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Why is there now such an affinity between antivaxxers and fascism?

Increasingly, the antivaccine movement has become allied with fascism, including openly fascist groups like Proud Boys marching in their rallies. Why is there such an affinity between antivaxxers and fascism?

A long time ago, in a time so distant that it now seems like ancient history, I wrote a post entitled Why are antivaccinationists so at home with Libertarianism? (Actually, it was only a little over eight years ago.) The springboard (if you will) for my musings (such as they were) about the affinity between libertarians and antivaxxers was an article on an antivaccine blog that had noted a libertarian backlash against a stand by Ronald Bailey over at the online home of libertarian propaganda Reason entitled Refusing Vaccination Puts Others At Risk, which was subtitled, A pragmatic argument for coercive vaccination. It was an uncommon example of the magazine actually living up to its name in that it recognized that individual rights are not limitless and those “who refuse vaccination for themselves and their children are free-riding off herd immunity.” He even cited Oliver Wendell Holmes when he said, “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins,” calling that principle “particularly salient in the case of whooping cough shots.” At the time, I concluded that Bailey was likely “fighting a losing battle” because libertarians are “all too prone to denying science when it inconveniently clashes with their worship of the free market and individual freedom above all.” With the rightward shift of the antivaccine movement in the intervening time, I now find myself going even further rightward with that shift to ask the same question about fascism.

What prompted me to revisit this question in a different form? I’ll answer with some of the protesters who showed up at the antivaccine “Defeat the Mandates” march last Sunday, the one where Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. invoked Anne Frank and the Holocaust:

For those not familiar with this group, I’ll just say that Proud Boys are to neofascism what Hitler’s Brownshirts were to fascism of the Nazi variety, street brawlers. Their specialty is to provoke fights, respond with overwhelming violence up to and including deadly force, and then blame “Antifa” for having started the fight and claim that they were “defending themselves.”

Nor was this the first time that the Proud Boys and other fascists have appeared at antivaccine rallies. For example, in July Proud Boys showed up at an antivaccine rally in Los Angeles at which antivaxxers were protesting at a breast cancer clinic, where they harassed patients, as well as the doctors, nurses, and other staff who were caring for them. Violence broke out, some of which involved attacking a cancer patient. Besides Proud Boys, the Boogaloo movement, a loose affiliation known for wanting to spark a second Civil War, and various other paramilitary far right wing militias have become involved, while Proud Boys were spotted throughout 2021 at a number of antivaccine rallies in several different states. Nor has this happened only since the pandemic started. A few months before the pandemic, antivaxxers had already started openly consorting with right wing paramilitary militia groups, such as the California State Militia, whose online chats were repeating common antivaccine misinformation.

Meanwhile, there were all manner of fascistic displays, as described by David Neiwert:

As this Sunday’s “Defeat the Mandates” march in Washington, D.C., however, showed us, there’s no longer anything even remotely left-wing about the movement. Populated with Proud Boys and “Patriot” militiamen, QAnoners and other Alex Jones-style conspiracists who blithely indulge in Holocaust relativism and other barely disguised antisemitism, and ex-hippies who now spout right-wing propaganda—many of them, including speakers, encouraging and threatening violence—the crowd at the National Mall manifested the reality that “anti-vaxxers” now constitute a full-fledged far-right movement, and a potentially violent one at that.


The inherent antisemitism of the anti-vaxxers’ conspiracism was also on full display: A large bus pulled up to the protest area blaring music with lyrics pronouncing “It’s God Over Government,” festooned on its side with mock “Wanted” posters featuring the anti-vaxxers bogeymen, notably Dr. Anthony Fauci, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and attorney Jacob Rothschild—the latter of whom has no known connection to the vaccine or mandates whatsoever, but whose last name conjures up Hitler’s antisemitic conspiracy theories that identified the family as one of the primary components of the Jewish cabal that Nazis believed secretly controlled the world.

How did we get here? What are the reasons why there now appears to be such an affinity between the antivaccine movement and people who can only be described as out-and-out fascists? Why do the antivaccine movement and fascism now appear to fit together so disturbingly well, with the far right basically on the verge of completely swallowing the antivaccine movement as one very motivated monomaniacal component of its anti-public health, anti-conventional government agenda? I’ll try to explain, but first will note that the idea for this post hit me during my week off between Christmas and New Years as I read How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them by Jason Stanley, the Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. (I highly recommend the book.) As I read, it hit me: Several (although admittedly not all) of the characteristics of fascism that Prof. Stanley describes also apply to the ideology of the antivaccine movement.

Let’s start with a brief recounting of how right wing antivaccinationism went from being a strain in the antivaccine movement being in essence the entire movement. If you’re familiar with this history, you can skip this section. Either way, buckle up. This post is considerably longer than even the average Orac post.

Before the attraction to fascism: The antivaccine movement finds a winning message with the right

Given how tight the association has become between the antivaccine movement and the Republican Party and even far right wing groups like Proud Boys, it’s hard to forget that it wasn’t so long ago that the stereotype of antivaxxers was very different. Back when I first started writing about the antivaccine movement in 2004, there existed an exaggerated if not outright false stereotype that antivaxxers tended to be hippy-dippy crunchy lefties, particularly suburban moms, in liberal enclaves like Marin County or Manhattan. To be sure, there was such a contingent of a “back to nature” crowd, but in reality that stereotype was very wrong in a number of ways. There has always been a libertarian right wing component to the antivaccine movement, for example, General Bert Stubblebine III’s Natural Solutions Foundation, far right libertarians, and others with extreme distrust of the government, including government-recommended vaccine schedules.

Antivaxxers using the rhetoric of “freedom” vs. “oppression” is nothing new, as this letter from 1907 demonstrates:

"Freedom!" cries the antivaxxer in 1907.
“Freedom!” cries the antivaxxer in 1907. It sounds a lot like what we hear in 2022, doesn’t it? The point is that this sort of messaging is nothing new. What is new is that the antivaccine movement has discovered how to use it to attract more mainstream right wing political groups.

And this cartoon from the 1880s also shows:

"Freedom!" Same as it ever was with antivaccine activists.
Update the clothes and language, and this could be a cartoon published in Natural News. Of note, there was a riot.

And one more from the same time period:

Antivaccine rhetoric from the 1880s: Sound familiar?
Does this sound familiar?

Years ago, I routinely used to point out that support for vaccination was pretty similar on the right and the left. (At least, it was then.) I also used to suggest that, back in Jenny McCarthy‘s heyday as the celebrity face of the antivaccine movement 14-15 years ago, it was the heavy representation of celebrities among famous antivaxxers that contributed to the public perception that the antivaccine movement was predominantly left wing, Hollywood celebrities like Rob Schneider (admittedly, I’m probably being generous in my definition of “celebrity”), Mayim Bialik, Alec Baldwin, and Robert De Niro, among others. It’s also true that areas with a lot of affluent people on the coasts, whose politics tend to lean heavily liberal, have suffered outbreaks of vaccine-preventable illnesses in recent years leading up the pandemic due to low vaccine uptake. Then, of course, there was (and, alas, still is) Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Even then, though, with relatively few exceptions, the most motivated antivaxxers still tended to be conservative, with right wing media giving voice to antivaccine views. As early as 2011, Fox News was airing sympathetic segments on Andrew Wakefieldinterviews with Dr. Bob SearsSafeMinds’ anti-vaccine PSA campaign, and Louise Kuo Habakus (who was virulently anti-vaccine herself and politically active in New Jersey advocating for more easily obtained “philosophical exemption” laws). Politically, some of the most rabid anti-vaccine activists in government were conservative, for instance, Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN). Moreover, as was the case for anti-evolution beliefs, fundamentalist and evangelical Christianity was not uncommonly a motivation for antivaccine views, and, if anything, has become much more so.

I’ve been documenting the increasingly tight association between the right and the antivaccine movement, going back to when the political party formed by antivaxxers, The Canary Party, founded in 2011, started working with Tea Party-affiliated groups in California. Not long after, the Canary Party became known for sucking up to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), with one of its major financial backers Jennifer Larson contributing a lot of money to Issa’s campaign (indirectly, of course) in order to buy influence and win a hearing by his committee examining autism and focused on vaccines as one potential cause. Around the same time, at the right-wing Libertarian FreedomFest in 2012 I was privileged to watch a debate between Julian Whitaker and Steve Novella about vaccines. At the debate, vaccine pseudoscience flowed freely from Whitaker in a most embarrassing fashion, and I couldn’t help but note that FreedomFest that year featured two screenings of Leslie Manookian’s antivaccine propaganda pieceThe Greater Good and had featured antivaccine talks in previous years. I was there, too, and amazed at the merchandise and conspiracy theories being touted, although in retrospect, in the era years before the rise of QAnon, conspiracy theories about the gold standard and New World Order now seem almost quaint.

This movement rightward by the antivaccine movement appears to have been turbocharged in 2015 during the debate about SB 277, the California law that banned nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine mandates. That was when antivaxxers pivoted from messaging that was primarily about “toxins” in vaccines and the false claim that vaccines caused autism, autoimmune disorders, sterility, and death to messaging that primarily emphasized “vaccine choice,” “freedom,” “parental rights,” and resistance to government mandates. It was a winning message that attracted those of a conservative/libertarian bent, and many of the groups formed in the wake of that political struggle were clearly conservative, such as Texans for Vaccine Choice, Empower Texans, Michigan for Vaccine Choice, and others. (Notice the common thread in the names of these groups?) It is there where the politicization of school vaccine mandates really took off, particularly after Donald Trump entered the mix. By 2015-2016, even Republican presidential candidates like Chris Christie, Ben Carson, and, of course, Donald Trump—Rand Paul, too, but I leave him out because he was always antivaccine—were invoking the same language to pander to the antivaccine movement under the guise of supporting personal and parental rights.

By 2018, I was personally observing this rightward shift and infiltration of conservatism, including the Republican Party, in my neck of the woods, when a candidate for the Republican nomination for my district’s Congressional seat held an antivaccine “vaccine choice roundtable” that I attended incognito and documented, and openly antivax candidates were running for state governor and other offices. By 2019, Republicans in Oregon were openly opposing anything resembling tightening school vaccine mandates, and the Ohio Statehouse was rife with antivax legislators, to the point that antivaxxers were bragging about them. Also, to bring it around, antivaxxers in California were openly marching with the California State Militia, specifically the California State Militia, First Regiment, California Valley Patriots and the State of Jefferson.

Then came the pandemic, and the rest you know. Antivaxxers quickly allied themselves with antimaskers, anti-“lockdown” protesters, and QAnon, with fascists being a common sight now at antivaccine rallies and antivaccine rhetoric becoming increasingly violent. Even “liberal icon” Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (hint; he’s not a liberal any more, if he ever was) was addressing fascist groups without a hint of irony. Meanwhile, in the wake of the “Defeat the Mandates” rally on Sunday, a number of journalists have been noting the increasingly tight association between the antivaccine movement and the far right, with reports about how far right extremists have “jumped on the antivaccine bandwagon” are recruiting antivaxxers and how prevalent far right groups were at the rally.

Which brings us back to my question: Why do antivaxxers have such an affinity for fascism? I used to joke about how antivaxxers had attracted the right with their message, quipping about the right wingers joining antivaxxers, “Come for the ‘freedumb,’ stay for the antivaccine conspiracy theories.” However, I’m no longer certain that it’s the antivaxxers driving this clown car any more; rather, they seem to have been completely subsumed into the larger right wing ideological movement, drafted as a bunch of particularly fanatical foot soldiers.

Fascism and antivax
Proud Boys march with antivaxxers in Raleigh, NC on February 25, 2022.

Fascism vs. the antivaccine movement, compare and contrast

How Fascism Works is all about the defining traits of fascism. Stanley is far from the first author to have taken on the task of defining fascism, and I’ve read a number of others over the years, which made a lot of what Stanley writes familiar to me. He discusses each major characteristic of fascism in a chapter, the characteristics being:

  1. The Mythic Past
  2. Propaganda
  3. Anti-intellectual
  4. Unreality
  5. Hierarchy
  6. Victimhood
  7. Law and order
  8. Sexual anxiety
  9. Sodom and Gomorrah
  10. Arbeit Macht Frei

Some of you will immediately recognize how closely #1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 track to the antivaccine beliefs and rhetoric. Others, such as #8 and 9, seem not to apply at all, but that’s not entirely true, as you will see. You might also ask, what the heck is #10? When I explain, you’ll understand, and you’ll understand it also fits. I’m going to hit the high points of these similarities, after which I’ll look at differences. I am not arguing that all—or even most—antivaxxers are fascists or that the antivaccine movement is a form of fascism. Rather, I am arguing that the commonalities between fascist ideology and the ideas undergirding the antivaccine movement result in a natural affinity between antivaxxers and fascism that makes fascism attractive to antivaxxers and antivaccine ideas attractive to fascists.

More fascism and antivax mixing
Proud Boys march with antivaxxers in Raleigh, NC on February 25, 2022.

Mythic past

Let’s begin with the most prominent aspect of any fascist movement, as discussed by Prof. Stanley, the “mythic past” that has been lost:

It is only natural to begin this book where fascist politics invariably claims to discover its genesis: in the past. Fascist politics invokes a pure mythic past tragically destroyed.

Depending on how the nation is defined, the mythic past may be religiously pure, racially pure, culturally pure, or all of the above. But there is a common structure to all fascist mythologizing. In all fascist mythic pasts, an extreme version of the patriarchal family reigns supreme, even just a few generations ago. Further back in time, the mythic past was a time of glory of the nation, with wars of conquest led by patriotic generals, its armies filled with its countrymen, able-bodied, loyal warriors whose wives were at home raising the next generation. In the present, these myths become the basis of the nation’s identity under fascist politics.

While it is obviously true that the antivaccine movement is not a nationalistic movement and debatable whether it is patriarchal (although the vast majority of the charismatic leaders of the movement are, in fact, male), one can see how antivaxxers are attracted to the fascist idea of a mythic past destroyed by modernity, in this case represented by vaccines. In that past, parents decided how to raise their children, and children acquired “natural immunity” to diseases through suffering through them, rather than through the “artificial” means of vaccination. How often have you seen antivaxxers express the idea that vaccines make you weak, while “natural immunity” is a sign of strength (and, of course, to antivaxxers so much better than that “vaccine-induced” immunity)? Meanwhile, those horrible “liberals” assault formerly sacrosanct “parental rights” in order to indoctrinate children in the cult of vaccination. (I exaggerate, but not by much. Oh, never mind. I don’t exaggerate.)

Indeed, in discussions of “natural immunity,” you’ll often see claims that vaccines are a “depopulation agenda” and, because they violate the mythic past of natural immunity, will lead to ever more virulent variants that will ultimately kill far more people than just letting the virus rip through the population. This is not a new idea, either. Pre-pandemic, Andrew Wakefield was saying the same thing about measles and the MMR vaccine.

Speaking of MMR, the claim that vaccines cause autism can be viewed as part of this idea that vaccines are an assault on the “mythic past.” Back in the day, it was commonly claimed that autism barely existed before the expansion of the childhood vaccine schedule in the 1990s. In this view, vaccines “stole their real child” in the same way that there was a myth of the “lost child” that the parents try desperately to reclaim through all manner of “autism biomed” quackery. (This is basically the modern incarnation of the changeling myth.) The mythic past that antivaxxers pine for was a time when supposedly children were all medically pure, free from all the “toxins” in vaccines and, of course, lots of other things produced by modern science, such as pollution, GMOs, and the like. Indeed, RFK Jr., for example, has portrayed the current generation of children as the “sickest generation,” a clear echo of the fascist view of a mythic past, in RFK Jr.’s conception, when nearly all children were healthy and free of chronic disease, a past the he seeks to reclaim.

Also integral to the lost mythic past in fascism is the concept of purity. In the case of fascism, it’s national, ethnic, and racial purity. Indeed, last year one antivaccine meme that was widely recognized as explicitly fascist was that of the “pureblood,” antivaxxers who bragged about the “purity” of their blood because they were not vaccinated and who dismissed the vaccinated as somehow “unpure.” This concept came from the Harry Potter books and movies, in which wizards uncontaminated by “non-magical blood” were “purebloods,” and considered themselves far superior to those whose ancestors had intermarried with “muggles,” or nonmagical people, for whom the “purebloods” had coined the derogatory term “mudblood,” a word considered as foul among most wizards as the n-word is in real life. This whole part of the Harry Potter novels and movies were an obvious allusion to fascism of the Nazi variety, in which “pure Aryans” were viewed as the height of humanity.

This obsession with purity among antivaxxers can go to extremes, too. I have only to point to the example of Del Bigtree almost dying from bleeding hemorrhoids because he refused transfusion if the doctors couldn’t guarantee that it was only “unvaccinated blood.” (Ultimately, Bigtree’s supporters covered the cost of a flight to Cancun, where he got his transfusion of “unvaccinated blood” at a quack cancer clinic, but at the time his hemoglobin was so low that he risked his life in flying there.) Also part of this ideology is the false claim that mRNA- and adenovirus-based COVID-19 vaccines can “permanently alter” one’s DNA or even be transhumanism. (Before the pandemic, vaccines in general were also portrayed as “transhumanism” that could alter your DNA and subvert natural evolution.) Before the pandemic, most quack treatments for “vaccine injury” involved some form of detoxification as a form of ritual purification.

This affinity towards the “mythic past” that all fascist movements embrace is one large reason why antivaxxers are so commonly also associated with New Age movements, alternative medicine, and various other mystical beliefs. Indeed, here I can’t help but cite Umberto Eco’s classic 1995 essay Ur-Fascism, in which he discusses in the context of traditionalism and this sort of mythic past, the concept of syncretism:

This new culture had to be syncretistic. Syncretism is not only, as the dictionary says, “the combination of different forms of belief or practice”; such a combination must tolerate contradictions. Each of the original messages contains a silver of wisdom, and whenever they seem to say different or incompatible things it is only because all are alluding, allegorically, to the same primeval truth.

As a consequence, there can be no advancement of learning. Truth has been already spelled out once and for all, and we can only keep interpreting its obscure message.

One has only to look at the syllabus of every fascist movement to find the major traditionalist thinkers. The Nazi gnosis was nourished by traditionalist, syncretistic, occult elements. The most influential theoretical source of the theories of the new Italian right, Julius Evola, merged the Holy Grail with The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, alchemy with the Holy Roman and Germanic Empire. The very fact that the Italian right, in order to show its open-mindedness, recently broadened its syllabus to include works by De Maistre, Guenon, and Gramsci, is a blatant proof of syncretism.

If you browse in the shelves that, in American bookstores, are labeled as New Age, you can find there even Saint Augustine who, as far as I know, was not a fascist.

No, he most definitely was not. However, in this concept of syncretism you can find why antivaxxers don’t really have a problem with all the mutually inconsistent “theories” of how vaccines cause autism and all the other health issues for which they blame vaccines. As long as the “truth” that vaccines are bad is at the core of these “theories,” antivaxxers accept them, no matter how mutually contradictory they are. For antivaxxers, the “truth” has already been spelled out.

More fascism and antivax mixing
Proud Boys guard a Port-a-Potty at an antivaccine protest in Raleigh, NC on February 25, 2022. Orac thinks that this photo of fascists guarding a toilet speaks for itself in a most hilariously appropriate manner.

Propaganda and anti-intellectualism

Anyone who starts following the antivaccine movement will soon note the extreme anti-intellectual bent of the movement. First, let’s see what Prof. Stanley has written:

Fascist politics seeks to undermine public discourse by attacking and devaluing education, expertise, and language. Intelligent debate is impossible without an education with access to different perspectives, a respect for expertise when one’s own knowledge gives out, and a rich enough language to precisely describe reality. When education, expertise, and linguistic distinctions are undermined, there remains only power and tribal identity.

This does not mean that there is no role for universities in fascist politics. In fascist ideology, there is only one legitimate viewpoint, that of the dominant nation. Schools introduce students to the dominant culture and its mythic past. Education therefore either poses a grave threat to fascism or becomes a pillar of support for the mythical nation. It’s no wonder, then, that protests and cultural clashes on campuses represent a true political battleground and receive national attention. The stakes are high.

I’m not going to spend too much time on this aspect, for the simple reason that it is so obvious how much antivaccine rhetoric is anti-intellectual at its core. One only has to go back to Jenny McCarthy dismissing the science and scientists concluding that vaccines did not cause autism and that the “autism biomed” quackery antivaxxers commonly used to treat their autistic children did not work (and is dangerous) with a haughty, “Evan is my science” to see examples. (Evan is her autistic son.) The entire culture and ethos of the “autism biomed” movement rests on the assumption that parents know better than pediatricians and scientists. Meanwhile, a common characteristic of the antivaccine movement is to elevate fake experts like Dr. Peter McCullough, Dr. Robert Malone, and the like over real experts on COVID-19, all to reinforce their viewpoint.

It can get even more ridiculous than that, as a recent article from the COVID-19-minimizing and now antivaccine “spiritual child of the Great Barrington Declaration” think tank, the Brownstone Institute, demonstrates:

Sadly, the difficult-to-counter ‘iT WoULd hAvE BeEn WoooOrSe’ response has become the reliable Branch Covidian go-to when attempting to defend their useless interventions. But would it have been, really? 

Enter Ian Miller, an entertainment industry content manager who, like many of us, quickly began questioning the establishment Covid narrative when it didn’t seem to line up with the actual facts on the ground. But instead of surrendering to defeat, Miller promptly put his day job experience dabbling in data analysis to work creating and distributing eye-popping charts that soon made him a Team Reality celebrity and a Branch Covidien foil. 

Because my go-to guy for reliable scientific information about a deadly pandemic due to a novel coronavirus would always be an “entertainment industry content manager” who “dabbles in data analysis” and has a knack for producing “eye-popping charts.” Also, I note that a very common denialist tactic is to falsely label science a religion or cult and scientists priests or cult leaders.

As for propaganda, you need look no further than the “Defeat the Mandates” rally and to Joe Rogan for how the antivaccine movement now skillfully uses propaganda that conflates “freedom” with antivaccine beliefs, to the point where I’ve adopted the dictum: Scratch an anti-mandate protester, and you’ll almost always find an antivaxxer beneath. Only very rarely have I ever found exceptions to this rule.


This chapter is primarily about the conspiracy theories that fascism uses to attain and maintain influence and power. Prof. Stanley notes:

The task of defining conspiracy theories presents difficult issues. The philosopher Giulia Napolitano has suggested that we should think of conspiracy theories as “aimed” at some out-group, and in the service of some in-group. Conspiracy theories function to denigrate and delegitimize their targets, by connecting them, mainly symbolically, to problematic acts. Conspiracy theories do not function like ordinary information; they are, after all, often so outlandish that they can hardly be expected to be literally believed. Their function is rather to raise general suspicion about the credibility and the decency of their targets.

Conspiracy theories are a critical mechanism used to delegitimize the mainstream media, which fascist politicians accuse of bias for failing to cover false conspiracies. Perhaps the most famous twentieth-century conspiracy theory revolves around The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which was at the basis of Nazi ideology. The Protocols is an early-twentieth-century hoax, supposedly written as an instruction manual to Jews as a plot for world domination. Scholars have discovered that it was liberally plagiarized from Maurice Joly’s 1864 book, A Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu, a political satire set as a debate in hell between Montesquieu, who makes the case for liberalism, and Machiavelli, who makes the case for tyranny. Machiavelli’s arguments for tyranny are transformed, in The Protocols, into arguments made by the “Elders of Zion,” supposedly Jewish leaders bent on world domination. It appears to have been published for the first time as an appendix to the Russian author and religious mystic Sergei Nilus’s 1905 book, The Anti-Christ. In 1906, it was published serially in a St. Petersburg newspaper under the title “The Conspiracy, or The Roots of the Disintegration of European Society.” In 1907, it appeared as a book, published by the St. Petersburg Society for the Deaf and Dumb. It sold millions of copies throughout the world in the 1920s, including in the United States, where half a million copies were mass-produced and distributed by Henry Ford, the automaker, by 1925.

According to The Protocols, Jews are at the center of a global conspiracy that dominates the most respected mainstream media outlets and the global economic system, using them to spread democracy, capitalism, and communism, all masks for Jewish interests. The most prominent and influential Nazi leaders, including Hitler and Goebbels, firmly believed this conspiracy theory to be true. Throughout Nazi writings, we find denunciations of the “Jewish press” for failure to denounce or even mention the international Jewish conspiracy.

