Cross-posted at Daily Kos
Dr. Joseph Mercola is one of the most popular New Age health gurus on the web. He is now using that popularity to push Ron Paul for president.
I tend to agree with many of Mercola’s positions in favor of natural foods and avoiding chemical toxins in food and the environment. I even agree with a few of his more controversial stances, like his criticism of the use of mercury-containing dental fillings. (Does it really make sense to put a known, potent toxin in your mouth, for permanent use?)
Unfortunately, he too frequently dips into the crazy end of the pool, for example in jumping on the twisted bandwagon claiming that HIV does not cause AIDS. He is also a relentless marketer of sometimes questionable products. That has gotten him in trouble more than once with the FDA, which issued warnings to him in 2005, 2006 and 2011 for making exaggerated claims about his products, e.g., that one will “help to virtually eliminate your risk of developing cancer in the future.”
These experiences with the FDA in turn seem to have fueled a certain paranoia and distrust of government, and hence perhaps Mercola’s embrace of Ron Paul’s vision of our Federal government and most of its programs being gutted.
His interview with Paul, which received over 175,000 views, misconstrues Paul’s plan to demolish our national government as the key to “health freedom”. Says Mercola: “My belief is that the US has unfortunately been gradually merging corporate influence into government regulations which is terrific for the corporations but an unmitigated disaster for most people.”
I sure can’t argue with that. But how in the hell does he expect that electing a pro-corporate Republican like Paul will make that situation better as opposed to much, much worse? Every time Repubs gain power, the very first thing they do is invite in corporate lobbyists to literally write legislation, as well as to run regulatory agencies — into the ground, that is.
I believe that many of Mercola’s followers would not support Paul if they knew that he took stands, which Mercola does not mention, like:
– Eliminating the EPA — not to mention FEMA, the Department of Energy, HHS, IRS and other agencies.
– Opposing the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.
– Eliminating the popular election of Senators, returning the Senate to a system of state appointees.
– Opposing all campaign finance reform.
– All but worshipping novelist Ayn Rand, and her glorification of corporate robber barons as the saviors of the Earth, to the point that he named his nutcase son after her.
Mercola also does not mention that he, like Ron Paul, is a member of the far right wing Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, which opposes pretty much all government involvement in health care, including Medicare and Medicaid.
In general, I think most New Age, alternative health types are open-minded progressives who belong on our side. You don’t see a lot of Rick Perry bumper stickers in the Whole Foods parking lot.
If there is a way to turn them to the Dark Side, it’s by having one of their cherished gurus work hard to attract them to the relatively hipper portion of conservatism represented by Paul and his fellow libertarians. So it’s important to monitor when this type of stuff happens — and speak out regularly to counter it.