The monster strikes again

In the quiet and still of the crypt, something stirred. It was barely perceptible at first, but became more definite.

It lived again.

In the depths of what remained of its mind, only sheer instinct prevailed. It had fed long and well recently, and had returned to its crypt to digest its unholy meal. Some primeval instict told it that it was still being hunted. How it knew this it is impossible to know, but a sense of urgency had led it back to to the safety of its crypt to ride out the storm. The peace of eternal rest denied it, it could still occasionally have a brief taste of that rest only by feeding and then shambling back to its vile resting place, until its eternal hunger brought it forth into the world again.

That hunger was mostly sated, but it never entirely went away. And now the creature sensed something calling it forth to feed again.

It was time.

Alan Stang (no, not Alan Strang) was in his office. As always, he was wearing a hat. No one knew why he was never seen in public without a hat, and everyone who knew him tended to write it off as a quirk of his personality. Only Stang knew for sure why he wore a hat all the time, even in the hottest summer, and he wasn't telling. Stang was upset. In Virginia, a young man had chosen quackery over conventional medicine to treat his Hodgkins' lymphoma, and the State of Virginia had stepped in to try to make sure that he got the appropriate treatment rather than quackery. Stang had been outraged when he had read of it. Now, as a pundit writing for a website known as EtherZone, he was busily working on a commentary, furiously pounding away at his keyboard, sweat rolling down his brow. It's an outrage! He thought. How dare they?

So engrossed was he in his task that he failed to hear the crash of a door opening. As Stang continued to type, however, hunched over his computer, he knew he was on a roll. Nothing must stop him from finishing his article. But what was that smell? Had he left the trash uncovered? It reeked of rotting meat. He made a mental note to put the trash out into the garage until garbage collection day.

Then he remembered.

He had smelled that same sickly odor once before.


The undead Führer shambled, drawn by it knew not what.

It no longer knew why it existed, why it had an insatiable hunger for brains. It only knew that, when rhetoric reached a certain level, that it knew it would be able to feed. It knew not the details of the Abraham Cherrix case, which had been attracting overblown comparisons that were clearly building towards the ultimate overblown analogy, nor did it care. It only knew it would be able to feed.

And when it fed on the brains of pundits, ridiculous Nazi analogies were sure to follow.

It pushed open a door and moved in to feed.

"Braaaiiiinnnsss!" its rotting lips cried.**

And the creature paused, confused.

As Stang cowered, skeletal fingers reached for his hat and removed it.

And there was the reason for the creature's confusion: A gaping hole in Stang's cranium. The creature had been there before. Only momentarily nonplussed, the creature's skeletal hands seized Stang's head and drew the other side of his skull to slavering, rotting lips.

The last thing Stang remembered was the odor of worms.


Orac rested.

Instead of sifting through terrabytes of data, he lazily looked at a few gigabytes washing through his circuitry via his network connections. The monster was gone. It had struck at Orac's place of origin and then disappeared again, almost without a trace.

This time, though, Orac had an idea where the Hitler Zombie might strike again.

He had been following the story of a young human named Abraham Cherrix. Normally, Orac would not concern himself with the irrationality of a decision by an adolescent human male to forego therapy known to be effective for his cancer in favor of a "therapy" with no evidence at all for its efficacy and a goodly amount of evidence that it didn't work. Orac was never able to understand such illogic and magical thinking, and didn't wish to start trying now. However, he had recognized that this teen's fellow humans had started framing this case as a tyrannical government "forcibly poisoning" a young male.

The rhetoric could only lead in one direction.

And today it did. Orac became aware of evidence of the monster:

Remember that the Nazi death camps started with the doctors. Many years before the world began to hear about places like Auschwitz and Dachau, even before Viennese homosexual prostitute Adolf Hitler became Reichschancellor, doctors in the Weimar Republic were killing Germans they considered "not fit to live," defective children for instance and then different kinds of adults.