Just last weekend, we saw an example of fascist rhetoric from an antivaxxer in plain sight when Del Bigtree said this:

There’s nothing like invoking a modern day version of the lügenpresse (“lying press,” Adolf Hitler’s favorite way of describing the press when it looked into the corruption and violence of the Nazi Party before he became Chancellor and then a favorite propaganda point after he attained power) to echo fascist rhetoric from the past, particularly when coupled with a demand for retribution that goes beyond even the “Nuremberg” fantasies of antivaxxers who want a tribunal to “punish” vaccine-advocating scientists and doctors.

I once coined the phrase “the central conspiracy theory of the antivaccine movement” because the antivaccine movement is rooted in variations of a single conspiracy theory, as is all science denial. The idea behind the central conspiracy theory of the antivaccine movement is, obviously, that vaccines are harmful (and don’t work) but also that “they” (some combination of the CDC, FDA, federal and state governments, big pharma, and the medical profession) are “covering up” the evidence for this harm, all in the service of an agenda that is very similar to the sort of agenda attributed to Jews in The Protocols, namely control and world domination—even, “depopulation.” (I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen the claim that “vaccine passports” and mandates are about “control,” not public health.) Simpsonwood, the antivaccine conspiracy theory first pushed into the mainstream by RFK Jr. in 2005 was a version of this conspiracy theory in which the CDC met at the Simpsonwood conference center in suburban Atlanta in 2000 to “hide” supposedly “inconvenient data” showing that mercury in the thimerosal preservative used in several child vaccines at the time was associated with a hugely elevated risk of autism. (It wasn’t.) Six years ago, Del Bigtree and Andrew Wakefield’s propaganda film disguised as a documentary (VAXXED) told the story of the “CDC whistleblower,” who supposedly revealed that the CDC had in 2004 “covered up” data showing that the MMR vaccine produced a four-fold increased risk of autism in African-American boys. Then, if you want, you can get into even more bizarre conspiracy theories in which the “global elite”—cough, cough, Jews—are conspiring with aliens to depopulate the world, after which they would reap wealth and power ruling for our alien overlords. (I kid you not.) Unsurprisingly, it’s a conspiracy theory that’s been updated for COVID-19.

There’s also the antisemitism. For example:

I’ll just finish this section by noting that I’ve lost track of the number of times that antivaxxers have mistakenly assumed from my name that I’m Jewish and directed antisemitic conspiracy-laden rhetoric at me going way, way back.


In his chapter on this aspect of fascism, one that’s exemplified by the “stab in the back” mythology promoted by the Nazis that claimed that Germany would have won World War I if not for being “stabbed in the back” by Jews and Bolshevists, who undermined the war effort and led to their defeat.

Prof. Stanley writes:

Fascist propaganda typically features aching hymns to the sense of anguish that accompanies loss of dominant status. This sense of loss, which is genuine, is manipulated in fascist politics into aggrieved victimhood and exploited to justify past, continuing, or new forms of oppression.

It really doesn’t take very long to see examples of just how much antivaxxers share this sense of aggrieved victimhood and how eager they have been to claim the status of “victims.” It might be easy to laugh when they portray themselves as “bullied,” the “new civil rights movement” fighting against a new Jim Crow, and the victims of “othering” of the sort that led to the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide, and the like, but they really, really believe it. That’s why they have long likened vaccines and vaccine mandates to slavery (even likening pre-pandemic laws on vaccine mandates to the Fugitive Slave Act), rapesegregation and Jim Crowhuman trafficking and sex slavery, and child grooming. To further their message as victims, antivaxxers have co-opted holidays commemorating the end of oppression (e.g., Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery) and symbols of oppression (e.g., the Yellow Star of David used by Nazis to identify Jews in Germany and their conquered territories) and declared themselves to be like abolitionists.

Worse, the “oppressors” are often shared between fascism and the antivaccine movement, in particular “liberal” governments, atheistic scientists who dismiss mothers’ cries that vaccines “ruined” their children or families’ claims that COVID-19 vaccine killed their loved ones. Again, the ends of this “oppression” often very much resemble the ends of the Jewish elders in The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion or coded representations of Jews, such as the “global elite.”

Of course, the flip side of this sense of victimhood is that everyone is a “hero.” Returning to Eco’s classic Ur-Fascism:

In such a perspective everybody is educated to become a hero. In every mythology the hero is an exceptional being, but in Ur-Fascist ideology, heroism is the norm. This cult of heroism is strictly linked with the cult of death.

Those familiar with the antivaccine movement will have come across such rhetoric from antivaxxers before. For the “autism biomed” movement, it comes in the form of the “never give up, never surrender” culture when it comes to quackery to treat autism. I have discussed antivax fantasies consistent with this aspect of ur-fascism before, such as antivaxxer Kent Heckenlively’s taking inspiration from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings to envision himself, Walter Mitty-like, as Aragorn, the returned King of Gondor, marching on the Black Gate of Mordor in what he knew to be a suicide mission, but a mission that he and the heroes who followed him were willing to undertake in order to distract the Dark Lord Sauron and give the hobbits Frodo and Sam a chance to reach Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring. In his fantasy, Heckenlively even quoted Aragorn’s rousing speech to his soldiers as the battle was joined:

I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down, but it is not this day! This day we fight!  Then I jump off my horse, and with the setting sun behind me, a reckless, almost manic glint in my eye and a crooked grin, I am first to charge into the enemy army.

That was but one example, and I could easily recount many more of antivaxxers envisioning themselves risking their lives and even dying heroic deaths as “freedom fighters.” It’s a rhetoric that has only gotten more extreme since the pandemic and is shared by Proud Boys and other neofascist groups.

To quote Umberto Eco again, fascism demands that its followers “must feel besieged” and “humiliated.”

Arbeit Macht Frei and fascism

Arbeit Macht Frei

Arbeit Macht Frei (“Work sets you free” or “Work makes one free”) is a Nazi slogan famous for appearing on the entrance to Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps. You might ask: What does this slogan have to do with the antivaccine movement? Your puzzlement would be understandable, too, as I was initially puzzled as I read Prof. Stanley’s book; that is, until I hit this passage:

In fascist ideology, in times of crisis and need, the state reserves support for members of the chosen nation, for “us” and not “them.” The justification is invariably because “they” are lazy, lack a work ethic, and cannot be trusted with state funds and because “they” are criminal and seek only to live off state largesse. In fascist politics, “they” can be cured of laziness and thievery by hard labor. This is why the gates of Auschwitz had emblazoned on them the slogan ARBEIT MACHT FREI—work shall make you free.

In Nazi ideology, Jews were lazy, corrupt criminals who spent their time scheming to take the money of hardworking Aryans, a job that was facilitated by the state.

Upon reading that and the rest of the chapter, I was immediately reminded of a video that Del Bigtree made early in the pandemic, before there were even vaccines against COVID-19, in which he argued (and I’m quoting a lot of his rant):

What is the group that is really at risk? Let’s be honest about this and say something that might get me some trouble here, but let’s be honest. That group is very well known. It’s people over the age of 65—not just because you’re over the age of 65, but you’re sick with other diseases. You have heart disease. You have COPD. You have diabetes. You have issues, many of those issues coming from the fact that you didn’t treat your body very well while you were on this planet. And I want to talk about this for one minute as we close this down. That 0.26% are the most sick among us, and I have nothing against you. Go ahead and bubble wrap your house. Lock yourself in your basement. Go and do what’s necessary.

But here’s the problem. When you were my age, you were most likely eating food and fast food and Doritos and drinking Coca-Cola, which you’ll never find in my home. You were eating that all the time. You probably were drinking a lot of alcoholic beverages and really liked to party and enjoyed your cigarettes and said to yourself, “You know what? It’s more about the quality of my life right now. I don’t care if I live to be 100 years old. I want to enjoy my life right now. I like the finer things in life. I like good rich food. I like smoking a cigarette once in a while. I like to drink my drinks.” And you know what? Good on you! That’s the United States of America. No problem, that, some of my best friends think like that. It’s great, and they’re fun to hang out with. That’s perfectly OK.

But here’s what’s not OK. When you reach that point in your life where now your arteries are starting to clog up, your body is shutting down, and the alcohol is eating up your liver, and you have diabetes, or you have multiple COPD, you have asthma, you can’t breathe, all the cigarette smoking has finally caught up with you, you have heart disease because of the way you decided to live your life in the moment, here’s what you are now. You are pharmaceutical-dependent. You did that to yourself, not me. You decided that the moment mattered, and now you find yourself pharmaceutical-dependent, which is really what that 0.26% is, and that’s OK too. Thank God there’s drugs out there! There’s drugs that allow you to eat the Philly cheesesteak even though your body knows it hates it, but, go ahead, take the Prilosec. What difference does it make? Drug yourself! Drug yourself! Get through the day! Don’t exercise! Maybe just attach an electrode and see if a little electricity to the stomach will give you the abs you want.

Come on! Grow up! You made choices! And now that you’re pharmaceutically dependent, here’s what you don’t get to do. You don’t get to say I have to take a drug to protect you. That’s what this is. You don’t get to say I have to wear a mask and suck in my own CO2 to protect you. You don’t get to say I have to lock myself in a basement and destroy my career and take away my own ability to feed children because you are pharmaceutical dependent. You lived your life. You made your choice. And thank God we live in the United States of America so you don’t have to worry about grocery police standing outside a grocery store saying, “Really? You really need four liters of Coca-Cola? You really need four bags of Doritos or Chitos or Fritos or whatever the heck it is, little cupcakes with synthetic icing on them? You really need all that?” Because we could go there. We could go there. If we’re really going to get into each other’s schiznit, that’s what we could do.

Or could we live and let live? Eat all the Twinkies you want! Drink all the bourbon you want, and smoke as many cigarettes as you want, and when you find yourself pharmaceutical-dependent I will go ahead and say thank God the drug companies are there for you, but you do not get to make me pharmaceutical-dependent. You do not get to put me in the way of Heidi Larson, who wants to eradicate natural health and natural immunity and make us all pharmaceutical dependent.

In other words, even before there even was a vaccine against COVID-19, Del Bigtree was arguing that you shouldn’t be able to make him take a “drug to protect me” and thereby make him “pharmaceutical-dependent” just because you had been lazy and irresponsible and hadn’t done the hard work when you were young to keep yourself healthy, having chosen instead to party. It’s not his fault, Bigtree said, that you now scheme (like Jews) to protect yourself from COVID-19 by forcing upstanding health freaks like him, who presumably had been “hard working” and therefore “worthy” and morally deserving all his life in terms of his health, to become “pharmaceutical-dependent.”

None of this is new to the pandemic, either. Longtime readers might remember my writing about Bill Maher so many times back in the day. My favorite example of this sort of thinking is still a 2008 episode of Real Time With Bill Maher, during which Maher told his guest Bob Costas about influenza and the flu vaccine. During that interview, Maher claimed that because he lived right and ate a healthy diet he “never gets the flu” and “wouldn’t get the flu” on an airplane even if several people with the flu were coughing on that same plane. To his credit, Bob Costas’ reply was hilariously spot-on, “Oh, come on, Superman!

Without a doubt, antivaxxers do often believe that diet, exercise, and living the “right way” will make us all supermen and superwomen, able to resist the nastiest of vaccine-preventable diseases without actual vaccines. In their worldview, only those who are “lazy” and don’t do the hard work of keeping our body’s internal “terrain” sufficiently “pure” fall victim to diseases like COVID-19 or the flu. It’s a belief system that goes back centuries, if not millennia, to religious ideas about purity and will that have long been interwoven in “natural” or “alternative” medicine. Indeed, there’s a reason why diet gurus are so attracted to antivaccine beliefs as well, and it’s this idea that diet alone is a magic bullet against disease.

Come to think of it, there is more resemblance between antivaxxers and fascists in this aspect of fascism than I had previously thought as I started writing this.

Why antivaxxers are attracted to fascism and fascists to antivax beliefs

Obviously, despite the large areas of similarity between fascism and antivaccine beliefs, there is nowhere near a perfect confluence between the belief systems, which is why I leave the rest of Prof. Stanley’s components of fascism for the end. For example, I haven’t found that “law and order” are necessarily a huge chunk of antivaccine beliefs, unless you mean “natural law.” On the other hand, antivaccine fantasies about putting provaccine advocates, physicians, and scientists on trial for their “crimes” and labeling them as “criminals” could be viewed as fitting, although it is an imperfect fit. Similarly, the idea of strict natural hierarchies is another “sort of” fit, with antivaxxers viewing themselves as inherently superior due to their “purity” and their “goodness” and “worthiness” that makes them supposedly healthier to the point that they don’t need vaccines.

Finally, Prof. Stanley’s categories of “Sodom and Gomorrah” (the fascist fear of cosmopolitanism and sexual freedom, as represented by women’s rights and acceptance of LGBTQIA people) and sexual anxiety (fear of interbreeding and race-mixing) are related and relevant, just not as much as many of the other aspects of fascism. For example, one can arguably view antivaxxers’ longstanding obsession with false fears that vaccines contain “aborted fetal tissue,” “sterilize our young womenfolk,” and turn boys into homosexuals in this light. Similarly one could also view the way antivaxxers have weaponized transphobic memes to mock trans people and vaccination as fitting into these aspects of fascism, as they had long blamed vaccines for homosexuality before that.

I will conclude by emphasizing that, contrary to how this post will no doubt be characterized by antivaxxers, I am not arguing that antivaxxers are fascists. What I am doing, based on Prof. Stanley’s book describing components of fascism, is describing the commonalities between fascism and antivaccine beliefs that might account for why, right here, right now, in 2022, swaths of the antivaccine movement too large to be dismissed as mere aberrations have eagerly embraced outright fascist politics and why, in turn, the far right has eagerly embraced antivaccine beliefs under the guise of opposition to vaccine mandates.

Again, I’m not saying all—or even most—antivaxxers are fascist, but…

Let’s just say that antivaxxers are disturbingly…unbothered…by the fascist beliefs and rhetoric of the people whom they have attracted under their banner, to the point where it’s not inaccurate to call antivaxxers at least “fascist-adjacent,” if not fellow travelers.

Antivaxxers participate because there is considerable overlap in the Venn diagram of their belief systems and worldview and that of the actual fascists, and fascists are attracted to the antivaccine movement for the same reason. The match doesn’t have to be exact, just enough, because, as Eco observed:

This is not because fascism contained in itself, so to speak in their quintessential state, all the elements of any later form of totalitarianism. On the contrary, fascism had no quintessence. Fascism was a fuzzy totalitarianism, a collage of different philosophical and political ideas, a beehive of contradictions.

To Eco, fascism was an “all-purpose term because one can eliminate from a fascist regime one or more features, and it will still be recognizable as fascist,” a characterization that applies with respect to the antivaccine movement.

In the end, it matters less to me who embraced whom first. I used to think that antivaxxers had succeeded beyond their wildest dreams after having enticed the right to their cause with messages of “freedom,” “parental rights,” and resistance to government vaccine mandates, that they have “taken over the right,” but now I’m not so sure. These days, I’m starting to come around to the idea that it is the far right that, because of the commonalities between fascism and antivaccine beliefs, has “turned the tables” and absorbed the antivaccine movement whole, turning it into a tool to radicalize mainstream conservatives like Republicans by attacking COVID-19 mandates. Either way, now that vaccines and vaccine mandates have been hopelessly politicized, I fear very much for public health in the future, particularly given that I’m rapidly approaching what I hope to be my golden years and will, sooner than I’d like to admit, be one of the elderly “vulnerable” people so completely unvalued by antivaxxers.

It’s almost enough to make me miss those libertarian antivaxxers from the ancient history of less than a decade ago.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

289 replies on “Why is there now such an affinity between antivaxxers and fascism?”

Yeah this is pretty much right on the money. I grew up around a lot of these groups; the same folks who were trading VHS copies of Ruby Ridge and Waco propaganda later became Tea Party…most are now Let’s Go Brandon antivax chuckleheads.

I remember a guy from high school who enlisted around the same time I did…

His dad was the local, vocal “Janet Reno is a killer” crank. We were at one of those Nam Jam things they had back then and he got run out of there by a group of angry, scrappy-looking dudes. I found out later he was talking up his bs war record and those guys were a group of former LRP infantry who suffered a lot in Vietnam and could spot a fake from miles off. That was the first time I thought an adult could be lying about something as profound as service in war.

Back to his kid…I was home after advanced training on leave and he was bagging groceries. I asked what happened since he had joined the marines a few months before and he just shook his head. I’ve watched him fall from the crazy tree hitting every branch on the way down from there. First it was the Clintons are murderers, then it was 9/11 was an inside job. Today? You could probably guess-he’s an Oathkeeper. A guy who was run out of the marines after a few months.

It’s rich that the faction in pharmaceutical employ which uses the government to mandate medical procedures that people don’t need or want (many of whom have acquired immunity so also without scientific basis). This faction that tries to threaten doctors that disagree with them by going to medical boards and thinks people should “trust the experts and do what they say”. This authoritarian, corporatist faction is calling the folks resisting it ‘fascist’. Remarkable projection to say the least.

It’s presumptuous of me, but let me thank you on behalf of our kind host for your contribution so well constructed to reinforce some of his points.

Wanting to imagine that the people correcting misinformation work for Pharma doesn’t make the misinformation you want to believe less wrong. Just makes you wrong on another thing in addition.

Wow! It’s great when you go ahead and include your strawman in the title. I can’t wait to find out by what twisted reasoning people who are against mandates are “fascist”.

A simple definition of “fascism” is the merger of state and corporate power. Such as, you know, capture of the regulatory and policymaking apparatus by big pharma. Evidence of which we see plain as day when coercion is used to push an unsafe and ineffective gene therapy intervention on a public that neither needs nor wants it. Or when those pointing out inconvenient contraindications are censored. It must be opposite day again.

“Fascism (/ˈfæʃɪzəm/) is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition,”

Sorry, that sounds exactly like the bullcrap labarge and chaos the liar support. The worst people in modern society are pushing the “vaccines are evil, worthless, and not needed” crap, as you repeatedly demonstrate.

This is based on European right not American right. Read about Mussolini. The corporatist Pharma apologists are directly online with Mussolini. By contrast I support everyone’s right to acquire whatever Pharma product they want. Just don’t force me to do the same.

“This is based on…”

It’s based on your monumentally dishonest take on all of this and your insistence that your fact-free assertions about the effectiveness of vaccines and restrictions. Again, if you don’t like to have it pointed out that you are a source of nothing but lies change your ways.

@john la barge To repeat: you prove Orac right. There is a conspiracy of “pharma apologists” that of course includes all government agencies

Conspiracy has a specific meaning and I did not allege any conspiracy. I wouldn’t doubt that Fauci is involved in a conspiracy or two, but it’s relatively hard to prove. Rather I allege group think and confirmation bias. From a distance they look similar. But they are not the same. Group think is when a lot of folks with similar incentives and similar biases come to the same conclusion, that those incentives and biases influence. Conspiracy is when folks agree to do something bad (usually a crime).

@joihn labarge It would be useful if could actually prove your conspiracies
Your group think is called scientific consensus and your confirmationbias is rejecting bad papers or anecdotes.

Again that I wouldn’t doubt that Fauci conspired re the wuhan lab cover up or barrington declaration (see emails agreeing to marginalized and attempt to silence its signatories). I’m not commenting on that allegation. So it’s not up to me to prove. That scientific consensus is elevated to the point it is is offensive to real, actual, scientific thought. How does a peer review go if a scientist does not fall in line with this ‘consensus’?

@john labarge You actually never do any scientific thinking, try ti cite a paper. There are many antivax scientis makin lots of noise, and getting eaaers of mnau governors. There arew certainly not censoredl,

“How does a peer review go if a scientist does not fall in line with this ‘consensus’ ”

Peer review is the worst kind of review, apart from all the others.

You wouldn’t get an infectious disease specialist to review the latest cutting edge astro-physics paper and vice-versa. There’s too much background depth that people outside the field just haven’t got.

Great misreading, there! Also, your definition of fascism is simplistic and incomplete. I urge you to read Prof. Stanley’s book. You might learn something. He was referring to the political and ideological aspects of fascism. He’s not the only one who has written on the topic of course, and if you start exploring historical and philosophical writings about fascism, you’ll find a lot of agreement and some disagreement.

For instance, Robert Paxton:

  1. The primacy of the group. Supporting the group feels more important than maintaining individual rights.
  2. Believing that one’s group is a victim. This justifies any behavior against the group’s enemies.
  3. The belief that individualism and liberalism enable dangerous decadence and have a negative effect on the group.
  4. A strong sense of community or brotherhood.
  5. Individual self-esteem is tied to the perceived greatness of the group. Paxton called this an “enhanced sense of identity and belonging.”
  6. Extreme support of a “natural” leader, who is typically male. This results in one man taking on the role of national savior.
  7. Affinity for “the beauty of violence and of will, when they are devoted to the group’s success in a Darwinian struggle,” Paxton wrote. The idea of a naturally superior group or, especially in Hitler’s case, biological racism, fits into a fascist interpretation of Darwinism.

One could also go to the encyclopedia, which also describes some of the relevant characteristics, such as scapegoating and conspiracy theories, populism and anti-intellectualism, revolutionary self-image, anti-urbanism, sexism and misogyny,

Moreover, as Prof. Stanley and others who have written on this topic note, fascism is protean in that it tends to take on the characteristics of the individual country in which it takes root.

Again, I wasn’t referring to the economic or political system, but to the kinds of thinking that underlies fascist movements, as described by Prof. Stanley. Nor was I saying that the overlap is 100%. I was pointing out commonalities that make both fascism and antivaccine views not just compatible with each other, but attractive to each other.

The first time I saw something like this definition of fascism was ‘Guided by the Beauty of their Weapons’ by Elizabeth Sandifer, who described fascism as ‘less an ideology than an aesthetic’ and deliberately simplified the description down to three points:
– The golden age myth
– The stab in the back myth
– The great leader who will restore their true destiny
I was going to comment that Stanley’s description was missing the ‘great leader’ part, but I see Paxton’s description has it. Though I suppose the ‘great leader’ is the part that enables the transition from proto-fascism to active fascism, so depending on exactly what you’re trying to describe, that part may be optional.

Sandifer described the ‘great leader’ as someone above such petty concerns as morality, very much the Ayn Rand style of hero, always confident and always right (even when reality would disagree). And that article was written before most recent U.S. incarnation of the ‘great leader’ type…

Prof. Stanley actually did discuss the importance of the leader, analogizing him (and it’s always a him) to the patriarchal head of the family:

Recall the importance of the patriarchal family to fascism: The fascist leader is analogous to the patriarchal father, the “CEO” of the traditional family. The role of the father in the patriarchal family is to protect the mother and the children. Attacking trans women, and representing the feared other as a threat to the manhood of the nation, are ways of placing the very idea of manhood at the center of political attention, gradually introducing fascist ideals of hierarchy and domination by physical power to the public sphere.

Come to think of it, I forgot to include in my article the hostility of antivaxxers to trans people too, for instance:

Moving on:

In recent years, multiple countries across the world have been overtaken by a certain kind of far-right nationalism; the list includes Russia, Hungary, Poland, India, Turkey, and the United States. The task of generalizing about such phenomena is always vexing, as the context of each country is always unique. But such generalization is necessary in the current moment. I have chosen the label “fascism” for ultranationalism of some variety (ethnic, religious, cultural), with the nation represented in the person of an authoritarian leader who speaks on its behalf.

Also, to understand why there is some disconnect between Stanley’s description of fascism and other descriptions:

My interest in this book is in fascist politics. Specifically, my interest is in fascist tactics as a mechanism to achieve power. Once those who employ such tactics come to power, the regimes they enact are in large part determined by particular historical conditions. What occurred in Germany was different from what occurred in Italy. Fascist politics does not necessarily lead to an explicitly fascist state, but it is dangerous nonetheless.

Also, because antivaxxers are not primarily about the charismatic leader (although they certainly do have their share of them), I didn’t really emphasize this. I rather expected that either I would fall short in my explanation and/or antivaxxers would misrepresent what I’m saying in that I wasn’t saying that the antivaccine movement has all the characteristics of fascism, just enough of them to explain why there is an attraction between the antivaccine movement and fascist political groups.

