No, anti-vaccine hysteria didn't emerge from grassroots. This rich NYC couple funded it

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I’m glad that these wealthy creeps are being named and shamed like the Sacklers are for the opioid crisis. What a legacy for the Selz family: actively helping bring about the return of measles to North America.


Funny, if I just explained the concept of social media to you, you might think that it would democratize access to information. But in fact, money and algorithms (driven by money) make it the reality-warping opposite.


Anyone out there know a hedge fund manager that is a decent human being?


Antivaxxing goes back further than 7 years. Wakefield’s article was late 90’s, and it was a fringe movement before that. But I have certainly seen increasing noise in the last few years. If these jerks are responsible for even a small proportion of that, they should be held responsible by whatever means are available. That said, I honestly had not heard the name prior to this article. Of course, big money/low profile is not exactly a new phenomenon, is it?


They should be held accountable for the misery they have brought on humans.


How about money?

I have a notion that a good Actuary could calculate the excess deaths and health care costs that can be directly attributed to the anti-vax movement.

Let the insurance companies go after these assholes via subrogation.


So what is his angle? He’s just a nutter who thinks he’s found the truth of a conspiracy?

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Completely discount Wakefield who started it.
Completely ignore the way it had been spreading much earlier.
Pretend the tireless and expensive Russian propaganda effort to push this never existed.

Nope. We have Rich New York Jews with their International Jew Banking Money. They’re the ones who did it.

Fuck that racist piece of crap article. And fuck anyone who buys into the racist lies.


I wasn’t going to put it so forcefully, and I don’t think these are good people, but I agree – it is way too pat and simplistic just to blame it one one big bad billionaire boogeyman.

Reducing history to these kinds of narratives is what places like Fox New peddle.


True enough, the antivaccine movement dates to the 1700’s:

The Russian disinformation campaign is a very recent player. I don’t read this as anti-Semitic, although I can see how it could be interpreted as such. Holding these jerks responsible for their actions is no more anti-Jewish than holding Wakefield responsible is anti-English. Unless you have knowledge that they are not in fact major supporters of the antivax lunacy, being Jewish is not really a factor. Being rich and having very poor judgment is.


Technically not hedge fund managers, but VC and investment managers, and yes. I’ve been lucky enough to get caught up in a financial circle that is founded on integrity. People want to do deals with them because they are honest, fair, decent people that won’t screw you over. They support their investments on a financial and personal mentoring level. They make money from the financial side, but the personal mentoring is on a pay it forward basis.

You don’t hear about people like this because they seem like normal people and don’t end up in the news for doing stupid stuff.


Is “malanthropist” a word? I feel like that should be a word.


First of all, giving $3 million to anti-vaxxers is bad if you’re any religion, creed or community. So let’s not make the jump to “criticizing these people for something empirically bad = anti-antisemitism,” you know? Second, these creeps aren’t the start of this nonsense, but their $3 million didn’t help, ok? Finally, END PRIVATE FOUNDATIONS AND TAKE THEIR TAX BREAKS AWAY. If rich people want to affect policy, they can pay their fair share of taxes and vote just like the other dopey poors like me who live by the rules they ignore. Private foundations are a fucking joke, and as helpful to the common good as a knife to the kidneys.


Malanthropy by misanthropes.


Wouldn’t it be “phobanthropist”?

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Russian/Soviet “active measures” have been going on for almost a century now. We have documented evidence and testimony that their purpose is to sow dissent intended to divide the American people.

Therefore everyone who promulgated these has acted as an agent of a foreign enemy, whether witting or unwitting. Every. Single. Anti-vaxxer. The only real questions are “to what degree” and “when should we prosecute them for treason?” These vile people left a money trail, making them the easiest to track and prove. Others, like Trump, have bloviated this crap while pandering to their base, but their influence is less measurable.

When does it rise to prosecutable levels?


This statement is unquestionably and unarguably true, but we were specifically discussing the antivaccine active measures. That is relatively recent.

Does not change your point that those supporting antivaxxers are at least unwitting “useful idiots” if not enthusiastic coworkers in destroying our society.


From the article, describing their foundation: “with a focus on humanitarian, educational, geriatric, homeopathic, animal causes and the arts,”

The woo is strong with this one.


Wakefield himself was a wealthy Doctor seeking to market separate vaccines in place of the MMR 3 vaccine shot. The article in question was funded and paid for by law firms and autism groups funded by wealthy backers looking to get heavy settlements in vaccine harm cases.

It wasn’t the first “research” he produced claiming MMR was dangerous. Nor was it the first attempt to claim connection between vaccines and autism. But between Wakefield’s financial backing to exploit his separate vaccine patents and wealthy people like this pushing the autism angle. The inflection point for the modern movement was anything but grass roots.

If I had to guess these people were responsible helping to fund the build out of the imported, organized movement here in the US. It was spooling in the UK and spreading in Europe before it made the jump here. And it largely seems to have kicked up fron the same “lets pay Wakefield lots of money” angle once he was increasingly unwelcome at home.

Not discussing that part of the history is off base. But Wakefield didn’t start it. Opposition to vaccines dates to their development. And before, with small pox inoculation. Initially based on the supposed danger of exposing people to disease to prevent disease and then largely on religious grounds. Different ends of the modern alt med community were already pushing vaccine denial based either on it being unnatural and ineffective or actively harmful for years before his involvement. The US and the UK already had vaccine harm courts/processes to deal with rare complications. And those elements had been exploiting them to push their agenda. Which is where Wakefield came in. In order to sell his separate vaccines over the MMR he needed to establish a reason. He went with harm, so he started producing research backing up that MMR was dangerous and separate vaccines were not. Which attracted the vaccine harm folks from alt med. They started hiring him as an expert witness and funding his research. And his big smash study was basically bought and payed for by various groups already pushing the idea, including people who’d been pushing vaccine/autism connections that he was already working with. It just happened to land in a major journal. And when his vaccines failed to make it to market anti-vaccine activist paid better than anything else he could get into.