The Importance of Challenge
by Ronald D. Whitmont MD – New York City

children playing tug-of-war game

It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.

~ Mark Twain

Following the news can be extremely discouraging. From the top of our society down, it seems that we are living in a world that no longer values honor, justice, truth or science.

The government, which used to be a source of reliable information, is part of a campaign of misinformation, but media outlets are equally culpable: A dearth of solid investigative reporting provides an information vacuum, filled with only one side of the story.

We currently live in a society where “conflicts of interest” in government agencies are both common and “extreme,” such that the integrity of these agencies and their ability to objectively regulate industry is highly unreliable.

Major news media organizations suffer from many of the same conflicts of interest, since they are frequently owned by individuals with strong ties to industry. Operating costs are dependent on advertising income paid for by businesses that sometimes have a stake in the outcome of some of the stories being reported.

I recently listened to a nonfictional book, The Plot to Destroy Democracy, by Malcolm Nance, a former United States Navy senior chief petty officer specializing in naval cryptology. The book describes how the news media has been corrupted by outside sources. The 2016 election was an example of how a foreign power determined our national agenda. Evidence suggests that this media piracy is ongoing, and that other issues are being influenced beyond elections.

In another book, How to End the Autism Epidemic, the author JB Handley, the parent of an autistic child, describes how the pharmaceutical industry has used the same tactics (and the same marketing firms) formerly used by the tobacco industry to deter public action by delivering fake science to the public. Both the Tobacco and lead paint industries used these strategies successfully to fend off regulation and soften public opinion for many decades.

From a recent advertisement:
Of course, the conscious and continued dissemination of distorted information, especially when coupled with minimalization of unsavory facts and attacks…isn’t a transgression limited to the U.S.S.R – it’s a practice that’s evident on today’s internet. If anything, convincingly twisting reality is easier than ever, for anyone and everyone: private citizens, public figures, preprogrammed bots, and organized initiatives or networks of users focused on enforcing norms or pushing agendas.

The media is simply a tool that is part of a broad campaign working to damage the fabric of our society, to impose harmful practices and to eliminate personal choice. The main fuel running this machine is fear.

Fear is a main ingredient, a key motivator and a central core unifying force in all of the arguments utilized by both government and media sources. Fear of illness stokes the fires of doubt and sparks a “mob mentality” capable of all forms of horrific behavior and actions in its frenzy. Neither science nor rationality holds sway in when conditions are dominated by fear. Fear is a weapon of societal rift.

The vaccine situation, in New York and across our nation, is a good example of how fake science and lies have spread fear. Media companies have fed this frenzy that has polarized communities and turned neighbors against friends. Media outlets have stoked fear and created a fire-storm of misinformation, half-truths and lies.

Certainly there has been an increase in cases of measles. In 2019, there were 704 individual cases of measles, and no deaths, confirmed in 15 states. In a country of 372.2 million, this is an incidence of 0.0002%- or, in English: roughly two tenthousandths of one percent. This is a far cry from an emergency.

At the same time, numerous articles, feature films, blogs and newsletters have endeavored to expose the fake science behind the media frenzy, and to provide a balance of factual information regarding the risks of vaccines, which can sometimes be greater than the risk of acquiring or suffering complications of these diseases. These reports have been systematically censored and suppressed by the media.

Mark Twain’s words ring true here: it is many times harder to convince people that they have been duped, than it was for these agencies to dupe them in the first place. People simply don’t want to believe that they have been co-opted by financial interests, greed and that graft that has shaped their nation’s healthcare policies, but they have.

The situation worsened when internet search engines stopped allowing internet searches for vaccine side effects and groups like Amazon began blocking sites offering alternative viewpoints. News outlets and media sites refuse to print, publish or acknowledge information that is at odds with the party line. One of the only journals that has recently dared to defy this ban is Chronogram, a monthly periodical published in the Hudson Valley that recently published an article questioning the wisdom of vaccination.

This fanaticism, censure, and deep infringement on human rights makes me wonder if our society is entering into a period of medical fascism.

Never before, in the history of the United States, have healthy people been threatened with fines and imprisonment simply because they refused to submit to a medical procedure. Never before have healthy people been outlawed from appearing in public spaces because they held a different ethical standard and followed a different code of behavior. Parents have been charged with child abuse and neglect for refusing to vaccinate their children.

These draconian actions violate the Nuremberg Codes, which mandate principles such as Informed Consent (IC), absence of coercion, properly formulated scientific experimentation, and beneficence towards experiment participants. The Nuremberg codes were formulated after the second World War in an attempt to codify ethical behavior with respect to health and medicine. Our country is failing to live by the same ethical codes that we accused the Nazi’s of breaking.

