• Original Articles By Dr. Lavin Featuring Expert Advice & Information about Pediatric Health Issues that you Care the Most About

    Did You Know? That Vitamin C Supplements Can Cause an Adult Man Lose Half a Foot of Height? The Dangers of Propaganda

    By Dr. Arthur Lavin

    A large trial of Vitamin C supplementation, in a dosage that is commonly used across the world, was recently found to cause men over 40 years of age to lose half a foot of their former height.

    This information was recently distributed across thousands of sources, and verified by over 1 million people following the announcement.

    Many reading this may be wondering, why haven’t they heard this rather striking medical news?  The explanation is easy, but before we reveal the explanation, we need to ask, how curious are you about this news?  Do you find it interesting? Are you doubtful?  Or do you smell a skunk and won’t even bite?

    We hope most of the readers of Real Answers had not trouble avoiding the trap of useless, or even dangerous curiosity.  After all what else is being fooled besides tickling someone’s curiosity enough to touch on their hopes, fears, desire to belong?   What about this claim makes us hope everyone reading it smelled a skunk?  That’s simple to explain- it is ridiculous.  How could a pill of anything, including a pill of any vitamin shrink an adult’s height in any way?  Well, it can’t.

    And now the reason for why you have never heard of this news- it is an idea that has never seriously been made.  Yes there are websites that put forward this obviously ridiculous claim, but it has never caught on.

    But there are websites that do make this ridiculous claim, we are just lucky this silly idea has not caught on yet.

    Propaganda- What is It, Its Power, Its Danger

    The word propaganda comes from the Latin word to propagate, and so literally means to propagate an idea.  But the modern sense of this word refers to the practice of taking an knowingly false idea and promoting it with the purpose of whipping large numbers of people into agitated and organized action.  Propaganda works because we all like being whipped up into a frenzy.  Just look at any postseason sporting event.  How about the Championship series going on in baseball right now?  Or a World Cup final?  Do our fellow Clevelanders remember Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals or of the 2016 World Series?  Over a million people turned out, screaming for hours and hours on E. 9th Street months after we won the 2016 NBA Finals.  That sort of frenzy is fun, the more the merrier.

    But people who want to gain power notice our love of massing together and getting all excited.  A key touchdown play is one thing, power does not rise of fall with the football.  But ideas that excite tens of millions of people can change governments, can truly define vast political, even military power.   The realm of power is where propaganda lives, and the world in which its dangers can cost vast numbers of lives.

    Most folks associate the prime of propaganda in the last century.  We think of Hitler whipping up the masses with lies to stoke the hate and frenzied fear of groups and ideologies, of Stalin whipping up the masses with one false slogan after another inspiring the book 1984.   

    Looking at their propaganda today, it seems rather extraordinary that enough people got excited about the obviously wrong to join hands across millions conquer continents, and slaughter millions.  How many of us have looked back at the dictatorships created by propaganda last century and wondered, how did such large nations fall for such baloney, and fall hard enough to do such terrible things.

    This is the true power of propaganda.  To achieve enough frenzy that the millions sucked into it adhere into organized forces that can resist the obvious truth to march together impervious to knowing the atrocities they commit in the name of propaganda.

    1984- The Masterpiece Against Propaganda

    George Orwell gave voice to all of us stunned that so many millions could organize their lives in following the obviously ridiculous claims of propaganda from Stalinist Russia, and by implication, any propaganda.

    In this book, humanity ends up living in one of three empires:  Oceana, Eastasia, and Eurasia.  The three empires take turns whipping up the masses into frenzies of fear of the one empire and frenzies of alliance with the other, with all three switching sides regularly.  But the pearl of the book for this discussion are the three clear points of propaganda made, that truly control humanity’s thinking, with dire consequences for any who dare ask if they are even possibly not true:

    • War is peace
    • Freedom is slavery
    • Ignorance is strength

    Take a moment, read each, and ask yourself, could you ever imagine believing, really, in any of these?  Of course not.  But 1984 brilliantly shows everyone of us how everyone of us could be end up believing all three, induced to never question them, and excited to turn out to openly support these ideas.

    The problem is, the power of propaganda did not weaken with the demonstration of its dangerous power in the 20th century.  Propaganda draws its strength, like a hurricane over a hot sea, from the passing in vast numbers across vast numbers of people, vast numbers of time.  Ideas, like seas, can be hot, and can generate deadly storms.

    How Propaganda Found its Home in Health Today

    Many readers may reasonably ask, what does propaganda, 1984, politics, have to do with a medical blog?  Why is a pediatrician even talking about these topics?  What does this have to do with my health, or the health of my children?

    I truly wish the answer was there was no relevance between the issue of propaganda and pediatrics.  But quite tragically, the very heart of propaganda, and the deepest dangers it poses to our own nation, sits squarely in the realm of health care, even pediatrics.

    George Orwell tried to paint a world in which millions rallied madly to proclaim that Ignorance is Strength in 1984.

    But today, right now, we see, in real life, millions rallying madly to proclaim that Immunizations are Death.

    Isn’t this claim, that Immunizations are Death, simply one of many wild opinions circulating out there?  What makes this claim, like Ignorance is Strength, as much an phenomenon of propaganda as the alities of 1984?  Three items:

    • Like the three slogans in 1984, the idea that immunizations are very hurtful or suspect is obviously absurd.
    • We live in an historic moment when the idea that Immunizations are Death had taken root across millions across the nation.
    • Those seeking to gain raw political power know the claim that Immunizations are Death can be used to whip millions into a frenzy, raise stunning amounts of money, and gain power over government.