“Anti-individualistic, the Fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with those of the State, which stands for the conscience and the universal, will of man as a historic entity (11). It is opposed to classical liberalism which arose as a reaction to absolutism and exhausted its historical function when the State became the expression of the conscience and will of the people.

The keystone of the Fascist doctrine is its conception of the State, of its essence, its functions, and its aims. For Fascism the State is absolute, individuals and groups relative. Individuals and groups are admissible in so far as they come within the State. Instead of directing the game and guiding the material and moral progress of the community, the liberal State restricts its activities to recording results. The Fascist State is wide awake and has a will of its own. For this reason it can be described as ” ethical “.”

This is elevation of the state above the individual. Pharmaceutical companies are indistinguishable from the state when it comes to vaccines- the state supports their lack of accountability on the basis that it’s good for the state-. Hence Pharma apologists in favor of forced vaccination are based in Mussolini’s brand of fascism- well intentioned but without proper accountability to the corporate masters.

As I said below, I expected that antivaxxers would misrepresent what I’m saying and try to cherry pick aspects of fascism that don’t fit. Of course, I wasn’t saying that the antivaccine movement has all the characteristics of fascism, just enough of them to explain why there is an attraction between the antivaccine movement and fascist political groups, which is why I will further quote Prof. Stanley:

My interest in this book is in fascist politics. Specifically, my interest is in fascist tactics as a mechanism to achieve power. Once those who employ such tactics come to power, the regimes they enact are in large part determined by particular historical conditions. What occurred in Germany was different from what occurred in Italy. Fascist politics does not necessarily lead to an explicitly fascist state, but it is dangerous nonetheless.

Antivaxxers sharing aspects of fascism does not make them fascist, but could potentially explain why they are so amenable to working with Proud Boys and other white supremacists (“purebloods,” anyone?) and why they fit so easily into far right politics. But go ahead, keep floundering and cherry picking. It amuses me.

It doesn’t get any more fascist than mandating a product for which the state shields the maker from liability because it’s thought to best for the state.

Once again, johnlabarge repeats the lie (and it IS a lie) that pharmaceutical companies are immune from liability for their vaccines.
This is a P.R.A.T.T. Vaccine manufacturers CAN be sued.

So how much have the folks who got permanent heart damage recovered? Any limits to their recovery?


So how much have the folks who got permanent heart damage recovered? Any limits to their recovery?

The Australian statistics are like this:

How common are myocarditis and pericarditis?

In some countries, higher rates of myocarditis and pericarditis have been reported with Spikevax (Moderna) than with Comirnaty (Pfizer). In Australia, we are seeing slightly higher estimated rates of myocarditis for Spikevax – 1.7 cases per 100,000 Spikevax doses versus 1.4 cases per 100,000 Comirnaty doses.

Who is at risk of these heart problems?

Myocarditis is more commonly reported after the second dose in teenage boys (11 cases per 100,000 Comirnaty doses and 16 cases per 100,000 Spikevax doses) and men under 30 (6 cases per 100,000 Comirnaty doses and 12 cases per 100,000 Spikevax doses). However, even in this population it remains rare.

How serious is myocarditis?

Myocarditis is often mild, and cases usually resolve after a few days with treatment and rest. Some cases are more serious need to be treated in hospital. Our analysis has found about half of the patients with suspected myocarditis were admitted to hospital. Five people with likely myocarditis were treated in intensive care. This represents about 1% of all likely myocarditis cases. Most patients admitted to hospital were discharged within 4 days.

This study from the US gives the myocarditis rate from COVID infection as 87.6 per 100000 (reported as per million in the paper) for males 12-17, compared to the 11-16 per 100000 cases for the vaccine. From the paper: “Young males infected with the virus are up 6 times more likely to develop myocarditis as those who have received the vaccine.”

@john labarge
Gargano JW, Wallace M, Hadler SC, et al. Use of mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine After Reports of Myocarditis Among Vaccine Recipients: Update from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices – United States, June 2021. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021;70(27):977-982. Published 2021 Jul 9. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm7027e2
Acute clinical courses were generally mild; among 304 hospitalized patients with known clinical outcomes, 95% had been discharged at time of review, and none had died.
Not that you ever read papers, ACIP however does.

Every Time I hear “Vaccines is like Nazi Germany” I seem to wonder when is the Next mass shooting at a hospital going to happen? I worry about this because I live in Sacramento where the point of origins of anti-vax conspiracy theories take place. Door To Door Vaccines originally meant someone from Sacramento area hospitals go to certain neighborhoods with low vaccination rates. But now its being tied to conspiratorial rants all because these far facist people cannot accept.

A simple definition of “fascism” is the merger of state and corporate power.

Um, nope. That would be communism.
But then, you are American, I can’t expect you to know the difference.

Funny enough, a reading of history shows what fascism was really like. Among other things, the Nazi government was for vaccination, but not for vaccination mandates.
Because, you see, their ideology was that they should be trusting their superior immune system (1).
And vaccines, by helping those inferior people to live, were not helping the Nazis’ general objective of getting rid of them.

(1) gee, that sounds familiar. Who is keeping saying that sort of things, these days? .

While this basis sounds correct re Nazis, the same is true among the provaxxers who shrug off myocarditis and blood clots and other vaccine injuries as rare. Very similar thinking.

But, if you read a bit more, being corporate is not a defining feature of fascism. It was a feature of fascism in Italy and Germany, but it’s not really a defining feature.

@ johnlabarge

the same is true among the provaxxers who shrug off myocarditis and blood clots and other vaccine injuries as rare.

We shrug them off so much, they make headlines in mainstream newspapers and are the subject of medical/scientific research.
And we adjust vaccine recommendations accordingly.

You will have to point to me to a leading provaxer who said “my superior health will spare me from vaccine adverse events”.
So, no, not similar at all.

But you are still behind mandates, subjecting the weak whose bodies react to the vaccine to injury and death for the benefit of the state and big Pharma, all while preventing independent review.

@john labarge There are actual statistics about myocardits These statistics atre analysed by ACIP. Visit their website.

“A simple definition of ‘fascism’ is the merger of state and corporate power.”

That’s not a good definition of fascism, but it’s not a description of communism either, at least not in the classic Marxist/Leninist formulations. In such systems, the private ownership embodied in corporations is abolished, and the functions previously by corporations absorbed into the State. There is indeed a econ/poly-sci term for “the merger of state and corporate power”: State Capitalism, typified e.g. by the current political system in mainland China.

Whether “being corporate” is or is not a defining feature of “fascism” depends on what you mean by each term. While fascist governments don’t “merge” with corporate power, they’re generally quite hospitable to capital. E.g. far-right governments in Latin America were called Banana Republics due to the extent they accommodated the anti-democratic, predatory-capitalist practices of United Fruit.

For American conservatives of the Reagan era, this accomodation of capital and profit was a key principle in foreign policy, c.f. Jeanne Kirkpatricks distinction between “authoritarian” regimes (e.g. apartheid South Africa) as being OK to deal with as they are prefereable to the “totalitarian” regimes exemplified by the Evil Empire.

By certain metrics, these distinctions between political system may be less significant than what various states have in common, as one could easily argue that the USA, China, and Russia are all functionally oligarchies.

@john labarge “You subject weaki to vaccines”. This is rich, coming from a guy who do not care if people with comorbidities get COVID.

Who said I don’t care if people with co-morbiities get covid? Are you reading my mind again? The reality is they are likely going to get covid. Hopefully they get early treatment.

Thiis they have comorbidities is a giveaway. It is their fault, it is not `?
Would you think that preventing a disease is better than treating it ? Viral diseases are very hard to treat.

Bravo, Orac!

So much of what you write resonates with what I observe. (Just before reading this, I noted on the last thread that conservative voters skew older whilst their leaders advocate policies that work against them which could potentially divide them).

Because I survey the altie myth system, I am achingly familiar with their intertwined beliefs about purity, the Edenic past and victim blaming. Our ancestors ( white people only) worked hard on farms, ate pure, unadulterated foods they grew themselves, lived moral, upstanding lives and espoused traditional values. Women took care of the children and the home and men worked the land or perfected useful crafts. No elitist universities for them! Thus, they live long, fruitful lives surrounded by intergenerational families.**

Interestingly, alties blame average people for their illnesses BUT when they get sick it is usually because of malfeasance- nanoparticles not a virus ( Adams) or due to faulty manufacturing of vitamins ( Null) not because they ate wrong or made poor choices ( Del).

They frequently draw a line between their own crowd and the average who will die soon after receiving the ” kill shot”/ “clot shot” whilst they clean up the mess and thrive in a New Golden Age. The cities will deteriorate beyond repair and their addled masses will scramble like rats as gangs rule and poisons contaminate the enviroment.
Two of the most egregiously misinforming estimate that only 5-7% “live right” and are righteous and that at least 30% will die of vaccines.

There’s so much more but I haven’t tine now.

** an altie’s descriptions of an Italian family “in the mountains” living naturally, all bowing to the elders’ wisdom as the older women scurry about serving multitudes of vegan dishes to all assembled. Sounds like a 1950s film of hearty, healthy peasant life.

I wonder what failure to make the right choice every time caused Del to get those hemorrhoids. Maybe he couldn’t resist one of those lard and sugar filled cupcakes just once. Those corporate commies are just so wily in their temptations away from the true path of purity.

A lot of people made fun of Bigtree for nearly bleeding to death from hemorrhoids, but, even though I haven’t done general surgery for 15 years, my training and early experience as a general surgeon showed me that hemorrhoids are no joke. Even so, I do understand the inclination, given the inflated view of himself that Bigtree obviously has.

Interestingly, alties blame average people for their illnesses BUT when they get sick it is usually because of malfeasance

You sometimes see this in religion too—good things happened because you prayed, bad things because you didn’t pray hard enough. It can never be your fault.

The more I read about how people apply the concept of “purity” to human existence, the more I think the entire concept should be limited to chemistry and food safety, and even then talking only about contamination percentages.

Because as soon as “purity” is applied to living things you get racism, misogyny, and religious radicalization. To put it bluntly, “purity” is gross.

I’ve noticed a lot of anti-vaxers referring to themselves as ‘pure bloods’ lately. Can’t help but think of Harry Potter.

Even eight years ago libertarians were not good people. Their “philosophy” then was that even though they had taken advantage of the structures society put in place to aid people, they felt that once they’d achieved a comfortable life they wanted those systems removed so that
– they could call themselves self made
– the wrong people (poor, minorities, etc.) could not have access to the same assistance

They’ve gotten worse over time, but when your entire worldview is essentially that of a spoiled five-year old boy (“might makes right”, “I deserve everything”, and “I got mine screw everyone else”) I’m not sure what else could expected of them.

To be honest, I miss actual libertarians, as much as I detested many of them. Most of them have either become indistinguishable from generic right wingers or have even started to embrace fascist ideology.

Someone has been watching too much MSNBC, CNN, and consuming too much NYT, WAPO, etc.

No, the proud boys are not fascists. By their actions amd their own damn charter, they are quite the opposite of fascists. You rely on your readers to accept that they are de facto “fascists” and then align them with “antivaxxers.” Many of your readers accept this as the truth already, so they don’t queue on it and are thus easily swayed by whatever else you connect the claim to.

First, it’s obvious the proud boys are not fascists, since, ya know, they literally combat fascism, authoritarianism, etc. They don’t start fights, but they do end them. They are essentially a bunch of libertarians except that they’re against open borders (and rightfully so).

How out of touch can a person be to write so much without doing some cursory (honest) research to support the foundation of the claims they’re making? You assume so much that isn’t even true, and rely on it for later points.

Second, most of the people you call “antivaxxers” aren’t “antivaxxers.” Does rejecting a single vaccine make a person “antivax?” If so, do you blindly accept all substances injected into you as long as it’s called a vaccine? No? Then you’re “antivax,” aren’t you?

Talk about “unreality.”

Funny, also, that that was the MO of Hitler’s Brownshirts much of the time, although times were different and the Communists had way more of their own street brawlers that “Antifa” ever has.

“They so do end them” what a joke. I almost spit beer out my nose. Keep it up, I’m loving it!


No, the proud boys are not fascists. By their actions amd their own damn charter, they are quite the opposite of fascists.

So when the self-styled militia wing of the Proud Boys (those oath-sworn “Western chauvinists”) attended the Unite The Right white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in 2017, marching with their tiki torches and chanting “You shall not replace us”, sporting their fashie haircuts borrowed from the Hitler Youth of the 1930s, they were trying their level best to tell us that they are not fascists?

Not sure that worked for them. Maybe they should appoint a new Communications Gauleiter.

“First, it’s obvious the proud boys are not fascists, since, ya know, they literally combat fascism, authoritarianism, etc. ”

That is the best “here’s how to tell I have absolutely no grasp of reality at all” demonstration I’ve seen in a long time. Are you ignorant or simply lying?

re Paxton’s 5 cited by Orac:
followers’ self- esteem is enhanced by identification with the greatness of the group

Anti-vaxxers experience a sense of superiority from their membership which may compensate for their belief of being inferior in some way.
A parent of a disabled child can, by becoming a mother warrior, be elevated from the ( perceived as) lowly status of caregiver to a leader ( warriors traditionally used to be powerful men, not caregivers) attacking the powers-that-be whilst still retaining her motherly goodness. This is an acceptable role for women who are otherwise relegated to secondary roles. Most of the leaders ( alties) are men although a few women sneak into anti-vax as mother-warriors: both aspects are necessary. They can’t just be warriors or freedom fighters.
Similarly, the less educated, male and female, can enjoy superiority to the ethically compromised elites.

I often remark that my own partIcular history and background make me their antithesis: as we have seen demonstrated often from alties’ disparaging comments to me here.

Indeed. Let’s look at another passage from Prof. Stanley’s book and see if it applies:

As the fear of “them” grows, “we” come to represent everything virtuous. “We” live in the rural heartland, where the pure values and traditions of the nation still miraculously exist despite the threat of cosmopolitanism from the nation’s cities, alongside the hordes of minorities who live there, emboldened by liberal tolerance. “We” are hardworking, and have earned our pride of place by struggle and merit. “They” are lazy, surviving off the goods we produce by exploiting the generosity of our welfare systems, or employing corrupt institutions, such as labor unions, meant to separate honest, hardworking citizens from their pay. “We” are makers; “they” are takers.

Many people are not familiar with the ideological structure of fascism, that each mechanism of fascist politics tends to build on others. They do not recognize the interconnectedness of the political slogans they are asked to repeat. I have written this book in the hope of providing citizens with the critical tools to recognize the difference between legitimate tactics in liberal democratic politics on the one hand, and invidious tactics in fascist politics on the other.

That’s the same reason I wrote this post. Antivaxxers often repeat fascist talking points and apply them to vaccines without knowing that that’s what they’re doing. See how much antivaxxers deny it when it’s pointed out!

In fact, I’ll venture that many of their leaders resent the educated, cosmopolitan, urban elite -as well as the multi-cultural inhabitants- who are not as morally or ethnically pure as they are ( guess what ethnic group many scientists, doctors and professors belong to) although they often mimic their credentials and titles.

Spot-on post, Orac. I’ve been absorbing news on the trucker convoy through my mom and it’s crazy how many supporters there are and how fervent they are that the truckers are righting a wrong. With even the Conservatives showing sympathy, I’m really concerned for the next election.

They’re “Western Chauvinists” per the special I just watched where their leaders said so. Unless you’re going to claim that was manipulated video, too?

That sounds like pathetic code for white supremacist since “Western” societies were usually white.

I seems that they are rather keen on having women stay at home raising kids while the men work and have fights. They are against benefits because it allows women to leave their husbands and become single mothers. At he same time they are supposed to venerate the housewife. The implication being that the man rules the roost and the woman stays at home or gets the pimp hand and likes it.

So, John, are they a bunch of blokes that you can get behind and support? Why don’t you ask a battered wife how she feels about a group of people who want to take away an escape route?

Your ignorance and fundamental dishonesty seem unbounded labarge.

From November 2020:

“Kyle Chapman, the founder of a “tactical defense arm” of the Proud Boys known for engaging in street violence, claimed in a message on the encrypted chat app Telegram that he has staged a “coup” against the current leader of the Proud Boys — a Cuban man named Enrique Tarrio.

“We will confront the Zionist criminals who wish to destroy our civilization,” Chapman wrote after using other bigoted language. “We recognize that the West was built by the White Race alone and we owe nothing to any other race.”

Or I actually didn’t know they were white supremacists. Is this guy running the whole group now? What white supremacist causes do they support?

What white supremacist causes do they support?

You can very readily find this out for yourself and I have no interest in enumerating them for you; one is bad enough.

You are either stunningly ignorant of a subject you’ve chosen to upbraid others about, or you are lying. Maybe you think this is a disinformation tactic which will work on a few casual readers, causing them to be a little more neutral to the Proud Boys in particular and neo-Fascists in general, but you don’t seem to realise that your ignorance and/or lies are sufficiently ridiculous to set off alarm bells to far more people. So, please, do carry on making an idiot of yourself.

@ Lkmk
With even the Conservatives showing sympathy

During the Yellow Vest demo on the Hill back in, IIRC, 2019 Andrew Scheer, then Leader of the Opposition addressed the motley crowd. I believe a few demonstrators were hanging Trudeau in effigy at the time thogh they may just have had posters hanging him.

At the moment the Conservatives seem torn between various factions but it they are too anti-demo now they will bleed support to Maxime Bernier and the People’s Party. So they have to look at least somewhat sympathetic.

“Antivaxxers using the rhetoric of “freedom” vs. “oppression” is nothing new” Yes, it’s not a surprise that as soon as people start wanting to mandate others to get vaccinated, other people will start opposing them by talking about freedom and oppression. Have you given any consideration to the idea that it’s leaning in the fascistic direction to insist that everyone in society be vaccinated or punished for refusing?

it’s leaning in the fascistic direction to insist that everyone in society be vaccinated

Not historically true.
I found out recently that, while the Nazis were provaccine, they were against vaccine mandates.
Pre-nazi Germany had actually a coercive policy of mandatory/forced vaccination, notably against smallpox, and the Nazi regime rescinded that policy.
I cannot blame them. While I am for mandates and social limitations, I draw the line at forced medical measures.

That being said, it would be rather childish to start a meme “Hitler was against vaccine mandates”

Mussolini made the trains run on time, but that doesn’t mean that trains meeting schedule is fascist. I managed to phrase what I was trying to say better on the second try: that coercing people to be vaccinated is seen as an override of their natural right to bodily autonomy and feels oppressive to those who don’t want them. That’s what I meant by leaning in the fascistic direction. I found it ironic that he would issue such a complaint in a post devoted to the affinity between AV’s and fascism.

You know who else forced people to wear seatbelts and mandated child safety seats? Hitler!

Few people know this, but it also was the Nazis who initially forced manufacturers to list calories on food packaging, because the Master Race was starting to get pudgy.

Do youn consider speed limits fascist ? Slippery slope argument does not hold in this case.
You notice that Orac spoke about “fight against the language”. Instead of arguing about reasonableness of a regulation, you cry fascism.

Forcing experimental medical procedures on citizens without accountability for injury and without disclosing safety data for independent review is different than a speed limit.


The claim that the vaccine is “experimental” or “investigational” derives from a very US-centric view. Anything not yet fully approved by the FDA has to be labeled “investigational” by law and regulation. So when the vaccines were issued under emergency use authorization, by law they had to be labeled “investigational,” even though from a scientific view they had undergone phase III clinical trials involving tens of thousands of subjects, making them not “experimental” any more. Since then, the vaccines have been fully FDA-approved for adults and children over 12; so antivaxxers have pivoted to calling them “experimental” for children. Never mind that billions of doses of the vaccine have been administered with an excellent safety record now.

No, the vaccines are NOT experimental and have not ben “experimental” since they passed phase III clinical trials over a year ago. Anyone who calls them “experimental” doesn’t know WTF he is talking about.

@john labarge Why we have speedn limits ? There wer of course studies . You can always reed clinical trials data.
Interesting thing s would you acceptt vaccines after FDA has published raw data ?

@john labarge Vaccines are actually approved after clinical trials have been conducted. FDA director obviously do not read clinical trials data.

And almost everywhere in the world, the FDA has no authority over whether vaccines are approved or not.

Funny that all those authorities are approving COVID vaccines, too.

“And almost everywhere in the world, the FDA has no authority over whether vaccines are approved or not.”


Yeah. Here in the UK we wouldn’t trust foreigners not to get it all wrong. We prefer our own organisations do the analysis whilst we relax with a pack of digestive biscuits and a cup of PG Tips.

Adjacent topic, but in this context it really hit me how the whole “Evan is my science” comment is super creepy. She’s basically admitting to experimenting on her kid and viewing him as a guinea pig and not, you know, her kid. Not quite the “warrior mom” mantel so many of them want to claim, is it? Bad enough that they aim the “Arbeit Macht Frei” mentality at strangers, but they also aim it at their own children. How dare their child need support? How dare their child take away from their time? How dare their child be less than perfect? We’ve heard so many antivaxxers come here and grip about how much time, energy and money their disabled child costs them. I can almost wrap my head around people hating the impact of strangers on them, though I vehemently disagree with it, but you own child?

Nice additional perspective. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but you make a good point about the whole autism biomed movement falling under arbeit macht frei. It’s not just for kids, though. It’s for the parents, with the whole ethos of the culture being that parents should “never give up” and “keep trying.”.

I became aware of the antivax movement from involvement in disability rights issues. There is a LOT of opposition to developments in that field where parents will claim that things won’t work, because their child is “too disabled” but what they really mean is it would require too much work on the part of the parents. A lot of the opposition to ASAN, for instance, or more broadly, things like supported decision making instead of guardianship.

“Antivaxxers using the rhetoric of “freedom” vs. “oppression” is nothing new”. It’s almost as if coercing people to be vaccinated is seen as an override of their natural right to bodily autonomy and feels oppressive to those who don’t want them.

True but, if they are unvaccinated by choice, then why should the unvaccinated person care? Surely being deliberately unvaccinated means that they accept the risk?

Given what is widely known about these ‘vaccines’ both accept the risk of infection – that is unless you listen to Maddow or Biden- vaccinated and unvaccinated accept the risk of infection. Hence no societal agreement that there is zero covid exposure or risk for anyone. Hence societal arguments about the vax fail. Hence as it pertains to this post, covid vaccine mandates are authoritarian (devoid of any rational basis). Hence those who favor them are authoritarian. Since the mandates require mostly state and coercive power, that makes everyone here who supports the mandates affined to fascism.

@ johnlabarge

“Hence those who favor them are authoritarian.”

Democratic, you mean. They derive from a democratic decision.

That’s the whole problem:

People who hate vaccines hate those who enforce them.
People who hate democracy do not give democratic legitimacy to democratic decisions.

In the end, this a wedding made in heaven…

@john labarge Again you forget the numbers. What is probability of breaktrough infection ? The number is out there, try to find it out.,
I assure you, they are vaccines

Federally and most states are not democracies. They are republics. Also there are limits on democracies when it comes to individual rights. Otherwise the mob could do anything to anyone.

@ johnlabarge

I do not care about your nitpicking.

I’m french. We also are a Republic here. And I’m fed up with it: people use this word here all day long, “République”, as if it magically enabled them to have a valid opinion without even taking the bother to think.

I use the word democracy as an umbrella term. Meaning, very roughly, freedom of speech to enable public debate and decision taken by officials with a public backing through mechanisms such as elections.

Decision is for action.

Talking is for deliberation.

That is democracy.

You may always talk and try to convince whoever you want. That’s a given. What is not a given is the right to obstruct decision by claiming that we haven’t talked enough.

Especially in a pandemic.

Not adhering to these basic rules is anti-democratic.

That point is valid for democracies, republics, theocracies, cleptocracies, ochlocracies, whatever they like to call themselves.

@ johnlabarge

“Also there are limits on democracies when it comes to individual rights. Otherwise the mob could do anything to anyone.”

Yeah ?

Well, people complaining about vaccines do not complain about compulsory sectioning in psychiatric wards.

