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October 28, 2002

Why is Privacy So Important?

The right to privacy is one of the basic human rights that the founders of the United States said that we are all granted, not by our government, but by the very fact of being human.

Yet there has been increasing focus in the press and on the Internet lately on blatant privacy violations, such as with spyware programs that make a record of every file you download (Netscape is one of these companies; see http://grc.com/downloaders.htm), or every Internet page you view.

Many of you may say to yourself, "So what? Who cares what files I download, or what pages I view? I have nothing to hide." And yes, in an ideal world, we wouldn't need to worry.

I admit that I used to think that way too. My thinking went something along these lines: Yes, companies are "harvesting" data about people, the better to market products to them. But so what? Marketing is worthless if the people being marketed to are thinking and aware human beings who do not allow themselves to be manipulated.

However, there was something nagging me: Why did our founders feel that privacy was so important?

I was thinking about it again today, and realized that the true evil of privacy invasions is this: What happens if someone decides that they don't like your particular lifestyle, beliefs, or preferences, and chooses to, at best, personally campaign against it, and at worst, outlaw it entirely?

The Minority Doesn't Rule

Many heinous laws that infringe on people's rights have been justified in the past because the claim was made that "only a few people" or "only a minority" would be affected by that law. In some cases, that "minority" has risen up and proven that they were a majority. Or, enough people who did not belong to that "small group" have seen the writing on the wall and have spoken out against that kind of repression.

Central databanks that contain all kinds of personal information about each of us only make this kind of repression easier. How easy it would be to find out how many people actually do pursue some activity or belong to some group. Then one would know how large (or small) the opposition would be. In an ideal world, we could rely on everyone to speak up against repression, suppression, prejudice, and other such fascist or socialist "Big Brother" activities, and someone trying to enforce their own personal standards on everyone would be politely listened to, but their beliefs would not be acted upon.

The Real versus the Ideal

Sadly, however, we do not live in an ideal world. We live in a world populated by imperfect human beings, many of whom are struggling to do the best they can despite the damage done to them in their childhood, damage that sometimes manifests as a desire to make everyone "do the right thing," where "the right thing" means "do as I say." Such people pursue their goals without realizing that "the right thing" is in many cases a personal decision and not a global one. It doesn't help that this kind of person often "just knows" that they are right.

For many of these people, if you do not think like them, you are wrong. "Okay," you may think, "so what? Let them think what they like." And I agree, to a point. Let anyone think what they like. The "so what" is that they feel they have the right to impose upon you their standards of what is right or wrong, and they will pursue you or harass you or try to stop you (and everyone like you). This is where the statement, "Your right to swing your fist ends where my face beings" comes in. They have the right to their opinions, but they do not have the right to try to make others live as they do. As long as a person is doing no harm to others, let them think and do as they like.

For example, even though I am not gay, I would not presume to tell someone who is that they are not doing the right thing. (And one of my cousins, whom I like very much, might have a problem with me if I had that attitude.) Yet there are those who would want to judge that orientation and even make it a crime.

I am also not black, but I would not presume to tell a black person that there was anything less than acceptable about being black. (And another cousin's husband, whom I also like very much, might object if I had that attitude, too!) Yet there are some, even today, who think that being black is an offense that is punishable by death.

And although I am not Jewish, I certainly wouldn't try to keep others from practicing that very ancient religion. (My Jewish grandfather, Nathan Michaels, would rise up from his grave and haunt me if I did!)

It may seem to you that in today's "enlightened" society, we would never have a problem with blacks or gays or Jews and any other group of people being rounded up and put in internment camps. And it may even seem that to even suggest such a thought happening in today's society is impossible. Think again. Take a look at the problems caused by unethical people in high places in corporations, or at remarks made by a Million Mom marcher who is said to have been quoted in the Washington Post as saying effect that Hitler and Stalin didn't disarm citizens, only Jews, Gypsies, gays, unionists and other "undesirables."

Coercive Collectivists

Or take a look at some of your neighbors, especially if you live in California. Most people who call themselves liberals are actually what one Web site calls "coercive collectivists." Coercive collectivists "advocate state power over individuals and believe in ...the sanctity of the Crowd and the villainy of the single person."

Without making this essay too lengthy, my point is that some people (the coercive collectivists) do not respect the individual or the right of the individual to live his or her life freely and without control or harassment. This is why our privacy is so important--not because we have anything to hide, but because we need to protect ourselves against those who would wish to coerce us. Many of these people work in marketing; others work for radio or television, and some, Good God, like television executive Jamie Kellner, even think they own us.

