Quackery promotion zones?

I hate to write about that woo-meister supreme Mike Adams more than one time in a week. For one thing, his website, NaturalNews.com, is a font of pseudoscience and quackery rivaling the infamous Whale.to, which makes it powerfully seductive to go back to that well again and again for blogging material. Although taking on an Adams screed is almost always a lot of fun for me, it’s also too easy. Mike’s craziness is so strong that, while it almost guarantees an entertaining piece for my blog, going back to that well too often risks making me fat and lazy as a skeptic and potentially boring you. On the other hand, sometimes Mike just drops a couple of bombs so entertaining in close proximity to each other that I’m willing to take this chance. This is one of those times.

Last week, Adams launched a hilariously paranoid attack on Obamacare (i.e., the health insurance reform bill that President Obama signed into law last week). As you probably know, though, Adams is nothing if not all about massive crank overkill, and this issue is no exception. In fact, this time around, he paints his vision of what he would like to see politically in the U.S. in an article entitled The real health reform solution: A Health Freedom Zone in America. I’ll give him credit. This time around, he’s completely honest. A complete and utter loon, but an honest complete and utter loon. In his previous post, Adams envisions Obamacare as being due to the “medical mafia” and a “pharma-funded betrayal.” In his most recent post, he continues on that theme and proposes his woo-tastic solution. What is this woo-tastic solution, you ask? It’s something called a “health freedom zone.”

Yes, it’s as bad as you think it is:

Here’s how it would work: All it takes is just one state — such as Oregon, Washington, Arizona or Hawaii — declaring itself to be the “health freedom zone” for America.

It would openly allow naturopathic physicians and “CAM” practitioners (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) to treat (and help cure) serious diseases, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease and many others. It would openly allow Chinese Medicine doctors, naturopaths, chiropractors and other well-educated health practitioners to offer nutritional therapies to prevent and cure serious disease. At the same time, it would allow nutritional supplement companies to tell the truth about the truthful therapeutic effects of their products right on the product labels, so that consumers buying such products at retailers within the state could make informed decisions about how to prevent cancer with vitamin D, for example.

If just one state were to step up and much such a declaration, it would instantly transform itself into the natural health capitol of North America and patients and natural health practitioners would flock to the state from all across North America to experience natural medicine that really works.

Certainly there’s little doubt that if any state were to do this, it would instantly become a magnet for quacks, cranks, and supplement manufacturers. The only thing is that Mike’s forgotten something. We already have a “natural health capital of North America,” where pretty much anything goes when it comes to medicine. It’s called Tijuana. A host of cancer quack clinics safely ply their trade on unwitting, desperate, and credulous Americans who cross the border to pay cash on the barrelhead for quackery like the Hoxsey Therapy and who used to flock to Hulda Clark’s Tijuana clinic. Let’s see what sorts of benefits Mike thinks should have already been bestowed on Tijuana:

The results of this would include all the following:

#1) Your state would experience a booming economy from the huge influx of new natural health businesses and customers engaged in “natural health medical tourism” from all across the country.

#2) Potentially millions of new jobs would be created in your state in the support of these businesses, including office staff, logistics, administration, marketing and much more.

#3) Your state’s population would get healthier because they would now have access to naturopathic medicine, honestly-labeled nutritional supplements (instead of the supplement censorship that is now forced upon us by the FDA), and natural therapies that are safer, more affordable and more effective than drugs and surgery.

#4) Because your state’s population is now getting healthier, your state expenditures on Medicaid would plummet. So even while your economy is booming from natural health care tourism, you’re also spending less on sickness and disease.

#5) Your workforce becomes highly productive and desirable. As your population becomes healthier and regains strong cognitive function thanks to nutrition, your workforce becomes sharper and healthier. Corporations experience higher productivity and reduced losses due to sick time of staff, and your state gains a reputation as a place where companies can hire smart, productive and healthy people who have far lower health care costs. Can you imagine the huge influx of corporations and the massive job creation that would follow?

#6) As all of this is going on, your state would also see dramatic increases in happiness and longevity among the population. And that translates into quality of life that gets your cities named as top choices for places to live in America.

