My mother likes to tell the tale of the time my brother and I arrived home from a day's play and sent the dogs in first. We had been to the local pond, and the dogs were completely covered in stinking mud.
We sent them in first to get our mother's rage spent, before we went in. There was a sound and logical reason for this.
We were dirtier than the dogs. Oh, she laughs about it now, but she wasn't laughing at the time. It was worse than the time we came home with mice in a cereal box or with lizards in a jar. If she ever reads this - I know those lizards didn't escape on their own in the night. The jar was in the kitchen and if those lizards had really escaped on their own, she would not have been so calm the next morning. What do you mean, hold a grudge? It was only just over forty years ago. I don't forget so easily, you know.
Contuinued exposure to filthy things gave us pretty robust immune systems. At school, it was notable that those kids who lived in houses the likes of me weren't allowed inside, those pristine showhouses with not a speck of dust to be found, were always the first kids to catch whatever was going around.
We scruffy urchins could catch things too, but it took repeated exposure before we did. The super-clean kids fell as soon as the latest microscopic nasty appeared. Fortunately there weren't too many of those disease-spreading clean kids around.
It's different now. There are still scruffy urchins with well-exercised immune systems but the clean kids are on the rise. They have parents who have been terrified with tales of germs, with stories of Gary Glitter's gang lurking behind every bush, and now with the horror of the smoker who might approach their child and make them die. These children's white blood cells are playing cards and getting drunk every night while watching re-runs of 'I'm a cerebrum, get me out of here' and some are turning delinquent through boredom. That's when autoimmune diseases get under way.
It's not really the parents who are to blame. It's not their fault they are stupid and gullible enough to believe all the nonsense they hear. They've had it continuously beaten into their eyes and ears for nearly fifteen years. So they protect their offspring - as parents are biologically programmed to do - from the threats they perceive in their environment.
These parents have been indoctrinated to believe that every bit of soil is teeming with evil bacteria, that daylight will make their child's skin bubble and burst, that every male who even glances in their direction has designs on the child's unformed parts, that every drinker will beat the child to a bloody pulp, that every smoker has Devil Breath which can make their child's lungs instantly lumpy. Actually that last one is a good one, I'll have to remember that next time I'm smoking at a bus stop.
They believe that their child can catch obesity from fat people and they believe that if the child ever uses the word 'black' he is a future leader of the BNP and must be re-educated. They believe that their child can be defined as a potential criminal at age 3 and must be scourged of Satan's influence every day so they grow up to be pious members of the New Puritan World.
I'm not joking. There are parents out there who nodded their heads all through that list. They really believe it all.
It is not about real risks. It is all about perceived risks. Parents have been convinced of the reality of these dangers while other, possibly much greater, dangers have been ignored or glossed over.
So these same parents will see no harm in the chemical mix contained in air fresheners. They perceive no risk in medication, even where the companies producing that medication list the possible side-effects of the drug. They do not consider the very low humidity of their home heating systems a problem. They see no danger in driving the child through slow, heavy traffic unless there is a smoker with half a gram of burning leaf within five miles.
They believe that they must restrict the food intake of a fast-growing child so they don't become obese. They have lost all understanding of puppy-fat, which generally disappears after age 11 so they accept all those studies on childhood obesity that mysteriously never progress beyond age 11. They believe that they must buy vitamin D supplements to prevent their child developing rickets while ignoring the free vitamin D contained in a decent diet and sunshine.
Now they will pay for a vaccine that will deliberately expose their children to a small proportion of the range of bacteria we used to expose ourselves to for free. We enjoyed it, too. Playing in the dirt and the grime built up our immune systems, kept us busy and out of harm's way, gave us regular exercise and tired us out so we'd sleep when told to. It didn't cost a penny.
Paedos? They were around. We knew who the dodgy characters were and we weren't afraid of infringing their human rights by pointing them out to any new kids. Fat kids? There were a few, yes, but they were not objects of fear. They were just kids who were a bit larger than the rest of us. Sunlight? If it started to hurt, we put a shirt on or went inside. Smoke? Around half the adults we knew were smokers. We'd build bonfires that could out-smoke a whole platoon of them and not one of us keeled over from third hand anything.
Modern parenting is producing a generation of disease-prone weaklings. It's not the parents' fault entirely, although their rampant gullibility must be held up as a contributory factor. The fault lies in many years of indoctrination backed up by the threat that if they don't follow instructions, their child will be stolen from them and enfeebled elsewhere.
Why? It makes no sense to produce a weak population. Well, it does from a certain viewpoint. If you develop a cure for a disease, it's not profitable unless lots of people get the disease. You want to sell your rickets cure? Asthma? Flu? Any disease you like. First you need to generate a demand. If you think long-term profits, what you need now are loads of kids prone to all kinds of ailments. You need to have a population with immune systems so weak they cannot survive without your drugs. Better yet, make them so scared of any possible risk that they'll pay you for a prophylactic that could just as well be sugar water, because the risk isn't even real. Now we're talking serious profits.
I know, I know, tinfoil hattery. But tell me another logical reason to produce a generation scared of everything that made their grandparents strong and healthy. Then tell me the Pharmers give a pickled rat's pancreas about the health of anyone or anything other than their bank balances.
Maybe I'm wrong. I hope so. Still, from where I'm standing, you people aren't bringing up children.
You're bringing up a whole dairy herd for the Pharmers to milk.
If you really pay to inoculate your kids with dirt, then you'll know for sure you've been had.