One of the main principles of medical practice in the US based on these codes, is the principle of IC, which according to the American Cancer Society, means:

  • You are told (or get information in some way) about the possible risks and benefits of the treatment.
  • You are told about the risks and benefits of other options, including not getting treatment.
  • You have the chance to ask questions and get them answered to your satisfaction.
  • You have had time (if needed) to discuss the plan with family or advisors.
  • You are able to use the information to make a decision that you think is in your own best interest.

Our society is violating the fundamental principles of IC by not providing individuals in our society full disclosure of the risks and benefits of receiving or refusing vaccinations.

The Patient’s Bill of Rights, first adopted by the American Hospital Association in 1973, provides the right for all patients to: “Receive all the information that you need to give informed consent for any proposed procedure or treatment. This information shall include the possible risks and benefits of the procedure or treatment.”


“Refuse treatment and be told what effect this may have on your health.”

Everyone (unless they are too young to understand, or otherwise incapable of making an informed decision) has a right to know what risks and benefits vaccinations provide. Every physician has the duty and obligation to provide this information, and every citizen has a right to demand it. Yet this is not happening.

Physicians today, simply don’t have time, and even if they did, most of them don’t have the information or training that they need to convey these risks to their patients. Most of the information provided to physicians on this topic comes directly from manufacturers, and that information is severely biased. The lion’s share of information that physicians receive regarding all medical conditions, including vaccines, is filtered through a pharmaceutical sieve that begins in medical school.

My own conversations with physicians working for the Department of Health (DOH) reveal that these physicians fail to understand the full scope of this problem and are quite unwilling to question the fake science that they have been spoonfed throughout their training. This is not surprising since medical school admissions committees don’t generally rank the tendency to question authority, as a highly desirable personality trait of future doctors.

Some physicians who do step beyond the bounds of conventional wisdom, by publishing research data at odds with the status quo have been rewarded by public humiliation, shame, and the loss of their medical licenses.

And it gets even worse…

Since the United States Congress ruled that vaccines were “Unavoidably Unsafe,” in 1986, and the US Supreme Court upheld this principle in 2010, it would seem unlikely that most physicians would remain unaware of these facts, but an effective media black-out makes this possible.

It gets even more complicated when one realizes that vaccine manufacturers are not liable for their products. According to US Public Health and Welfare Law:

“No vaccine manufacturer shall be liable in a civil action for damages arising from a vaccine-related injury or death associated with the administration of a vaccine after October 1, 1988”

Since 1988, the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) has received 30,000 reports of vaccine related injuries and deaths per year, and the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) has paid more than $4.1 billion dollars in damages to vaccine injured children and their families. The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) acknowledges that less than 10% of vaccine injuries are reported to VAERS, and out of those claims that are submitted, only a small percentage are able to prove causality sufficient to receive compensation. Doing a little math suggests that the real cost of vaccine injuries is closer to $41 billion.

There is certainly a problem with vaccine safety: this has been scientifically proven, and formally recognized by both Congress and the Supreme Court. But if this is so, then why are government agencies and news media outlets working to make sure that this information never reaches the public? It sounds like someone believes that individuals in our society shouldn’t be allowed to make up their own minds on this issue.

But the problem goes even deeper than this…it turns out that one of the reasons that we employ vaccines in the first-place is because of a theory of childhood diseases that is inaccurate, false and misleading, but happens to be so deeply entrenched in our national consciousness, that it is the largest elephant in the room.

If certain diseases, including measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, and others, turned out to be critical for the normal development of a child’s immune system, then the current regimen of disease eradication would be harmful to the normal development of children. Leaving aside the issues of risk from the vaccination process itself, there are very powerful and permanent risks involved in preventing childhood diseases. Many of these childhood diseases are necessary and critical for the normal biological development of the human immune system, and the absence of these conditions leads to permanent immune impairment. This elephant is the Human Microbiome Project. A few examples of this include:

  • A history of developing mumps in childhood is inversely proportional to the risk of developing ovarian cancer in adulthood.
  • A history of developing measles in childhood is inversely related to the risk of developing allergies later on. If there is a risk of developing autism from vaccines (and there is not a single placebo-controlled trial, or a reliably designed population-based study that disproves this theory) it’s no wonder why parents in some communities rush to bring their children to “measles parties.”

Industry data suggests that immunity provided by vaccination lasts only a few years and that when it wanes, teenagers and adults will become susceptible to illnesses that they would have been immune to, if they had acquired them naturally in childhood. The risk of complications to these conditions rises when exposure takes place later in life.

According to records from the Vital Statistics of the United States, the death rate from measles actually fell from a high of 14 per 100,000 (0.014%) to less than 1 per 100,000 (less than 0.0125%- or, in English: slightly more than one hundredth of one percent) more than 12 years before the measles vaccine was introduced in 1963.

