There was an anti-vaccine thread, mostly objecting to government coercion of vaccines for school entry (which had a history dating back to the nineteenth century). There was a lot of overlap with resistance to fluoridated municipal water, as well.
As I began compiling this entry, I had a vague memory of encountering Ms. James's arguments in those long-ago days. I thought she was associated with John Welch's John Birch Society (JBS, established 1958) but subsequent researches have not established a JBS link.
Walene James is a little-known figure in today's anti-vaccine world, but she was an early and ardent proponent of the myths that vaccines are dangerous and useless, and her books and articles are still in print. Her 1988 book appears to have had wide influence in anti-vaccine circles.
James published three books.
- 1977 Handbook for Educating in the New Age (A small book based on the Edgar Cayce readings about how to educate children. Published by A.R.E. Press, which published Cayce materials exclusively)
- 1988 Immunization: The Reality Behind the Myth, 2nd edition 1995
- 2012 The Vaccine Religion: Mass Mind and the Struggle for Human Freedom
In 1973, she moved to Virginia to be closer to the Edgar Cayce organization, Association for Reasearch and Enlightment, or A.R.E., which published her 1977 book).
For those of you for whom the name Edgar Cayce (1866-1945) means nothing, he was a wildly popular psychic in the early to mid-twentieth century. He was particularly interested in helping with health problems; some of the cures or treatments he suggested were:
While living in Virginia, James's older daughter refused immunizations for James's grandson; the case eventually went to court on charges of child neglect for vaccine refusal. This court battle prompted James to publish Immunization: The Reality Behind the Myth, and prompted her involvement with the lobbying group The National Health Federation.
Here are James's rationalizations:
Six Reasons to Question Vaccinations--by Walene James
Ten Reasons to Just Say 'No' to Vaccinations
- Vaccinations are forced. For example, there are compulsory vaccination laws in every state. If something is good it doesn't have to be forced.
- Vaccinations are toxins by definition.
- Vaccinations are indigenous to only one model of healthcare--the allopathic medical model--and its practitioner's particular understanding of disease phenomena.
- Vaccinations are promoted by fear, guilt, and 'creative' statistics.
- Vaccinations are represented as safe and effective when evidence suggests they are neither.
- Vaccinations are aggressively pushed by public health departments and other government agencies as though they were a public health issue when they are not. This is done to insure a high rate of compliance.
Walene goes on to say:
- Vaccinations are toxins by definition.
- Vaccinations are aggressively promoted by those who have a financial stake in their consumption.
- Vaccinations are promoted using fear, intimidation, and coercion.
- Vaccinations are big business.
- Vaccine manufacturers are nearly liability proof for their products.
- Vaccinations are not only forced upon us, but those who deny us the exercise of our free will refuse to take responsibility for the consequences of their actions.
- Evidence suggests that vaccinations damage the immune system, the nervous system and the spirit-mind-body connection.
- Compulsory vaccinations ignore biochemical and psychospiritual individuality.
- Vaccinations are misrepresented by government agencies as a public health issue which they are not.
- Vaccinations are heavily subsidized, heavily propagandized and can be seen as a wake-up call for us to see how we allow ourselves to be programmed by huge vested interests.
Perhaps more important than anything else is for our group to consider the larger picture: What lessons do we need to learn trying to stem the tide of coercion from an out-of-control medical-pharmaceutical industry and the Mass Mind that allows this? How does understanding and working with the vaccination issue contribute to our maturation as spiritually aware and fully alive human beings?
Among other counter-factual beliefs, James was a germ-theory denier, positing instead something she called "terrain theory".:
|Image Source: photo capture from The Vaccine Religion|
In 1996, James founded Vaccination Liberation: Citizens for the Repeal of the Compulsory Vaccination Laws, which is now run by her daughter, Ingri Cassel.
Who James Influenced
- John Scudamor (UK, wrote that Immunization: The Reality Behind the Myth was the first vaccine book he read and it inspired him to start Whale.to's vaccine section)
- Neil Z. Miller (US)
- Sherri Tenpenny (US)
- Viera Scheibner (Australia) Many big names in the vaccine awareness movement have noted that it was her second book, Immunization: The Reality Behind the Myth, that compelled them to put fulltime energy into “the most important health freedom issue of our time”, as Walene would say.
- Robert Mendelsohn, M.D. (wrote the foreword to the 1995 edition of Immunization)
- Archivides Kalokerinos (Australia)
- Phillip Incao
- Ingri Cassels, James's daughter, who now runs Vaccination Liberation.
Can we fairly say that James was anti-vaccine? To summarize, I think we can safely say a person or organization is anti-vaccine if he or she exhibits at least three of the following points.
- Claiming that all vaccines are unsafe and ineffective Yes
- Claiming better sanitation and nutrition account for the 20th century decline in vaccine-preventable diseases Maybe or Undetermined
- Claiming that vaccines cause diseases and conditions such as autism, asthma, SIDS, or shaken baby syndrome Yes
- Claiming that anecdotal evidence is superior to scientific evidence; rejecting science and epidemiology Yes
- Cherry picking and misrepresenting the evidence Yes
- Using logical fallacies without shame in arguing Yes
- Conspiracy mongering Yes
- Silencing criticism (especially by deleting online material), rather than responding to it Maybe or Undetermined
- (If in business) Profiting from the sale of products and services that spread fear, uncertainty and doubt about vaccines, or products and services that are said to be superior to vaccines and conventional medicine in preventing disease No
Walene James had deeply held beliefs in many counter-factual ideas, which would be of no interest here except that she also was a foundational figure in the anti-vaccination movement.
- VacLib Memorial page for Walene James, November 22,2012 http://www.vaclib.org/news/walenesmemorial.htm
- Skeptic's Dictionary, Edgar Cayce
- The Straight Dope, What's the scoop on Edgar Cayce, the "Sleeping Prophet"?