Where I live, I was the only one complaining about the compulsory sectioning in a psych ward of Fourtillan, the director of the Hold-Up conspiracy theory documentary about vaccines.

All these oh-so-touchy people on fundamental rights complain when vaccines kick in, but when you have genuine fundamental rights issues, like use of psychiatry in a way that circumvents legal process (which is my assessment of the Fourtillan case), or, for fun, stealth sterilisation of women in psych wards, you find no one complaining intelligently.

And usually, two posts down the road, they then ask for SuperMax psych wards for muslims.

Pot calling the kettle black.

And no. 1) there are arguments that are serious that explain why vaccines are not covered by these individual rights 2) you have a system designed to handle such questions. It’s called the Supreme Court. Or “votations” as we have them around in Switzerland. In any case, there are procedures to settle these questions, and, yes, they are not left to the mob. They are left to the judges of the Supreme Court in the US, or to direct democracy in Switzerland, where they did vote on compulsory vaccinations a few years back and where they will keep voting on. You’d be living in Pakistan, China, Russia, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Mauritania, Central African “Republic” (you like that word…) I’d have a different assessment of the situation.

You would be in France, I would concede that there are no such genuine mechanisms to safeguard fundamental rights (administrative courts do not really cut it) and the European Court of Human Rights is too distant and too soft politically.

But you’re not in France. You’re in the US. You have no excuse. Because you are a democracy, whether you want to call it a Republic or not, whereas France has a very peculiar concept of democracy, whose tradition indeed is that the State has every right, only limited by the Constitution which only pays lip service to fundamental rights given that there are little genuine judicial power to enforce them: no independence of judiciary w/r executive power (or lip service to independence given that prosecutors are dependent and at the order of government.)

@ johnlabarge

There is NO freedom without a balancing of rights and responsibilities. We have laws against drinking and driving, against speeding, even laws requiring people make sure their car brakes are in working order and, of course, driver’s licenses and insurance required. We have laws against smoking indoors in public places. Yep, vaccines not quite the same; but principle the same. Even if someone is asymptomatic, they could transmit virus to those who couldn’t be vaccinated or vaccine didn’t take. In addition, several studies have found that those who have actually been infected with COVID-19 didn’t necessarily build up high antibody counts, so they could be reinfected and end up hospitalized and/or infect others. Our hospitals are breaking from the load of COVID cases and hospital personnel suffering burn-out. So if someone who didn’t vaccinate, whether having earlier experienced COVID and not built up sufficient antibodies or first time becomes hospitalized or infects someone else who becomes hospitalized, they are burdening our system, so not just a personal choice.

Myocarditis has been a result of the vaccine; but it is rare and in almost all cases has not had long term consequences. The smallpox vaccine actually killed between 1 and 2 per million; but without it, smallpox killed at least 25% of population, i.e. 250,000 people. Without the COVID vaccine together with mitigation we would have exceeded 2 million deaths, so a handful of mainly mild adverse events is nothing. And this is not counting the cases of long covid. If one were to pick and choose rare events for just about anything, the world would come to a halt.

As for the concept of corporations and profits. If you go to a supermarket you can purchase potato chips, soft drinks, etc. or fresh fruit and veggies. The producers of both make a profit and the supermarket makes a profit. Quite simply everything that sells makes a profit. Making a profit doesn’t say in any way, shape, or form if a product is beneficial, harmful, or some combination benefit/harm ratio. And the companies manufacturing the vaccines are NOT totally without liability. If during the manufacturing process they deviate from agreed upon procedures, if vaccine contaminated, etc. they are still libel. If not exempted in general from liability no company would ever manufacture vaccines. Quite simply, the absolute safest vaccine ever could potentially have serious adverse reactions for 1 in 10 million, while saving the lives of hundreds of thousands; but given our legal system, one lawsuit could literally bankrupt the company. Which is why we have the Vaccine Court that awards damages, to safeguard the vast majority who would suffer without vaccines. This actually happened with the polio vaccine, despite expert witnesses that the unfortunate child’s paralysis was caused by the actual virus and not the vaccine (reyes v. wyeth laboratories). How? Simple, a vaccine takes 10 – 14 days to bring the immune system up to speed. If someone infected prior to this, then will get the disease despite being vaccinated. If you are putting on your Kevlar vest and get shot before its on . . .

It is NOT fascism to have laws that protect others, whether drinking, smoking, or infecting others and/or burdening our health care system.

And you need NOT wear a mask nor get vaccinated if you live on a farm or stay at home and pay to have food delivered to your doorstep and work using your computer; but if you go out in public you then become part of a community.

One last point. Every political system, every nation, has some features in common. Democracies have police forces, so do fascist states and communist states. Democracies have traffic lights, so do . . . So, yep, IDIOTS like you can always equate anything and everything with fascism or communism. I guess you would like to abolish social security, Medicare, etc. since socialist and communist nations have pension systems and various types of state run health care?

1) Doesn’t stop transmission ‘
means it doesn’t ultimately protect others.
2) mandates by the state when no one is accountable for vax injury is the state taking possession of the individual
3) The reason for the protest is to defeat fascists.
4)The hospitals and health care system brought capacity problems on themselves before covid.
5) The risk benefit of vax/covid doesn’t justify the vaccine for most age groups.
6) Forcing and mandating medical procedures people don’t want and that the manufacturers aren’t accountable whilst hiding safety data is fascist at the level of the worst dictators. I hope it is met with the full force of resistance of those opposed.

1) It does reduce trsnsmission rate., considerably. Get tge numbers
2) there is an injury compensation program
3) who are the fascists ?
4) COVID causes lots of hospitalisations
5) just wrong. Give some numbers yourself.and we can argue
6) You should really check what worst dictators have done. Safety data is public, actually. There are many independent studies about these matters

“1) Doesn’t stop transmission ‘
means it doesn’t ultimately protect others.”

As far as I am aware, vaccinated people with a breakthrough infection tend to clear the infection faster than unvaccinated people. Which means that your point 1 is incorrect. Or, at least, conveniently dishonest. Shorter infectious time means fewer people will contact the disease from you. The downside is probably inside the family home where there is close contact for the most infectious period.

However, I’m sure that, in the event that No 1 was true, you’d support strict isolation measures to reduce transmission instead?

So the implication is that you won’t have the vaccine and you wouldn’t isolate if you had Covid anyway?

Who said I wouldn’t isolate? I had covid and did isolate. Will all vaccinated people be contagious for the same interval? Will they know it?

@john labarge seven masks are not needed. Isolation is useful if here are symptoms, you should it yourself, but would not. That is a part of problem.

“Wait are we mind reading now?”

No. Just that there’s always the problem of asymptomatic infection. So, unless we test regularly, we won’t know we’re infectious. In this case, any reduction in transmission due to immunity (vaccine or previous infection) is a good thing for society at large.

“Who said I wouldn’t isolate? I had covid and did isolate. Will all vaccinated people be contagious for the same interval? Will they know it?”

Since you said you supported MY right to isolate rather than just saying that, yes, you would isolate yourself, it seemed fair to double check.

Don’t you guys test yourselves whilst isolating? In the UK we can only go back to work after two negative LF tests, 24 hours apart, starting day 5 of the isolation period at the earliest. Vaccinated or not.

Yes I tested with antigen tests. I was still positive for a day when I was already feeling better and then tested negative. Whole thing lasted about 6 days.

1) How many times gave you been told that, just because it doesn’t provide sterilizing immunity, that does NOT mean it fails to stop transmission? How many times? Stop this sad lie.

2) I promise you that someone is accountable for vaccine injuries if the have been negligent or acted with malice. You talk about accountability while taking none for your nihilist views and their effects on those around us.

3) Whatever you say.

4) explain with evidence how the hospitals and healthcare system brought a capacity problem on themselves. Please be detailed or be assumed the fool you are for trading in such tripe. I suppose you think we should just keep a fully-staffed ICU with fifty open beds ready 24/7 just in case we might have a new pandemic outta nowhere when the average critical census is three patients, huh? Who is going to pay for that? You?

5) prove that the risk is higher than the benefit, by age group, citing epidemiological evidence. Not some bs a gas bag you found farted out on YouTube. Not some random preprint paper in a pay for play journal. Not some random blog. Do so or stop stating this as fact. Include a full and comprehensive analysis and breakdown of the findings point by point. Include your math. Show your work. You are so certain you know this is true-PROVE IT.

6) This is a silly conglomeration of baloney that amounts to nothing more than warrior fantasy by a person who has clearly never seen the horror of a civil war first hand. Don’t be so sure you won’t be the first to go, Jack.

If it doesn’t reduce transmission fully, then eventually your number comes up. Means everyone is going to get it. As interactions out in the worlds approach infinite the number of chances to catch/transmit the virus overwhelms the odds. Hence, a marginal reduction in transmission doesn’t reduce risk in aggregate at all really.

If it doesn’t reduce transmission fully, then eventually your number comes up. Means everyone is going to get it.

Oh, absolutely! That’s why smallpox is still around, polio is still common, and everyone gets the diseases we vaccinate against!
Oh wait. Smallpox is extinct, polio is almost extinct, and hardly anyone gets diseases we vaccinate against.
Seriously, a prevention rate of over 90% WILL stop the pread of most diseases, despite what you wrongly believe.

Smallpox and Polio vaccines were much more sterilizing. I’m not aware of requiring boosters of polio vaccines every couple months, for example or most people with the polio (not some , but MOST) eventually getting polio. See the difference?

As writers from the Left, we are disturbed by this turn of events. We don’t think there is anything progressive about the current move towards compelled — and in places mandatory — Covid vaccinations. These are discriminatory against minority communities, many of whom for historical reasons are suspicious of medicine and the state, and have had lower vaccine take-up rates.

The pressure from multinational donors for African countries to reach a 60% vaccination target, meanwhile, has led to disturbing recent reports of forced vaccination in Rwanda, where vaccinees have been handcuffed and beaten to comply. Finally, and equally disturbingly, the compulsion element has led to a huge rise in distrust of the medical establishment, which will have serious future consequences for medical care.

And yet, one of the ironies of the mainstream Left’s response to Covid is that, as the pandemic has evolved, this definition of the “collective good” and perceptions of risk has been revealed to be entirely ethno- and Western-centric.

poor African countries are required to get into debt to procure vaccines, and vaccinate large numbers of people, IN ORDER TO PROTECT OLDER AND WEALTHIER PEOPLE IN RICH COUNTRIES.

Moreover, the rhetoric around universal vaccination is leading to negative impacts in poorer countries, where health funding and resources have many competing and more deserving priorities: as the Ghanaian historian of medicine Samuel Adu-Gyamfi wrote in December: “It should be up to African countries to determine their own public health goals, and Covid-19 is far from being the most serious public health concern in Africa today.”

The fact that even the vaccinated can catch and transmit the virus is also the reason why it is simply false to claim that by getting jabbed you are contributing to “eradicating Covid”.

In fact, a real sharing of risk and collective approach would acknowledge that it is unacceptable — and certainly unprogressive — to force poor countries to immiserate themselves further with World Bank loans to vaccinate unwilling populations who are already suspicious of medical colonialism, in order to protect richer people with much longer life expectancies. The Western liberal’s comforting canard, that “No one’s safe until everyone’s safe”, is shown really to mean that “Until I feel safe, I will continue to destroy the livelihoods and health outcomes of poor countries”

But there are many pieces of public healthcare that must now be put back together. Trust in the public health profession has weakened, with grave potential future health outcomes.

First to respond to Julian Frost for spreading this misinformation
Julian Frost
January 29, 2022 at 6:11 am

Once again, johnlabarge repeats the lie (and it IS a lie) that pharmaceutical companies are immune from liability for their vaccines.
This is a P.R.A.T.T. Vaccine manufacturers CAN be sued.

Alex Azar invoked the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act which make covid vaccine makers immune from lawsuits until 2024.

To Orac

That was not the reason I posted that. If my memory is correct, when Covid ‘Warp Speed’ was first announced, you expressed hesitancy or doubt about the resulting vaccines and the problems that might result from the speed of development. If you were to post that type of hesitancy today, it would get you labeled as anti-vaxxer.

You later changed you position, better science does that.

During these last two years the general consensus about vaccines, face mask, lock downs, protective screens, time of quarantine, one way isles, if you get the vaccine you won’t get covid or you won’t spread covid etc. and if you questioned any of the positions you were labeled as anti-science or science denier and if you ‘twitted’ (sic) or posted on facebook or other media, it might get you banned.

Now that the science has changed (as science always does) and older/outdated science is replaced by, (hopefully) better science. But people remember what was claimed and what they had to do to stop the virus and are having a hard time believing what was once claimed. ‘Trust in the public health profession has weakened, with grave potential future health outcomes.’ Its not just a left or right position anymore

In poker terms its called “over playing your hand”.

@Kay West Under PREP act, vaccine manufscturers could be sued in the case of willful misconduct. All antivaxxer speculations are accusations of willful misconduct.
In case of Warp Speed, then president speculated injecting disinfectants to cure COVID. Who would trust such a person ?

You can’t convince me this isn’t a right-wing grift. If you’re really a leftist who thinks it’s somehow more egalitarian for a developing nation to minimize debt at the expense of not providing its most vulnerable people potentially lifesaving healthcare, I’m incredibly curious where you learned about leftist from.

Public health have not been political until now
Interesting thing is that poor countries are forced to vaccinate for benefit of rich ones. Benefit here is to prevenr the spread of COVID. This would benefit poor ones, too,

Oh, plese, spare me the BS about public health never having been “political.” That’s ahistorical nonsense. Public health has always been political. It could never be otherwise because public health requires public and government policies to implement.

@Orac Public health have not been a tool partisan of politics before. Of course, implementing public health regulations is political action.

For once I agree with Orac. Any thing implicating public policy is by necessity political. Unfortunately our politics is heavily influenced by money, specifically money from Pharmaceutical companies. They have been able to continually increase demand for their products through mandates via 1) vaccine recommendations to CDC which are passed as requirements in various states, 2) standard of care designation of certain drugs (e.g. Purdue). They have further convinced the government to shield them from accountability. This has been accomplished through a combination of lobbying and revolving doors with CDC and FDA. As a result trusting anything these entities say without inquiry is problematic. Now many of them want to censor those critical of their product and are pushing that through advertising dollars to big media and big tech. They ant to censor or prosecute doctors critical of the vaccines as well so you can’t even trust that your Doctor isn’t under control. Bottom line is I don’t know how anyone can trust these folks at all.

@john labarge & Orac National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act was signed into law by Ronald Reagan. Interesting thing is that in this case leftist democrats made most of the noise. Perhaps trial lawyer lobby was in action ? Act provided fault-free compensation, a major no-no toi them.

@ johnlabarge

One more point how intentional or stupidly misapplying socialism, communism, fascism. Bernie Sander’s is promoting Medicare for All. Opponents are calling it socialized medicine. It is NOT. I lived in Sweden for almost 10 years. Hospitals, clinics, all buildings were owned and run by various layers of government; e.g., municipal, county, national. And medical staff were on salary. Socialized medicine. I lived in Canada for two years, hospitals independent non-profits and doctors in private practice. Both systems better than ours, a complex, dysfunctional, costly system where 30 cents on dollar goes to excess bureaucracy, bloated CEO salaries, and profits. Unfortunately, just saying word “socialism” closes many peoples’ minds, so they don’t investigate further. I actually wrote two papers on this. The U.S. health care system is NOT only the most expensive by far in the world; but ranks poorly on infant mortality, life-expectancy, care of chronic conditions, etc. and, yet, the actual health care portion is paid for by our taxes, then turned over to private for-profit sector. Oh, we do have one socialized medical system in U.S. VA hospitals. And they rank high on quality of care, especially given the serious conditions of many of their patients. Yep, they’ve had some scandals. Main one was long waiting lists, reason, more and more people moving to Southwest; but older VA hospitals in Pittsburg, etc have more than enough beds, etc, while Southwest doesn’t. And one scandal of poor health care at one center; but because of one group of corrupt/dishonest/callous people, which could happen anywhere. Read my two papers:

Joel A. Harrison (2008 May). Paying More, Getting Less. Dollars & Sense Magazine

Joel A. Harrison (2018 Aug 10). The Case for A Non-Profit Single-Payer Healthcare System. Physicians for a National Health Program

By the way, you have heard of public schools. Buildings owned and operated by governments, faculty, staff on salary, so actually “socialized” schools. And despite some scandals, actual studies find that many public schools do as well as private ones. How about our “socialized” fire departments and police forces or Coast Guard? Next time you go boating refuse any needed help from them. OK How about our “socialized” water departments??? Or how about right-wing racists calling anything that treats ALL people as equal socialism or communism, etc.?

Government run by force and government redistribution are two different things. Government run schools are a disaster. Government run healthcare would just bring more of the same Big Pharma corruption and group think we have. Cultures in Scandinavia are different. On the other hand of course there can be benefits to communalized resources, the hard part is protecting the rights of the individual at the same time. The diktat Pharma group think of force, secretive trial data and unaccountability means that none of the medical establishment in the US can be trusted.

Compare Sweden’s handling of the pandemic to the US and you’ll see why Sweden is more trustworthy.

“Although many countries in Europe had higher death rates and excess mortality than Sweden, the impact on the country’s healthcare system and its death toll have been far greater than other Nordic countries, in part due to its unique strategy.[8][9][10] The Swedish government’s approach has received considerable criticism. Some Swedish scientists had called for stricter preventative measures throughout the pandemic,[11] and an independent commission (Coronakommissionen) found that Sweden failed to protect care home residents due to the overall spread of the virus in society[12] and that the response overall was “slow” and “insufficient”.[13][14] In December 2020, both King Carl XVI Gustaf and Prime Minister Stefan Löfven claimed they felt that the large number of reported deaths meant that Sweden’s COVID-19 strategy had been a failure.[15]”

good lord labarge, you really are an effing idiot and liar. (We already knew that, you just continue to remind people of the fact.)

Ha because your group think doesn’t agree with me. Sure. The guy slinging ad hominem is the smart one. Y’all on these Pharma blogs are hilarious.

As I said this group think is actually scientific consensus
Why Pharma diktats did not save Merck in the case of Vioxx ? What about allother criminal penalties pharmaceutical companies has faced ?

@john labarge You have not cited a single scientific paper. Do that, and somebody may actually believe ou.

@john labarge You have not cited a single scientific paper. Do that, and somebody may actually believe ou.

Unlikely. Although it will mean that someone will look at the paper and make a well-reasoned argument as to why johnlabage is still wrong, rather than dismissing his claims out of hand.

@john labarge Where did you idea thst this is a pharma blog. We do not agree with you because you do not give any evidence,.

“Government run schools are a disaster. ”

labarge, don’t make the mistake of concluding that the reason you completely failed to get any meaningful education is a “failed school” — you’re the dishonest little clown you are because you enjoy it.

“Ha because your group think doesn’t agree with me. Sure. The guy slinging ad hominem is the smart one. Y’all on these Pharma blogs are hilarious.”

So you didn’t read the identity of the person saying Sweden’s plan was a failure? Not a surprise, as you have repeatedly demonstrated you have no use for facts and are willing to lie about what they are.

By the way — saying you are a liar and lack an understanding of things isn’t an ad-hominem. It’s a description of you. It’s far too kind, but a 100% accurate description would is far too explicit to put online.

Although I primarily observe the altie/ woo/ anti-vax version, there are many parallels within the political right wing:
I call it a ” rejection of modernity” – or its attempted cancellation, if you will.

Their ( largely mythic) past, according to these advocates, was vastly superior to the present day and its predictable future. What liberals/ moderates might view as progress, in medicine, science, social change and human rights, is regarded as slippage and deterioration from a loftier social system and its mores. The idealisation of rural, less diverse and nuclear family-centric life harkens to an earlier age and probably includes a great deal of wishful thinking as an important element in its construction: people were moral and fairness predominated. There would be no need for laws to control how people behaved because they were overwhelmingly good, guided by an internal moral compass based upon (Christian) scripture. Discrimination and abuse didn’t exist to any extent. De-centralisation of power went as far as the home, where its benevolent ( male) leader held sway and ruled wisely.

Alties focus upon “natural medicines” and traditionally grown food as the key to long life and health as well as prayer and behaving “properly”.
Women should reject “unnatural” birth control and medical intervention by OBGYNs as much as possible. “Careerist” tendencies are especially harmful to women although they distract men from their true calling as well. Each family should consult with older, wiser family members instead of professionals and home schooling is the educational method of choice. Information should proceed naturally amongst family and friends – aided by the internet- to circulate advanced, alternative news and “medical” progress rather than the mainstream: they share advances in natural health just as many share recipes. Business and trade can evolve to be more family-centric with farmers’ markets and barter for services becoming popular.

Above all, followers should leave the cities and near-suburbs for outlying areas where a better, safer, purer life is feasible amongst like-minded,
better people. Universities should be avoided at all costs and careers should focus upon providing food, shelter and home products. Crafts, agriculture and repair jobs are the best choices for young people.

What I omit in my musings ( although I hint at it) is the great FEAR that restrictive, backwards glancing, rural utopians have of the most likely future for the West:
a more diverse population living in urban settings increasingly who are less ( or not at all) religious while being quite well educated and attuned to global issues. In addition, they may not have the financial means or the desire to initiate a traditional family oriented lifestyle because of student debt and the high cost of housing. or choice.
( Lists of what young people hate – or are abandoning- includes past status symbols like cruises, shopping malls and golf but tellingly advocate for smaller homes/ apartments and less use of cars as well as telecommuting and virtual shopping).

We see that believers in the once-and-future Golden Age frequently support politicians who attempt to restrict voting access for students, minorities and immigrants and restrict women’s and LGBTQI+ rights in general because these people are more likely to vote against them.
When altie woo leaders ( or political commenters) decry the evils that are NY, NJ, California, Chicago, Portland and Seattle**, it’s because of what kind of people live in these places.

** not that they differentiate states ( solidly evil) vs cities ( foci of evil)

“The keystone of the Fascist doctrine is its conception of the State, of its essence, its functions, and its aims. For Fascism the State is absolute, individuals and groups relative. The Fascist State is wide awake and has a will of its own.”:

Okay, well let’s see what’s going on in an actual State governed by a far-right neo-fascist great leader / strongman / savior, shall we? That would be Florida under Ron DeSantis, where the State, far from being passive, is actively intervening to undermine public health measures. The other day, DeSantis pick for State Surgeon General, Dr. Joseph Ladapo of “America’s Frontline Doctors” conspiracy-lies-and-scam-therapuetics-shop, appeared for his confirmation hearing before the State Senate. There he pointedly refused, repeatedly, to answer a Dem Senator’s question of whether he believed the COVID vaccines work. Ultimately, the Dems just walked out, leaving Ladapo to be confirmed by the R majority that would have passed him anyway.

Of course, if the ideology is actually what the Defeat the Mandates gang says, he could have just said right away ‘yes, they work, but they’re not perfect, and anyway it’s really a question of individual liberty so No Mandates’. But, clearly, he could NOT say that because that’s NOT the politics. DeSantis is betting that being functionally antivax will help him out-Trumpist Trump in the race for the GOP POTUS nomination in 2024. No doubt he follows what’s going on with Tucker and Rogan and sees which way the right-wing wind is blowing. So the will of the State is not just ‘we will not protect anyone from the pandemic” but “we will prohibit private companies from protecting anyone from the pandemic”.

@ Kay West

You just continue to make a FOOL OF YOURSELF.

You write: “mandatory — Covid vaccinations. These are discriminatory against minority communities, many of whom for historical reasons are suspicious of medicine and the state, and have had lower vaccine take-up rates.”

Yep, historically minorities have been mistreated; but it is also minorities who have the highest rates of hospitalizations and deaths from covid, so what is your solution? People who care are meeting with minority community leaders, etc. to explain the vaccines, etc.; but if a large number doesn’t get them and this continues high hospitalization, long covid, and deaths, should we just accept that, especially if the hospitalizations, deaths, etc. are not those who refused to get vaccinated; but those they infected, innocent third parties, who may not have been eligible for vaccine; e.g. autoimmune disease, being treated for cancer, or received the vaccine; but it didn’t take?

You write: “The pressure from multinational donors for African countries to reach a 60% vaccination target, meanwhile, has led to disturbing recent reports of forced vaccination in Rwanda, where vaccinees have been handcuffed and beaten to comply. Finally, and equally disturbingly, the compulsion element has led to a huge rise in distrust of the medical establishment, which will have serious future consequences for medical care.”

