The chaos of anti-vax is a ladder


It could be the motto of Andrew Wakefield and other anti-vax medical professionals:

Chaos is a ladder.

It’s one of the most memorable of the many memorable Game of Thrones quotes, first uttered by Littlefinger, Lord Petyr Baelish, in a conversation with Varys (season 3, episode 6).

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Anti-vaxxers continue to be unwitting dupes, while anti-vax professionals climb ever higher on the ladder of deliberately created chaos.[/pullquote]

While Varys bemoans chaos as disrupting his plans (“a gaping pit, waiting to swallow us all”), Littlefinger reveals that chaos is essential to his plans.

Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try it again. The fall breaks them. And some are given a chance to climb. They refuse. They cling to the realm or the gods or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.

What does he mean?

For Littlefinger, creating chaos is a way to achieve his own goals. He uses chaos as an instrument for his own gain… Chaos can be used as an opportunity with anyone who: either creates chaos or uses it for their own gain, or, once in the chaos, can keep their cool and make something of it.

Anti-vax medical professionals and former professionals have created chaos among parents of young children in order to use it for their own ends:

  • They have incited a completely groundless fear of vaccines that has led to a dramatic decrease in vaccination rates and an equally dramatic rise in illness and death from vaccine preventable diseases.
  • They have single handedly brought back scourges that had not been seen for many decades.
  • They promote and monetize a variety of useless supplements and “immune boosters,” as well as books that promulgate their nonsense.
  • They have recently begun to specialize in victimizing isolated communities like Somali refugees in Minnesota and certain sects of ultra-Orthodox Jews in New York, playing on their fears of government.

They know vaccines work. As Dr. Bob Sears famously wrote in The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child:

I also warn [parents] not to share their fears with their neighbors because if too many people avoid the MMR, we’ll likely see the diseases increase significantly.

In other words, Sears implicitly acknowledges that vaccines are highly effective and that their effectiveness is dependent on herd immunity.

But Andrew Wakefield is the true Littlefinger of the anti-vax movement.

Although it takes multiple seasons for it to be revealed, Littlefinger directly instigated the events that led to nearly everything that has happened on the series. GOT fans may remember that it is the death of Jon Arryn, purportedly at the behest of the Lannisters, that leads Robert Baratheon to appoint Ned Stark as his Hand. That very quickly results in the judicial murder of Ned Stark by Cersei Lannister convulsing the entire kingdom in war. We have been watching the horrors of that war ever since.

But the Lannisters, evil as they are, did not kill Jon Arryn. Littlefinger arranged for him to be poisoned, made sure he died, and sent a letter claiming that the Lannisters were responsible. Why did he do it? Because he was denied the opportunity to rise to power in the existing structure of the kingdom and saw his chance to rise by climbing the bodies of those killed in the chaos he unleashed. Things did not play out quite as he expected, but by keeping a cool head he managed to exploit every development. He almost got away with it.

Andrew Wakefield nearly single handedly unleashed the anti-vax movement by fabricating “research” that purportedly showed that the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine caused autism. At no point did Wakefield believe that vaccines causes autism. If he had, he would not have needed to deliberately fake his research.

His motive was banal; he wanted to get rich. He was developing a vaccine to replace the MMR and sought to increase demand and market share for his new vaccine by discrediting the old one. He ended up creating chaos and then exploiting that chaos to enrich himself.

The similarity with Littlefinger doesn’t end there. Littlefinger was able to convince everyone that the Lannisters had murdered Jon Arryn because many people (correctly) distrusted the Lannisters. It had always been clear that they were out to improve their own fortunes so it was not a stretch to imagine that they had murdered a political rival. But those who believed were not sophisticated analysts of the Westerosi political scene; they were unsuspecting dupes of Littlefinger.

Wakefield was able to convince parents that vaccines cause autism because many people (correctly) distrust large industries like Big Pharma. There have been so many examples of deadly corporate malfeasance by Big Pharma that it was not a stretch to imagine that they were marketing a harmful vaccine. But those who believe vaccines are harmful are not sophisticated analysts of corporate misconduct; they are unsuspecting dupes of Andrew Wakefield and his ilk.

Littlefinger created chaos because he calculated that he could exploit to ensure his rise. He would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for the fact that the all-knowing Three Eyed Raven Bran, has seen the past and exposed him.

Wakefield and other medical professionals like Bob Sears create chaos and bring back deadly diseases, because they calculate that they can profit from it. Sadly, we don’t have an all-knowing Three Eyed Raven whom anti-vaxxers will believe. So they continue to be unwitting dupes while anti-vax professionals climb ever higher on the ladder of deliberately created chaos.