Science and Communications Officer, ANH-Intl
“These faux intellectual lobby groups are running one of the greatest scams ever practised, yet they manage to keep their smug self-satisfied cynical demeanor as they destroy people’s choice of health care therapies...Treatments and remedies should be as natural as possible...and all treatments should be chosen in cooperation with patients, rather than imposed by doctors or ‘scientists’. It is also clear that the long-term development towards a science-based, high-tech, robotic society, has to be questioned and discussed by ‘the people’, now, in the widest public forums.”
Martin J Walker, Dirty Medicine: The Handbook
We need more books like this.
For many reasons, natural healthcare finds itself on the back foot in 2011, and in a big way. Make no mistake: we are in a titanic struggle for the preservation of all healthcare modalities that don’t fit the mainstream view. Nowadays, that view amounts to a straitjacket borne of ideology, commerce and a desire for control both of the individual and society by a narrow group of vested interests. Like the Hydra, or maybe more appropriately like the various forms of skin rash that can accompany a single infection, the anti-natural healthcare lobby presents itself in so many forms that it’s difficult to keep track – and even more difficult to organise against. This is where Martin Walker’s brilliant Dirty Medicine: The Handbook comes in.
Back in 1993, a book appeared that traced the battles between orthodox medicine and natural healthcare from a specifically UK perspective. Other authors, including Harris L Coulter, Morris Beale and Eustace Mullins, had done a similar service to US history, but this book was among the first, if not the first, to take such a wide-ranging, historical and forensic approach to the subject in the UK. The book was Dirty Medicine by Martin J Walker. So popular was the book among the ‘alternativista’, once it went out of print, it became much sought after on the second-hand market.
Twenty years on, Walker rightly conceded it was time for a major update. In 2011, things have changed and a new approach is needed. In Dirty Medicine: The Handbook, Walker rejects the narrative style of his earlier book in favour of a reference work, containing brief but essential information on the key players arrayed against natural healthcare.
Martin Walker (Photo by Louise McLean)
After explaining how he came to be such a committed activist on behalf of natural healthcare, Walker offers a potted history of the attacks on natural healthcare over the past 20 or so years. Walker’s thesis is that science, once a noble pursuit dedicated to the advancement of humankind and its understanding of the world around us, has been subverted by industrial notions of profit, commerce and technology. ‘Real’ scientists, that is, scientists who are unconnected to vested interests and who pursue the truth in an objective manner, are increasingly rare, while corporate science has stopped being a method to explore the universe and become an ideology – that many now refer to as ‘scientism’.
Now that science has stopped working to benefit humanity and merely works to enrich industry, says Walker, people are realising that many of its technological goodies do not - despite all the breathless propaganda - make their lives better; in fact, often just the opposite happens. This pits the people against the corporate scientists and, by default, our governments, whose policies, beliefs and even personnel are often indistinguishable from those of the corporations. And so the corporate science Frankenstein employs every trick in the book to persuade the public that its greedy, dishonest and often plain harmful actions are the best thing since comfy chairs...which is where the propagandists, in all their guises, come in. Nowhere is this more true than in medicine.
It’s an attractive theory, and one that works in the context of orthodox medicine’s relentless quest for a healthcare monopoly that stretches back to the time of Henry VIII, the apothecaries and the Herbalists’ Charter. It’s easy to see why Walker defines the threat as coming from a “tripartite construct [made up of] ‘the medical establishment’, ‘the pharmaceutical industry’ and a section of ‘the scientific community’”, which has been working to counteract “the rise of alternative and complementary medicine, the advent of the environmental health movement and the privatisation in part of the [UK National Health Service]”. In 2011 in Europe, it's more of a four-way threat with the European Commission (EC) involved; five if one considers Member State regulators separately from the EC; and six if the wider threat from Codex Alimentarius is included.
An assortment of pharmaceutical pills
Luckily, like Mr Walker, we relish a challenge here at ANH-Intl! A broad-based community backlash to what is being thrown at us by governments and corporations could be regarded as nothing other than a natural response; one that hopefully serves to bring us back on course, living at one with ourselves and the natural world around us.