Of course, the doctors were doing that for the country's "own good." At the Versailles Conference in 1919, the Allies had lied and saddled Germany with a ruinous war debt, which Germany couldn't pay. The doctors did their "patriotic duty" by removing "useless eaters" from the table. Remember that this had nothing at all to do with Jews. In fact, German doctors doing this at the time thought it was so "humane" it was "too good" for the Jews. The Jews didn't deserve it.

Now, in Virginia, we have Abraham Cherrix, a 16-year-old boy with a Hodgkin's cancer, whom a judge recently ordered to undergo another round of chemotherapy. The first round left him so debilitated he couldn't walk; his father had to carry him around, quite a feat because the boy is over six feet tall. Afterward, the cancer returned. In other words, the chemotherapy failed.

Abraham and his parents want him to take the herbal treatment developed by Harry Hoxsey, who had to flee the United States for that beacon of medical liberty, Mexico, where doctors prescribe it. So what we have here is a disagreement among doctors. The doctors who control and profit enormously from the multi-billion dollar cancer racket in this country will do anything to preserve it; so they told the judge to order a second round of chemotherapy. They, too, are humane.

The creature had struck again.

Orac called upon his companions in the ScienceBlogs collective. Abel Pharmboy answered the call. Orac liked Abel, except that he couldn't figure out why he liked to discuss intoxicants every week. Orac had no need of fermentables. He did, however, unfortunately sometimes need assistance in moving about. Why couldn't his creator Ensor have built a transport mechanism into his machinery?

"Did you see this?" Orac asked Abel.

"I did now," replied Abel. "Looks like the creature is on the loose again."

"Indeed. Let us deconstruct the results of this attack."

"Well, this is perhaps the most moronic, brain-dead analogy to Hitler and the Nazis that I've ever seen in my entire life."

"You clearly haven't been collecting and studying brain dead, idiotic Hitler and Nazi analogies as long as I have," replied Orac drily. "Nonetheless, I agree that this one ranks near the top, as far as truly ignorant and idiotic Hitler analogies go. Even I have a hard time recalling one quite this bad. Consider: The Nazis started out their killing program with 'euthanasia,' the elimination of, as they put it, 'life unworthy of life,' namely the mentally retarded, the schizophrenic, and other mentally ill patients, as well as those with cerebral palsy. Their warped purpose was to 'strengthen' the Volk by eliminating what they referred to as 'useless eaters.' This killing of the handicapped laid the groundwork and provided the Nazis with the opportunity to develop and ultimately perfect gas chambers that were later used in the Holocaust. In the case of Abraham Cherrix, the state is doing the exact opposite of what the Nazis did. It is trying to save him from his own and his parents' magical thinking, in which they all seem to think that an utterly ineffective quackery will save the teen's life. Nor are they proposing to 'experiment' on him. Whether you think it is right or wrong for the state to try to do this, whether you think that Abraham is old enough to choose for himself, the State of Virginia is trying to save Abraham's life, not kill him, it should be obvious that this analogy is totally wrong and simply designed to demonize those who think that the state should intervene in this case. So what can we conclude from Alan Stang's hysterically over-the-top rant?"

"Well, he's obviously had his brain chomped on by the Hitler Zombie," replied Abel.

"No doubt," said Orac, "but I would go farther than that. The utter idiocy of his most recent analogy suggests that he was already missing some brain. Possibly even more than once.The utter vileness of comparing the industrialized mass extermination of the disabled and Jews to the efforts of the state to save this boy's life should speak for itself. It should not matter whether you agree that the state should intervene in this case or not. But, Abel, what else do you note?"

"Well, that's easy. This clown also regurgitates a number of altie canards, such as a vastly simplified rant about Semmelweis, claiming that doctors want only to perpetuate a '$2 billion monopoly.' Get a load of this."

Why do these monsters do it? What do they want? First, of course, they want to maintain their multi-billion dollar monopoly. We are literally talking about one of the most lucrative rackets in world history. Second, they want to conceal that monopoly. I call it Monopoly Medicine. It includes the government, the drug companies, the AMA, the big insurance companies and the medical schools.

