Let me get one thing straight: vaccines do not cause autism. That is an urban legend which has been around for a while and has been since proven wrong. The origin of such myth is rather complex and I do not feel the need to examine it at this point. I am more interested in the consequences of such prejudice.
Autism has been known to mankind for much longer than vaccination. It existed for a long time before it has been scientifically described by Leo Kanner and Hans Asperger, which we can easily prove with thorough analisys of the lives of different significant people throughout history. Vaccines, on the other hand, were not discovered until as late as the second half of the 20th century. But if we presume for the sake of argument that vaccines cause autism, that would be a dangerous assumption to make.
Before vaccines were discovered, children in western civilization were dying massively from various untreatable an incurable contageous disease. There was practically no family that hadn’t lost a child or even more children. When speaking about family members it was not uncommon to state that a certain family had had a certain number of children, of which only a certain number survived. A concept which is unimaginable in today’s world. Just think about it for a while. What it was like for the parents, when a diphteria epidemic had struck and one of their children got sick. How they felt knowing that they will lose that child and that all the rest will very likely follow. Imagine the immense, unspeakable pain of that parents. And now imagine that you are that parents. Anti-vax movement will make that happen for you. Because if we stop vaccinating our children, the deadly epidemics will sooner or later return and they will hit us full force.
Anti-vaxxers sre aware of that. They are willing to take the risk. And knowing that we can now understand the horrific ideology behind the anti-vaccionation movement. The nazi-like ideology. People who refuse to vaccinate their children would literally prefer to watch their children die in a painful way from a deadly disease, than risk them being autistic. They would rather have a dead child than an autistic child. Encouraging that kind of thinking creates an extremely hateful environment for autistic people. The society that accepts the anti-vax ideology is also a society that demonizes autism. In that kind of society autistic people are to be feared and hated. That kind of society sees autistic people a greater threath than deadly disease.
But looking deeper into it, the society might have a point. Autistic people are a threat indeed. We are a threat to society because we refuse to follow the existing societal patterns. We march to the beat of our own drums, we dance to our own music. We think for ourselves. We have our own value system and our own view of the world which differs greatly from the customary one. We understand more. We do not follow the masses. If not suppressed, we have the potential to be leaders, to create a better world. And taking all that into consideration, autistic people can be dangerous, but that is a danger that we shoud be grateful for.
So if vaccines had given me autism, that would give me all the more reason to be thankful for them. Not only they had prevented me from dying in my childhood, they had also given me my very high intelligence, good memory, the ability to notice the smallest details, persistancy and my integrity, among other traits. A win-win situation.
Even though the debate has been settled once and for all and it has been scientifically proven there is no causal correlation between vaccines and autism, the two are not entirely unrelated. They both have had a significant impact on history and human lives. Vaccination erradicated some of the most dangerous diseases and prevented generations of people from dying. And autism has given a number of geniuses to the mankind, enabling a great technological development.