One gem from Jamie's own mouth about people skipping ads on television:

"It's theft. Your contract with the network when you get the show is you're going to watch the spots. Otherwise you couldn't get the show on an ad-supported basis. Any time you skip a commercial or watch the button you're actually stealing the programming."

(Yes, he said in response to the interviewer, even if you take a bathroom break--he grudgingly allows them, but you are not allowed to go overboard). Excuse me? What contract? And how is it that the television networks think that accepting money for advertisements, which essentially means that they are selling their audience--that's you and me, folks--also means that the thus-sold audience is required to watch those advertisements? And does this extend into other media? Am I committing a crime when I skip the advertisements in a newspaper or magazine? How about when I throw a catalog--one giant advertising circular--into the recycling bin? Is my pop-up ad blocker in my firewall committing a crime? I think not. Jamie Kellner has obviously lived in the rarified air of power without moral or ethical accountability for so long that he is suffering from oxygen starvation. (For a few more choice excerpts from his interview, check out http://scriban.com/movabletype_archives/000289.shtml .)

Although many of these people seem far away, some of them also live near you, and work toward limiting your freedoms in the name of some "feel good" cause or other. Because such people exist, it is important for us to protect our freedoms by doing four things:

  1. Educate yourself and think through any cause before supporting or opposing it.
  2. Educate those who would restrict our freedoms. There are many who are just following the crowd and who haven't really thought things through. Help them to learn to think and not just react.
  3. Speak up when someone tries to limit anyone's freedoms: Write to your legislators, speak with your neighbors and friends, send email, post Web pages. Boycott products and companies that invade your privacy.
  4. Allow people in your life the freedoms they are entitled to.
  5. Related Links

    http://www.stentorian.com/2ndamend/leaflets/timeout.html Strongly worded, but short and to the point.

    http://www.guncontrolnetwork.org/untruths.htm. (While researching this article to verify the accuracy of my quotations, I came across this gem of a page; mind you, the page is at a parody Web site, so the title, "Untruths from the Opposition," should be taken to mean that, in fact, the Web site authors fully approve of and agree with the statements made on this page:)

From Miskatonic University

This is one of the funniest email exchanges I have read in a while. Someone finally decided to get back at one of the Nigerian scammers in a most classy, humorous, and intelligent way. It helps to be somewhat familiar with H. P. Lovecraft's work, but you don't need to be.


October 26, 2002


My mother did not have her children routinely vaccinated. (We did get the polio vaccine at school because she didn't know about it, and we were also forced to have smallpox vaccinations when we went to live in Mexico for a while in the early 1960s.)

I asked her once why she had not had any of her children vaccinated. She said that her father, a chiropractor (and possibly, I found out recently, also an MD; he is listed as such in a graduation program from a school where he had received an advanced degree), had studied the data when it first came out, and had strongly recommended against her vaccinating any of her own children.

In retrospect, he was quite forward-thinking and insightful, especially in light of the data that has since come out on the many ill side-effects of vaccinations, ranging from mild dyslexia through ADD, autism, and even death, including sudden infant death symdrome (SIDS). And in light of the data that shows that many vacccination campaigns did NOT wipe out the disease they were said to be attacking. Many diseases were already on the decline when vaccinations were introduced, and they were also on the decline in countries where vaccinations were not done, or were not done as massively as they were done in the US.

I cannot tell you whether to vaccinate your child or not. Having one's children vaccinated is a decision that one must make for oneself. However, you owe it to yourself and to your children to DO THE RESEARCH before you allow ANY vaccinations to be done to your child.

Even Doctors Won't Vaccinate Their Children

It might be revealing to know that many years ago, I carried on a public debate with a doctor in a CompuServe forum, in which I argued against vaccinations and he argued for them. He was reduced to using ad hominem attacks against me (that is, he started attacking me rather than my facts) because he could not present facts that contradicted mine. Furthermore, during the debate, I received a private email message from another doctor who was following the discussion with some interest. On the promise that I would never reveal his name, he told me some very interesting pieces of information.

  1. He had once been a member of the national AMA board.
  2. The members of that board had decided that they would present a united front about vaccinations, in terms of recommending them, despite the fact that they all knew the sometimes horrific potential harm.
  3. Here is the most telling part: NOT ONE of those doctors would have his or her own children vaccinated. That very fact alone should send a chill down your back.

What About Public School?

If you are concerned about public schools telling you that your child MUST be vaccinated or else he or she cannot attend school, know that you can sign a waiver saying that vaccinations are against your beliefs. Then the schools must accept your child.