While I agree that handcuffing and especially beating is HORRIBLE and WRONG, I should point out that historically and in current law if someone with a highly infectious and dangerous disease, historically smallpox, they could be forcibly quarantined, that is, locked up. I guess you disagree. So, beatings, NOPE, never acceptable . . .

You write: “poor African countries are required to get into debt to procure vaccines, and vaccinate large numbers of people, IN ORDER TO PROTECT OLDER AND WEALTHIER PEOPLE IN RICH COUNTRIES.”

You are FULL OF SHIT. Despite what you choose to believe and I refuted with numerous studies in previous exchange, deaths in poor African countries from COVID is high, so getting them vaccinated will, obviously protect Western Nations; but first and foremost THEM. You are right that vaccination rates are low; but partly not because of availability of vaccines; but poor distribution, and, yep, some distrust, and costs are being helped by major companies significantly lowering and various organizations negotiating prices.

Janice Kew (2021 Nov 11). Moderna Is Selling Covid Vaccine to African Union at Lower Price: Price of $7 a shot is below $25 to $37.

David Lewis (2021 Jan 19). Exclusive: COVID-19 shots to cost $3 to $10 under African Union vaccine plan. Reuters.

“Roughly 432 million vaccines have been dispersed across the African continent. Still, COVID-19 vaccination rates stand at 7.35% for the continent, with many countries hovering around 1%, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control. But millions of vials of Johnson & Johnson — one of the continent’s most available vaccines — are creeping toward their six-month expiration date. . . Despite the steady trickle of vaccines into the continent by way of COVAX, a global vaccine sharing initiative, and the African Union’s African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT), many countries are still struggling to overcome the challenges of vaccine administration . . (Additionally) being able to get vaccines that are in the country into the arms of people requires a cold chain system and a transport system (as well as) health care workers to be able to deliver them.” [Brianna Navarre (2021 Dec 15). Vaccine Hesitancy Is Major Roadblock to Distribution in Africa. US News. ]

You write: “The fact that even the vaccinated can catch and transmit the virus is also the reason why it is simply false to claim that by getting jabbed you are contributing to “eradicating Covid”.”

Actually, those vaccinated, if at all, shed far fewer viruses; but if the vast majority were to get vaccinated, then even if exposed, the vast majority would be protected from serious disease. Just one more example of your EXTREME DISHONESTY AND STUPIDITY

However, you criticize the costs of vaccines as if you really want people to get them when you have been posting antivax comments over and over. What a FUCKIN DISHONEST HYPOCRITE!

As usual, you quote one person, Ghanian historian, as if that proves your point. If people die or develop long covid how will that affect their nations? Obviously, other policies are also needed; but it isn’t either or, except in extreme black and white minds like yours.


@ Kay West

Ever heard of smallpox? Well, Africans accepted the vaccine; yep, it was free; but they didn’t exhibit any hesitation against vaccines.Smallpox eradicated.

Ever heard of polio? Again, it was free; but Africans accepted vaccine, except Nigeria because rumor said it was being used to sterilize Moslems, so Indonesia, a Moslem nation, manufactured it and it was accepted. Unfortunately polio hasn’t been eradicated because Pakistan; but especially Afghanistan has been against vaccinations. In fact, vaccinators have been murdered in Afghanistan by the Taliban. Any comment? And one can find kids in Pakistan and Afghanistan who are paralyzed from polio.

“Unfortunately polio hasn’t been eradicated because Pakistan; but especially Afghanistan has been against vaccinations. In fact, vaccinators have been murdered in Afghanistan by the Taliban.”

It didn’t help that during the search for bin Laden covert US operatives went house to house pretending to be offering vaccines. When that detail was discovered there was a good amount of immediate backlash.

For what it’s worth-That kind of thing is illegal under US law and custom. Those of us who were in the intelligence world at that time were horrified. It was drilled in that you NEVER impersonate the Red Cross, clergy, or an NGO/missionary in intelligence ops. NEVER.

There were other rules, as well, all of us engaged in covert collection carried a small blue card that looked like a credit card that enumerated them. Whoever approved that op must have been on high in DC and never worked on the ground collection.

They only got off because they were Agency. We couldn’t understand why no one was prosecuted. I saw the inevitable blowback on the ground in Iraq when they started attacking the Red Cross/Crescent as “Spies.”

@ Kay West

I would support US and European Union nations, Japan, etc. funding COVID vaccine and offering either free or extremely cheap for Africa and other Third World nations. Would you support this?

It’s fascinating to read through this very informed discussion where arguments on both sides are… coherent. I freely admit my bias is towards that vaccines are a social necessity despite some poor souls who don’t even know it being on the losing end of the practice. None of the arguments that even the vaccinated can still get it and spread it hold any water at all when it comes to the big picture, which is slowing the virus (and future mutations and new viruses) down to a manageable affair by the world’s healthcare apparatus. I really do view this as an argument that has been settled a long time ago. My question is what do we do from here forward? The militancy that is ever present in rejections of science (and racial makeup) marches on with an eye roll towards settled facts, often using democratic processes more often than not when they have the numbers. This movement has been wildly successful as a culmination of fascism in modern history and has only been taken down by corporations putting enough money towards swatting it down (The world’s war machine is mostly corporate). As it stands, democracies around the world, whether they are rooted in benevolence or otherwise, have been poisoned with the election of grifters or the batshit crazy that rely on the amplified voice that the conspiracy theorists and the ‘hard done by’ have recently gotten via social media. The voices are a problem for peace, what can be done?

Excellent analysis. The crossover between Far-Right and anti-vax lunacy is not limited to the U$. We see it here in Greece too, where it tends to blur into ultra-Orthodox Christianity too. Ugly shit. I notice you do not mention Umberto Eco’s writings on protean (Ur) Fascism, so I am going to sneak a link to his full article (a paltry but information packed 9 pages) in the New York Review of Books. Keep up the good work.

You are an IDIOT or you don’t really read well.

did you actual read the story ????

Not one word of what I posted was written by me, like you claimed, it was written by two liberal writers, with quotes from African health authorities. And if you HAD read the article it was sourced with links to the data/studies.

to quote you “You just continue to make a FOOL OF YOURSELF”.

The contagion of antivaccine sentiments in Africa has been spread by Western antivaxers.

“In early December 2020, before doses of vaccines against COVID-19 became available in Africa, vaccine hesitancy was already gaining momentum globally. Melissa Fleming, chief spokesperson for the United High Commissioner for Refugees notes that miscommunications probably originated in Western countries, especially the United States and Europe, and these were fueling vaccine hesitancy in Africa.”

“Building vaccine confidence is an issue across the globe. What we’re really concerned about is that these pieces of misinformation that are created in the USA or in the UK, they’re traveling and finding some fertile ground in Africa as well,” Fleming says.”

“Richard Mihigo, coordinator of the Immunization and Vaccine Development Programme of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa, says vaccine hesitancy in Africa is not being driven by people’s fears alone. According to Mihigo, international groups are fueling anti-vaccine tendencies that had not been seen in Africa before COVID-19. “Anti-vaxxers in some Western countries are taking advantage of all the concerns about the adverse effects of vaccines. We need to address the spread of vaccine misinformation in Africa,” says Mihigo.”

This is nothing new. As Ciku Kimeria noted on prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, poor countries are being victimized by Western antivaxers, through misinformation and spread of disease to the Third World.

“The anti-vax movement is the latest evidence of the disruptive power of fake news and disinformation in the digital age. It is spreading through content (articles, videos and posts) shared on social media platforms questioning the safety of vaccinations, false stories about children who have been adversely affected by vaccines, hoaxes about poisonous elements in vaccines etc.”

“This disinformation has convinced many people to not vaccinate their children. Recently, the US has reported over 700 measles cases in 22 states. More than 500 of those cases were in people who had not been vaccinated. This is the worst measles outbreak in the US in decades. In Europe, there have been 34,000 cases in the last two months.”

“Isn’t it time that our own African countries with high immunization rates—Ghana (95%), Senegal (90%) or Kenya (89%)—started issuing travel alerts against Americans and Europeans who could bring measles back into our borders?”

What’s really ironic is that Kay West and other antivaxers gleefully pointing to fear, uncertainty and doubt about vaccines in some parts of the Third World, ignore how culpable they are in creating such attitudes in the first place.

They also (see Andrew Wakefield and others) exploit Third World people in this fashion even after they emigrate to the West.

This is nothing new.

We can even enlarge this to other anti-science viewpoints, notably AIDS-HIV denialism. I actually suspect there is a good chunk of overlap between the hardcore believers.
I am not sure if South Africa counts as a third-world country, but as an African country, it was targeted by HIV denialism in early 2000s’. And sadly, the SA president believed them, and set policies accordingly.

The Omicron variant may have emerged from a South African community of immunocompromised people. It’s easy to play with “if”, but if that president hadn’t let the HIV virus run around, maybe today’s community of HIV-positive people would have been smaller and less likely to be fertile ground for breeding SARS-Cov2 variants.

@ Athaic:

I’m glad that you brough this up: hiv/ aids denialism and its legacy continue to harm people especially in RSA. In addition, many Covid deniaiists/ minimisers do not reject hiv/aids denialism at all but may use it to segue into their current form of denial.
One way anti-science proselytisers attack Dr Fauci is to misrepresent his actvities during the early aids era principally about AZT.

Hardcore Covid denialists have much in common with aids denialists ( and may be the same people) such as
— denying that the virus concerned is dangerous on its own
— attributing infection to how people behave rather than a virus
— not accepting current SB prophylaxis and treatment
— advocating for dietary/ supplement as treatment

@ Kay West

Doesn’t matter who wrote them, you posted them to make your point. And you continue to ignore that I refuted those articles with several others some by actual scientists in Africa.

Your DISHONESTY just continues. And you ignore almost everything I write and pick just one point, so even if you were right about the one point, which you aren’t, means you are incapable of refuting all else I write.

You have attacked me for living alone at home, ignoring that I have access to telephone, e-mail, and the internet, so I keep up with COVID, etc. Currently editing next edition of colleagues undergraduate text in microbiology and reading new up-to-date text on immunology, especially because it devotes large part to actual diagnostic methods, especially newer ones, so I understand infectious diseases. I’ve asked you over and over what you base your positions on, how you know the papers, etc. you cherry-pick are valid, etc.; but you NEVER answer. Because you can’t. I highly doubt you understand even the basics of immunology, vaccinology, etc.

And you write how horrible it is that Africans can’t afford the covid vaccine, while you have made absolutely clear you are against the covid vaccines. DISHONEST HYPOCRITE. ASSHOLE THAT YOU ARE

@ Kay West

You write: “did you actual read the story ???? Not one word of what I posted was written by me, like you claimed, it was written by two liberal writers, with quotes from African health authorities. And if you HAD read the article it was sourced with links to the data/studies.”

I assume you are referring to: Thomas Fazi & Toby Green (2022 Jan 28). The Left-wing case against vaccine mandates. UnHerd.

Yep, I read the article. Did you know the website “UnHerd was founded in 2017 by conservative British political activist Tim Montgomerie . . . Simon Childs, writing for Vice at the time of the site’s launch in 2017, was critical of the underlying premise and assumptions of the site, saying “The social media news cycle can be a jading stream of ill-informed narcissists, but it’s refreshing to be reminded that at least it offers a more diverse outlook than Tim Montgomerie funded by an oligarch publishing the kind of people who are generally “unheard” because people edge away from them at parties.” [Wikipedia. UnHerd ]

“Editor Tim Montgomerie is a Thatcher fan-boy who became comment editor for Times in 2013 and lasted a year before resigning. He still had a column, which he used to make a big huffy deal publicly when he quit the Conservative Party last year, to protest David Cameron wanting to stay in the EU.” [Simon Child’s (2017 Jul 25). The UnHerd and the Whining of the Perfectly-Well-Represented. VICE]


The paper you referred to cites a Mozambican sociologist Elisio Macamo at the outset of the pandemic: “Indeed, it is now clear that with its much younger population and greater resilience through exposure to a range of viruses that boost immunity, the risk of Covid to people in Africa is much lower than the risk to older and vulnerable people in richer countries.”

One sociologist. Being exposed to a range of viruses doesn’t boost ones immune system, only if viruses very similar to COVID, which they weren’t. As for younger population, yes, but afflicted with malaria, other infectious diseases, HIV, and many malnourished, so not more resilient.

At the outset, so before deaths skyrocketed. Wonder what he would say now???

And “as the Ghanaian historian of medicine Samuel Adu-Gyamfi wrote in December: “It should be up to African countries to determine their own public health goals, and Covid-19 is far from being the most serious public health concern in Africa today.”

One historian; but, yep, Africans are afflicted with malaria, parasites, HIV, malnutrition, etc., so, they do have many health concerns; but most African nations have been trying to vaccinate their populations for COVID. Despite what you choose to believe, death rates are high. And if those with malaria, parasites, HIV, malnutrition die from COVID, then any programs to help them will be too late.

So, you find a paper written by a CONSERVATIVE founded magazine, not a liberal magazine, which cites one sociologist who is wrong about immune system being boosted by being exposed to many viruses and WRONG about young being resilient. And one historian, who ignores that Covid-19 is killing many and most African states are trying to get the vaccines.

As usual Kay, it is you who really didn’t read the paper and/or understand it. YOU ARE FULL OF SHIT

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH writes,

IDIOTS like you…

MJD says,

It’s early in 2022, although, the leading MVP at Respectful Insolence is Joel A. Harrison.

@ Joel,

Did you play hockey?

@ Michael J. Dochniak

NOPE, never played hockey. Tried out for many sports; but poor hand/eye coordination and reflexes; but have always bicycled, jogged, swam, walked long distances, used stairs, and despite being uncoordinated, trained Aikido for several years. Was fun and great bunch of people. After Saturday morning training we would all go to lunch, usually Chinese restaurant, sometimes then movie matinee, and have get togethers, parties at each others place. Not mine as it was a small efficiency apartment.

Yep, I use cuss words. In each case, I politely have quoted claim by claim followed by refuting them. When they continue to ignore, lie about what I wrote, etc. I use appropriate language. Among other things they focus on my living alone, so that nullifies according to them anything I say, etc.


“So, you find a paper written by a CONSERVATIVE founded magazine, not a liberal magazine”


and so once again you failed to read what I wrote

,do you really believe Thomas Fazi is a conservative ?
or Toby Green.

Tim Montgomerie hasn’t been with unherd for 4 years. You don’t research things before you post do you.

Please update you 5 year old story on “unherd”

“We are not aligned with any political party, and the writers and ideas we are interested in come from both left and right traditions. But we instinctively believe that the way forward will be found through a shift of emphasis: towards community not just individualism, towards responsibilities as well as Rights, and towards meaning and virtue over shallow materialism.”

do you have issues with ” towards community not just individualism, towards responsibilities as well as Rights, and towards meaning and virtue over shallow materialism.”

CDC says
2021 49 cases
2020 13 cases
2019 1,282 cases

“Measles is more likely to spread and cause outbreaks in U.S. communities where groups of people are unvaccinated.”
That would be immigrant community or do you think anti vaccine people all live in one community?

the 2019 outbreak was due to travelers to Israel, according to the CDC.

I think people who cross the border should be offered this. Take the vaccine or you will be returned to your home country. We have allowed 2 Million people into the country who are not vaccinated, most are not vaccinated against the simple things like mump/measles etc. If people who fly into the country be mandated to be vaccinated why can’t people who walk across. If you really believe in vaccinations this should be a no brainier.

@ Kay West

You write quoting them: ““We are not aligned with any political party, and the writers and ideas we are interested in come from both left and right traditions”

And that is what they claim, so it must be true????

And as i pointed out, both the Africans they quoted were wrong, especially the first one. You continue to ignore that Africa is having a high rate of covid deaths. And you complain the vaccine is too expensive which contradicts your continuous position against covid vaccines. YOU ARE A HYPOCRITICAL ASSHOLE.

You write: “Thomas Fazi is a conservative ? or Toby Green

Actually ASSHOLE, I did find some several articles by them. One of their papers bases part of their argument by quoting John Ioannidis who Orac has torn to shreds several times [Thomas Fazi & Tobi Green (2022 Jan 10). Has the Great Barrington Declaration been vindicated? UnHerd] I found some other papers; but no matter what I write you will disagree with, ignoring I was right about what the two cited Africans stated and given they rely in one article on John Ioannidis, just proves they are just as stupid as you, cherry-picking those to cite, not understanding the underlying science.

You write: “I think people who cross the border should be offered this. Take the vaccine or you will be returned to your home country. We have allowed 2 Million people into the country who are not vaccinated, most are not vaccinated against the simple things like mump/measles etc. If people who fly into the country be mandated to be vaccinated why can’t people who walk across. If you really believe in vaccinations this should be a no brainier.”

Actually programs exist to vaccinate them. And because the vast majority of Americans are vaccinated against measles, the risk of an epidemic is nil. And they are trying to vaccinate many of the refugees with Covid vaccines and I support requiring anyone entering the U.S. whether by plane, boat, or on foot to be vaccinated for MMR, DtaP, and Covid. We didn’t allow people years ago with active TB to enter the country, with current smallpox, etc. So, why should we risk asymptomatic carriers or if not currently carriers, the more unvaccinated in the country, the more chance they will be infected by the many unvaccinated, etc. who may be asymptomatic carriers. I completely support taking in refugees fleeing from violence, etc.; but requiring vaccinations is NOT a major requirement in return for welcoming them, finding shelter, food, etc.

And you continue to ignore just how many refutations of your claims I have made, valid refutations. Including your STUPID citing of papers and books about experts, when they were dealing with political experts. If one, for instance, decides to go to war or not, once done, no way to figure out what would have happened if did the opposite. With, for instance, mRNA covid vaccines, we have going back to discovery of mRNA over 200,000 papers. Going back before 2019 400 papers on mRNA vaccine research. We understand the immune system, how vaccines work, literally probably a million papers. So, we understand the underlying science. And since the pandemic we have had 1,000s of papers from around the world, Last time I looked, since I was in Moderna Covid vaccine study, just for Moderna vaccine over 400 papers. So, apples and oranges comparing so-called political experts with real scientists who base their positions on the underlying science of immunology, mRNA, etc. and then epidemiologists who follow outcomes of vaccines around the world. And you don’t admit you were wrong. So, as with others like you who have been posting on this website, YOU ARE A STUPID DISHONEST ASSHOLE

@ Kay West

According to Wikipedia, Toby Green:”Toby Green is a British historian who is a Professor of Precolonial and Lusophone African History and Culture at King’s College London. He obtained his Doctor of Philosophy in African studies at the University of Birmingham. He is Chair of the Fontes Historiae Africanae Committee of the British Academy, and has written extensively about African early modern history and colonial African slavery, mainly focussed on slavery in the Portuguese colonies. He has also written on the Spanish Inquisition.”

While that doesn’t mean he could not have taught himself about covid, vaccines, etc and more modern times. it does raise the question. But, of course, he writes what you choose to believe.

I did find he has a new book out: The Covid Consensus: The New Politics of Global Inequality. Though I’m behind on my reading, editing undergraduate microbiology book, new edition book on immunology, his book is only 288 pages, probably less if index, references included, so I will get it and read it. Probably if read hour day, will take me a week. However, I don’t disagree with the title; but may with his suggestions. We, Western nations should offer free or cheap vaccine; but also invest way more in helping not only poor African nations; but all third world nations. We spend far more on our military than necessary for defense, in fact, more than next 10 nations. Before Congress head of air force testified didn’t need nor want new fighter plane. Republican Congress voted for it. Head of army testified we don’t need or want new tank. Republican Congress voted for it. During pandemic we gave money to companies about to legally declare bankruptcy, to companies with large cash reserves, etc. And on and on it goes. But, as I’ve written over and over, it isn’t black and white, it isn’t all or none, we should ensure they get vaccine, and way more economic support and support for other medical problems.

Very elaborate already, many thanks. Yet I miss the psychological constructs of fascism, the F-scale and authoritarian personality. This being variously distributed among people I can imagine followers attracted by the anti-vaxx movement tend to score higher on this personality trait. I dont know if this has been studied.

Interesting article on the Boston Globe website about RFK Jr.’s continued plunge deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole of paranoia and conspiracy.

“In addition to Kennedy’s incendiary rhetoric about vaccines, many were stunned last month when, over the objections of his 93-year-old mother, Ethel Kennedy, he argued that Sirhan Sirhan, the man convicted of assassinating his father in 1968, should be released from prison because, Kennedy claims, he didn’t do it. And Kennedy previously raised eyebrows with his zealous defense of Michael Skakel, a cousin who was convicted in the 1975 death of teenager Martha Moxley. (Kennedy wrote a best-selling book about the case claiming Skakel was framed.) But in the midst of a pandemic that has killed more than 875,000 people in the United States, it’s Kennedy’s strident antivaccination crusade that his family and others find most alarming…To make a comparison with the Nazi era is not something his father would have ever done,” said Greg Payne, chair of the department of communication studies at Emerson College and a volunteer on Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign. “I think Robert F. Kennedy would say [to his family] we need to be the voice of reason. Unfortunately, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is not that voice.”

“…Still, Kennedy isn’t backing down. Indeed, despite CDC findings that unvaccinated people are 14 times more likely to die of COVID than those who get the shot, Kennedy continues to warn against the jab, calling it, wrongly, the “deadliest vaccine ever made.”

“He’s gone off the rails and no one can seem to control him,” said a longtime Kennedy friend who asked not to be identified. “It’s nonsense and it’s frightening.”

“His family’s disapproval notwithstanding, Kennedy has used his famous name and the Kennedy mystique to solicit donations to Children’s Health Defense, even offering supporters a chance to visit the family’s compound on Cape Cod.”

“You and your guest will join me for a day of sailing and private tour of the legendary Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port,” he wrote in a promotional post in 2019 that featured a photo of Kennedy family members on a wooden sailboat. “The more you contribute, the greater your chances of winning!”

I”n fact, the pandemic, and Kennedy’s response to it, has been a boon to Children’s Health Defense, which, according to an investigation by the Associated Press, has seen its revenues grow from $1.1 million in 2019 to $6.8 million in 2020….”

“David Nasaw, a retired City University of New York history professor who has studied the family extensively…said he interviewed Kennedy in 2011 for a book about his grandfather, Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. At the end of their meeting, Kennedy handed him a book titled “JFK and the Unspeakable,” which concludes that the president was murdered by his own security apparatus.”…

“But it’s not only his antivaccination bombast that bothers those closest to him. Friends say Kennedy’s elderly mother was stricken by her son’s recent appeal for the release of Sirhan, who has served 53 years in prison for shooting Robert F. Kennedy.”

“In an op-ed published last month by the San Francisco Chronicle, Kennedy described Sirhan as “gentle, humble, kindhearted, frail, and harmless,” and said he was “bullied into conceding guilt.”

Also interviewed by the Globe was a chronicler of the antivax movement who may be familiar to RI readers.

Extra tidbit from the Globe story:

“He calls people in the government or at the [National Institutes of Health] and he gets those calls answered,” said David Gorski, a cancer surgeon at Wayne State University School of Medicine and critic of the antivaccination movement. “He uses his family’s position as a liberal icon as a very effective wedge to further what is now pretty much a right-wing movement.”

@ johnlabarge

You write: “Compare Sweden’s handling of the pandemic to the US and you’ll see why Sweden is more trustworthy.”

Yep, in the beginning Sweden did a bad job; but their per capita death rate is still lower than ours and you ignore that Finland, Norway, and Denmark had very low death rates because they instituted mitigation early on and more systematically.

You write: ” Government run schools are a disaster. Government run healthcare would just bring more of the same Big Pharma corruption and group think we have. ”

First, I guess you are too STUPID to understand my explanation between socialized medicine and single-payer. Second, your immense bias and stupidity doesn’t know the many studies that, for instance, Sweden with socialized medicine ranks much better than U.S. in life-expectancy, infant mortality, on every measures, despite having a much larger per capita number of refugees from Middle East and Africa. And France has been ranked as number one health care system in world for several years, a variant of single-payer. In our system 30 cents on the dollar goes to huge bureaucracies, profits, and bloated CEO salaries. Again, I suggest you read my two papers:

Joel A. Harrison (2008 May). Paying More, Getting Less. Dollars & Sense Magazine

Joel A. Harrison (2018 Aug 10). The Case for A Non-Profit Single-Payer Healthcare System. Physicians for a National Health Program

You write: “The diktat Pharma group think of force, secretive trial data and unaccountability means that none of the medical establishment in the US can be trusted.”