Funny, but I hardly see this as a description of Tijuana.

But maybe I’m being unfair. After all, we’re Americans, dammit! If we do it, we’ll certainly have the awesome results Adams predicts. As I mentioned, I have no doubt that #1 would immediately come true, as quacks from all over the U.S. set up shop in the lucky state to create such a “health freedom zone.” Ther’es little doubt that #2 would also be at least somewhat true, although I highly doubt that millions of jobs would result from these businesses. Hundreds, certainly. Thousands, probably. Tens of thousands, maybe. But millions? Whatever natural herb that Adams is smoking, give me some of that!

Or maybe not. He obviously got some bad stuff if he thinks that the state’s population would get healthier (#3) because of naturopathic medicine and permitting supplement manufacturers to exaggerate and lie about the health benefits of their supplements. Never mind that he has zero evidence to support his claims that all this quackery health freedom will result in increased longevity, fertility, and even cognitive functioning. In fact, I find it rather amusing that to Adams (and many CAM boosters), even the minimal restrictions enshrined in the DSHEA of 1994 are far too strict. Truly, “health freedom” does mean exactly what I’ve said all along: The freedom to sell all manner of quackery without any pesky interference by the government and the freedom of quacks to say whatever they want to sell their supplements and nostrums. Not that that stops Adams, as you can see in this video:

What is it with Adams walking along as he talks through the entire video? It’s damned distracting, as is the sound that seems to fade in and out at random. Maybe that’s for the better. I also resent his little swipe at my hometown of Detroit, as though its problems were due to a lack of quackery being practicied within its borders.

In any case, a lot of what’s on the video is the same old nonsense about how supposedly conventional medicine “only treats symptoms” and “doesn’t treat the cause” of disease. Particularly galling to me is Adams’ claim that he “personally knows” many doctors who treat cancer by “natural means” and can cure it. Really? I haven’t seen any evidence of that on his website. Certainly I haven’t seen anything resembling scientific evidence to show that any of the quacks Adams promotes can treat, much less cure, any cancer. Amusingly, he laments how these “physicians” and “healers” can’t practice in the U.S. but then points out that, if a state were to declare itself a “health freedome zone,” they could all flood into that state. What Adams considers a dream, any practitioner of science-based medicine would consider a nightmare. Be that as it may, the funny thing about Adams’ rant is that one of the doctors he holds up as an example, Dr. Julian Whitaker, practices in California.

D’oh! How is it that this “natural healer” seems to be practicing just fine without interference in California! In fact, all of the forms of woo that Adams celebrates, including chiropractic, traditional Chinese medicine, and orthomolecular medicine, can be found in most cities of medium size and above throughout the United States. This little fact seems to have eluded Mr. Adams.

What’s more disturbing is that Adams appears to advocate violence:

Washington won’t like it, of course. But that’s what the National Guard is for: To defend your state against threats both foreign and domestic. And right now, the FDA and its criminal conspiracy with Big Pharma is a very real and present danger to the health and financial solvency of every single American. Pharm-O-bamacare will destroy America’s health and finances, and that’s perfectly fine with the FDA and Big Pharma because the drug companies are pocketing money while America collapses. It will take a visionary leader in a courageous state that’s willing to take a stand against the health care tyranny of Washington and declare itself to be a Health Freedom Zone, but I believe that day is coming.

I believe there is a new movement of states’ rights gaining ground across America. I believe states are tired of being dictated to by a hopelessly corrupt U.S. Congress (and President) that has betrayed the American people time and time again by selling out to corporate interests. And I believe that we are fast approaching the day when states will take a stand against Washington. Some, like Texas, may even decide to simply declare themselves to be their own sovereign nations.

That’s right. You read it right. Adams is advocating having states secede from the union and use their national guard to defend themselves against the U.S. military. Although I’ll grudgingly give him credit for coming up with a wildly wingnutty term like “Pharm-O-bamacare,” he appears to be made of the same cloth of various militia movements that have sprung up over the last couple of decades. Only the motivation for wanting to resist Washington and possibly even secede from the union is different.