RFK Jr. likens effects of vaccination to Nazi death camps

Yes, America’s Most Irresponsible Public Figure® is at it again. [Orac, Respectful Insolence] For good measure, the celebrity environmentalist/wayward scion, speaking in Chicago at a conference called Autism One, is quoted as saying of Dr. Paul Offit and other vaccine scientists, “They should be in jail and the key should be thrown away.” [Age of Autism]

Update: As of Tues. June 3 in the afternoon, the AoA blog post has been taken down. [h/t Justin Miller]


  • Dear RFK, Jr.

    you are an idiot.

  • Just earlier this week, he compared importing oil from Canada to importing slaves from Africa. Dude is on a roll.

  • One more quote from the chief writer at the Age of Autism site, who was quite thrilled with the wayward scion’s remarks: “When Bobby Kennedy says something, it gives ‘cover,’ in a sense, for others to use the same kind of language and frame the debate in the same kind of way.” So long as the press goes on according credibility and visibility to a figure like RFK Jr., that will unfortunately be true.

  • Given that every problem requires a legislative solution, I propose a “Senator Robert F. Kennedy Reputation Protection Act”:
    Sons shall henceforth be prohibited from using the same name as their fathers. Where a son already is using his father’s name, the son shall automatically be assigned a first name “Secundus” (or, mutatis mutandis, “Tertius,” etc.), eg “Secundus R.F. Kennedy.” With luck, that might stop the loud rumblings so often heard from a certain grave in Arlington National Cemetery.

  • @ Doug:
    When your chief researchers are Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey, your conclusions may resemble fart jokes.

  • Too bad Junior isn’t a doctor, so that he can suffer the same consequences Dr. Andrew Wakefield did for starting that hoax.

  • I’m a big fan of vaccines, I really am. I think science supports me. That said, a lot of people at the CDC who were screaming about AIDS got pretty much ignored. I respect RFK, Jr. position on it. I just think he is wrong.

    I wouldn’t pretend to know what RFK thinks of his son’s opinions on medical and scientific issues in 2013, Hugo. Besides, if I were RFK, I’d be more interested in the kind of father, husband and friend he is than his musing on political issues. I’d rather my kids believe OJ was innocent but be faithful to their families than the inverse. Said differently, I don’t think it is fair to suggest a father is rolling over in his grave about anything his son’s political opinions.

  • Walter–
    Most of the links on your Robert F. Kennedy Jr collection seem to be dead. Could you update a couple of the most important links, eg perhaps to an article you wrote for Forbes?

  • I followed the AIDS epidemic in the 1980’s and was amazed by how quickly the problem was identified and that Dr. Gallo was able to develop a test to save blood supplies. As far as I remember, Ron Miller is wrong on his AIDS point.

    At the time some in the Gay community went after Dr. Gallo because they felt that he cheated. Who cares if he cheated if he saved the blood supply. He was persecuted for years but now it is accepted that he did nothing wrong. He is a hero. Those who are so demanding of gay rights overlook this hideous incident.

    The evidence against the vaccine nuts is so overwhelming that their continuing beating of the dead horse is not acceptable.

  • @ ron Miller

    Quoting another poster (dairy farmer thread)–
    >Actually, I was just, ah, making a joke. …But good hustle trying to find a way to make me unreasonable. You’ll get em next time, I’m sure.[end of quote]
    (Do a Google search against “can dish it out but can’t take it”)

    As for comparing Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Secundus R.F. Kennedy.

    I was not claiming the Senator as a supply-side Republican. If he had died in the mid 1950s, he might have been best known as one of Malmedy Joe McCarthy’s staff attorneys, but obviously he had progressed far between then and 1968.

    You see only one axis of political opinion, from Republican to Democrat. I will grant you that both father and son are well over on the Democratic side. But I see an additional axis of reason vs. unreason. For example, among two left-wing public intellectuals who died last year, I had high respect for Alexander Cockburn, advocate of reason, and much less respect for Gore Vidal, enabler of nutty conspiracy theories. On that basis, Secundus is unusual among the Kennedy clan in taking serious offense at science.

  • Hugo, let me explain to you the fundamental difference between apples and oranges.

    I’m talking about drawing conclusions that make it seem like a father is not proud of and would not support his son. That is a different beast, wouldn’t you agree. I’m not sure that joke I made about Cain necessarily implies every kind of joke is always a good one.

    I’m not saying you committed some grievous sin either, Hugo. I’m just saying I think it is a bad idea.

  • @ Ron Miller–
    The satirical tone of my post might alert the average reader that I could not seriously claim inside knowledge of dynamics between this father and son. Nevertheless, maybe it was in worse taste than the average joke by a commenter. Perhaps I should have allowed Godwin’s Law (even though at second hand) to warn me against this thread entirely– that whenever Nazis and the Holocaust are applied where they don’t belong, useful argument should be considered at an end. How about a bargain: I will concede that my joke was in bad taste, if you will concede that the invocation of Nazi and Holocaust imagery by the anti-vaccine people is contemptible (aka “trivializing the Holocaust”).

  • Hugo, I think we have a deal. Do you want to draft a formal agreement or do you think these comments are good enough?

  • Well, gee, I thought we could spin this out for another couple of weeks or so…