Fine, so if you ever develop any health conditions, do yourself a favor and don’t go to any medical doctor.

As for government run schools, most nations, including ours, have them, and again we rank poorly. And studies that I’ve read find that public schools do as well as private schools. Some private schools do better; but because parents more involved, etc. However, public schools where parents more involved do as well. I guess you want to close the public schools and privatize education. Perhaps, we should also end state supported universities. Think of all the mediocre ones like University of Michigan, Universities of California at Berkeley, Los Angeles, San Diego. We should definitely privatize them???

Talking about group think, you sound like a broken record with no depth of thought, just parroting right-wing propaganda. This is NOT a pharma blog. This is a science blog.

As for liability, as long as the companies manufacture the vaccines correctly, yep, they are protected; but anyone injured from the vaccine can go to the Vaccine Court which historically has actually been reasonably generous. While you blow out of proportion the adverse events from the covid vaccines, despite what you choose to believe they have saved literally 100s of thousands of lives. A long time ago a court case Reyes vs Wyeth bankrupted the company. A kid’s family claimed the polio vaccine caused paralysis, experts said no; but jury made up of people like you who ignore science and awarded a fortune to family. Polio vaccine prevented on average more than 20,000 cases of paralysis a years. Even if one believes the vaccine cause Reyes paralysis, it would be rare; but no company would be willing to manufacture any product, regardless of how beneficial if one or two rare cases could put them out of business. There is a good article on current liability for covid vaccines: Dorit Rubenstein Reiss (2021 Jan 17). Legal review of COVID-19 vaccine liability: explanation of issues. Rubinstein is tenured full professor at top law school, U of California San Francisco.

And what you continue to refer to as socialism, fascism, whatever, mandating of vaccines ignores that every society has laws to protect others. And despite what you choose to believe, the vaccine reduces and often ends any transmission and if most people were vaccinated, wouldn’t matter because being infected; e.g., determined through, for instance, nasopharyngeal swabs, doesn’t mean will become seriously sick, etc. You see, as many who post on this blog, the world in black and white extremes. I wonder how you would feel if yourself or a loved one was exposed to someone with COVID and sickened, was hospitalized, and died. Just last night I phoned Apple Support for help and the person I smoke with told me his father, aged 63 without significant combordities died from COVID. Yep, being alone, when I phone for help, I sometimes get into short conversations. I guess if you lost a loved one you wouldn’t care???

You write: “Forcing experimental medical procedures on citizens without accountability for injury and without disclosing safety data for independent review is different than a speed limit.”

The mRNA vaccines are NOT experimental medical procedures. Since 1960s when mRNA was discovered there have been more than 200,000 studies, so we really know a hell of a lot about mRNA. Prior to 2019 around 400 studies of mRNA vaccines, some going all the way through animal studies, phase 1 and phase 2; but when epidemic died out, couldn’t test; but phase 1 and 2 clearly gives info on adverse events, though not rare ones. And since introduction of mRNA covid vaccines there has been literally 1,000s of studies from around the world. Clearly NOT experimental. If you understood immunology, if you really understood mRNA, then you could speak with some authority.

The bottom line is a good guess is you suffer from paranoid delusions of conspiracy theories. We don’t live in a perfect world, black and white extremes, and vaccine mandates to protect others and also to reduce the burden on our health care system are not fascistic or socialistic . . . Every society, every form of government has and should have the power to protect public health.

So if we know so much about these mRNA jabs, where does the mRNA go once injected? Does it stay in the muscle or distribute throughout the body. If it distributes throughout the body what is the effect of having cells throughout the body such as in the heart muscle or liver or bone marrow express spike proteins? It seems odd that we had a study contradicting prior predictions AFTER these vaccines were already being distributed and mandated but that no one in this community acknowledged or worried about. Nope. Proceed on with the mandates and just censor anyone who talks about it. Why are there so many doctors raising safety concerns about the vaccines. And if these safety concerns are so unfounded then why censor them? Why not meat them head on? As to the feels, how would you feel if your mountain bike career was ended due to a vaccine? How would you feel if your young son got myocarditis? Would you brush it off as rare and mild? Before the covid vaccines, how many myocarditis cases were deemed mild? What about the covid vaccine meant that heart inflammation was now no big deal?

Yes demeaning the individual in favor of the state is fascistic, by the common, everyday, definition of fascism (not the tortured one Orac uses to indict those he disagree with). Moreover it’s authoritarian since these vaccines have no demonstrated societal benefit with regards to transmission. Oh sure you claim based on models or some such thing that transmission is slightly reduced if one is vaccinated if they clear the virus faster (not always the case), but this isn’t born out in the data of the most vaccinated countries. Thus the mandate is authoritarian as it is linked to no societal benefit except making control freaks and those that benefit from Pharma (or are brainwashed by its incentives) feel more secure or feel empowered that hey can force more bullshit on the populous.

Push this vax at your own risk. It’s already discrediting the medical establishment and will do so even more with mandated boosters (even the medical establishment is split on these) and more mandates and more vax reactions that can’t be denied with Pharma apologists favorite ‘It wasn’t me’ quip.

Meanwhile I’m not taking the vax, my family isn’t taking the vax and I support the Canadian truckers and the true fight against fascistic tyrants like yourself.

@Johnlabarge — you must have attended those government run schools are you condemning, because you arguments are incoherent.

There is a paper about mRNA halflife:
Mauger DM, Cabral BJ, Presnyak V, Su SV, Reid DW, Goodman B, Link K, Khatwani N, Reynders J, Moore MJ, McFadyen IJ. mRNA structure regulates protein expression through changes in functional half-life. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Nov 26;116(48):24075-24083. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1908052116. Epub 2019 Nov 11. PMID: 31712433; PMCID: PMC6883848.
It is gone after circa four days. MRNA do not stay around long time,it is a messenger molecule.
There is a paper about spike protein, in a case you think about it:
Ogata AF, Cheng CA, Desjardins M, Senussi Y, Sherman AC, Powell M, Novack L, Von S, Li X, Baden LR, Walt DR. Circulating SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Antigen Detected in the Plasma of mRNA-1273 Vaccine Recipients. Clin Infect Dis. 2021 May 20:ciab465. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciab465. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34015087; PMCID: PMC8241425
S1 (part of spike) is mosst prominent. Concentration is picograms (millionth of milligram) and it disappears after few days.
Actually, all states restrict invudual behaviour. There are all kind of regulations, you know.

Michael J. Dochniak (MJD)
January 29, 2022 at 8:09 pm

“Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH writes,

IDIOTS like you…

It’s early in 2022, although, the leading MVP at Respectful Insolence is Joel A. Harrison.

@ Joel,

Did you play hockey?”

Joel’s response
“NOPE, never played hockey.”

And of course the hockey reference went over his head.

I second that nomination of Joel (not a single one of these are a duplicate but repeats from different posts.

“MORON,Just how stupid are you?You really are incredibly stupid, SICK SICK SICK dishonest Keep making an absolute fool of yourself. Or, maybe you are mentally ill. moron like you, Just how STUPID are you?You are so incredibly dishonest, MORON, MORON, MORON.YOU ARE AN IDIOT YOU ASK REALLY STUPID QUESTIONS.PROJECTION. You need help! ! !You really are SICK SICK SICK.what a dishonest liar you are How stupid are you???In your sick mind stupid as you areHow STUPID sick mind You just keep lying stupid and dishonestYou just are too dishonest or stupid STUPID, stop being dishonest,Talk about delusions of grandeur.Liar, liar, pants on fire. you are sick and delusional.YOU ARE FULL OF SHIT, moron you are delusional, dishonest, sick person like you,GO TO HELL!, GO TO HEL!! how delusional and dishonest you are,MORON, GO TO HELL, MORON, immense stupidity, STUPID, GO TO HELL, STUPID ON STEROIDS, You are a SICK DISHONEST EMOTIONALLY DISTURBED INDIVIDUAL. friggin ASSHOLE. friggin ASSHOLE, ASSHOLES, Friggin ASSHOLE, friggin lying ASSHOLE, So, ASSHOLE, YOU ARE A DISHONEST SICK LYING ASSHOLE. YOU ARE NOT A COMPLETE DISHONEST LYING ASSHOLE

And just to add irony to the nomination, this blog had a whole story about “the violent rhetoric of the anti vaccine movement”

@ Kay West

You apparently don’t understand/know the difference between name calling and violent rhetoric. The antivax movement has literally threatened harm and even death to some politicians and scientists promoting vaccines and have physically assaulted them at School Board meetings, etc. So, in your immense wisdom, you don’t understand even the difference between VIOLENT RHETORIC and simply calling people names. Thanks for continuing to show your immense lack of understanding, etc.

And I’m sure you can find some exception, that is, some provaxxer that threatened someone; but rare if any compared with antivaxxers.

Please point out where I have ever threatened you or anyone else with physical harm???

@ Dangerous Bacon

Michael Skakel. While I wouldn’t give much credence to anything RFK Jr writes, I remember the case and I’m not certain he was guilty. However, despite following it, I do not have access to court transcripts.

As for Sirhan, he was wrestled to ground with gun in hand immediately after killing of Robert Kennedy. However, the U.S. stands out as only modern technologically advanced democracy nation with both death penalty and multiple cases of life without parole. I voted for RFK in California primaries, was driving home when heard of shooting on car radio, pulled to side of road, and cried. But after over 50 years in prison, far more than almost any other advanced democracy, my question is simply is Sirhan still a risk? Keeping an old man in prison for a few more years won’t bring back RFK. Among things we could deport him or place him in a half-way house. So, I disagree with RFK Jrs insane claim Sirhan didn’t do it; but would consider some type of parole. We claim to be a Christian nation; but forgiveness, etc. is not part of our body politic.And vast literature finds almost all crimes of violence committed by young men. Sirhan certainly doesn’t fit that label.

“So, I disagree with RFK Jrs insane claim Sirhan didn’t do it”

I agree, but I am amazed at how many people fervently believe Sirhan was a scapegoat. Given all the foolish conspiracies about the JFK assassination I guess I should be be surprised at this, but I am.

@ Kay West

So you post a complete comment just listing my use of profanity; but as usual, ignore everything I wrote refuting point after point of what you write, which you ignore, don’t even for the most part address.

And you have over and over criticized me because I live a “isolated” alone existence, so have too much time on my hands; yet, you seem to devote lots of time to your comments, including web searches

And by the way, you asked if Thomas Fazi and Toby Green were leftist or . . .”

As I pointed out, one of their articles bases partly on John Ioannidis; but main point is their wondering if Great Barrington Declaration may actually apply. As I mentioned, Orac has written substantially refuting John Ioannidia and also The Great Barrington Declaration.

I have pointed out umpteen times how you search the web and find/cherry-pick papers, etc. that confirm your point of view. Let me give an analogy. I can easily search the web and find numerous blogs supporting racism, usually not calling it that. Many of these blogs cite actual peer-reviewed literature, books, and tenured professors at major universities. In fact, a few years ago two professors wrote a book that was on the New York Times best seller list for many weeks: “The Bell Curve”. However, numerous scholars have torn all the aforementioned apart. The Bell Curve, just like you ,cherry-picked studies. Those refuting literally show that the studies were poorly done, either sampling, methodology, measures, or interpretation. But, if I chose to believe blacks inferior in intelligence to whites, which I certainly don’t, I could cite many studies and books. Two excellent books that tear apart studies that blacks less capable than whites are:

Stephen Jay Gould (1996) The Mismeasure of Man
William H Tucker (1994). The Science and Politics of Racial Research

And while I voted for Biden and Kamala Harris, really no choice with Trump the alternative, I would have then and now voted and actually volunteered to get Stacy Abrams elected President, a Black Woman who I admire and trust. Not because she is Black or Woman, but because, as Martin Luther King said, I just her by the content of her character.

So, congratulations for once again posting a worthless comment. Yep, I should restrain my anger; but when I have politely refuted with sound arguments and even references what you and others write and you ignore or lie about, distort, etc. at some point I get tired of it. You have shown over and over again your complete dishonesty. For instance, I pointed out that when you cited critiques of “experts” all your citations focused on politics, not even in same ball park as medical research. And I won’t repeat what I wrote above. When I pointed out a while back that the official stats on deaths in India and Africa were wrong, giving several well-documented papers; but also one paper that was less so, you ignored all; but it. That is what you do. While I base my positions on 40 years and keeping up, including from beginning of pandemic, reviewing 40 page chapter on corona viruses in 2 volume book on Viruses, have read well-over 1,000 papers, peer-reviewed, CDC, WHO, Swedish National Health website, Canadian, etc. you cherry-pick a few. And you give impression you know you are right, not just saying/questionning, maybe not so; but refuse to explain why you think you are right. And, of course, your hypocrisy of complaining about “high” price of covid vaccine for Africans; yet, totally against the vaccine. Wow! And I doubt you even understand your own hypocrisy.

In any case, I am not reading: Toby Green’s “The COVID Consensus” In his Forward he writes: ““As a historian, I am not qualified to talk about virology, immunology, and the validity of experiments which have been done to prove/disprove various matters from mask-wearing to how much asymptomatic people can spread Covid-19. In this book, I do not enter into these matters. Instead, I am used to analysing the workings of power in human societies.”

So, he begins by admitting this, so the bulk of his book is NOT on how many deaths prevented, long covid prevented, overburdening of health care systems; but the effects of political measures taken to prevent the aforementioned. Obviously, his premise is that, despite the lives saved, etc. the political and economic measures caused more harm. So, we will see. I try to keep an open mind, despite the fact that his expertise is on much earlier history, slave trade, etc. But, he may well be right about the measures taken, that is, how they were implemented; but still wrong. As I’ve written earlier, if we had mass testing, tracing, etc. we could have targeted areas where covid occurring, continued with testing, and limited time for measures. This includes closing of schools. We could have temporarily closed them, improved ventilation, staggered school days so fewer students allowing for physical distancing, same for businesses, etc. And we could have been better at dispersing funds. Just in paper today that over $20 billion in funds in California went to fraudulent sources. And our government doled out millions to companies who were preparing to declare bankruptcy or to companies with large cash reserves and many used monies to buy back stocks to up their value. So, how much of $4 trillion actually went to appropriate purposes? And since we are NOT a nation; but Federal, State, County, Municipalites, where politics sometime trump public health and where we have people like you who think you have some “expertise” the book may be both right and wrong. Right how measures were applied; but wrong that if properly applied they would have both saved lives and minimized social and economic harm. Maybe by the end of the book the conclusion will be just what I said. We’ll see; but the more time I waste responding to you, knowing NOTHING will change your rigid self-righteous position, the longer it will take for me to get through the book. I have read half dozen books on pandemic and numerous papers and articles. One book goes through ALL the mistakes made; e.g., poor testing, contact tracing, etc. I highly recommend it: Scott Gottlieb (2021). Uncontrolled Spread: Why COVID-19 Crushed Us and How We Can Defeat the Next Pandemic. Other books go deeper into history of public health; e.g., immediately after major pandemic/epidemic increased funding; but then within a few years, low funding, etc.

So, now to the book. I’m sure you will write some comment that totally ignores what I wrote. I will try to withhold cuss words; but just to be sure, my opinion of you is extremely low.

@ Kay West

Oops! Typo: “In any case, I am not reading: Toby Green’s “The COVID Consensus””

Should read “In any case, I am NOW reading: Toby Green’s “The COVID Consensus””

Feel free to jump on it, though it is obvious from the rest of my comment that I am reading the book.

@ Kay West

You write: “And of course the hockey reference went over his head.”

Yep, it did, so what? Should I know every metaphor, slang use of every term? So, since you haven’t been able to refute any of my points on areas I am educated and trained in, pointing out something that is basically irrelevant to the ongoing conversation is your forte.

And, yep, I probably got carried away calling people names; however, you attacked me for being an old man living alone, others have claimed during pandemic I stay isolated, not caring about others, etc. etc. I explained being monthly blood donor, puts me at slight increased risk both exposure in room with dozen others and less antibodies for a few days, is this not caring about others?; but still even same afternoon walk my dog around neighborhood. I think actually attacking people in the aforementioned is far worse than calling people names, especially when not true and way to avoid actually addressing what someone writes. I address what people write and point out how they ignore it.

And as I already quoted from Toby Green’s book The Covid Consensus: ““As a historian, I am not qualified to talk about virology, immunology, and the validity of experiments which have been done to prove/disprove various matters from mask-wearing to how much asymptomatic people can spread Covid-19. In this book, I do not enter into these matters. Instead, I am used to analysing the workings of power in human societies.”

So, he admits areas where he has NO knowledge, training, or expertise. Maybe you could learn from him; but I doubt it.

I’ve got to admit that I also have no idea what MJD and Kay West mean by the hockey reference. But then, where I live, “hockey” means “field hockey” 🙂

Apparently it’s a song which makes fun of the fact that Canadians are constantly being asked if they play hockey. So the question was supposed to be ironic, but ironically, it was taken seriously.

Joel you must not get out much, “You apparently don’t understand/know the difference between name calling and violent rhetoric.”

Walk up to anyone and start yelling those things at those people and the only thing that would beat you to the “emergency unit” would be the headlights on the ambulance you were in, and much like “Big Jim Walker” the only part of you that wouldn’t be bloody would be the soles of your feet. Yet you feel you never threatened anyone, they made a movie about people like you “Clueless”

And guess “who” would get arrested for it, YOU, most states have laws which makes it a crime for “Every person who shall, with words or conduct on, sign or gesture, willfully provoke or attempt to provoke another person to commit an assault or breach of the peace shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.”

In most states its call ‘provoking and assault “

I am not sure they have a help group or not for the ‘Irony Impaired”

Those words, I copied and pasted, were taken from just 2 of Oracs post, any regular reader of this blog can attest that you always use that kind of rhetoric when someone challenges you, it is a familiar tactic of “internet bullies” much the same as a small child would do when they don’t get their way. And yet you always claim to want a civil discourse.

@ Kay West

“Walk up to anyone and start yelling those things at those people and the only thing that would beat you to the “emergency unit” would be the headlights on the ambulance you were in…”

Always double check whether you wiped your ass or not before climbing up the coconut palm tree…

Look out, Kay is on the verge of making a citizen’s arrest for Aggravated Internet Butt-Hurt. Joel will be hauled off in chains to face the Nuremburg Vaccine Tribunal.

@ Kay West

First, yep if I walked up to someone and called them a name they might well attack me; but my name calling wasn’t violent rhetoric. It only becomes violent rhetoric if some reacts. When I lived in Japan sometimes walking late at night some drunk would scream “baka no gaigin”, damned foreigner. I guess I could have gotten angry; but just brushed it off. Same happened in Sweden, again, I just brushed it off. Whether someone would attack me or not would partly depend on their own personality. However, your quote doesn’t give any examples. What if i called someone a “jerk?”

And you missed: “Self-defense is the go-to defense in most assault and battery cases. However, in order to prove self-defense, the defendant must be able to show:
That they reasonably feared that the other person was going to use force against or hurt them
That the other person made a legitimate threat with regard to using force against or hurting the defendant
That the defendant did not provoke nor make the other party fearful in any way
That the defendant could not see any other reasonable way out of the situation.

In other words if I simply called someone a name, it may be a misdemeanor; but if they physically attacked me, it is a felony, much more serious. And you assume I am incapable of defending myself. Well, I am old, some arthritis and wasn’t the best at Aikido; but did learn some.

You write: “any regular reader of this blog can attest that you always use that kind of rhetoric when someone challenges you, it is a familiar tactic of “internet bullies” much the same as a small child would do when they don’t get their way. And yet you always claim to want a civil discourse.”

Actually I only started a while back. I keep bookmarks of my comments and checked from 2020 and early 2021. Feel free to go back to 2020 and find me using such words. Second, once more you fail to address any refutations I made of what you have written and instead focus on what is actually irrelevant. If someone says 2+2=5 and I explain, draw pictures, etc. that 2+2=4 and they just ignore, repeat, or even focus on my living alone, it would not change the fact that 2+2=4. So, yep, I should control my temper; but in a world where studies show 70% or more of Americans don’t understand the basics of science or logic and worse when someone uses science and logic to explain something to them, ignore, twist, and just repeat, it takes a lot to keep ones cool. And you don’t actually challenge me. You just anger me because you represent what bothers me most, someone who really doesn’t know what they are talking about; but can confirm their bias by searching the internet and cherry-picking things. I direct my anger at you and some others commenting on this blog because, unfortunately, I can’t do anything as our nation becomes more and more polarized, not left and right; but open-minded and close-minded and those who understand community with rights and responsibilities and those who don’t.

So, one, you are wrong about my having always used cuss words. Two, you are partially right that such words could provoke; but not clear exactly which words; but a misdemeanor whereas if they do provoke a physical assault it would be a felony. In case you don’t understand, a felony is much worse that a misdemeanor.

And as I’ve pointed out over and over you focus on such while not attempting to actually address the points I make in my comments. And as I wrote above, one can find papers, etc. in internet that support any position; but doesn’t mean they are correct. I did use analogy of racism. No comments.

And you ignore my pointing out your hypocrisy of being rabidly against the COVID mRNA vaccines and then discussing the unfairness of Africans not being able to afford them. And you ignored that there are efforts being made to remedy that. And I said I believe we, wealthy Western democracies, should ensure all Africans get the vaccines for free or very low price and we should also give extensive help to their economies. Do you disagree with that? By the way, one article I found pointed out that several hundred thousand doses of one of the vaccines was in Africa; but their distribution network was so bad, that the vaccines expired.

And the article you referred to wasn’t leftist. Whether the authors are leftist in other regards, don’t know; but found several other papers and so far, nope. And I pointed out that in a paper linked to in the one you linked to they refer several times to John Ioannidis and discuss maybe the Great Barrier Declaration does apply. Orac has dealt with both, so I needn’t repeat. And I am reading: Toby Green (2021 Feb). The Covid Consensus: The New Politics of Global Inequality. So far he has built a picture of black and white, dichotomous approach, based his position on speaking with one or two people AND, for instance, based on the grossly undercounted deaths from COVID in Africa. Note. I have now found over a dozen articles that make a very strong case that African deaths were undercounted by 3 or more times. And he doesn’t include long COVID which can keep someone from workforce for many months, in most case at least 6 months. But I will read the entire book. So, I can’t say what the twos political position is. First, people can be liberal on certain issues and conservative on others. However, while no degree of certainty, they may actually be neither leftists or conservatives; but Libertarians.

So, once more, besides your cherry-picking, why do you think you know/understand more than first Orac and secondly me? Because my comments basically just repeat and support Orac’s positions/articles

And for someone who attacks me for living alone and having too much time on my hands, how come you could go through my past comments and cut and paste my cusswords and now search the internet for provoking words? And please do an additional search and see if you can find exactly which words; e.g., “jerk, etc.

I think I mentioned earlier that I phoned Apple Support for some help. Had a brief conversation and found out the person I spoke with lost his father to COVID. His father was only 63 and according to him had no combordities. And even Green’s book says many of the seniors who died could have lived at least 4-5 years and some studies as much as 10 years. I guess there is no one you care about if they should die from COVID???

@ Kay West

I just went again to a number of my comments and first time I used “ASSHOLE” was February 17, 2021. As for stupid, used a couple of times before; but actually found numerous uses by numerous people, both proscience/provaxxers and antiscience/antivaxxers. And I started posting comments in 2019. So, while I have agreed that I should have better kept my temper, once more you are wrong when you wrote: “any regular reader of this blog can attest that you always use that kind of rhetoric” I did search besides “asshole” on “stupid” and several other terms. And actually, while not using “asshole” I found a number of commenters who did call people various nasty names.