Monopoly Medicine is an essential element in the totalitarian socialist conspiracy for world government, the present front man for which is el presidente de los Estados Unidos Smirk W. Boosh. For details about what the medical conspirators are doing to maintain their monopoly, and about the lifesaving technologies they are trying to suppress, see my new book, Electronic Medicine: Cure for Cancer? Simply go to

I can tell you that the conspirators are desperate. The people are catching on. Many more people go to so-called "alternative" practitioners these days than to so-called "orthodox" practitioners. Fewer patients simply do as they are told. The fragile monopoly the medical monsters run could easily collapse.

But remember that one of the long-standing goals of the conspiracy is drastically to reduce the population of the world. The conspirators debate among themselves about how many people must be exterminated. Jacques Yves Cousteau wanted to kill 250,000 per day. Some thinkers talk about exterminating a full 90% of today's human beings. They will probably compromise on some percentage in the middle. A much smaller population would be that much easier to control.

And the (government) doctors will be in the middle of it. What could they do? One doctor tells me he is convinced the conspiracy will kill with its vaccines, which Boosh has suggested could become mandatory under martial law justified by a convenient epidemic.

"Yes, nice touch with the paranoid big pharma and antivaccine conspiracy-mongering added to the Hitler analogy," said Orac. "The alties will eat it up. I hadn't realized, however, that Jacques Cousteau had been such a menace. So what does this tell you about where the creature might strike next?"

"Well," said Abel, " we should look at blogs."

"I agree," said Orac. "In fact, it's already begun. The "forced poisoning"/Nazi/Hitler analogies for this case are only beginning. For example, here's 'Ogre.'"

If this were just one person, the judge, he could be shot and this would be over with. But it's not just one judge. The entire bureaucracy of social services is lining up to crush Abraham's freedom. There's actually a hearing today to determine if the judge will order the police to take this boy into custody so they can forcibly medicate him. Any sheriff who obeys this judge's order is just as guilty as the judge.

Social services, for those who don't know them, are basically evil. They exist to destroy people in order to obtain federal funding. Sure occasionally they do something good, but like the ACLU, they do 1000 evil acts for each good act.

Will this lead to an "Elian Gonzalez?" It's sounding like it will so far. The gestapo, I mean social service agent has already threatened Abraham's parents that they will forcibly break into his house and take Abraham by force.

"What a lovely person," commented Orac. "Such exterminationist rhetoric. Indeed, the zombie has feasted long and deeply on Ogre's brain. There's nothing left, as you will see."

So, how do you stop this horrible injustice? The ONLY way is a majority force of arms. The judge is ordering police to seize this child. The police will obey him. The only way to stop the judge and the police is to resist. In this case, with violence. Yes, it really has come to this point.

And yes, if they do resist, they will certainly be killed. You see, there's more policemen than there are arms in Abraham's house. And sure, the police will claim they were just following the judge's orders -- need I remind you that the Nazi guards were just following orders, too?

"A truly histrionic analogy to Nazi death camp guards," Abel added. "Whenever you write about this case, you try to acknowledge that there are legitimate concerns about excessive governmental power while emphasizing that the Hoxsey therapy is quackery and decrying the credulous press coverage that presents it as a legitimate alternative to conventional therapy. This guy just wants to kill the judge and use force. Or so it seems. But Ogre is not alone. Look at this one too."

What is equally troubling in this story is the position that the medical industry has taken. Forced treatment of unwilling patients able to make their own decisions should have ended with the infamous Nazi experiments, but they haven't. There is a disease of arrogance that permeates the medical establishment. This god-complex that some doctors suffer from is unwarranted given the reality of medical care that we highlighted in a previous article.

"Yes, it's the easiest thing in the world to demonize those with whom you disagree by argumentum ad Nazium. It's the last refuge of lazy unthinking, inflammatory rhetoric designed to provoke an emotional response rather than make one think," said Orac. "We must find the monster, or it will only get worse."

