Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Covidiocy and the new waves of anti-vax lunacy

 Over the years I've written a few times about the anti-vaccination, or anti-vax, movement, mostly in conjunction with some of the Scamworld hucksters who perpetually sound the (false) alarm about vaccinations chiefly in the service of promoting their own frauducts, flopportunities, and general quackery and crackpottery. (Leonard Coldwell and Mike "The Health Ranger" Adams, I'm looking at y'all.)

For years the hero of the anti-vax movement was a disgraced former doctor named
Andrew Wakefield, an arrogant Brit whose work regarding the dangers of vaccination has been soundly debunked. To this day, however, fervent anti-jab believers defend him and falsely claim that he has been completely vindicated. In their eyes, he's nothing short of a saint.

Well, move over, Wakefield: the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has injected fresh new triple-doses of crazy into the anti-vax crusaders and conspiranoids, who are all over the Internet with dire warnings about the deadly dangers of COVID vaccines. Among these Covidiots are rising stars such as a right-wing rabble-rouser named Bret Weinstein, and a veterinary virologist named Vanden Bossche. One of my favorite journalists and commentators,
Jef Rouner, has taken aim at this newest wave of dangerous anti-vax nonsense (link is in the next paragraph). I first discovered Jef's work when I was writing a post about the fact-checking web site Snopes a few years ago, and came across Jef's guide to arguing with Snopes deniers. I've been reading his work ever since.

What the hordes of anti-vax zealots apparently don’t realize — and that Jef deftly documents in
this June 29 article for the Houston Press — is that Saint Wakefield’s own anti-vax crusades were motivated far more by money than by any genuine concern about public health. And Jef makes a good case for the exact same thing being true for today’s loudest voices in the fight against COVID-19 vaccines, like the aforementioned Weinstein and Bossche.

Whenever Jef writes just about anything, he gets a volcanic mountain of responses from various types of crazies, and his writings about COVID are apparently no exception.

Two months ago, I implored people to get vaccinated against COVID instead of taking horse dewormer, and my email has been a circus train of screwballs ever since. By far, the largest number of messages I get implore me to seek out the work of Bret Weinstein, a “professor in exile” and podcaster. I did just that, and I now believe the world is now in the beginning stages of Andrew Wakefield 2.0...

Following this, and for the benefit of those unfamiliar with the history, Jef goes into the story of Wakefield's folly, and then segues into the current darlings of the anti-vax lunacy legions, Weinstein and Bossche.

It's pretty obvious that these alarmists all love attention, which as I've often said is its own powerful form of currency, particularly in today's shallow social-media-dominated "culture." But like all hucksters and scammers, they also love real money. Concludes Jef:

The people who claim that current vaccination efforts are harming us, such as Weinstein and Vanden Bossche, do not appear to be arguing in good faith. It looks like a con, an old one at that, and we fall for it at our peril.

Amen to that. Here's that link again.

Related on this Whirled:

  • March 2020: Coronacrazy: COVID-19 virus brings out the conspiranoids & fraudsters -- I wrote this when the pandemic was still pretty new. Not a whole lot has changed, except for the millions of deaths from COVID-19 (worldwide) that have occurred since then.
  • March 2020: The Lie-land of Dr. Trudeau: Kevin Trudeau joins the ranks of the corona-crapitalists -- Talk about someone who promotes "health" advice and conspiracy narratives solely in the service of lining his own pockets; serial scammer Kevin Trudeau has been the master of this art for decades (even from prison). Pretty early on, he jumped on the COVID crisis as an opportunity to once again market himself as a one-of-a-kind source for seekrit information that "they" don't want you to know, and that you could only get from him (and you could find out more if you joined the seekrit club he founded, GIN (the Global Information Network)). Never mind that everything he wrote was a repeat of various conspiranoid narratives that were growing wild on the banks of the online fever swamps. He took all of that crap and branded it as his own.
  • April 2020: Lockdown, schlockdown -- Kevin Trudeau is still pooping out COVID-19 nuggets from Camp Cupcake -- More of the same corona-crapitalism. Through a proxy, Trudeau wrote quite a few of these missives -- although interestingly enough, he's been silent recently, about COVID and everything else, since he's been on "home release."
  • April 2020: "Dr." C: the "C" is for Covidiot -- Cancer quack, fake doctor, faux-tivational speaker, right-wing nutcake and alleged predator Leonard Coldwell is one of the most hysterical voices among the anti-vaxxers. It's too bad for his sick and bloated ego that most of the world hasn't heard of him, but in any case, his Covidiocy (and general idiocy) are pretty typical of the science-denying, conspiracy-swallowing masses who are both amusing and dangerous.
  • April 2020: Bless this mess with MMS: phony church (and possibly a phony president?) tout bleachy cure-nothing for COVID-19 -- More quackery, this time involving The Former Guy in the White House...
  • August 2020: Oleandrin: Are Trump and cronies trying to crapitalize on a new phony COVID-19 cure? -- And still more quackery, involving the same Former Guy.

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