Jill Stein disappoints rational progressives by pandering to the left’s anti-science lunatic fringe.
Interest in Jill Stein and the Green Party spiked after Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. However, an examination of Stein’s recent remarks and the Green Party platform indicates Stein is an unacceptable choice for many progressives who respect reason and science.
Given Stein’s background as a physician it is surprising to find that the candidate is soft on vaccines and willing to promote the thoroughly discredited practice of homeopathy.
However, in a recent AMA for Reddit, Stein did just that.
When asked “What is your campaign’s official stance on vaccines and homeopathic medicine?” Dr. Stein replied:
I don’t know if we have an “official” stance, but I can tell you my personal stance at this point. According to the most recent review of vaccination policies across the globe, mandatory vaccination that doesn’t allow for medical exemptions is practically unheard of. In most countries, people trust their regulatory agencies and have very high rates of vaccination through voluntary programs. In the US, however, regulatory agencies are routinely packed with corporate lobbyists and CEOs. So the foxes are guarding the chicken coop as usual in the US. So who wouldn’t be skeptical? I think dropping vaccinations rates that can and must be fixed in order to get at the vaccination issue: the widespread distrust of the medical-indsutrial (sic) complex.
Vaccines in general have made a huge contribution to public health. Reducing or eliminating devastating diseases like small pox and polio. In Canada, where I happen to have some numbers, hundreds of annual death from measles and whooping cough were eliminated after vaccines were introduced. Still, vaccines should be treated like any medical procedure–each one needs to be tested and regulated by parties that do not have a financial interest in them. In an age when industry lobbyists and CEOs are routinely appointed to key regulatory positions through the notorious revolving door, its no wonder many Americans don’t trust the FDA to be an unbiased source of sound advice. A Monsanto lobbyists and CEO like Michael Taylor, former high-ranking DEA official, should not decide what food is safe for you to eat. Same goes for vaccines and pharmaceuticals. We need to take the corporate influence out of government so people will trust our health authorities, and the rest of the government for that matter. End the revolving door. Appoint qualified professionals without a financial interest in the product being regulated. Create public funding of elections to stop the buying of elections by corporations and the super-rich.
For homeopathy, just because something is untested doesn’t mean it’s safe. By the same token, being “tested” and “reviewed” by agencies tied to big pharma and the chemical industry is also problematic. There’s a lot of snake-oil in this system. We need research and licensing boards that are protected from conflicts of interest. They should not be limited by arbitrary definitions of what is “natural” or not.
Stein’s answer is deeply disturbing. She gave a long winded and evasive answer to a simple and straightforward question. As a physician, and a scientist, her answer should have been clear and unequivocal: Vaccines work; homeopathy is bullshit.
Instead, her answer is a confused and muddled hash invoking big pharma conspiracy theory buzz: a convoluted political double-speak that would make the most jaded and cynical politician proud.
Writing for Near Earth Object, Paul Fidalgo expresses his frustration with Stein’s evasive answer on vaccines and homeopathy, noting:
What the fuck was that? I mean, I honestly can’t discern an actual position out of this inscrutable wall of pandering.
Fidalgo is correct. Stein is pandering to the worst elements of the anti-science lunatic fringe of the far left by preserving the illusion that discredited schools of thought promoting homeopathy and questioning the safety and efficacy of vaccines may have some merit.
The Green Party platform is equally disappointing. The platform makes the ridiculous and untenable claim that “chronic conditions are often best cured by alternative medicine” while promoting “alternative therapies” like homeopathy:
Chronic conditions are often best cured by alternative medicine. We support the teaching, funding and practice of holistic health approaches and, as appropriate, the use of complementary and alternative therapies such as herbal medicines, homeopathy, naturopathy, traditional Chinese medicine and other healing approaches.
Writing for Danthropology, Dan Arel further articulates concerns many progressives have with Jill Stein and the Green Party. Arel points out that Stein’s anti-science positions promoting alternative medicine and GMO fear-mongering are wrong and offensive to many rational progressives.
Yet questionable and disappointing anti-science positions are not the only reasons many progressives will reject Stein in November. For most progressives, pragmatic concerns make Stein an unacceptable choice. The fact is, Stein cannot win in November. More important, a vote for Stein is in effect a vote for Donald Trump. For rational, pragmatic progressives, Trump is unacceptable, and Hillary Clinton is the only reasonable choice in 2016.
Bottom line: Dr. Jill Stein disappoints progressives by giving homeopathic medicine and anti-vaxxers a pass.