The Hotez Hullabaloo

I remember from law school this one professor who was teaching us what to say and not say in front of a judge or jury. The professor said you should never make an argument starting with “I think … ” or “I believe … .” Everyone knows you don’t actually care. As a lawyer, your opinion is bought and paid for.

Last week, podcaster Joe Rogan extended an invitation to RFK Jr. and Dr. Peter Hotez, vaccine advocate and scientist, to debate on his show. Hotez and his supporters, seeking a way out, settled on a persuasion technique known as the high-ground maneuver. They claimed that debating an anti-vaxxer was unbecoming, the equivalent of debating a Holocaust-denier or a person who says the Earth is flat. (Conversely, Holocaust historians and astronomers don’t make school registration or employment contingent upon an injection of gene fragments and heavy metal adjuvants.)

In reality, the vaccine lobby isn’t worried about whether RFK Jr. can beat Hotez on the science. Their concern is that the global attention garnered by an RFK/Hotez debate would introduce millions of listeners to facts that Big Pharma would rather keep hidden:

  • Better hygiene reduced the incidence of childhood diseases to near zero before vaccines became available;
  • Significant exposure to DDT, commonplace before 1970, causes paralysis;
  • The jabs on the childhood vaccine schedule did not undergo double-blind, saline placebo trials.

One claim that surfaced during this kerfuffle but never gained traction is that Peter Hotez has a net worth of $35 million. His circumstances remind me of the congresspeople who declare themselves humble public servants but leave Washington worth tens of millions. Documents show that at a minimum, Hotez has received $100 million in grant funding, plus millions more each year, for research on a parasite vaccine. (I’m referring in this case to a vaccine that prevents parasites, not a junk vaccine that grows Big Pharma profits by feeding on its host.)

In any event, RFK Jr. thinks and believes his cause is right and just, and he is eager to debate. Hotez has declined, not just because his views are indefensible, and in spite of the millions of dollars individuals pledged to charity to encourage the parties to debate. Everyone knows Hotez doesn’t actually care. His opinion is bought and paid for.

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