Warning: Some People Will be Against You

If you decide that you do not want to take the risk of vaccinating your child, you will catch a lot of flack--I certainly did, from doctors and other parents. They universally were not interested in my reasons, but instead wanted to attack me and make me feel guilty about "endangering" my child by not having her vaccinated. Others cite that old chestnut, "herd immunity," and say that, by not vaccinating my own child, I am endangering other children. Again, a fallacy.

The Spiritual Aspect of Vaccinations

Many years ago, again on CompuServe, I was corresponding with a woman whose two sons were on Ritalin for severe ADD problems that she attributed to bad effects from vaccinations. She was also a teacher, specializing in teaching autistic children. She had an entire classroom of autistic children, and told me that this was true across the United States--that there were entire classrooms filled with autistic children.

I started wondering about this--what has happened that autism, which was once so rare, is now so common that we have enough children across the nation to fill entire classrooms with them? What has changed?

The information I received intuitively and in a dream is this: Vaccinations are based in certain beliefs about reality and the body, beliefs that are the natural culmination of over 2,000 years of religious teachings that say that the body is evil, bad, a thorn, a punishment. When we vaccinate our children, we are saying that we believe that the body cannot be trusted to heal itself; that, contrary to hundreds of thousands of years of human existence without vaccinations, the body does not have the ability to throw off disease, and it is at the mercy of any illness-causing bacteria or virus that chooses to come along. In short, it is a dangerous world and we are at its mercy.

The soul of the child does not come in all at once. Part of the process of human development is the soul aligning with the physical body it is creating, integrating with its functions, including the functions that make the jump from spirit to flesh and back. This is a delicate process and takes some time to complete.

When we vaccinate, and especially when we vaccinate certain children with certain temperaments, our beliefs about the dangerousness of the world and the helplessness of the body is communicated to the incoming spirit, which sometimes reacts with fear and withdraws, just a child touching a hot stove withdraws. Only with the spirit, it slows or even stops the process of integrating with the physical body. In a sense, what we have vaccinated our children against is a full participation in life.

Thr truth is, the body has a huge and marvelous capacity for self-healing. We of course need to support it, not only with vitamins and minerals, rest, the proper and healthy foods, herbs, and the proper exercise for our bodies, but also with positive thoughts and trust in the marvelous capabilities of our immune systems. It would take too long to go into detail about what I believe we can do to help support the healing work of our physical selves, so I will leave it at that for now.

Resources and Further Reading

For more information, I recommend any one of the following books, which are all packed with data and citations from studies, and the following Web pages:

Topics for a Future Essay

Later, perhaps, I will write an essay talking about

  • the lifespan myth (our life expectancy has not doubled, as some say by using faulty statistics, but only increased a few years)
  • antibiotics and tuberculosis (we had almost wiped out tuberculosis before antibiotics were introduced; now, there are strains that resist even the most powerful antibiotics)
  • Louis Pasteur and his ongoing argument with his colleague, Antoine Bechamp, about whether we were at the mercy of germs (Louis's position) or whether we would only get sick if our bodies were weakened (Bechamp's position). Bechamp likened our bodies to ground that could nurture or reject the "seed" of ill health. Claude Bernard, another French physician of the time, also said the same thing. Louis, on his deathbed, is said to have said that Bernard was correct, crying out that "The seed is nothing; the ground is all." (For more, see http://www.sumeria.net/bechamp/bechamp.html, http://www.whale.to/v/pasteur.html.) As Dr. Palmer once said, "If the germ theory of disease were correct, there would be no one living to believe it" (http://chiropracticresearch.org/NEWS_disease.htm).
  • And other health-related issues, as well as citing some books to read (Deepak Chopra, and the relationship between health and Emotional Intelligence). I may also go into detail about how acquired immune problems are passed on genetically to our children.

Marina's Medicine Chest

One of the things I am thankful for is that my mother did not thoughtlessly buy into mainstream medical approaches. So she raised my brothers and myself on wholesome, natural foods, and relied on herbal remedies for much of what ailed us.

While I don't use many of the remedies she used, I have through my adult life developed my own set of items that I always keep on hand in the home and when traveling.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and am not diagnosing, prescribing, or giving medical advice. If you are ill, seek proper medical attention. This information is my own experience, and is provided here only for your amusement. And all the other kinds of things one must say in this society today.

