Preventing parents from treating their children with (insert therapy).
 Preventing parents from hearing about (insert therapy).
 Keeping kids from getting (insert therapy).
This, of course, is utter nonsense.
I’m not standing in the way of parents who want to “treat” their autistic children with whatever voodoo they want to use. I’m just a single person writing a single ‘blog – I’m not blockading their homes, picketing “supplement” stores or standing in the doorway of even one DAN! doctor.
Parents have a wide variety of woo-based websites, parental support groups, newsletters etc. to inform them of the latest in woo-based autism therapies. I can’t hope to compete with the amount of baloney available to parents. I’m just a single voice shouting (actually, writing) in the wilderness.
I’m not hacking websites (although folks on the “other side” have done that), I’m not buying up web domains with similar names (although folks on the “other side” have done that) and I’m not trying to harass, intimidate or litigate against people who want to tell their side of the story (although folks on the “other side” have done that).
Finally, I’m not doing anything to keep the children from getting whatever therapies – woo or otherwise – their parents see fit to inflict on them. Nothing but quietly telling my side of the story.
Yet, they are offended by my skepticism. More than offended – enraged. People have said things to me and about me that are offensive, accused me of base and dishonorable behaviors and have told me – in no uncertain terms – to SHUT THE F**K UP!
Why does my lack of belief in their viewpoint make them so angry?
To be honest, it’s not just me. They seem to hate anybody who’s not on board with their “program”. And "hate" is the correct word - make no mistake about that.
A few days ago I found myself with a bit of unstructured free time, so I decided to spend the time trying to understand the anger I seem to provoke in the mercury-causes-autism believers.
I started by imagining that I had a child with a poorly-understood disability of unknown origin and uncertain prognosis. That was the easy part.
Then, I pictured what it would be like to have someone – or a group of someones – tell me that they had discovered THE CAUSE and THE CURE of the dread illness that was afflicting my child. So far, so good.
Then I tried to imagine what it would be like to have other people, perhaps people with expertise in medicine and science, disagree with THE CAUSE and THE CURE.
How would that make me feel?
Frankly, I was at a loss to see why I would give two shakes of a lab-rat’s tail what the “experts” might think if I had (or thought I had) a cure for my child’s ailment. As long as they weren’t getting in my way, why should I care they thought?
After all, in the post-modern world, people ignore the experts all the time. In the US, they’ve raised it to a cultural icon. The only thing that “the people” distrust more than “experts” is “the government”.
But then I considered how I would feel if I was doubtful about whether or not THE CURE worked.
That would change things. A lot.
If I was harboring secret doubts, doubts that I scarce could admit to myself, then someone else doubting THE CAUSE and THE CURE would be a big problem.
As long as everyone around me was chanting the party line (“Mercury causes autism and chelation is its cure.”), I could bury my own doubts. After all, if I was the only person with doubts, then it must be true.
But once I started to hear other people doubting THE CURE or THE CAUSE then my own doubts would start gnawing at me. They’d start keeping me up nights.
And why, you might ask, would I have doubts?
Well, maybe the improvement wasn’t as dramatic as I was making it out to be. Of course, my child was getting better, but he wasn’t CURED, not like all the other kids were being CURED. And the other kids I saw, they weren’t as CURED as they were made out to be.
Of course, I wouldn’t be tactless (or stupid) enough to tell the other parents that their “recovered” kids didn’t look all that “recovered” to me. And I certainly wouldn’t be bold enough to say that I didn’t think that my child’s improvement was as much as I expected, based on their descriptions.
Of course not. That would be like saying…oh, I don’t know…like saying, “The Emperor has no clothes!”
And we wouldn’t want to say that, would we?
So, what are my options? I can’t admit to myself – or my spouse or fellow mercury-causes-autism parents – that I have doubts about THE CURE or THE CAUSE. That would cause unacceptable mental anguish, since I’d not only have to admit that I was wrong (never an easy thing to do, in the best of circumstances), I’d have to admit that I didn’t have a cure for my child’s illness.
That’s not going to happen. Uh-uh. Nope. Never.
And the other option? I can get angry at the doubters. I can accuse them of bias, corruption, ignorance, arrogance, insensitivity, or whatever else comes to mind. I can circle the wagons and excommunicate anyone who admits to doubt.
And why would I do these things?
Because I’m afraid.
Because without THE CAUSE and THE CURE, I’d have nothing to offer my ailing child.
I would be defeated.
I would have no hope.
Or so I might think.
So, when the mercury-causes-autism proponents take their next poke at me, I’m going to try my very best to remember that, although their actions are hostile and belligerent, they aren’t really angry with me.
They’re just afraid that I might burst their bubble. That I might force them to face their own doubts.
And they’re not ready for that.