RFK Jr's anti-vaxx rant: Hey, at least Anne Frank could hide from the Nazis

Insane, and perhaps not even the most insane Robert F. Kennedy Jr said at an anti-vaccine mandate rally yesterday at the National Mall. It’s clearly the most offensive thing RFKJ said, but there’s a lot of competition in this clip for the insanity award:

At a rally against vaccine mandates in Washington, DC, on Sunday, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. likened vaccine policies in the US to the actions of a totalitarian state, even suggesting Anne Frank was in a better situation when she was hiding from the Nazis.

“Even in Hitler Germany (sic), you could, you could cross the Alps into Switzerland. You could hide in an attic, like Anne Frank did,” said Kennedy, a prominent anti-vaccine advocate, in a speech at the Lincoln Memorial. “I visited, in 1962, East Germany with my father and met people who had climbed the wall and escaped, so it was possible. Many died, true, but it was possible.”

CNN offers up an (almost) entirely unnecessary explanation for why that analogy was, er, um, well … problematic:

Kennedy’s historically inaccurate anti-Semitic remark ignores the fact that Frank and some 6 million other Jews were murdered by Nazis. Frank, who was a teenager at the time, hid in an attic in the Netherlands, not Germany, before she was caught and was sent to a concentration camp, where she died.

Yeah, the fact that Anne Frank was hiding from a totalitarian regime’s industrial genocide operation and got murdered is somewhat important nuance here. The Auschwitz Memorial took a decidedly dim view of this argument, such as it was, calling it a “sad symptom of moral & intellectual decay”:

No argument here on either point. If you’re making Anne Frank into a fortunate person in your political analogy, the moral rot is too obvious to ignore. As for intellectual rot, that one-minute segment amply demonstrates RFKJ’s descent even without the exploitation of the Holocaust. He’s all but incoherent, screaming about low-orbit satellites, Bill Gates, and food restrictions without any connecting threads whatsoever. This is someone who has lived in an extremist bubble for so long that he just assumes that merely mentioning this paranoid claims makes them self-confirming to his audience.

And who knows? Maybe RFKJ’s right about his audience. People talk about politics as a spectrum, but it’s more of a donut — where the extreme ends eventually meet in paranoid conspiracy theories. And for that matter in anti-Semitism, more often than not, which is certainly one interpretation for this hijacking of Frank and the Holocaust. Kennedy has been on the far end of the donut for a long time.

Anyway, there are certainly valid arguments for debates about vaccine and testing mandates, on constitutional and practical grounds. We’re past the point where such mandates will contain COVID, and we don’t have enough tests available to make such mandates practical in an already-extant supply chain crisis. Plus, Congress needs to authorize such federal mandates through the executive branch agencies, a move that hasn’t even begun — as Omicron has already begun to crest and decline.

But this spectacle obscures real, legitimate, and correct criticisms with insanity and hysteria. If the organizers of this event wanted to highlight those arguments, they shouldn’t have invited nutcases like RFKJ as featured speakers, especially since RFKJ is broadly anti-vaxx, not just on COVID. Inviting him to speak shows the dishonesty of their pitch to “defeat the mandates.” Shame on them.