Hell Burns a Little Brighter This Week...

Opinion by Consumer Advocate Tim Bolen

November 22, 2002


Self-styled quackbuster, and anti-health manipulator, Victor Herbert died of Cancer November 19th, 2002.  Herbert, described by many in the Health Freedom Movement as "a raving maniac" hasn't been seen much in the last few years.  Herbert had obtained notoriety among the quackbuster rank and file for his literal SCREAMING attacks, in public, against anything, and anybody, engaged in Alternative Medicine. 

Like most quackbusters, when confronted with demands to back up their anti-health claims with "science," Herbert would get even more shrill.  Quackbusters, as a whole, don't generally understand scientific principles, and don't seem to understand the scientific method.  Generally speaking, I've found that most quackbusters aren't all that bright.  Their leadership seems to have "personal failure in their own profession" as their hallmark.

Herbert had gained notoriety in the famous New York OPMC vs. Warren Levin MD case.  Herbert literally SCREAMED throughout the case, and couldn't be shut up even by the Judge.  Warren Levin, in the case, showed that Herbert had scientifically experimented on himself with a folic acid study - which very likely had damaged his brain.  Levin won.

In another instance, in 1993, Herbert got physical with pro-health activist Frank Weiwel (People Against Cancer) and was convicted of assault in that incident.  Weiwel had been recording Herbert SCREAMING. The conviction was later overturned.  Herbert, who also was an attorney, then sued Weiwel in Federal court, and lost the case.  The Federal Judge chastised Herbert for his courtroom behavior.  When Weiwel was awarded Attorney fees, Herbert claimed he only had $6,000 to his name.  The Judge awarded Frank Weiwel half of that.  Weiwel has an enlarged copy of the check for $3,000 on his wall.

I saw a taped interview of Herbert by Ted Koppell where Herbert couldn't stop SCREAMING on the air.  He was supposedly "debating" someone from the supplement industry.  Koppell told him to control himself several times.  He didn't.

A New York magazine once interviewed Herbert, following Herbert down to his car.  Herbert had bumper stickers on his car with the words "Green Beret."  Strapped to the back of the driver's seat was a Machete, in a sheath.  When asked why the Machete was there Herbert replied something like "last week some bum tried to wash my windshield for me, and I won't tolerate that."

I always thought Herbert was the PERFECT spokesman for the quackbusters.  I thought he TRULY, and HONESTLY, represented the quackpot mentality.  He was the epitome.  Stephen Barrett claimed Herbert as a resource for his dubious website www.quackwatch.com.  Herbert was, of course, on the board of the National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF).

I certainly hope that Herbert stayed in character during his bout with cancer, and availed himself of ONLY conventional cancer therapies.  I can't think of anybody who deserved chemotherapy, or radiation, more.

No official studies have ever been done to determine how much damage has been inflicted on American society by the Quackbusters.  Yet...


Tim Bolen
Consumer Advocate