Wednesday, 30 June – 3:00pm
I started to enter Oxford University in April 2016. According to my blog, I have stood in at least four separate halls and wanted nothing to do with the main buildings – I am a large student, actually so the place is split right down the middle. One student, hearing my voice on the communal speaker system in one of the halls, called out over and over again that he had stopped learning because he couldn’t stand to see all those intelligent, beautiful people with their heads buried in textbooks. What should I do? He didn’t seem to realise how ignorant and terrible his position was, but there was nothing I could do.
Recently, I was asked to write a guest column for our student paper, The Tab. My problem was that every word was totally of interest to an anti-vaccination activist, all drawn from some propaganda page of some unscrupulous organisation, including articles that suggested that I had seen the evidence for the validity of vaccines.
One day earlier, I had been to look around an adoption agency in Cambridge. I am still a happy adoptee, having been adopted when I was three, but I was born with muscular dystrophy, which I have lived with for most of my life. It’s an illness that is almost identical to autism, and I don’t know why adoptive parents are discouraged from having genetic screening of their babies and only accept their children when they are diagnosed with the illness.
Last year, when people decided to organise a walkout in protest at the National Baccalaureate, I was amazed to see a load of young people with autism ask to enter Cambridge University and be allowed to finish the course – even though, according to the National Baccalaureate, they might not have mastered the material. Another famous anti-vaccination activist just finished a brilliant campaign for natural polio vaccines, which were, in the event, rejected by those who know what they are.
I feel that some of these activists are equal to those who intentionally contaminate the planet with thousands of tonnes of acid rain. I have been tempted to join them, but I am afraid that I could never sacrifice my own health and my mother would have a heart attack.
But I don’t have a heart attack.
What do anti-vaxxers and self-injury activists have in common? Everything! I often find myself walking down the street encountering someone who has just skipped out of a lecture about addiction, another individual who wanted to discuss the various ways of cutting oneself, and then I find myself one of those walking around the streets asking questions.
Why do those who believe in this misguided ideology hold me to such disreputable standards? If we can raise our kids by lopping off fingers, slicing their wrists and slashing their lungs as high as their necks, there must be something sensible about vaccine administration. Perhaps we can persuade them that just making a pig’s ear of a bit of flesh is not the equivalent of opening an infanticide kit, just as poor insurance premiums won’t allow them to take out a life insurance policy that will kill their spouses and/or children.
Sometimes I want to take a knife out into the street and push it straight through a protester’s head. If that doesn’t make sense to you, then the anti-vaxxers are definitely the scum of the earth, let alone for us academics! It is to their eternal credit that they insist on their own nonsensical views, however depraved.
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