Now, quite frankly this comment a waste of time because it is NOT addressing the real issues; but, of course, that is what you often do

But as I’ve written several times, nothing will change your mind. If I live another 5 – 10 years we will see who was right about climate change, though it already is causing major problems; but in 5 – 10 years it will become close to hell on Earth if I am right. And, COVID may die out or enough people either vaccinated and/or infected with it that we will reach herd immunity; but it could mutate to a variant that current vaccines or infections derived antibodies won’t protect and we could have many more deaths. Thought there is already good evidence we have undercounted covid deaths and, or course, long covid. And if I live 10 years odds of another pandemic reasonable. I wonder what your position would be if either major mutation of COVID or new pandemic results in millions of deaths??? And your position if climate change much much worse and obvious.

I will be extremely saddened as I value life; so emotionally if would be devastating; but intellectually it would mean education and training and actually continuing to keep up would mean I was right in trying to get people to understand pandemics, infectious diseases, etc. So we shall see with climate change and possible future pandemics.

“It only becomes violent rhetoric if some reacts.”
So it only depends on how the person that is the object of the rhetoric makes it “violent”?
So my reaction is that your language is violent rhetoric.

You are so dishonest in what you claim and at this point I believe very little of what you post

My computer just pulled up some real doozy s,

that your copy machine was so good could read the water marks on a Covid card (note there are no water marks on a covid card).


From a year ago….

Joel wrote “I have NEVER asked online for people to edit or comment on any research paper that I was working on. You really are mentally disturbed.”

but then someone replied.

“Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH says:
February 21, 2021 at 4:15 pm


From 18 months ago you wrote

“From a sick, delusional, asshole, idiot, asshole on steroids,stupid, purposely stupid, pathetic, moron, full of shit,despicable moron……..”

Back to today you posted

“So, one, you are wrong about my having always used cuss words. Two, you are partially right that such words could provoke; but not clear exactly which words; but a misdemeanor whereas if they do provoke a physical assault it would be a felony. In case you don’t understand, a felony is much worse that a misdemeanor.

Really, I didn’t know a felony is worse than a misdemeanor, you are so super smart, but good for me I could be partially right, I might add in some jurisdiction your language could be considered a hate crime.

They don’t even have to be words, but your words would fit the the description of provoking, which of course is what you intended, in order to silence/bully me and others.

“they do provoke a physical assault it would be a felony.” actual not a felony, as it does take a good deal of injury or the use of a weapon to qualify (unless you’re in New York and the DA doesn’t even want to prosecute armed car jacking), you probably need to take a few college classes on criminal law and its practical application.

Again just go somewhere (Costco, your blood donation center, or your food kitchen) and start calling anyone those names, you freely use. I think most people would consider them to be violent rhetoric.

You are one sad individual. The internet/computers remember everything.

@ Kaye West

Gee !!

Tone policing !!

Reminds me of my youth in Versailles…

Raping seals is OK as long as you’re polite and sophisticated about it when relating the event in public.

@ Kay West

You write: “Walk up to anyone and start yelling those things at those people and the only thing that would beat you to the “emergency unit” would be the headlights on the ambulance you were in”

I have lived a long time and in five different nations. I know people who no matter what you say to them, regardless of tone or volume, would NOT resort to physical violence; but just walk away., unless they were actually physically assaulted. And I have known people who actually are looking for an excuse to hurt someone. And many people in between. In fact, in Sweden I would be walking late evening with a very good friend when on occasion some drunk would call us names. My friend just laughed and we continued. Lucky for the drunk because my good friend took 2nd place in European Karate tournament one year. And as you probably know, groups like Proud Boys, Alt-right, etc. go looking for fights. So, yep, if I had yelled and called some people names I would have ended up being assaulted; but other people would just have walked away. One more example of your inability to understand the real world, that it isn’t black and white.

You write: “any regular reader of this blog can attest that you always use that kind of rhetoric when someone challenges you”

So, your delusions of grandeur allow you to speak for most or even all who follow this blog. Wow! I know for a fact because a couple commented that they actually appreciated my comments, though I can’t be sure, as opposed to you, if they also thought my cussing was necessary. And NOPE they were NOT anyone I knew personally, not at all. Never met, never spoke with on phone, never e-mailed, etc. Total strangers who also follow this blog.

So, two more examples of how you have problems seeing a nuanced complicated world and not extremes of black and white. You don’t know if some individual would assault me or not and you certainly can’t speak for most or all of those who follow this blog. If you didn’t, unfortunately, represent so many people who think or better don’t think like you, you would be amusing.

@ Kay West


I wasn’t asking for suggestions, just posting it to make the point that vaccines are NOT the cause of autism.

You write: “My computer just pulled up some real doozy s, that your copy machine was so good could read the water marks on a Covid card (note there are no water marks on a covid card).”

Please give the date and URL because I don’t remember ever writing that and doubt that I did.

You write: “From 18 months ago you wrote “From a sick, delusional, asshole, idiot, asshole on steroids,stupid, purposely stupid, pathetic, moron, full of shit,despicable moron……..”

I really DOUBT i wrote that; but, please give the date and URL.

You write: “They don’t even have to be words, but your words would fit the the description of provoking, which of course is what you intended, in order to silence/bully me and others.”

NOPE. My words are NOT intended to silence you, just acting out my anger and frustration at dealing with someone who refuses to even consider their wrong about anything.

You write: “Again just go somewhere (Costco, your blood donation center, or your food kitchen) and start calling anyone those names, you freely use. I think most people would consider them to be violent rhetoric.”

First, why would I cuss at someone at Costco or especially the blood donation center or when volunteering at a food kitchen. However, on several occasions I requested that someone at Costco who wore a mask to get in; but took it off once in to put it back on; but didn’t call them names; but did go to Costco worker and complain; but they did nothing and one of them was actually coughing. Once more you live in a world of black and white. Because of your refusal to actually even consider anything I write, I lost my temper; but you aren’t the world and many people are NOT like you. I belonged to a YMCA for 20 years with people from over 36 different nations. We spotted each other lifting weights, drank coffee, and sometimes went out to lunch. I am Jewish and several who I got along great with were Arabs and/or Muslims. And my oldest closest friend who died September 2019, 63 years from the month we met in 5th grade, voted Republican and actually was more a Libertarian and, of course, I am a Social Democrat, not a Socialist and I’m sure you don’t know the difference. I used to be active in the Green Party; but realized it was throwing away my vote. In any case, we differed on several issues and argued; but were best of friends. I really shouldn’t waste time responding to you because you will just twist it.

And again you ignored when I pointed out your attack on “experts” was using literature on political experts, totally different from medical scientists. And no response when I pointed out your hypocrisy in criticizing cost of vaccines for Africans and fact you are rabidly against vaccines. And when I pointed out that there were programs trying to get inexpensive vaccines to them, no comment. And I stated I am in favor of Western nations getting free or very inexpensive vaccines to Africa and much more adequate aid, asked you what you thought, no response. So, just examples of why I get angry. Even a simple question of whether you would support getting free vaccines and more economic aid to Africa and all you can do is focus on my having used cuss words.

And, again, please give date and URL when I commented on water marks on Covid care and when I wrote “From a sick, delusional, asshole, idiot, asshole on steroids,stupid, purposely stupid, pathetic, moron, full of shit,despicable moron”

I really should just ignore you as it is a waste of time and energy that could be spent doing more productive things, e.g., reading, editing friends next edition microbiology text, etc.

@ Kay West

Fascinating how you devote time and effort to looking through my comments to find when I used cuss words. Well, I went back 18 months and found one exchange where used “asshole” once; but what I said was he often posted valid comments and sometimes pure asshole; but couldn’t find any others that far back; but I’m sure, given how you attacked me for having so much time on my hands, you will do your utmost to find more. By the way, going back i found a number of others who also used “asshole” and other cuss words, so, guess I’m not alone.

And as I wrote, if I live 5 or maybe 10 more years we will see who was right about climate change and pandemics. If I’m wrong, would be wrong for the right reasons; but I would be delighted because I don’t want to see this world ruined and don’t want people to suffer and die prematurely; but have a healthy long existence, so right reasons based on 40 years of learning science.

And I assume Orac will still be maintaining this blog, so if I’m alive I will submit a comment @ Kay West and ask whether I was right or wrong; but I’d bet even if several million died from a pandemic or weather, droughts, fires, floods, coasts flooded, etc. you will NOT admit you were wrong, whereas I would if I turn out to be wrong.

@ Kay West

You write: “You are so dishonest in what you claim and at this point I believe very little of what you post”

When have you ever believed/agreed with anything I posted??? Maybe once; but I certainly don’t remember. Please enlighten me. And give the date(s) and URL


Orac: “These movement antivaxxers are fascist-adjacent.”

Antivaxxers: “[instant deluge of Die Große Lüge]”

Way to prove your host’s point, you fucking stupid disease perverts.

There is little in the antivax movement which cannot be sufficiently explained by a Cluster B diagnosis. And that too is emminently fascist-compatible. Denouncing all of us as untermensch sheep, even as they themselves lack the fundamental neural wiring which turns H sapiens into an empathetic creature.

Yeah, I get why antivaxxers be mad. Must be a pisser to look in a mirror and see only empty air staring back, every single time.


I don’t know exactly which troll university john and Kay and friends attended, but apparently it teaches “gaslighting” means setting fire to one’s own farts so it’s good to know they were robbed. Delta Upsilon Mu!

@ Joel, PhD, MPH:

Scoffers attack you on personal issues or about your tone *because they can’t find flaws in your position and its supporting data**. You are basically doing the same thing that Orac does in a slightly different format. He doesn’t interact with commenters as much so you are a stand-in for him. Most of your positions about medicine are shown to be powerfully validated through research and scientific review.**
Because you discuss your own life, they try to show how those experiences somehow invalidate your standing. Your critic has a mighty narrow view of how people are supposed to live I suppose. Not everyone fits into a stereotypical pattern and that’s, in my opinion, a good thing.
Cursing is verboten? Perish the thought. It’s one thing to curse in public LIVE which could conceivably lead to physical blows but over the internet? SRSLY! What are you going to swear, insult and then track her down and beat her? Most of the commenters here are not easily identifiable and trackable by readers so readers probably couldn’t even do that if they were so inclined.***
IN ADDITION, Orac has a policy that discourages/ bans people who make threatening, violent or discriminatory comments. If you were one of these commenters you would be thrown out. I can’t imagine that happening.

** I often have asked anti-vaxxers/ alties if they can point to any accredited university that teaches courses that support their position
*** because a certain crazed anti-vaxxer had a history of trying to find his critics in RL, I used to add that another woman who spells her name the same as I do and has a visible internet presence IS NOT ME. She lives in Hobart, I don’t. So this jerk wouldn’t harass her.

@ Has and Orac

Just in today’s newspaper, in Ottawa, Canada: “Police in Canada’s capital said Sunday they are investigating possible criminal charges after anti-vaccine protesters urinated on the National War Memorial, danced on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and used the statue of Canadian hero Terry Fox to display an anti-vaccine statement . . .The statue of Fox, a national hero who lost a leg to bone cancer as a youngster, then set off in 1980 on a fundraising trek across Canada . . .Some demonstrators parked on the grounds of the National War Memorial, and others carried signs and flags with swastikas, sparking widespread condemnation.. . .Deirdre Freiheit, president of the Shepherds of Good Hope, who run a soup kitchen for the homeless in Ottawa, said several protesters showed up at the soup kitchen on Saturday and verbally abused staff and volunteers while demanding they be served. She said some protesters were given food to defuse the situation.” [Associated Press (2022 Jan 31). Ottawa police investigate anti-vaccine protesters: Memorial sites desecrated in Canada’s capital. San Diego Union-Tribune ]

And as you both know, antivaxxers have threatened physical violence in U.S. against, among others, school board members, and even actually disrupted meetings, and caused physical damages and actually assaults. They were allowed the same time allotment to present as others; but then shouted down others, etc.

I guess when one can’t actually martial science and logic to support ones point of view resorting to violence, etc. is all that remains, or, of course, to open ones minds. Which is why I lose my temper in exchanges with people who think, or better don’t think, like the above. Oh well. And as you have probably noticed, they ignore my points and focus on my use of cuss words, just proving my point that the are incapable of scientific and logical thought.

Guess those protesters in Canada should have come to America and learned how to burn down a church in the nations capitol (plus a few blocks of the city) , or burn down block of whole towns, or tear down revolutionary war statues or kill over 40 people, loot stores including ma and pa stores.

I’m not sure what’s the best thread for this but here goes…

RFK jr’s CHD is seeking new employees to expand its reach ( I guess that 6M+ USD they accumulated is burning a hole in their pockets)
The positions include fundraising, financial and IT. One even involves science writers who have advanced degrees and experience. Do we know anyone like that? Or website creators?
I imagine that CHD will become even more of a stronghold of anti-vax and treasure trove of BS with these new advocates working fulltime.

You asked for comments on you possible paper…….I just copied the first line I didn’t think I needed to copy the whole post but you have the time and date for the post.

I will help you find the your comment on how you saw water marks on your covid card and how your printer/scanner was so good it copied the non-existent water marks. Denice had just got her Covid card and wanted suggestions on laminate or not to laminate and should she copy the card.

Now you can show us you research skills and find those two things.

To Denise

“Cursing is verboten? Perish the thought.”

So your good with someone calling a female poster on this site

“loathesome twunts”

“So your good with someone calling a female poster on this site”

It’s “you’re”, not “your”, you incompetent cretin. Also, “a female poster”, LOL. As if it was some undeservingly innocent victim, singled out on gender and for daring to speak her opinion.

No, it was me calling you a loathesome twunt, because that’s 1. exactly what you are, and 2. you did all the work to earn it for. And let’s not pretend you weren’t fishing for it. You and Kincaid love to craft your “woe is me, I’m the real victim here” narratives. I was happy to oblige. Because, like you, I am an evil streak of shit; but unlike you evil fuckers, who love punching down, I reserve it exclusively only for those who go above and beyond to earn it first.

Hah! You should see the torrents of horrific abuse antivaxxers regularly pour on Dorit. Whose response, as neutral observers will note, is to double down on her evidence, not proclaim her “victimhood” to mask not having any. Guess which speaks truth?

Well-trodden tactical trolling strategies; and your continued enthusiasm for dining out on this sad story—evading instead of engaging other (male and female) posters’ honest, evidenced, good faith arguments which they repeatedly make and you repeatedly shit on—absolutely resembles this, while oh-so conveniently eliding this. Thus evidencing further my “loathesome twunt” hypothesis for me. So easy!

So fuck your fat oinking sealion ass, you disingenuous blubbery fart. You think you’re the hot shit for playing disingenous manipulative games on compliant victims too civilized or cowed to bite back? You dime store Machiavelli! It is patently obvious to everyone here exactly who and what you are, and has been for a long time now; which is why you will never receive apologies: because while some here may disagree with my phrasing, none disagree with my assessment. Because I was right; and that in science is the quantity that matters.

You are scum.

Try having the honesty to own it. You might even earn respect for that.

Hah! You should see the torrents of horrific abuse antivaxxers regularly pour on Dorit. Whose response, as neutral observers will note, is to double down on her evidence, not proclaim her “victimhood” to mask not having any. Guess which speaks truth?


“Not very scientific, deary.

Here’s the thing, you dissembling jaqoff…..weaponizing it against its propounders in order to advance your own unsubstantiated bullshit as “fact”.

Because your putty brain seems to believe that if the other party’s answer is wrong….You are a malicious, mendacious sack of crap, attempting to put folk here on the backfoot so they’ll make tactical debating errors which you can then attack. So here’s a better proposition for you: how about you piss off

Narcissistic types don’t care about anyone but themselves. I think Gerg’s shitposting here speaks volumes to just how empty and worthless his real life is.

it’s a pile of fetid dingo kidneys

Though, except for “geniuses” like you,
You don’t have a bet with me, shithead.

You are pathetic. And as I’ve written to Natalie White on other exchanges, I could care less about you as an individual; but you represent a large portion of our population; that is, people who really don’t understand the basics of science or critical thinking; but are ready to attack. By the way, were you supporting the January 6 assault on the Capitol? Wouldn’t surprise me.

It’s hard to believe anyone could be as stupid as you seem

Fuck you.… You are just a pathetic asshole who wants to irritate people and there is every reason to be angry with you, simply you ignore reason and continue to spout bullshit.

Do you have self-carnal knowledge of Sophie?

a meat-smoking, sickly-twisted, soulless lying sack of shit deserving of some rough FTC backdoor love

Welcome to JAQing off Sunday

That is the dumbest motherf*cking self-defensive non sequitur that I have seen in all my natural-born days,

You don’t have a bet with me, shithead

You are pathetic

It’s hard to believe anyone could be as stupid as you seem.

Fuck you

Again, a simple question: If a surge develops that kills and causes long COVID in a huge number of people, will you admit you were wrong? Simple question ASSHOLE!

“I really think it was more the Flying Bonobo Squad’s trying very incompetently to start a land war in Asia, Christine.”

“you have the choice of being pointed and laughed at, or told to fuck off all the way home to Fuckoffsville and die in a fire.”

“Just how STUPID are you?”

Of course it it is, you snivelling little rat-faced git.”

Micelle is all like r/dontstickyourdickinthat

I hope he (Tiger Woods) gets amputated

One can’t help but wonder whether the analogy between a needle and a certain male body part applies too closely to Mr. Heckenlively.

Fuck you very much for playing with us.

I suggest seeking psychiatric help for delusions of grandeur.


As for dumbass analogies

Do you get the urge constantly to huff butane cans?

What you are after is the “Mommy, someone said rude words to me on the internet today” blog, which is three doors down. The one with the low handle.


You really are an ASSHOLE

just showing what an absolute despicable moron you are

So, now more stupidity.
Though I find you incredibly stupid and despicable, at the same time, it confirms that in my mid-70s I still am capable of searching and building valid arguments, of opposing ASSHOLES like you.

you overweening little shit.

So piss off, you sorry little pants-wetter, and take your pathetic tone trolling with you.

Fuck off. Just, fuck off. Go back and infest the last thread if you must, you brain-damaged monomaniac witch. But FUCK OFF RGHT NOW.

And you fucking child killers aren’t satisfied just torturing and murdering your own kids; you want to come for my family too? DON’T. YOU. FUCKING. DARE

Cack off, you bigoted hack


Yep these were proper, well reasoned responses, and a lot of well reasoned science.
“Because I was right; and that in science is the quantity that matters.”

Dorit is a well respected professor, I don’t recall anyone who criticized her, that used any of the above language. If they did please post it and I will be happy to condemn them as well

@ Kay West

First, while Denise said:”“Cursing is verboten? Perish the thought.”

I guess in your usual dishonesty, you forgot that after you posted examples of gender cursing, I checked them out and TOTALLY agreed that they were ABSOLUTELY WRONG.
However, I don’t curse based on gender, race, ethnic group, religion, sexual preference, I curse DISHONEST MORONS like you who avoid actually entering into a dialogue on the topic and focus on externals. I’m sure Denice would NOT approve attacks on a person’s “category”.

As for my asking for comments on my paper, I don’t remember doing that; but so what? I’ve posted it elsewhere to make the point that vaccines don’t cause autism. It makes the point, the only difference is that if I someday complete it as a paper I will add more references and improve the writing. What does this have to do with anything?

You write: “I will help you find the your comment on how you saw water marks on your covid card and how your printer/scanner was so good it copied the non-existent water marks. Denice had just got her Covid card and wanted suggestions on laminate or not to laminate and should she copy the card. Now you can show us you research skills and find those two things.”
I don’t remember such; but, again, typical that you ignore the actual subject and focus on irrelevancies.

So, if you want to give the dates and URLs to the above fine; otherwise GO TO HELL

And interesting how you ignore everything else Denice writes.

So, just to be clear I don’t care if you are female, your race, your ethnic group, your religion, your sexual preference because I base my opinion of people on what Martin Luther King said: “The content of their character” And you are a DISHONEST STUPID . . . (I’ll leave out the last word; but you know what it is)

And I continue reading: Toby Green (2021 Feb). The Covid Consensus: The New Politics of Global Inequality

So far I can tear him apart as easily as I do your comments. He gets his statistics wrong. He compares flu measures with covid, not knowing quite different. Basic reproduction rate for flu 3, for Covid ca 10, incubation time for flu, 3 days, Covid 10-11, transmission flu droplets, covid aerosols. I’m sure you don’t understand; but it means one can easily track flu cases and contain and flu doesn’t have long flu; covid does have long covid and flu is seasonal, covid is not. Just one example of someone writing on things they don’t understand. As I wrote earlier, in Preface he says he is historian specializing in slave trade and doesn’t understand immunology, etc.; but then he talks about spread, etc. and even gets the numbers wrong. I have overwhelming evidence that Africa and Indian death rates way undercounted. More since I last posted on topic.

So, just keep displaying your IMMENSE DISHONESTY and STUPIDITY. Don’t actually address my refutations of what you have written. Don’t address your hypocrisy of complaining that cost of vaccines too high for Africa when you clearly think the COVID vaccines are bad. And on and on it goes.


p.s. if you want to give dates and URLs to above, despite them being irrelevant to topics of focus, feel free. Being able to find them doesn’t give any evidence you have even a modicum of intelligence. Finding things on web is a basic skill that someone of even lower normal intelligence could learn. And it also depends on which platform you are using.

I never asked anyone for advice about laminating my vaccination card because I knew enough not to do it because I read.
-btw- since getting vaccinated, no one ( including airline clerks/ attendants, hotel clerks, restaurant workers, store clerks, etc) has ever asked me to see it. It sits inside a billfold in my purse.

@ Denise Walter

You are an educated psychologist. Would you consider Kay West DELUSIONAL???

Or just a prime example of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, too stupid to know she is stupid???

Or, perhaps, some combination

We are required to have our COVID vaccination status on an app on our mobile (read cell) phones. Have to show it a lot as well. Mrs P and I visited BrisVegas (look that one up) earlier this year. They have Starbucks, unlike where I live. But you could only enter if you had received your full COVID vaccination program. Same went for restaurants, pubs (read bars), etc.

Went to Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf on Saturday evening. Had to show my vaccination status. Mrs P works at a school. Can only hold her job if vaccinated. I needed to be vaccinated and show proof to attend the Ashes Test.

“Cursing is verboten? Perish the thought’

That post was not directed at you nor did I say you said that (“loathesome twunts”) and at the time you didn’t believe that anyone on this site would say those things,( It had to cut and pasted before you would believe it, you know because you couldn’t follow the thread) and her post only involved you to a minor extent. I just questioned her belief that it was ok to use that kind of language. No other female on this site has found that type of language objectionable. “I’m sure Denice would NOT approve attacks on a person’s “category”.” but since she (nor anyone else) has expressed that, I guess its ok, because that was over 2 months ago. But that was chivalrous of you to post in her defense.

So in the words of my grand daughter, “that was an A-B conversation C your way out.”

So onto your inability to find your post on this site, I gave you the heading and the time/date and you still can’t find it ? WTH (heck)????

I am beginning to suspect your research capabilities are limited, and am starting to see why the CDC didn’t hire you.

I don’t just think the cost for vaccines for Africa is too high, I think the cost of vaccines for the whole world are too high, Pfizer alone is set to announce earnings with over 80 BILLION dollars for the year and a NET profit for the covid vaccine at a little under 50 BILLION. (in 8 days the numbers will be announced).

But those vaccines were FREE.

So in April 2021 you didn’t post:

“don’t get the cards wet it will destroy special marks on the card, that were put on it to insure its not a fake (fake,now available on the internet). And don’t laminate it.”

@ Kay West

Denice says I didn’t and you give April 2021. I waste enough time even responding to MORONS like you, so give the exact date and URL; but, if I did, what does that have to do with the comments following Orac’s articles?

I’m sure if someone was to be acknowledged as expert e.g., vaccine researcher, climate change scientist, etc.and invited to speak over and over again on a topic you didn’t like, if you found out they had lost their driver’s license for drunken driving when younger or their wife had divorced them for adultery, or in college they had been arrested for possession of marijuana, basically anything and everything that would have nothing to do with their expertise, you would focus on such

That is your typical DISHONESTY.

You write: ““Cursing is verboten? Perish the thought’ That post was not directed at you

Of course it was directed at me to support my position. JUST HOW STUPID ARE YOU?
You need not answer because it is so obvious

@ Kay West

You write: “So onto your inability to find your post on this site, I gave you the heading and the time/date and you still can’t find it ? WTH (heck)????”

