3 Hugely Popular Harmful Movements That Are Based on Complete Lies

an anti-vax scientist

A desolate shack in the middle of a dry field on a cloudy day.

Photo by Sam Rupsa on Unsplash

Money isn’t everything. Unless you’re a high-paid executive in one of the countless unethical modern businesses, that is. Modern society simply values fame, power, and fortune over seemingly everything else these days.

And it’s detrimental to our collective well-being.

Here are three shocking instances that still heavily affect our world today — for the worse.

1. The OG Anti-Vaxxer Faked a Huge Study for Money

Andrew Wakefield is a former somewhat prominent British doctor who was later barred from practicing. He was the main author of a groundbreaking study in 1998 that concluded MMR vaccines cause autism.

Fast forward 20 years later and it seems almost half of the world is afraid of the life-saving cure, in no small part due to this man.

The only problem? His study was completely fraudulent. But it took years to figure this out.

Firstly, other researchers couldn’t replicate his results. Then an extensive investigation by journalist Brian Deer in 2004 found several financial improprieties in the study.

6 years later, the original journal that published the findings — The Lancet — retracted their results. The British General Medical Council then removed Wakefield from their UK medical register 6 years after that.

Not only was Wakefield secretly funded “by lawyers who had been engaged by parents in lawsuits against vaccine-producing companies,” but he also heavily falsified the data itself.

Fast forward two decades after the original infamous study, with the advocation of modern society’s most scientific minds such as Jessica Biel, Jim Carrey, and Jenny McCarthy — and we have at least 25% of Americans who are downright afraid to take a life-saving vaccine.

If only there was a vaccine for stupidity.

2. PETA is Not So Ethical

You’ve probably come across one of the many, many notorious advertisements from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals over the years.

Their favorite underlying theme in any advertisement? Controversy.

The list of their ridiculousness is extensive:

Why do they do this?

We are complete press sluts. It is our obligation. We would be worthless if we were just polite and didn’t make any waves.” — Ingrid Newkirk, President of PETA

But it’s not just their advertisements that produce a shock factor. For one, there are incidences where they forcibly stole someone’s pet and later killed it.

But even more astonishing, PETA has one of the highest kill rates in America.

In 2014 alone, their own data says they euthanized 2,455 different animals. That’s over 81% of all the animals they took in. Compare that to only 23% as an average rate in the same state and you can start to see the problem.

PETA’s main clients are the very animals they declare it is their own mission is to protect. And yet they kill 4 out of every 5 that come through their door.

That’s not quite the customer service one might expect from an organization with the slogan of “Animals are not ours to experiment on, eat, wear, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.”

I suppose abuse doesn’t equal murder in this case.

3. The Oil Industry Knew Climate Change Was Real — For 40 Years

Marty Hoffert was a scientist working at Exxon Mobil Corporation in 1989, the second-largest oil company in the world today. He was one of the first researchers to build a model using computers that looked at the likely effects of man-made carbon emissions on the climate.

His results were startling. Man-made carbon dioxide was killing the very planet we lived on. But no one would listen to him. He even ended up leaving the company as a result.

A few months later, the company’s chief of strategy presented a secret presentation to the board of directors.

His main message to the company?

“We’re starting to hear the inevitable call for action,” he wrote. He advised for “efforts to extend the science and increase emphasis on costs and political realities.”

Those efforts turned into a massive prolonged funding campaign of mostly right-wing think tanks. Ones that we’re strongly anti-regulation, no matter what the subject.

They found an ally in the right — no regulations for anything — even planet protecting ones.

The first action was to set up the purposely misnamed Global Climate Coalition. An organization funded by oil companies around the world to aggressively lobby politicians and media.

An organization that was in essence, pro-climate change.

Next came another ironically named organization called the Information Council on the Environment. This beauty of a non-profit had the stated goal to “reposition global warming as theory (not fact).

Their tactics? Twofold.

A professor of history science at Harvard, Naomi Oreskes, performed extensive research into these organizations’ misleading past.

Firstly, she pointed out they wanted to target “older, lesser educated males from larger households who are not typically information seekers” as well as “younger, low-income women.”

Does that group sound familiar? It’s the modern GOP’s most fervent supporters.

Their second strategy was to “identify, recruit and train a team of five independent scientists to participate in media outreach.” By media outreach, they meant climate-change-is-a-myth propaganda.

Almost one year ago, after extensive coverage of the nearly half-century-long deception, there are now at least 12 ongoing lawsuits against several of the oil companies.

According to the World Health Organization, climate change is already responsible for more than 150,000 deaths per year. And it’s only going to get worse from here.

Because we still don’t care enough.

The campaign of misleading advertisements, influence, and lobbying paid off for the oil industry. At least for now.

But if they go the way of the tobacco industry, there could be some record-breaking fines in the near future. But it still won’t be enough.

All Praise the Almighty Dollar

Time after time, companies and greedy individuals find their needs are more important than the needs of society at large. That what they believe is the only true way of doing things.

Or, that they just want the money.

The doctor who takes a $100,000 consulting fee and creates a movement of anti-vaxxers across the globe. (He’s still advocating against them, by the way.)

The most (in)famous protesting organization of modern times, which feels that animals should die rather than placing them in loving homes?

“We are not in the home-finding business.” — PETA

Who knows how many more people will die of COVID because of the same beliefs.

Just look at climate change and the oil industry’s lasting negative effects on our society.

As of last year, only 22% of Republicans think humans have anything to do with climate change. Even among Democrats, the survey showed only 72% believe in the same thing.

These numbers need to be much, much closer to 100% if the world has any hope of staving off floods, droughts, forest fires, food shortages, and countless other plagues that come from a warming planet.

These individuals, organizations, and companies are just flotsam in a sea of proof that late-stage capitalism may be our downfall.

Individual greed is now claiming our planet, our newsfeeds, and our cousins named Frank who might just die because they believe vaccines can make you infertile.

Individuals have worked the system. Media has divided us. The effects are now slapping us in our collective face.

Capitalism simply isn’t working and we simply must find another way to run our world.

Before we find ourselves without one.


J.J. Pryor

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