical corporations. However, her own text seems to point the finger more at venal politicians, the lawyers who manipulate them, the bureaucrats who control vast research budgets, and the research scientists who put their careers first.
In an ideal world, all vaccines would be totally safe. But this world is far from ideal; despite our best efforts, rockets sometimes explode and bridges occasionally fall down. The practical approach is to learn from our failures, and keep pushing the frontiers of knowledge forward. This brings us nose-to-nose with real world occurrences of the kind of theoretical dilemmas so beloved by philosophers. Dr. Mikovits mentions: “Forty-five million Americans took a defective Swine Flu vaccine in 1976, with several hundred developing Guillain-Barre syndrome and suing for their injuries”. (p. 114). It is very unfortunate that several hundred people suffered from the vaccine, but how many of the 45 Million who took the vaccine were saved by it from illness or death? Even accepting our vaccines are less than perfect, would it be moral to put 90,000 people at risk of Swine Flu by not vaccinating them in order to avoid harm to 1 person – especially when that 1 person might catch Swine Flu & die anyway if not vaccinated? Reasonable people can certainly have valid different views about this.
Perhaps Dr. Mikovits’ view on the moral quandary created by imperfect vaccines might have been influenced by her experiences since being defenestrated from the insular world of government-financed science. She has apparently spent a lot of time working for attorneys suing the government in “Vaccine Court” (established under the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act) where she has been focused on the relatively few sad cases which went wrong rather than on the very much larger number of cases where the vaccine helped.
Things that most of us don’t know: the 1986 Act removed liability for defective vaccines from pharmaceutical companies and set up this special court where Department of Justice lawyers defend the government against any claims for harm to children caused by vaccines. To date, the Vaccine Court (meaning all of us taxpayers & consumers, somehow or other) has paid out more than $4 Billion in claims to children injured by vaccines (p. 114). From this reader’s perspective, resources that should have been invested in broad scientific research to make vaccines safer for everyone have instead presumably helped many a lawyer to afford an attractive second home in Vail with a color-coordinated Maserati.
The impression Dr. Mikovits’ book left with this reader is that science is still paddling in the shallow waters at the edge of the very deep ocean of biology. Current vaccines can do a lot to protect us from diseases, but there is still much we do not understand and consequently some unfortunate individuals will suffer unintended ill effects. The only people who benefit from the current system of seeking individual redress through the courts are greedy lawyers. And the progress of scientific understanding suffers in a world in which political fashions and bureaucratic infighting constrain directions of research.
President Eisenhower’s warning about politicized research was appropriate. But devising a less-politicized funding system for expensive research is a challenge – one which we humans have so far ducked.