The meat of the book for researchers and activists are the chapters giving brief details, histories and juicy tidbits on the spectrum of the anti-natural healthcare operators, from individuals, through organisations, to skeptic websites. Reading these from A to Z is highly worthwhile, and very entertaining, for anyone with even a vague interest in the topic. To quote a few choice entries:
On Lord Dick Taverne, chairman of skeptic charity Sense About Science: “A great friend and colleague of David Sainsbury, who became Minister of Science under New Labour in 1997, he and Taverne were partially responsible for the New Labour victory. After 1997 the two of them designed and put into practice the whole lobby structure intended to defend pharmaceutical corporations and corporate GM [genetically modified] science. In the early 2000s, Taverne set up the Science Media Centre and Sense About Science, with his newfound ex-RCP [Revolutionary Communist Party] colleagues”. The role of ex-RCPers is a fascinating thread running through the fabric of the anti-natural healthcare campaign in the UK.
On Simon Singh: “Throughout 2009 and the first part of 2010, the corporate science lobby ran a campaign to change the libel laws headed up by Singh...after Singh wrote a deprecating article in the Guardian about chiropractors....the science lobby...needed to be free of the constraints of libel law so as to be able to attack in the most outrageous manner anyone who had different beliefs from them...Sense About Science...became the organiser of the Keep Libel Laws Out Of Science campaign.”. In 2011, we have Professor Edzard Ernst salivating at the prospect of his retirement, when he can be “Outspoken about quackery and charlatans. I look forward to that. Hopefully, UK libel law has [sic] changed by then.”
The entry on 'Skeptics' reads thus: “Their proliferation followed a classic post-war CIA template of contacting an academic or a scientist in a University or other organisation and then establishing a cell that gathers in believers or followers who are unaware of the overall plan...they...usually present themselves as aggressive male dogmatists who argue blindly in favour of corporate science...leading...Skeptics think curtailing freedom of choice in medicine and supporting corporate denial of iatrogenic [i.e. physician-caused] damage is great fun”.
After stating the problem, Walker looks to the future while acknowledging the past. His chapter on 'The Antidote' highlights writers and activists both historical and present-day who have dived into the thick of the struggle to maintain our rights to self-determination in healthcare. It's particularly refreshing to find a book list that will enable anyone to gain an historical perspective on the modern situation. Finally, for all the budding activists out there, the chapter on 'Organising and Fighting Back' offers a crash course in getting involved, with Walker's 20-odd years of experience illuminating his advice. It's vital to remember how often resistance actually works, and Walker gives some case studies to show how it's done.
If the struggle to maintain access to natural healthcare methods is to prevail against the seemingly overwhelming forces ranged against us, people have to realise that the issues are universal: they affect everyone, whether patient, practitioner, product distributor or manufacturer, old or young, sick or healthy. The days of sitting on the fence and hoping things will sort themselves out – a very British attitude – are over. As Walker states in the closing paragraphs of this rousing, amusing, vitally important book, “Developing global corporatism is a massive threat to modern democracy...the days of getting by without an interest in politics and the arrangements of power in society have come to an end and unless we fight for what we believe in, in the field of natural medicine especially, we will enter a new era of serfdom in which we will all be enslaved to global corporatism...part of your day should be spent educating, agitating and organising against those who seek to dismantle our beliefs, our cultures and our very identities.”
Buy copies for your friends and family, get 'em fired up, and let's start taking back our rights. Our children will thank us.
Dirty Medicine: The Handbook by Martin J Walker can be purchased from Slingshot Publications (£15 plus postage and packing, bulk discounts apply).
Martin J Walker's other books and essays can also be obtained from Slingshot Publications.
Eustace Mullins: Murder By Injection
Harris L Coulter: Divided Legacy Vols. I-IV
Omar Garrison: The Dictocrats' Attack on Health Food and Vitamins
PJ Lisa: Are You A Target For Elimination? and The Great Medical Monopoly Wars
Richard Milton: Forbidden Science: Exposing the Secrets of Suppressed Research and Alternative Science: Challenging the Myths of the Scientific Establishment
Rupert Sheldrake: A New Science of Life: The Hypothesis of Formative Causation
Patrick Holford and Jerome Burne: Food Is Better Medicine Than Drugs
For many more, see the chapter entitled 'The Antidote' in Dirty Medicine: The Handbook by Martin J Walker.
Updated: 13 Jul 2011
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