I would like to start this article with a true story whose point will become clear a little later so please bear with me. In 1932 the U.S. Public Health Service began a clinical trial to track the natural progression of a disease known as syphilis. History records that a total of 600 men “participated” in the study. You will notice that the word participated is in quotes. That is because the men were not told they were participating in a syphilis experiment (more on this later). 301 of the men contracted syphilis before the study and the other 299 afterwards because they were intentionally infected. None of the men were told they had syphilis and treatment was withheld which was ultimately a death sentence for most. At the time of the trial there were no known cures but a few treatments were available. Left untreated syphilis can ultimately lead to senility, organ failure and death. Ironically, sadistically, and sadly, free burial insurance was given to all participants. The study lasted 40 years even after a new and successful form of treatment was discovered.
An article recently went out through the mainstream media (Rueters, Associated Press, etc) about medical conspiracies and how many Americans believe them. In a nutshell the premise is this: Medical conspiracies do not happen and if you believe in them you should have your head examined because you are a total whack job. I will admit the emphasis is mine but one cannot help but draw a similar line to this synopsis due to the tone of the articles. Some of them do graciously point out that most of the people are not completely crazy but just a little crazy. They also tend to be a "little" poor and a "little" uneducated and just to make sure the insults cover as many people as possible they are often minorities (please refer back to the introductory paragraph to possibly explain the last insulting point since it involved African American men exclusively).
There are two issues at hand and they are worth delving into. The first issue is the premise that medical conspiracies do not and have not existed. The second issue is that all conspiracy theorist are tin foil hat wearing goobers and if you happen to believe that it is possible for a group of people to take advantage of another group of people then you are a goober too. Each point will be addressed in detail for our edification and thoughtful analysis.
This article will be in three parts with this being part I. Parts II and III will follow shortly.