The age at which Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) causes infection has significant impact on the type of disease that develops. Pediatric infections with EBV tends to be mild and transient, while adolescent and adult infections tend to lead to the development of mononucleosis and chronic fatigue syndrome. The risk of cancer after EBV infection may also increase with older age. Evidence suggests that the earlier in life that these infectious diseases are acquired, the more benign the course of illness that will subsequently develop.

Polio is another example of a disease that becomes more virulent as the age of exposure increases. Epidemiological data suggests that poliovirus is associated with an age-specific increase in the severity of paralytic disease. It tends to run a relatively benign course in early childhood, but virulence increases in proportion to the age of exposure.

Early childhood exposure to a range of environmental illnesses turns out to be crucial for the proper maturation of the human immune system. Vaccines, as they are currently administered are problematic because they:

  • Provide a false sense of security.
  • May lessen the risk of many acute childhood illnesses, they increase the risk of contracting the same illnesses later in life when complications are more likely to occur.
  • Fail to act on the immune system in the same way that natural illness does, thereby increasing the risk of acquiring chronic inflammatory illnesses, autoimmune conditions, and cancer in later life.

If childhood illnesses are critical to immune system development, then the successful campaign to reduce the incidence and eradicate these diseases in a society should correlate with a dramatic rise in immune system disorders, chronic inflammatory conditions, autoimmunity and cancer. This is exactly what has been found!

The Importance of Challenge

Bacteria, viruses, archaea, fungi and parasites in the human microbiome are necessary for the healthy ecology of the human body. Interactions through acute illnesses caused by these agents, particularly in childhood, are formative events that determine the health of the immune system for the rest of life.

Children who acquire childhood illnesses (including measles, mumps, chicken pox, etc.) are less likely to develop autoimmune, inflammatory and cancerous conditions in later life. The process of illness and recovery (through natural means) challenges the immune system and reduces the risk of developing chronic inflammatory illnesses, including allergies, asthma, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, autoimmune disease and inflammatory bowel diseases.

Our society nearly eliminated a wide range of common childhood illnesses, while many other conditions are aggressively treated with scores of antibiotics. The average child receives more than 15 courses of antibiotics by their 18th birthday, and every year more than 8 antibiotic prescriptions are written for every 10 people in the U.S. An epidemic of chronic inflammatory disease has risen coincident with this campaign against childhood illnesses, and children have borne the brunt of this disaster, since they are experiencing the highest growth rates of chronic illness of any other age group.

Putting these facts in a wider context suggests that challenge is one of the fundamental cornerstones of all learning and development, whether it be intellectual, emotional or biological. Successfully schooling the body or the mind requires challenge because the opportunity to grapple with problems and master a task completes the learning process and makes it permanent. Protecting the body from challenges to health is the same as protecting the student from examination of knowledge. This appears to be a universal law of education, psychological science, and biology that applies equally to human health.

If there is no struggle, there is no progress.                                    – Frederick Douglass

The human microbiome is, literally and figuratively, the elephant in the room. It holds a sharp mirror up to many of the antiquated practices of conventional medicine. These are practices that need to be re-evaluated in light of modern information provided by the microbiome, since they are no longer justified in light of the damage that they do both directly and indirectly. The microbiome provides the missing information to alter the current dialogue and to adjust medical practice to fit natural medical science. Only in this way can issues like mandatory vaccination be put into a larnger context that reflects the true harm that it causes.

Working individually, won’t stop the forces that are currently threatening individual human rights, nor can the government be relied upon to protect individual rights since most of these agencies are too deeply entrenched and compromised already. It may be possible for large groups of people to work together to bring about change, but the current situation is dire, and if action is not taken quickly and effectively, personal freedoms will be lost and health will most certainly be permanently undermined. It is not enough to simply worry about the changes taking place in our society, and in our health: it is crucial that we also do something about it.

Ronald D. Whitmont, MD is a holistically oriented physician. He was trained and Board Certified in Internal Medicine in 1995, 2012 and Holistic Medicine in 2000, and maintains offices in NYC, and Rhinebeck, NY. His practice emphasizes restoring and maintaining health through safe, effective and gentle means. Dr. Whitmont utilizes homeopathic medicines through a classical system of medical therapeutics. He incorporates the best of medical scientific knowledge with a thorough grounding in proven holistic therapies. Dr. Whitmont’s practice is about caring for the whole person, body and mind; caring for the emotional, as well as the physical needs of individuals. He treats a wide range of illnesses and provides healthy lifestyle counseling and illness prevention strategies over a wide range of conditions. Dr. Whitmont is trained in, but does not practice Internal Medicine or Holistic Medicine; his practice is limited to Classical Homeopathic Medicine.


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