Who rejects allopathic* medicine? Quacks

*Allopathic medicine, or allopathy, is an archaic and derogatory label originally used by 19th-century homeopaths to describe heroic medicine, the precursor of modern evidence-based medicine. — Wikipedia

My mom used to slam the term “quack” on any practitioner of non-scientific practices which promised to heal human body parts.

Where did the word “quack” go? I guess it was sucked up into the heavens floating over the New Age. Too bad, because it’s such an efficiently terse term. Say it out loud: “Quack.” You like it, don’t you?

And yes, you’d be right to suspect I’ve read something about RFK Jr.’s campaign to re-enter the White House and cleanse it of the soul-gobbling impurities accumulated by every non-Kennedy administration. That is, every administration since 1963.

This is a good time to express gratitude to the intrepid journalists who enter the camps of nut jobs in order to report what’s truly going on in there, so the rest of us don’t have to incur migraines from paying actual attention to the rhetoric — or to those non-MAGA loonies who are absorbing and spewing it. (I’ve been getting emails in my spamblocker from Marianne Williamson; I think she wants me to support her candidacy. One of these people is a quack too far. It might as well be her.)

A week or so ago, Michelle Goldberg ventured to New Hampshire for an RFK, Jr. campaign event, which she reported in the Times as, “Robert F Kennedy Jr and the Coalition of the Distrustful.” (She was kind to call these people “distrustful;” I have a few other words also beginning in “d.”)

I intended to quote some of her terrific (in the sense of “terrifying”) story but, you know, I’m not going to bother. Except for two all-purpose messages Goldberg includes in her article. The first:

In 2021, Charles Eisenstein, an influential New Age writer, described the assassination of John F. Kennedy as the primal wound that brought America to its current lamentable state. “It is like a radioactive pellet lodged inside the body politic,” he wrote, “generating an endlessly metastasizing cancer that no one has been able to trace to its source.”

Gee, I’ve been going with slavery as America’s primal wound. I’m so not New Age-y.

The final sweeping proclamation in Goldberg’s article belongs, as it should, to RFK Jr:

“We are in the last battle,” Kennedy said in a 2021 speech at a California church famous for defying pandemic restrictions. “This is the apocalypse. We are fighting for the salvation of all humanity.”

Oh. Right. OK.


At this point you might like a palate cleanser from Anton Chekhov, an actual practicing allopathic physician, who lays it out in the opening paragraph of Malingerers, a very short 1885 story — which you can read in toto for its sly twist:

Marfa Petrovna Petchonkin, the General’s widow, who has been practising for ten years as a homeopathic doctor, is seeing patients in her study on one of the Tuesdays in May. On the table before her lie a chest of homeopathic drugs, a book on homeopathy, and bills from a homeopathic chemist. On the wall the letters from some Petersburg homeopath, in Marfa Petrovna’s opinion a very celebrated and great man, hang under glass in a gilt frame, and there also is a portrait of Father Aristark, to whom the lady owes her salvation–that is, the renunciation of pernicious allopathy and the knowledge of the truth.

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