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A Nation of Sheep


“The Labour proposal is modeled on a compulsory system in America where parents are threatened with jail if children are not immunized.”

“No MMR jab, no school under new plans,” Telegraph, UK, 5/10/08

Against my better judgment, Monday evening last, I attended a local city budget meeting where officials cut about a million dollars from public education next fiscal year. The audience, largely composed of public school staff and advocates applauded the final decision. (The earlier proposed cuts were closer to $2 million.)

It was all quite civil really as such matters often are, here in the land of the allegedly “free” and “brave.” Well behind most of the developed world by many reasonable measures of civilized life and civic engagement, the US population has apparently been effectively neutered and now more or less serenely accepts each new application of the lash administered by those above them in the reigning political/economic order.The resolutely grasping pay-or-die American medical profit machine leaves 47 million people without medical insurance annually, and kills a minimum 18,000 of these uninsured each year. Yet the public, despite occasional squeaks of mild objection, placidly tolerates the steadily mounting body count.

Ralph Nader, in a recent article, (CounterPunch, 5/6/08) cites a Wall Street Journal piece detailing the sad story of one Lisa Kelly, afflicted with both leukemia and “limited insurance.”Shackled to a health care system rated only 37th in the world, that makes for a grim prognosis. Nader mentions the reaction of a “Dutch visitor” who, when shown the WSJ article “blurted in anger — ‘you are a nation of sheep.’”

Yes, people in civilized countries are often shocked by the US public’s acquiescence in routine totalitarian cruelties and usurpations practiced here. And when pieces of The American Way are floated for implementation overseas, the democratic reaction is worthy of note. Uppity and free publics resist such crap.

As noted recently in this space, Britain’s Labour party got badly beaten in the May Day election, largely because they tried to squeeze and punish their base (as the Democratic party does here).Now, as Labour readies for parliamentary elections, it appears that part of their “health manifesto” may propose compelling primary schools “to demand proof that pupils have had a full range of jabs — including measles, mumps and rubella — before allowing them to register.” (Telegraph, UK)

Here, such a policy has smoothed the way for routine mercury-laced vaccine injection of pregnant mothers, newborns and pre-schoolers. It is apparently linked with the current epidemic of autism in the young which now dwarfs the polio “epidemics” of the 40s and 50s in scope.

But Britain’s rascal public isn’t particularly receptive. Dr. Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the British Medical Association told the Telegraph that mandating forced vaccination was “morally and ethically dubious” and would march the nation “beyond the nanny state to a police state.”Meldrum deplored the proposal as “a Stalinist approach” which would likely “backfire on an unprecedented scale, and…increase opposition to vaccination.” Based on current “jab” rates it’s projected that nearly 100,000 kids would be barred from British schools.

Jackie Fletcher, speaking for the parent support group Jabs, protested, “This is scandalous. Parents will fight it tooth and nail. To bully families by threatening children’s schooling is appalling.”

In March, before May’s electoral thumping the Labour government also floated the idea of mandating a pledge of national “allegiance” for schoolchildren. The International Herald Tribune quoted Welsh Labour MP Paul Flynn: “It’s a non-starter. It will rank as one of the more foolish government proposals…I’ve seen newspaper polls showing the support is zero. And it will upset the 2.5 million republicans in this country.”

Flynn characterized the idea of pledging allegiance to Britain “a weak attempt to copy the American practice” which “does not reflect the reality of the United Kingdom.”On March 12, the BBC published a few cheeky draft “pledges” penned by the apparently underwhelmed and insurgent citizenry.

Kiltie Jackson suggested: “I pledge my oath of allegiance to my Queen and my country. I promise to watch all reality TV and to emulate those who are put before us as examples of fine citizens. I will honour all sporting figures and raise them upon pedestals until such times as they make an error where upon I will pillory them and mock them to the ends of the earth.

As an upstanding member of British society I vow to claim as much social benefit as possible to ensure that my binge drinking does not sink to sub-standard levels. But most importantly, and over everything else, I swear that I will not take myself, or my country, too seriously because I am proud to be British and that is how we do it.”Steven Jones: “I’m not British, English or anything other than human, I belong to one race – the human race, I worship no god, and kneel before no false monarch, I’m a free human and shall do what I please with no regard to the laws set in place by the Roman usurpers that invaded our shores.”

Darren Maxwell suggests something almost American-ish — until the subversive bit at the end: “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the British Constitution and its laws, one Nation, with liberty justice and equality for all.”In the US, of course, we’ve fallen into a herd mentality. We wait eagerly for the new-told lie: Who to hate, who to kill, which brand to buy, which corporate lackey to support. We offer up our children to injection, indoctrination, technical training, and cut-rate preparation for cog-in-the-wheeldom.We lay waste to other lands while ours rusts, and tumbles to ruin. We stoically arrange voluntarist “walks” and bake sales for the sick and dying.We graze. We lift our heads.Here comes the herdsman.

What’s that in his hand?

RICHARD RHAMES lives in Biddeford, Maine. He can be reached at:



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RICHARD RHAMES is a dirt-farmer in Biddeford, Maine (just north of the Kennebunkport town line). He can be reached at:

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