Author Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling (A Libertarian Walks Into a Bear) returns!
New England journalist Matt Hongoltz-Hetling speaks on how the medical freedom lobby led America down a slippery slope. Millions of people suffering from aches, pains, and more serious health issues started off by seeking an alternative to the medical establishment, and wound up immersed in conspiracy theories, some of which maintain that flesh-eating zombies are real.
Presented via Zoom
Meeting ID: 861 3819 9238
It’s no secret that American health care has become too costly and politicized to help everyone. So where do you turn if you can’t afford doctors, or don’t trust them? In If It Sounds Like a Quack… A Journey to the Fringes of American Medicine (PublicAffairs; on sale April 4, 2023), Pulitzer Prize-finalist Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling examines the growing universe of non-traditional treatments — including some that are really non-traditional. Here he chronicles the lives of eight alternative medicine purveyors to illustrate how our healthcare and information systems, by design, allow for bad actors to flourish and spread their ideas.
Three years ago, Hongoltz-Hetling took on libertarianism in his sharply funny, politically concerning, and all-around beloved book A Libertarian Walks Into a Bear: The Utopian Plot to Liberate an American Town (And Some Bears). Now he has set his sights on the so-called “medical freedom” movement: a long-simmering fight to eliminate standards and regulations of medicine that has gone increasingly mainstream in recent years. In these pages you’ll meet an array of colorful characters who each believe they have found the One True Cure to all ailments: an international leech smuggler; a gold miner-turned health drink salesman who may or may not be from the Andromeda galaxy; and a man who says he can turn people into zombies with aerosol spray. One thing can take these entrepreneurs and their businesses to the next level — the support and approval of the government, if only they can meet those pesky regulations.
Hongoltz-Hetling tells the captivating, funny, and often worrisome stories of these medical freedom fighters and their supposed One True Cures. They include a laser developed by a South Dakota dentist who claimed to be capable of harnessing “universal healing light” to remedy any ailment; bloodroot-based supplements created by a failed Montana gubernatorial candidate; and the power of prayer as illustrated in the tragic story of Leilani and Dale Neumann who suffered the death of their 11-year-old daughter from untreated diabetes after prayer failed to save her, leading to the couple’s conviction for reckless homicide.
But, he argues, we can’t only hold these bad actors accountable. We must also take to task the medical establishment for their lack of accessibility and elitism that cause so many to seek care elsewhere.
If It Sounds Like a Quack is a wild ride of medical misinformation and America’s war on science. It’s a necessary investigation into where it all went wrong… and where it might go next.