"But how?" asked Abel. "It has obviously feasted so long and so well on idiots like Stang and Ogre that it will be stronger than ever."

"Not necessarily," replied Orac. "Given the truly appalling and ignorant rhetoric coming from them, I rather suspect that those meals were pretty thin gruel, and that the monster's hunger is nowhere near sated by such poor fare. In any case, look for cases or politics where the rhetoric and demonization of opponents are escalating. There we will lie in wait. In fact, I think I know just where to look now..."

THE END (for now--unfortunately it's never truly the end of the Hitler Zombie.)

**Translated from the German, as always.

(Note: Hitler Zombie graphic courtesy of Skeptic Rant.)

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A most excellent Hitler Zombie attack, very entertaining!

Of course while they are complaining about the "Medicine Monopoly", they totally forget that the folks selling "alternatives" also charge fees and yet do not have to prove their treatments work.

Ah, I see you've discovered Ogre, the most unfortunate NC product since, well, tobacco. The Hitler zombie has munched on his brain so much that...well, to be honest, it's hard to see any difference. Perhaps Ogre will eventually rid us of this Hitler zombie meanace by starving it to death.

That was great reading. Thanks Orac, AbelPharmBoy, and of course Hitler Zombie.

laughing and crying at the same time is very hard on my diaphragm...

By nephSpouse (not verified) on 31 Jul 2006 #permalink

"Well, this is perhaps the most moronic, brain-dead analogy to Hitler and the Nazis that I've ever seen in my entire life."

I thought so too but I haven't read very many.

Jacques Yves Cousteau wanted to kill 250,000 per day.

ROFL! Glad the undersea thing kept him busy.

I've seen alties at work and you want to talk about corrupt. Most are just selling snake oil to the "worried well" population, but there are far too many that will shamelessly take advantage of people who are looking for hope.

FDA, FTC, and medical organizations are here to help the public and keep them safe from the likes of Hoxsel and his crew. If you think big pharm is corrupt picture taking away all medical regulation... you have the alternative medicine crowd and supplements.

Alties are no better than faith healers, regurgitating the same crap and hoping for a miracle. Human behavior predicts that they will do well since most people get better with ot without intervention. The ones that don't get well generally don't blame alternatives and the ones that do think it's a miracle cure.

I was chatting this morning with someone who swore by a herbal remedy to inflammation. It was SOOOO MUCH better than any OTC NSAID he said. Turn out this herbal supplement has a "natural" COX-2 inhibitor, the same action as many NSAID's with the same benefits and risks. Taking it in herbal form is probably risky because you never know what dosing or effectiveness you are getting. The same drug is also being hawked as a cure for prostate cancer.

Greetings Orac. I was flattered to see a link to my article and a highlighted quote at your site. While I was a bit dismayed to see my quote placed alongside some of the other, shall we say, more colorful examples provided, I found your article informative and amusing.

I'm always amazed and amused at the level of blind faith evident within the cult of conventional medicine--a faith nearly as amusing as that found in the cult of alternative medicine. Neither side wants to recognize the failings of their particular belief system. These failings are far more obvious on the alternative side where anyone can be an expert, regardless of their qualifications. People are naturally more suspicious of, so-called, alternative medicine, and for good reason, but what about conventional medicine? We are trained from a very young age to never question the 'rigorous' science of conventional medicine. But how rigorous is it really?

A closer look at the white coat world of medical science reveals that in many ways, it is a world full of the same factual distortions, biased science and personal hubris found in the world of alternative medicine. And you don't have to dig very deep to find ample evidence of how checkbooks, ego and the lust for future patents has turned modern medical science into a 'faith-based' belief system.

