Seeing Big Pharma everywhere is just another form of gullibility


…They tell themselves that they’re the ones who see the lies, and the rest of us are sheep. But believing that everybody’s lying is just another kind of gullibility.

Slate writer William Saletan is talking about JFK assassination conspiracists, but he could just as easily be talking about homebirth advocates. They, too, are absolutely sure that there is giant conspiracy, in this case Big Pharma and Big Medicine pushing drugs and procedures on pregnant women even though they are unneeded except in “rare” emergencies. Ironically, instead of being the only people who see Big Pharma’s lies, they are the “sheeple” that they rail against.

No conspiracy theory is too idiotic to find adherents among homebirth advocates. Consider the recent deaths and injuries from hemorrhagic disease of the newborn (HDN) of babies whose parents refused prophylactic vitamin K shots after birth.

From The Tennesean:

Since February, four babies with no signs of injury or abuse have been sent to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University in Nashville with either brain hemorrhages or bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract. Robert Sidonio, a hematologist, diagnosed them with vitamin K deficiency bleeding.

After discovering that all four had not received the preventive treatment that doctors have been giving to newborns since the 1960s, he started making inquiries. Pediatricians told him parents are increasingly refusing consent because of concerns based on misinformation or the goal of having natural childbirths.

“Fortunately all of the infants survived,” said Dr. Lauren Marcewicz with CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. “It is important for health professionals to educate parents about the health benefits of vitamin K at birth.”

However, the three babies who suffered brain bleeds face developmental challenges.

The shots have been given as standard practice since 1961 to prevent vitamin K deficiency bleeding, a disorder that can cause hemorrhaging in the brain and intestinal tract. The risk for developing the disorder has been estimated at 81 times greater among infants who did not receive a vitamin K injection at birth than in infants who do receive it.

Why are parents refusing the lifesaving vitamin K shot. Because they are “sheeple” who believe any conspiracy theory dreamed up by other idiots.

Consider this “advice” from the moron who blogs at The Healthy Home Economist:

Let’s start with the vitamin K used in the shot itself. Is it a natural form of vitamin K such as would be found in leafy greens (K1) or butter (K2)? No, it is a synthetic vitamin K – generic name phytonadione. Synthetic vitamins should be avoided as they can cause imbalances in the body and have unintended consequences. For example, synthetic vitamin A actually causes the type of birth defects that natural vitamin A prevents!

But there is no difference between “natural” vitamin K and synthetic vitamin K. Moreover, natural vitamin A causes the exact same birth defects as synthetic vitamin A.

But wait! There’s more:

If that isn’t enough to scare you, Midwifery Digest, Vol 2 #3, September 1992 estimated that the chance of your child developing leukemia from the vitamin K shot is about one in 500! This means that the risk of developing leukemia from the vitamin K shot is much higher than the risk of bleeding on the brain which the vitamin K shot is supposed to prevent!

So why would anyone believe a clown like The Healthy Home Economist? Because they’re gullible.

They are so sure that there’s a conspiracy (Big Pharma!) that they don’t even recognize the nonsense of their own claims. We’re supposed to believe that Big Pharma, aided and abetted by all obstetricians, pediatricians and hematologists IN THE WHOLE WORLD, plus the CDC and the US government, is pushing a “drug” that has no legitimate purpose and exists only to increase the rate of childhood leukemia. Does that make any sense at all? It doesn’t if you are capable of thinking for yourself, but if you’re among the sheeple who believe that everything you don’t understand is a conspiracy on the part of someone else, it makes perfect sense.

Saletan asks:

How can this be? How can so many people … promote so many absurdities?

The answer is that people who suspect conspiracies … [are] selective doubters. They favor a worldview, which they uncritically defend. But their worldview isn’t about God, values, freedom, or equality. It’s about the omnipotence of elites.

He explains:

The strongest predictor of general belief in conspiracies … was “lack of trust.”

… “People low in trust of others are likely to believe that others are colluding against them,” the authors proposed. This sort of distrust, in other words, favors a certain kind of belief. It makes you more susceptible, not less, to claims of conspiracy…

The common thread between distrust and cynicism, as defined in these experiments, is a perception of bad character. More broadly, it’s a tendency to focus on intention and agency, rather than randomness or causal complexity. In extreme form, it can become paranoia. In mild form, it’s a common weakness known as the fundamental attribution error—ascribing others’ behavior to personality traits and objectives, forgetting the importance of situational factors and chance.

The more you see the world this way—full of malice and planning instead of circumstance and coincidence—the more likely you are to accept conspiracy theories of all kinds. Once you buy into the first theory, with its premises of coordination, efficacy, and secrecy, the next seems that much more plausible.

It’s hard to imagine anything more malicious than a giant conspiracy involving every major drug company, aided and abetted by all obstetricians, pediatricians and hematologists IN THE WHOLE WORLD, plus the CDC and the US government, pushing a useless “drug” on innocent infants in order to make money and give them leukemia in the process.

Why do homebirth advocates believe such nonsense?

The appeal of these theories—the simplification of complex events to human agency and evil—overrides not just their cumulative implausibility … but also, in many cases, their incompatibility.

We can see this quite clearly with vaccine rejectionists. The rise in cases of autism is a complex, and as yet unexplained, phenomenon. But it is easier and more comforting for vaccine rejectionists to believe that it is deliberately being caused by Big Pharma: It’s thimerosol! No, it’s aluminum! Maybe it’s pitocin! Or ultrasound! Or all of the above! Anything, in other words, besides acknowledging that it is random and there isn’t anything they can do to prevent it.

Homebirth advocates, like vaccine rejectionists, have a reflexive fear of elites, and for them, anyone who has an advanced science education is an elite. They feel small and powerless in the world of doctors and hospitals and to manage that fear, they have concluded that elites are plotting against them. They tell themselves that they’re the ones who understand, and the rest of us are sheeple. But believing that everything they don’t understand is a plot by Big Pharma to harm them is just another kind of gullibility.