Saturday, April 9, 2016

#1640: Adriana Gamondes

Dare we suggest that the anti-communist campaigns of older times are partially to blame for the situation? It is at least pretty undeniamble contemporary libertarians include a fair share of insane conspiracy theorists, a group that is sure to greet any government initiative not only with criticism but with paranoid delusions about covert depopulation agendas or one-world government plans. So it is really not surprising that many antivaxxers – traditionally (but apparently inaccurately) associated with the granola left – have been drawn to certain versions of libertarianism (actually, the direction of attraction is probably in the other direction).

Adriana Gamondes is one example. Gamondes is “the mother of twins who are currently recovering from vaccine-induced GI disorders,” which pretty much sums up the actual evidence base for her anti-vaccine views and her credentials in the relevant area. Those “credentials” suffice to be allowed to write for the tinfoil-hat conspiracy website Age of Autism, though, and Gamondes’s paranoid-libertarian take on the issue is strikingly similar to stuff you find on sovereign citizen websites, as e.g. in her rant “Libertarian Backlash against Reason Magazine’s ‘Corporatist,’ ‘Pseudolibertarian’ Compulsory Vaccine Campaign” a response to a piece by Ronald Bailey (a libertarian who has written a lot of very sensible stuff) where Bailey argues in favor of coercive vaccination from a libertarian premise (basically that libertarianism is not a justification for putting others at risk). Of course, Gamondes’s version of libertarianism, at least when it comes to vaccine-related issues, is “if my decisions hurt you, that’s your problem and no reason for me not to make those decisions.” In particular, it’s Gamondes’s goddamn right to spread whatever disease she wants to those who for various medical reasons cannot be vaccinated and to undermine herd immunity. After all, “[a] single person picks up and loses an incalculable number of microorganisms per day. This is done invisibly, without a person’s knowledge, whether he is healthy or sick, without malice, without intent, and without the ability to stop it (even if you try). No one can know how many billions of microorganisms were exchanged in a given day, nor who will be susceptible to them. No one can prove beyond reasonable doubt which person dropped which microorganism.” So there: Even if she harms you, you can’t prove that it was her, at least not conclusively. (At least other libertarian commenters on Bailey’s piece took the more convenient just-reject-science-when-it-doesn’t-fit approach of “[h]erd Immunity is more Bullshit from Big Pharma with NO logic behind it!” Ah, “logic”, the mass term: there is much logic flowing through those comment sections)

Of course, as an antivaccer Gamondes doesn’t really believe that vaccines are particularly safe and efficacious in any case – a libertarian approach is at least partly a strategy for trying to counter the obvious point that you subscribe to crazy crackpottery by changing the topic to a political one: “It doesn’t matter what I believe; it’s all about individual rights”. Gamondes is otherwise a loyal fan of the discredited Andrew Wakefield, and his (and his followers’) attempts at “science”, and will view anyone who disagree with him as shills for the pharmaceutical industry, and the pharmaceutical industry as suppressing Wakefield’s research purely because of money – the money-generating mechanism is left, shall we say, underdescribed. Which is another tactic to avoid engaging with science, evidence and reason, of course: dismiss your opponents as corrupt. Indeed, Gamondes is apparently the one who “created” the infamous Photoshop piece known as the “Thanksgiving baby feast”, where the heads of scientists, journalists and bloggers who had spoken out in favor of vaccination were photoshopped onto the heads bodies of people sitting down to eat a baby for Thanksgiving dinner. The post was deleted from the Age of Autism blog, but the difference between this and the regular shill gambits at Age of Autism is purely a matter of vividness, not reason and the strength of their inferences.

Diagnosis: We have a hard time believing that her efforts actually help the antivaxx cranks, but Gamondes is at least not a person you want anything to do with. Crazy and dangerous.


  1. Laboring under the misapprehension that she is an artist, Gamondes has created some of the most bizarre (not to mention creepy) 'art' in defense of her vaccines-are-poison beliefs. The Thanksgiving cover art photo is probably the best known example.

  2. People like Gamondes are one of the reasons I created the page Libertarians for Vaccines on Facebook. If you are a pro-science libertarian, I suggest checking it out!