    What’s the proof of these three observations?  First, by many, many ways, we can prove that those immunized are less likely to die from the disease than the unimmunized.  Over 95% of those dying from COVID in the US are unimmunized, chance of dying from COVID in various US counties vary by immunization rates.  The stunning fact is that Immunizations are Life.   Is there any doubt that this lie has taken hold, at latest count, 70 million Americans who could be immunized against COVID, who could save their lives and those of others, have decided not too.  And, that decision has now cost over 100,000 lives.  And finally, there is no doubt that specific politicians are using the lie that Immunizations are Death to promote fund-raising to great success, and securing the political allegiance of millions of people.  Here in Ohio, many politicians are moving to act against having children get immunizations to any disease at all.

    Vitamin C, Adult Height, COVID, Vaccines, Propaganda and Us

    So, we all love joining hands and unifying our thoughts, and in joining forces we all feel our ability to make a difference greatly amplified.  Great things have been accomplished by humanity over time by joining forces.  Just consider the dramatic reductions in extreme poverty around the world, the staggering rise in the supply of food, and the rise of modern medicine which now can save so many lives with extraordinary surgeries, medications, and immunizations.  Not a single step forward together would have happened had our combined work been based on a lie.  Every one of these steps required following observations that could be proven true.  Just take the example of the most commont type of childhood leukemia, ALL.  When I was born, every child with leukemia, including everyone with ALL, died.   Now children ages 1-10 with ALL without complex genetic factors, has a 90-95% chance of surviving their leukemia.   None of these children be alive if the scientists who developed the treatments had followed false leads, if they hadn’t learned what the truth of each trial was.

    Yes, all of us unite in purpose, we do it all the time. So how does propaganda differ from other approaches to unifying our voices?  In two key ways:

    1. Propaganda by definition propagates claims known to be false.
    2. The unity of purpose that comes from the power of propaganda causes harm, potentially deadly harm, even catastrophic harm.

    This is why joining forces in fun is not propaganda, there is no truth or falsehood in rooting for a team, it’s just fun.  And no real harm comes from a team losing, just sadness, not lives.

    It’s why joining forces to get good work done, on a basis of truth and integrity is never propaganda, its foundations are not false, and so they cannot cause vast deadly harms.

    But actual propaganda is always wrong, sometimes is hovers harmlessly bouncing around many brains, but once the door is open to the powers of propaganda, vast harms lurk.

    In the US health care world, we have seen the rise of medical propaganda for many years.  The rise of unproven therapies has been substantial, including a whole series of claims of cure or prevention from all sorts of vitamins and herbs, for example.  Not much harm has really come from the game of joining forces to believe that Vitamin C can cure colds, even though all the facts make clear it cannot.  Many people enjoy following these false leads, and as many do, many more join them.

    But medical propaganda has clearly left the realm of harmless fun, and now has on its record, the needless death of at least 100,000 Americans, the culmination of decades of the nation tolerating, even nurturing, the ongoing propaganda movement called anti-vax.  Lots of families got caught up in the excitement that this propaganda can generate, over the last 20 years, we have seen a striking rise in families requesting to alter or even stop their children’s immunizations.  This was something simply not seen not all that long ago, now it is rampant.

    The real problem is that once propaganda grabs hold across millions, then the door to real harm opens and deaths often follow.  No one gets hurt believing the nonsense that Vitamin C supplements can cut a person’s height by half a foot.  But once people start joining millions in believing obvious falsehoods, then truly dangerous falsehoods now can whip through millions of people far more easily.

    And this is what we are all being subjected to experiencing, every one of us, right now.  We have gone from false claims about vitamins, to false claims about routine immunizations, all preparing the nation’s minds to believe the propaganda that getting a COVID vaccine is harmful, when the fact is that it is the best and most reliable hope one has to avoid dying of COVID.

    Bottom Lines

    1. Propaganda takes advantage of our universal, wonderful, and powerful ability and inclination to join our thoughts and efforts together.  That ability can be just plain fun, like in sports, and it also is responsible for all the great accomplishments of humanity that have made life so much safer, healthy, and longer.
    2. But propaganda achieves the unification of millions of minds with lies.
    3. Once millions unite behind a lie, then millions are now let loose to go in any direction, no matter how deadly.
    4. In the US dangerous propaganda has been let loose in the medical world for a long time, as seen with the staggering range of false claims about what vitamins and herbs can cure, and what harms immunizations can cause.
    5. This propaganda has taken hold over decades, and its fruit is now clear for all to see- the power of propaganda has called to halt the once successful national effort to stop the COVID pandemic with immunizations.
    6. Now at least 100,000 Americans who would be alive today, have lost their life as the result of our American dalliance, and now deep embrace, of propaganda.
    7. Ominously, nations that dive into the depths of propaganda often take far deadlier actions, once the door to following falsehoods open, millions often follow nefarious leaders to commit ever greater harms, causing ever more life to be lost.

    This doctor joins nearly all my fellow physicians in asking all Americans to return to our days of Yankee ingenuity, when ideas were tested over and over to see if they were true, and to only embrace those that work.  Right now, right here, the COVID pandemic gives everyone of us a clear choice- follow the facts, or jump into the deadly pools of propaganda.  We can actually measure the balance every day.  Right now, in the US, our number is 56.2%.  A little over one half of America has decided to weigh the facts, and are fully vaccinated for COVID.  But nearly half of Americans have been led into falsehood, and decided not to vaccinate.  The battle of integrity v. propaganda is tragically joined in America, much could be decided right now, and right here in the world of medical decisions.

    I deeply hope, and urge all, to wake up from this lure of propaganda, before more than the needless loss of 100,000 lives to a disease happens next.

    To your health,
    Dr. Arthur Lavin


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