Activated charcoal in capsules. If I suspect food poisoning, I take two to four immediately. Once when I was visiting one of my brothers, we ate some bad Thai. It was REALLY bad--he was sweating and ill within an hour. I carry activated charcoal capsules with me when I travel as well. ... He took four charcoal capsules; within 20 minutes, he was feeling much better. Within another hour he was absolutely fine. I was amused to note that the next time I visited him, he had purchased a bottle. You can get activated charcoal in bottles at most regular drug stores, though you can save money if you also need to buy some vitamins by buying through Vitacost.com. Vitacost.com normally sells vitamins and supplements for about half the retail price, and charges a flat $4.95 shipping fee no matter how much you order. So if you are planning to buy some vitamins and supplements, perhaps you can pool an order with other family members or friends.

Aloe vera. I use the gel for sunburn and minor household burns, such as from cooking. If I have a plant, I prefer to use a bit of the raw, live gel from a small piece of leaf.

Apricot nectar. Whenever I am suffering from either diarrhea or nausea (or both), I drink some apricot nectar. My family doctor in Tucson told me to try this, and it works pretty well. There are some kinds of nausea and diarrhea it won't work on, such as for food poisoning or overeating, but for general flu-like nausea and diarrhea, it is quite helpful.

Black, a Dr. Christopher ointment made by Nature's Way. This ointment may need to be special ordered, but pretty much any health food store that carries anything by Nature's Way can special order this ointment, or you can buy it at Vitacost.com. It is an almost miraculous healing ointment for skin. If I have a cut, I smear a little Black on it. By the next day, it will have healed as much as it would normally have healed in three or four days. One of the side benefits of Black is that it leaves a light layer of beeswax on the cut, further protecting it.

Cider vinegar. Contrary though this may seem, cider vinegar works great on heartburn. A few swallows of it straight, or, if I can't stand the thought of it straight, a teaspoon diluted in a cup of water, cures my heartburn almost instantly. I prefer to have the natural, organic, "live" cider vinegar, though in a pinch any commercial cider vinegar will do.

Elderberries. Buy them sort of dried at a health food store. (They should still be a bit moist and springy.) Elderberries have antiviral properties. When I have a cold, I take two heaping teaspoons of the berries, add them to two to four cups of water, simmer until the water is a lovely purpley black, strain, and drink several cups a day. (I compost the soggy berries.) It is great hot or cold. It stores well in the refrigerator. It even tastes good (at least, to me), though you can sweeten it if you like. You an also buy elderberry syrups and extracts and so on. One good brand is Nature's Herbs Elixir of Elderberry, available at, yes, Vitacost.com.

Emer'gen-C. This is a powdered vitamin C blend with minerals and vitamins that gives 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C in a serving. It is sold in little packets by the box. It comes in various flavors; my favorite is Tangerine. Trader Joe's has good prices on it, and of course you can also get it at Vitacost.com.

Lavender oil. This is a natural antiseptic/antibiotic (used externally). I dip a Q-Tip into it and rub it into scratches (cat, rose prickle) and other such things. The swelling in a cat scratch goes away immediately, and the scratch heals nicely. Lavender oil also has mild analgesic properties, so the stinging in the scratch goes away as well. Plus it smells nice. I have heard that some people put a few drops in aloe vera gel to apply to sunburn, though I haven't tried that myself.

Olive leaf extract. Olive leaves have been made into a tea for colds and flu and other, more serious ills for probably thousands of years. Much documentation and scientific experimentation has shown that the active ingredient, oleuropein, has antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal, and antiparasitical properties. As part of an overall program, olive leaf extract has been used to treat arhythmia, herpes, AIDS, shingles, cancer, tropical diseases, and many other problems. I have a small book, currently out on loan, that describes a lot of that research; you can find the entire text of that book online starting here: http://oliveleafextract.com/aboutoe.html. Read the introduction, then click on the words Table of Contents to view the contents.

Olive leaf extract comes in a liquid form or in capsules with the standardized extract mixed with the leaves (Nature's Way, for example; $10 to $13 locally, or $5.50 at Vitacost.com). (The liquid from tastes mighty nasty!!! Though it is tolerable if taken with grapefruit or pineapple juice.) The book recommends taking six capsules a day: two in the AM, two at noon, two in the evening, for varying amounts of time depending on what is being treated. For acute stuff, like colds, a week or so. For longer-term, like fungal problems, six to eight weeks at least. As far as I know, it has no known side-effects and can be taken in conjunction with conventional medical treatments. However, you should read more about it before using it. For more information on the broad range of things that have been treated using olive leaf extract, as well as some guidelines on dosages and the "die off" effect, see http://www.alphazee.com/olive-leaf/olea.html.

More Links

This site sells olive leaf tea: http://www.alphazee.com/olive-leaf/olea.html.

For a comparison of several brands on the market as far as true percentage of oleuropein, see http://www.naturalhealthconsult.com/Monographs/oliveleaf.html.