One good example is the notion that lowering one's cholesterol level yields a cardio-protective benefit. There have been a number of studies that show an association between lowered cholesterol levels and reduced risk, but as I'm sure the readers of this board realize, association does not equal causation. What some of these studies do show is that there is also an association between lowered cholesterol levels and all-cause mortality. Further, as many people suffer CHD with low cholesterol as high. But these truths don't fit the carefully crafted mythology of the multi-billion dollar cholesterol lowering industry so they are conveniently ignored.

Want more evidence of the frailties of conventional science? How about the geniuses who have proposed that we drive whole species of wild birds to extinction in order to protect ourselves from the 'threat' of avian flu? Global warming? According to some 'scientists', there's nothing to worry about. We should continue paving over the planet so that we can have more places to park our Hummers. It seems the efficacy of conventional science, like nearly everything else, is relative.

Dig into the statistics of our number-two killer, cancer, and you find examples of the same dodgy science. This is the 'rigorous' science of which we are all so proud? It is these kinds of cognitive disconnections that drive people to look to alternative options. Ironically, in the case of Abraham Cherrix, his odds are very likely better with chemotherapy than with the Hoxsey therapy, but that was not the point of my article:, rather the point was simply, choice.

Having gone through a previous round of chemo, and given his age and apparent level of maturity, Mr. Cherrix should have had the right to make his own decision regarding his health, whether or not some agree with the logic of that decision. Some defenders of chemotherapy have taken great pains to point out that Mr. Hoxsey had himself, succumbed to cancer. Their conclusion, presumably being, that if the Hoxsey therapy was any good, why couldn't he save himself? To quote from your post, this kind of reasoning is...

"the last refuge of lazy unthinking, inflammatory rhetoric designed to provoke an emotional response rather than make one think..." I mean after all, should we conclude that chemotherapy is utterly worthless because oncologists who believe in chemotherapy die every day? Speaking of inflammatory rhetoric, resurrecting the ghost of Hitler, to make a point about alternative medicine seems designed to provoke the same kind of emotional response.

If you've never been in Mr. Cherrix's position and never had to deal with the gut wrenching decision of whether or not to submit to chemo, a treatment that may be as lethal as cancer itself, how can you say that being forced to take chemo against your will does not smack of the kind of medicine practiced by the Nazis?

I would add in closing, that contrary to your statement that referencing Hitler amounts to "inflammatory rhetoric designed to provoke an emotional response rather than make one think", is off base. Given the effort we've both invested in this discussion, and I suspect we're both reasonably intelligent people, there seems to be a lot of thinking going on, just not so much agreement perhaps. But that's OK, because in the end, it comes down to our right to choose what we believe.

If you've never been in Mr. Cherrix's position and never had to deal with the gut wrenching decision of whether or not to submit to chemo, a treatment that may be as lethal as cancer itself, how can you say that being forced to take chemo against your will does not smack of the kind of medicine practiced by the Nazis?

I explained in my post why the comparison was so risible. The kind of medicine practiced by the Nazis was designed eliminate those whom the Nazis viewed as "harmful" to the volk, specifically the mentally retarded, the mentally ill, and Jews, and promote the reproduction of those whom the Nazis valued ("true Aryans"). It was mostly based on maintaining the health of the German people, not individuals. In this case, the state is trying to save Abraham's life (the life of an individual) and prevent him from dying because of his and his parents' bad judgment. I'll paraphrase what one person said when some overheated bloggers started using the Hitler analogy over the Schiavo case: "Yep, Adolf Hitler, that famous champion of a person's right to choose his own fate." Finally, if you're going to try to claim that Abraham's case is like the forced human experiments the Nazis did, you'd be equally off base. The chemotherapy treatment proposed for relapsed Hodgkin's is fairly standardized and there is a definite standard of care to be followed. No "experiments" are involved.

We can argue about whether state power should extend to being able to save Abraham from his own credulity and that of his parents or whether Abraham is old enough to choose his option of for himself (as I have emphasized again and again in multiple posts), but the analogy of this case to Nazi medicine, quite frankly, is so hysterically far off base as to be quite worthy of a Hitler Zombie attack. Sadly, your piece was only marginally less off base than the ones I mentioned first. You clearly have little knowledge what Nazi medicine was really all about. If you wish to learn, I suggest Robert Lifton's The Nazi Doctors or Robert Proctor's Racial Hygeine: Medicine Under the Nazis. There are also a number of other good books about Nazi medical philosophy and practice, but those two stand out.

