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Friggin Taser wrote:
So now that they have tagged their child with a diagnosis that will follow them throughout life, they have to explain why their child wasn't born a perfectly healthy angel. So they grasp at straws and blame their mercury fillings for leaking into their breast milk or vaccines or what they fed them when they were babies.

On the one hand, middle class parents today are nervous and (it often seems to me) somewhat guilty about bringing a child into the world. They know in their heart of hearts that their children will not enjoy the security and standard of living they did, even as they do not enjoy the security and standard of living their parents did. The ones with "normal" children start polishing their résumés in preschool and shuttle them around to various organized activities, designed to earn them credentials and scholarships as Youth of Tomorrow.

But, not all children are susceptible by temperament to that kind of treatment. These middle class children receive diagnoses, as their parents desperately seek to find a magic pill or therapeutic that will put them back on the "success" track. And, of course, since these children are somehow "wrong", they'll look for someone or something to blame. It's against the backdrop of this kind of class anxiety that the appeal of "mercury in vaccines made my kid autistic" starts to emerge.

And while the hoax was starting, the primary explanation for autism was Bruno Bettelheim's, a gentleman (and not a real doctor) who on trumped up credentials took over school for troubled children at the University of Chicago that nobody else wanted. Bettelheim's hypothesis was that emotionally aloof "refrigerator mothers" were responsible for autism. Given this alternative hypothesis, the vaccine hypothesis proved more popular among parents.

The engine that turns all of these wheels is class anxiety, of course. The parents have pretty much given up on changing the ground rules of the basic society, believing, probably rightly, that things are too far gone.

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ihcoyc

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