I just went back to several of your posts and no heading, date or time. You really are delusional.

You write: “I am beginning to suspect your research capabilities are limited, and am starting to see why the CDC didn’t hire you.”

I NEVER applied for a regular job at the CDC. I applied for their Epidemic Intelligence Service, which is a training program. First, they seldom hire anyone but MDs and second I was over the age limit; but thought it wouldn’t hurt to try. So once again you show your extreme stupidity and dishonesty, basically resorting to facts not in evidence.

First, you continue to deny that basically you are against the COVID vaccine. However, as I’ve written in many comments, everything is sold for a profit, from potato chips to booze. Profit doesn’t say if it is valuable or . . . Despite what you in your infinite STUPIDITY choose to believe, the Pfizer vaccine and others has saved millions of live. One can argue what is a fair profit margin; but your focusing on their profits, rather than the value of all the lives saved is just one more example of your CALLOUS DISHONEST STUPIDITY, which makes you an . . .

You write: “That post was not directed at you nor did I say you said that (“loathesome twunts”) and at the time you didn’t believe that anyone on this site would say those things,( It had to cut and pasted before you would believe it, you know because you couldn’t follow the thread)”

I NEVER said I didn’t believe someone would post such abominable stuff, just didn’t pay attention, ignored, and given your continuous dishonesty asked for confirmation. In your SICK MIND must be something wrong with asking for a simple confirmation; but, of course, given your continuous refusal to actually address my refutations of your comments on the topic at hand.

So, you have a grandaugher. Oops! You slipped and actually said something about yourself

Oh, by the way, in regards to my outline of paper on history of autism, showing not caused by vaccines, every posted comment is open to comments, so if I did ask for some, how does that differ?

Of course, you won’t agree; but given how you respond, to some claims of my comments that never existed, to your ignoring the main topics, etc. I really believe YOU ARE TOO STUPID TO KNOW YOU ARE STUPID, A PRIME EXAMPLE OF THE DUNNING-KRUGER EFFECT.

And, yep, you claimed someone said that about me. Well, I do have a PhD. Earned it at a top university in Sweden and also won a competitive Swedish doctoral fellowship. And besides my PhD, I also won a prestigious National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute 3-Year Post-Doctoral Fellowship. And I do have peer-reviewed publications, have written OpEds that were well-received, and have a few still living colleagues, one, for instance, who just retired from running a major research center and who often would ask my advise on various research projects. So, I can provide objective proof that the Dunning-Kruger Effect doesn’t apply to me. In fact, I even wrote a comment that I consider myself only second string on super bowl team. Orac (David Gorski) and a number of others are first string; but being second string on the winning science team is fine by me. And I’ve written comments clearly stating I NEVER consider myself to have perfect knowledge; but my positions are based on 40 years of education, training, experience, etc. so probability I am right quite high; but not 100%.

So, I repeat, your sometimes totally illogical comments, your refusal to even consider that I have been right in my refutations of your comments, and on and on it goes, conclusion:

either you are really STUPID and/or suffer from the Dunning-Kruger Effect, actually really too stupid to know you are stupid. And I could care less about you as an individual; but posting comments here allows me to vent my anger and frustration in a world with too many MORONS like you.

As for your comment on burning church in Washington, DC and some of the other actions, result of pent up anger and frustration in a nation that has a long history of racism which continues into this day. George Floyd only match on tinder because someone videotaped it or otherwise cops would have got off scot-free. And what happened to Floyd has and continues to happen to innocent decent human beings only because they have a skin pigment called melanin. We are 4% of world’s population with 25% incarcerated and blacks far more than their percent of population represents. Studies, for instance, show whites use and sell drugs as much or more than blacks; but seldom arrested. So, comparing riots following George Floyd’s cold-blooded killing based on pent up anger and frustration, not for a few things; but for 4 centuries, just one more example of your STUPIDITY AND IGNORANCE. Do you really think being against vaccines, especially based on stupidity and ignorance of how they work, how safe they are, etc. compares in the least with racism??? I’m sorry; but really YOU ARE FULL OF SHIT

@ Kay West

Doesn’t mean I condone the violence, just that I understand what led to it. We had riots in 1965, some change; but didn’t last. We had riots following brutal police beating of Rodney King in 1993, not much change. At some point, just naked uncontrolled violence will result; but stupidity and ignorance about vaccines and pandemics is not even in same ballpark.

@ Kay West

I just found website for current class of Epidemic Intelligence Service. Many PhDs; but over 30 years ago, usually one or two PhDs per class, rest MDs. Things change; but I’m sure had you found the website you would have challenged my claim they took few PhDs; but also I was overage. Just wanted to make sure you don’t make a fool of yourself on at least one topic.
Just to be clear, I NEVER applied for a regular job at the CDC. EIS is applying for a special 2-year training program and even if I had not been overage, they have thousands of applicants for only a handful of places, so not being accepted isn’t proof of anything. I actually knew several MDs who went through the program. And, despite I basically knew I was overage, I do regret not being accepted. It would have been a great experience.

Interesting Post and comment feed.

If you take away the name calling and pigeonholing…. What is a better route forward?
(serious question)

Fascist, liberal, conservative, antivaccine, libertarian, socialist, freeloader, corporatist, covidist.
I am sure I missed a few.

Free thinking! Is the most important… AND Freedom becomes the result of that. Especially in an age of media induced hysteria.
Red alert!!! No orange alert. The terrorist are coming with the weapons of mass destruction!!
(remember 2003)
Delta! now Omicron!! The HOSPITALS are full! (oh shit, that’s how they operate) THE WORLD IS ABOUT TO END.

Don’t worry, it will keep chugging along.

These contraptions are effective, but once you realize that they are
“contraptions” then you move forward, and if you have a modicum of emotional control, well then you move forward in a way that can help others.

Understanding that (most importantly)…. as humans, we are all biologically the same and therefore equal… this is the bottom line.

So, it is ok if we have differing thoughts. I understand that many of you are not ok with the population refusing covid vaccination.

I am fine with it.
I am fine with you no matter what your political ideology.
I am fine with you no matter what your gender.
I am fine with you no matter what your race.
I am fine if you are rural or cosmopolitan.
I am fine with golfing and sailboat racing or playing table tennis in a basement
I am fine with netflix and chilling
I am fine with you no matter what your nationality.
I am fine with you no matter what your vaccination status.

Any which way you are… I am still going to live the same way, the way I want to.

I am not ok if you don’t like hockey.
Sorry, not sorry.


I don’t know what I’m supposed to think of someone who is “fine with” my mother in law having her hip replacement surgery re-scheduled three times because of the Delta wave. How is it “fine” for someone to be essentially immobilized with pain to the point of being unable to sleep? How is it “fine” for someone’s suffering to be dragged out another month because other people chose to not get vaccinated?

Why should you get to “live the way [you] want to” when other people can’t live the way that they want to due to the consequences of other people’s actions? Why do you matter more than them?

@ Skeptiquette

You write: “So, it is ok if we have differing thoughts. I understand that many of you are not ok with the population refusing covid vaccination. . . I am fine with you no matter what your vaccination status.”

We live in communities, thus we have both rights and responsibilities. The overwhelming evidence is that the COVID vaccines significantly reduce hospitalizations which are overburdening and burning out hospital staff, that the vaccines significantly reduce transmission of the virus, which could infect innocent third parties who either couldn’t be vaccinated or the vaccine didn’t protect. Yep, the vaccine isn’t 100% effective. And those who refuse the vaccine do so mainly out of ignorance, from social media, etc. Actually learn the basics of immunology, learn about mRNA, learn about the S-Spike protein, etc. and then refuse the vaccines based on . . .??? Even worse is those refusing because research used fetal cells. Well, a lot of store bought goods also were developed using fetal cells; but they are NOT in the vaccines nor the store products. Maybe newspapers should publish a list of all store products that at some time were developed using fetal cells, though NOT in the products and we can see how many vaccine refusers stop buying the store products.

You write: “Delta! now Omicron!! The HOSPITALS are full! (oh shit, that’s how they operate) THE WORLD IS ABOUT TO END.”

First, hospitals seldom are “full”. Second, during surges of the virus, hospitals have been more than full, corridors lined with sick people with no place to put them. What a STUPID comment “THE WORLD IS ABOUT TO END”. Yep, just one more moron seeing things in exaggerated terms of black and white. If we hadn’t instituted some of the mitigation programs and had not developed a vaccine the number of deaths could have been 2 million and the number of cases of long covid much much higher; but nope, would not have ended the world, not even close; but for loved ones who lost family, for employers who lost valued employees, for hospital staff burned out, not exactly positive.

@ Joel, PhD, MPH:

Heh heh. You know that we’re not supposed to diagnose anyone we aren’t working with or know personally.
But I have another take on the current situation concerning presence or absence of delusional thought in commenters.

If someone were truly delusional, I imagine that they would also have problems navigating the vicissitudes of everyday life; running a household, keeping a job, paying bills, dealing with family members. Their deranged system of thought might become apparent in other realms.
BUT what if their positions on say, anti-vax, altmed or other outrageous ideas were an outgrowth of basic contrarianism or need to be different from most people ? Some researchers who have evaluated personality traits of anti-vaxxers and CT believers ( Horney; Douglas) have found that this is relevant. It’s a form of oppositional thinking that separates them from the common herd. They’re not average people. And don’t want to be average.

Amongst those Orac surveys who are famous because of their differences know that many people are disgusted with the medical system, corporations, how government works or any number of other qualms, so they propose an alternative solution. Often, this becomes their metier, earning them both income and fame. They set themselves up as critics and evaluators, sometimes even when they have a poverty of education in the area they critique. Someone on RI once asked if woo-meisters like Mercola “actually” believed in what they purvey or is their spiel just means to an end: 100M USD, in his case. RFK jr didn’t attract huge crowds talking about rivers. Del failed as an actor and singer. Other famous prevaricators may believe part of what they preach and exaggerate the rest in order to gather and impress followers. None of us can ascertain what is truly in another person’s heart.

Commenters at RI are confronted with complex, well reasoned positions, supported by data, presented by Orac as well as commenters. There is usually a confluence of evidence. ( When I present material about e.g. the prenatal origins of autism, I include research from many areas of investigation that has accumulated over decades not a simple case study or personal observation by a compromised parent). Orac tries to present the whole picture. This must infuriate contrarians who can’t accept the final result. Commenters in agreement with Orac, like you, become targets because Orac is not readily available to argue. If they need to be different and someone obliterates their basis of their speciality, they might obviously get angry and attack the bearer of the bad news. Often, it’s Joel. Or Dorit. Or has. Or Monsieur F. Or JustaTech. Or many other regulars who have the skills and information.

So I don’t think that most contrarians are delusional or at heart truly believe in their woo any more than say, Mike Admas does. But I could be wrong.

“Just to be clear, I NEVER applied for a regular job at the CDC.”

So what government agency runs the EIS ?
So when you said that you had a couple of interviews with the unit head and he took you to lunch and told you had the job. But the next day Reagan put a hiring freeze on the US government, so it was Reagan fault, but now you claim it was because you were ‘overage’ and other people were hired/selected, so not Reagan.
I am just trying to keep all your stories straight.

@ Kay West

The EIS is NOT a CDC job unit, it is a two-year graduate program and, yep, at the time they rarely accepted PhDs and I was overage.

But, nope it wasn’t CDC; but NIOSH where I actually was flown into Morgontown, West Virginia, interviewed on Friday, on Saturday department head drove me around, took me to airport and said they were going to submit my papers on Monday. Monday morning read newspaper, there was hiring freeze. So, the hiring freeze was for job at NIOSH, not EIS training. MORON

As for CDC, I had contacts with researchers doing studies on gun violence and they told me if there was an opening they would try to offer it to me. Nope, I didn’t apply for job and at time there were no open positions; but pressure from NRA and other gun groups led Congress to cut funding to that particular unit at CDC. So, basically CDC stopped research on gun violence for many years.

I can’t help it that you get so easily confused, just another example of how STUPID you are.

Also, I have been quite honest, explaining my education, training, how I keep up, and also reasons I didn’t have a great career, among other things, like to travel, lived in five different nations, which gave me insights that would NOT have had if stayed in one place, and moved home to take care of my mother when she was diagnosed with cancer. And when I included in one of my comments something about Ivermectin and you pointed out you didn’t mention it, I immediately double-checked and realized it was by someone else directly after one of your comments and I didn’t hesitate to admit I was wrong and during the years I have posted comments on this website I have admitted i was wrong probably half dozen times or more.

So, I don’t remember you ever admitting you were wrong. I have pointed out that you have claimed I wrote some things in comments and requested dates and URLs; but you didn’t supply. And because I was honest about my career, including job applications, etc. rather than focusing on my refutations of what you have written you exaggerate, twist, distort, and even lie about my background, ignoring my education, etc. And it was you who attacked me for living alone, as if that has anything to do with the validity of what I write.


And, of course, you refuse to give any background of why you think you know better than Orac, who is far more accomplished than me, including PhD in immunology, 60 publications vs my 15, etc. and know more than me with a PhD,, MPH, faculty position at medical school for several years, etc. You really are STUPID, DISHONEST, and DELUSIONAL

There is a simple and obvious explanation for the connection between anti-vaxxers and political “right-wingers.” The political “left” has become aligned with progressivism and socialism.

Progressives love new technology, and are not afraid of it. Doesn’t matter if it’s experimental and not well tested. Progressives have no love of, or respect for, the past.

So right there is the main contrast — anti-vaxxers are people who still feel connected to past traditions and what they consider wisdom. Anti-vaxxers are skeptical of genetic engineering. So anti-progressivism has pushed anti-vaxxers over towards the political “right.”

Since, unfortunately, our political discourse is limited to “left” and “right,” there is no box that anti-vaxxers fit into.

I am not an anti-vaxxer, but I am skeptical of genetic vaccines, and genetic engineering. Even though I am “liberal,” I don’t fit into the liberal box anymore. Because the liberal box has been sucked into the progressive box. You can’t value traditions or nature, or ancient wisdom and be a “leftist” anymore.

You are like talking to a kaleidoscope. Concepts filtered through the lens of IR become completely unrecognizable.

To quote the lady from the Geico ad “That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works!”

“The political “left” has become aligned with progressivism and socialism.”

That may be the most asinine thing you’ve said — and given your penchant for telling enormous lies I’m taking quite a risk here.

But you just may be stupid enough to think there is a strong breeze of socialism in the air. That doesn’t mean you’re right: it simply means you have no idea what you’re talking about, which is par for the course for you.

“I am not an anti-vaxxer”

Now you’re back to your old shtick of simply lying.

@ Indie Rebel

You just keep crawling back from under your rock.

You write: “Progressives love new technology, and are not afraid of it. Doesn’t matter if it’s experimental and not well tested. Progressives have no love of, or respect for, the past.
So right there is the main contrast — anti-vaxxers are people who still feel connected to past traditions and what they consider wisdom. Anti-vaxxers are skeptical of genetic engineering. So anti-progressivism has pushed anti-vaxxers over towards the political “right.”

Another example of your extreme black and white dichotomies. Nothing wrong about being “skeptical about genetic engineering”; but skeptical doesn’t mean closed minds. Whether conservative, liberal, progressive, etc. the vast majority value their and their family and friends lives and health. So, only if completely STUPID, CLOSED-MINDED, AND EXTREMELY BIASED as you, will most refuse to even listen to explanations of mRNA and mRNA vaccines. As I’ve explained in other comments, there are now over 200,000 papers on mRNA since its discovery in 1960s. There are about 400 paper prior to 2019 on mRNA vaccine research, and there are a couple dozen papers just explaining the S-Spike Protein. And even if people were skeptical in beginning, we now have literally 1,000s of studies from around the world that clearly show the COVID vaccines have saved millions of lives, prevented hospitalizations, etc and we also have many studies on the value of masks. Of course, if people totally close their minds and follow only social media and antivax blogs and listen to MORONS like you; but there are STUPID people across the political spectrum and I assure you that even Progressives don’t just jump on every new technology; but look at the actual studies, etc. One, of course, can find exceptions to anything.

You write: “I am not an anti-vaxxer, but I am skeptical of genetic vaccines, and genetic engineering”

And I’ve asked over and over if you have even a basic understanding of immunology, etc. Clearly you don’t, so your position, your extremist abstract position is just based on IGNORANCE.

Just to give an extreme example, my father was raised in an Orthodox Jewish Family by immigrant parents. When one of his siblings became extremely ill, he told me doctors said they should give the kid bacon. Bacon, pork, is, of course, forbidden in Jewish law. Well, not exactly. In Jewish law you can break almost anything if life, limb, or sight is in danger. So my grandparents gave the kid bacon; but cooked it in separate cookware, etc. So, if on the Sabbath when forbidden to work, to save someone’s eyes, you need to go out and dig up/pick herbs, you do it. If need to get to doctor, harness horse and biggie or nowadays drive to hospital. While this only applies to Orthodox Jews, I think most people will do what is necessary to save the lives of their loved ones, and this, of course, means at least having an open-mind.

Please crawl back under your rock and stop making a fool of yourself/

I feel tied back to proper diligence applied to pharmaceutical interventions to ensure that they are safe, censorship, politics, group think, blocking any other treatments (or failing to produce high quality studies that match the recommendations), lack of liability for all but provable gross negligence followed by lobbying for mandates is not that. Failing to share ALL the raw trial data with independent verifiers is not that. Ignoring orders of magnitude more reported reactions and not explaining to the public exactly why the individual cases are not causative is not that. And coming out with preprint studies after millions have already had the jab that contradict many of the important promises that were originally made about the vaccine is not that. 5 years at at a minimum with fully disclosed data that is verified by someone without conflicts or revolving doors is what is needed. No less. For those that have taken it already – they are part of an experiment whether you want to admit it or not.

@john labarge Senator Johnson pushes your alternatives. Senator Paul is antivaccine. Why this is not politics ?
Failure to produce studies that prove that alternatives work is interesting statement. Perhaps this because they do not work ? There are lots of studies about ivermectin, for instance, but reporting results does not happen.
As I said before, your groupthink is called scientific consensus.

Indie: “You can’t value traditions or nature, or ancient wisdom and be a “leftist” anymore.”

You’re describing basic tenets of woo embraced by leftists. Only now, the far right has glommed onto them too.

“Jules Evans, an honorary research fellow at the Center for the History of Emotions at Queen Mary University of London, has investigated the history, philosophy and psychology of well-being. In an article for Medium called “Nazi Hippies: When the New Age and Far Right Overlap,” Evans wrote about how leading members of the Nazi party in the 1930s and ’40s were followers of alternative spirituality and medicine. “There was an idea that western culture has lost its way and we need to return to traditional sources of wisdom, whether that be Hinduism or Sufism or traditional gender roles,” Evans told me. It’s a concept that’s popular today with the alt-right.”

Indie: “I am not an anti-vaxxer”

Be specific. What vaccines do you recommend?

I am not an MD and I don’t recommend vaccines. My guess is that some vaccines are useful and others are not. The medical industry has become drug crazed and vaccine crazed, so many more are probably given than are needed.

As for Nazi Hippies — You seem to think that just because two groups have some things in common, the two groups share other traits as well. You really need to diagram your ideas, to see how they are illogical.

Yes I respect nature. That does NOT mean I am against modern medicine and technology. It just means I respect nature. And it is true that some people who respect nature have aligned with alt-rights or conservatives. But this is probably because the “left” has alienated and evicted them.

People who are very liberal, according to how that word was usually defined, can no longer align with the progressive “left.” Many have become independents, and some have shifted to the “right.”

And it involves more than just medicine. The extreme bizarre anti-racism and cancel culture has alienated many. When we hear that math is racist, or standardized tests and grades should be discontinued, we don’t want to belong to your crazy club.

And of course there is also spirituality. To you it is insane, ignorant, incomprehensible. To us, and to almost all of humanity through the ages, it is the way of the world.

“”The extreme bizarre anti-racism and cancel culture has alienated many.””

It’s wrong to oppose racism? You aren’t making sense. And since “cancel culture” is as fictional as the Yeti — well, that part is as stupid as everything else you post.

Can’t or won’t name a single vaccine that (s)he supports, says “The medical industry has become drug crazed and vaccine crazed, so many more are probably given than are needed” but claims to not be an antivaxer.

Makes perfect sense.

Alright…I’ll bite. There are a few vaccines we don’t give kids if they didn’t get them as little babies. Some we alter the schedule if you didn’t get them at a certain age, etc. Some you only get if you are high risk. Some you only get based on where you live.

Take a look at the CDC chart.

Which do you think are unnecessary? I’ll give you at least five cases where it is for each one. I’m willing to take the time. It may seem like we get a lot of vaccines but that’s largely because we keep developing more of them and the prevention is worth pounds and sometimes tons of cure.


“It’s wrong to oppose racism?”

Where did I say that? I said “extreme bizarre anti-racism.”

The kind of anti-racism that says MATH is racist.

If you are determined to disagree with me, why not at least read what I wrote.

“…why not at least read what I wrote.”

I did — it’s not my fault that everything you write is so full of bullshit and lacking any relationship to reality that it’s difficult to tell what the hell you’re saying.

I’ve taught mathematics (undergrad and grad, applied and theoretical) for over 30 years. I have yet to hear of this “mathematics is racist” allegation. On the off chance that you actually read an article that mentioned it: reference? Context?

When I hear the “Math is racist” or “Showing up on time is racist” stuff – I really hope that is just a few, misguided loudmouths.

There was a scene at the beginning of the old flick PCU where a guy is walking around pointing out racism everywhere: “…And the toilets are white! That, my friends, is a white devil’s conspiracy!!” I always hope the afore mentioned lunacy about math and punctuality is akin to that scene. One whacko looking for an audience.

Indie: “,When I hear the “Math is racist” or “Showing up on time is racist” stuff – I really hope that is just a few, misguided loudmouths.”

Since you are incapable of making any reference to your “XXXX is racist” comments it’s pretty clear you’re just making shit up — as you seem to do about everything.


“When I hear the “Math is racist” or “Showing up on time is racist” stuff – I really hope that is just a few, misguided loudmouths.”

There is plenty of information online about math being racist. And it is very well known that standardized tests are being phased out, since they are also “racist.”

This craziness isn’t just some loony extremists, it is pretty mainstream now.

Of course, you would not cite anything.
I did google, and guess what kind of websites came on the top. Even Gates seems to be involved!

“And it is very well known that standardized tests are being phased out, since they are also “racist.””

There’s good reason not to put faith in standardized tests. The two big ones used for years as part of a high school student’s “stuff to send with college applications” are piss-poor predictors of anything relating to college performance. IQ tests — well, it really depends on your social and economic background how well you do.

It seems, indie, that your ignorance extends far past your lack of understanding of science. Sort of “meta ignorance” level.


“There’s good reason not to put faith in standardized tests. The two big ones used for years as part of a high school student’s “stuff to send with college applications” are piss-poor predictors of anything relating to college performance. IQ tests — well, it really depends on your social and economic background how well you do.”

Where is the evidence that standardized tests don’t related to college performance? My standardized tests helped me get accepted in a doctoral program. What else should they go by? Grades, which are now inflated? How charming a student can be in an interview?

I am skeptical about IQ, since no one can really define “intelligence.” However, like other standardized tests, IQ reflects a person’s cognitive abilities, to some extent. Of course social and economic background influence IQ.

It is a fact that some ethnic groups do better, on average, on standardized tests. We don’t know how much is cultural, genetic, or epigenetic. But it is a fact. And that is the main reason standardized tests are being phased out.

Not using these tests will be harmful to people like me, who are very “book smart,” but not extroverted.

As the comments section here has shown, being “book smart” (and having mad Google research skilz) does not always correlate with possessing adequate critical thinking capacity.

[…] Kennedy was a fairly good environmental lawyer many years ago, still trading on his name and connections. I find it ironic that he was all about science when it comes to environmental issues like climate change, but he simply denies all science when it comes to vaccines. Of course, his family isn’t happy with his anti-vaccine drivel, and his wife, actress Cheryl Hines, was appalled by his anti-semitic references regarding Anne Frank and vaccine mandates. What is it with anti-vaxxers and anti-semitic fascism? […]

@john labarge COIs are usually reported. As for revolving doors, FDA executives do not evaluate clinical trials. Why do you think 5 years is needed ?