A few weeks ago when I wrote about a new age exposition here in Western New York, a few commenters on Facebook were whining about how I could dare to criticize the idiots who attended and the frauds who sold overpriced garbage to them. Here’s what one of them said:
Let whackos be wackos. Nothing wrong with them at all- they’re just wackos. Live and let live….. Whether the vendors are con-artists or not… Wackos need to buy their wacky stuff. It’s good for the economy.
Usually I just direct people who make this kind of argument to whatstheharm.net for lots of examples with what’s wrong with “wackos” selling quack “treatments” to the gullible. But since I don’t have a Facebook account, I’ll have to just write about a recent example in the news here.
Tanzania has outlawed witch doctors and traditional “healers” recently due to a mass killing of albinos for their body parts to use in magic potions. But that doesn’t mean their government will do anything about one of them selling the same crap to desperate sick people when the “miracle pastor” selling it happens to be making a lot of money off of it.
There is a line 16 miles long stretching to Rev Ambilikile “Babu” Mwasapile’s house in a remote area of Tanzania. They’re all waiting to pay the equivalent of 30 cents to get a mixture of water and herbs which, according to the BBC, is “safe to drink.” The problem is that it’s not really safe to buy. The people waiting in line for this have no real shelter besides their automobiles (if they happen to have driven there), and no access to clean water. So far 52 have died just waiting in line to buy this stuff.
Maybe some of them would have died of whatever they were trying to cure anyway. After all, they wouldn’t be going to such extreme measures if they didn’t have some serious medical ailment already.
Fortunately even the guy profiting off of all this insanity is calling for fewer customers, since it’ll probably turn out that he’s caused more suffering in his business venture than he’s alleviated. When this story came out, he was asking for no new arrivals until April 1. Also the tests to see if his concoction had any medical benefit were still ongoing. But even if it turns out it has some measurable positive effect, he should still be subject to the law for selling it without doing any real tests or seeking any approval for it at all.