As for your other attacks on "conventional" medicine, I could show that they are red herrings at best and straw men or incorrect at worst. Maybe that would be a good topic for a future post if I get the time. (If I do answers that require long explanations I usually dlo them as full blog posts. After all, why waste so much effort in just a comment that few people will see?) One example though: in the lastest issue of Skeptic Magazine (if I remember correctly) there was a long discussion in the letters column over multiple letters about an article by "cholesterol skeptics" that addressed a lot of what you said.


My singular reference to the Nazi experiments in my original article was meant to convey what that experience was like from the perspective of the patient/victim--a perspective which seems to be sadly lacking within the medical community. While the state clearly meant no harm to Mr. Cherrix, from the young man's perspective, and I suspect from the perspective of Hitler's victims, such 'charity' represented a gross infringement of personal rights. The right to choose.

It may surprise you to find that I agree with you regarding chemo as Mr. Cherrix's best hope for a respite from cancer. If you review my article and my post, you will find nothing to the contrary. Your use of my singular reference to Hitler as a basis for your argument against anyone who would dare question medical 'authority' is out of context in that my article was about personal choice and modern medicine. It had little to do with dead dictators.

"As for your other attacks on "conventional" medicine, I could show that they are red herrings at best and straw men or incorrect at worst."

I find it interesting that you describe my opinions regarding conventional medicine as 'attacks'. Can't a difference of opinion be simply that: a difference of opinion? To define it as an attack hints at a certain thinness of skin, reflected in the study I mentioned in my original article concerning a survey of pediatricians who indicated that they would abandon an entire family of patients if one or more childhood vaccinations were refused. I also do not understand your use of quotation marks regarding the term conventional medicine. As you make clear with your pejorative use of the word "altie", there is an approved set of medical beliefs and a set of beliefs, which fall outside that system.--which is in itself sad because I always thought that real science, in its purest form, was open to different and new ideas. I mean who would have believed that mustard gas, a weapon designed to debilitate and destroy would turn out to be the inspiration for chemotherapy.

I had the pleasure of attending a lecture by a doctor recently who repeated that well worn story about medical school where a professor says, "Half of what you learn in school will turn out to be right and half will turn out to be wrong. The problem is knowing which is which." Whatever happened to that honest and humble acknowledgement of the limitations of medical knowledge? Is it just people in the medical profession who believe they're always right or do other professions suffer from this delusion as well? I read JAMA and NEJM and I spent four years in the medical industry. My wife has spent many more deeply involved with patient care. I KNOW that within the industry there is disagreement about nearly everything so why are some doctors so afraid to own up to the limitations of their knowledge and why do they get so defensive when questioned by someone outside the profession? Why is there a pretense that the medical industry is in agreement on issues like cholesterol lowering when there are reams of evidence proving that this is not the case?

"You clearly have little knowledge what Nazi medicine was really all about. If you wish to learn, I suggest Robert Lifton's The Nazi Doctors or Robert Proctor's Racial Hygeine: Medicine Under the Nazis. There are also a number of other good books about Nazi medical philosophy and practice, but those two stand out."

You are right. I'm no expert on Nazi doctors and should I wish to enlighten myself further in this regard, I will take your recommendation to heart. In the spirit of professional improvement, I would suggest that you clearly have some knowledge gaps concerning what the cholesterol business is about. Might I suggest for your enlightenment: The Great Cholesterol Con: Why Everything You've Been Told About Cholesterol, Diet and Heart Disease is Wrong, by Anthony Colpo. If you can successfully refute the studies and the evidence cited here, you Sir will have my undying admiration.

Meanwhile, you've piqued my interest regarding Skeptics Magazine.