New Jersey’s “official” stand on vaccinations – is apparently “if it could cost me a vote I’ll make it voluntary.” Speaking in England at a vaccine facility, the governor said he vaccinated his kids but, possibly thinking of votes back home, he added, “I also understand that parents need to have some measure of choice in things as well so that’s the balance that the government has to decide.”
Asked if this freedom of choice also applied to speed limits, abortion, marriage, and seat belts, he failed to reply to the questions I sent to his office of public affairs.
Knowing Governor Chris Christie was so concerned with the health of his state’s residents that he was happy to ignore the Constitution (habaes corpus) and imprison a healthy nurse who couldn’t vote in New Jersey since she lived in Maine, one might have thought that when facing an actual medical crisis and epidemic, instead of one he just made up, he would have taken a strong stance in favor of immunizing and therefore preventing the measles epidemic completely in the Garden State.
But, along with Dr. Rand Paul who has stated clearly and repeatedly that “most vaccinations should be voluntary,” Gov. Christie apparently dispenses medical advice mostly based on political implications, changing positions in the blink of an eye – appropriate for someone who is struggling to stay to the right of an eye doctor.
(By the way, although Sen. Paul claims to be “board certified,” an important credential for a medical doctor in any specialty, it turns out that by Kentucky law he really isn’t – see below for a complete explanation about the “board” which he also founded. In lay terms, Dr. Paul isn’t just a member of the Hair Club, he is also the owner!)
Dr. Paul, an eye doctor, for example, said Sunday on CNN “I’ve heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking, normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines.”
After being asked for and unable to give a single example, by Tuesday he released a statement pointing out that he did not actually “claim” vaccinations “caused” mental disorders.
U.S. medical schools teach that anecdotal reports are not medically significant. Perhaps he missed class that day.
Apparently he wanted to be on both sides of the question as does any modern politician, especially one who struggles to keep his local constituents happy while moving far enough away from their parochial views to stand a chance of being elected President.
So, to sum up, what Ophthalmologist Rand Paul said on Sunday was aimed at vaccine deniers while his Tuesday statement was apparently aimed at those with some medical knowledge.
In terms of logic, you know, the process which has led to the creation of vaccines, airplanes, telephones, essentially every advance since about 1500, saying that something happened after something else happened is precisely meaningless.
For example, it is said that every heroine addict had used marijuana at some time before they moved on to heroine. That is probably true, but totally meaningless since they had also eaten strained peas, drank milk, and ridden in a car. All of which took place before they started shooting up but no more the “cause” than marijuana.
In my newest book I quote one of my old View from Highland Ranch columns where I describe what a disaster it would be if firemen worked like politicians.
But perhaps Rand Paul and Gov. Christie are exactly the sort of top politician the U.S. needs in order to deal with the many contradictory international positions he/she must take, kissing up to dictators because they have lots of oil, while ignoring the lessons of history such as “see Afghanistan and die,” which was learned by Alexander The Great, various leaders of India, England back in the 1800’s, The Soviet Union, The French, The U.S. along with England once again and NATO, not to mention Genghis Khan, Timur, the Mughal Empire, various Persian Empires, and a Sikh Empire.
But that didn’t stop the Bush Administration from invading apparently without a second thought.
Invading Afghanistan didn’t work out very well for any of the others but perhaps we will be the exception.
A President who can not only see both sides of any question but can also firmly stand on both sides simultaneously, is exactly what we need. One of the major criticisms of President Obama is his inability to speak out of both sides of his mouth, a necessary skill these days.
In the days before instant communications we could afford a President with scruples who could take a moral stand but no longer – it just isn’t practical.
By the way, Rand Paul says he is a “board certified” ophthalmologist but it turns out that the certification was by the now defunct “National Ophthalmology Board, but the problem with his “board certification” has one other problem. Dr. Rand Paul is listed as a founder of the “National Ophthalmology Board” in 1997.
Although at last check he is still calling himself a board certified ophthalmologist, according to Kentucky law (he is one of the Senators elected from Kentucky) he is not entitled to claim board certification from a board which closed down in 2011 – it had also dissolved in 2000. Whether or not it will magically become resurrected in time for the next election, is yet to be seen.
My latest book, Sheep in the Rafters includes animal stories as well as a bit of pastoral philosophy – some people feel a return to the land is what this country needs – but probably not.