Natural Life Magazine

Question Authority
By Linda Boulter

From authorities to advertisers, we are bombarded with the message, explicit and implicit, “Trust Us. We know what is best, we are the experts.”

Question Authority: seek advice but make up your own mind
Photo © Shutterstock

Our unquestioning trust, our faith in the medical profession and the purveyors of baby products hold us back from moving forward to an enlightened age of accepting responsibility for our own and our children's well-being.

We turned from the breast to the bottle, from natural childbirth to being cured of the illness of pregnancy by having the baby extracted like a bad tooth. We believed all the diseases of the world could be healed through the magic of pills and vaccinations. We believed circumcision was a necessary and harmless procedure for our baby boys. We naively believed that surely if it wasn't good for us it wouldn't be available.

Now, to our surprise, we are learning differently. The experts are wrong. We now know breast is best, that birth is a rite of passage, an important bonding for mom and babe, that sleeping with baby can prevent deaths and loneliness. Sadly, we are learning vaccinations don't guarantee immunity and, in fact, can be dangerous. We've learned routine circumcision is a painful, unnecessary mutilation. We have experienced the side effects of Thalidomide, x-rays, during pregnancy, silicone breast implants, routine hysterectomies and many other promised medical cure-alls. We learned the hard way because we didn't ask questions and were placated by that old adage, “trust me”.

The most important question, first and foremost is who benefits (also read profits) from:

  • routine ultrasounds
  • hospital births that include “routine” interventions during labor and birth including the full gamut of fetal monitoring, c-sections, episiotomies
  • drugs to speed up labor and those to slow it down
  • “routine” use of any procedure using expensive equipment and requiring expert opinion and intervention
  • circumcision
  • formula
  • disposable diapers
  • vaccinations
  • fluoridation
  • medicines and operations instead of diet, lifestyle and attitude changes
  • “fad” medical procedures such as tonsilectomies and ear tubes (add your own)

If your answer is: “Not me and my family,” then you're on the right track.

All of these practices have one thing in common: money. That's right, breast fed babies mean poorer formula pushers. Cloth diapered babies don't make profits for the disposable diaper peddlers. Unvaccinated children mean that large pharmaceutical companies lose income. Home births and intact sons don't put dollars in the pockets of doctors and specialists. Unfluoridated water means big industry can't use pollution for profit. People who believe that healing comes from within don't contribute funds to the whole medical system that thrives on illness.

In many cases not maintaining the status quo means a happier, healthier, and wiser you and your family. How do you become wise? Question authority. Simply said but not always easy to apply. It may involve asking embarrassing and probing questions. It may mean ridicule from family and friends. It will certainly mean standard medical practitioners attempting to demean you by questioning your educational status.

Never take “trust me” for an answer. Instead, tell yourself many times a day, “I trust myself. I trust my intuition.” Never merely be satisfied with statistics. Suspect the phrases, “everyone is doing it” and “it's for your own good”. Listen to the experiences of mothers and fathers (experiences dismissed as anecdotal evidence by the experts). But above all, trust your own intuition.

And read, read, read. Read everything that seems antisocial or different from the status quo. And when you've assimilated the many ideas available, think for yourself.

Take responsibility for how you and your family eats, births, learns, grows, changes.

Question authority.

Linda Boulter is a writer, mother, and questioner of authority.


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