National Treasure

Celebrating Real Time’s 19th season, we spoke with Bill about all things America, and why he’ll never stop fighting for the truth.
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 05: Bill Maher Performs During New York Comedy Festival at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on November 5, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)

If you care at all about democracy and the way our world works, you should be watching Real Time with Bill Maher. As January 2021 marks the show’s 19th season, it’s one of the most in-demand shows on air. With good reason. 

What the world needs now—right now—is someone brave enough to fight for the truth. Someone who will put himself out there, be willing to be despised as much as he’s revered, and say the things that make us ponder and squirm. From religion to healthcare, mass media to political correctness, Maher enlists experts to help start the all-essential conversations. He leaves it up to you, the thinker, to do the rest.

Nineteen seasons, FYI, doesn’t happen to any TV show by accident. Before Real Time there was his round-table, idea mosh pit Politically Incorrect (1993 – 2001), still regarded as one of the best shows of its kind. “I always said it was a designed train wreck,” he laughs. “You would have Bob Dole sitting next to Carrot Top… it was an everyday show. We had 20 seats to fill. There weren’t 20 intellectuals in America.” At the end of the day, Bob Dole and Carrot Top have the same vote in America. “It was a cry to care about democracy, that we all get a vote. Our votes are equal. Our voices should be equal, too, and that led to some funny exchanges and odd pairings.”

Decades later, Maher is still trying to get us all to give a shit, and have a laugh at the same time.

If you happen to be someone who loves to hate Maher, well, there’s a reason for that, too. He’s not looking to make friends and, no doubt, he speaks his mind. But he doesn’t actually ask you to agree with him. He asks you to consider, converse and stand for something. If this makes you uncomfortable—and you’re working through your ability to care and “get involved” with what’s happening around you—just know: You’re already in it, friend. 

And awards people, whoever you are, give this guy the accolades he deserves. Awards are supposed to be based on merit, right? You don’t like him? Get over yourself and do the right thing. What are you so afraid of? 

Read on to find out what Maher’s afraid of (hint: nothing!) and what he really thinks about the current state of things.

 

 

SPIN: Why do you think Real Time is one of the most successful, longest-running shows on TV today?
Bill Maher: The people who do want what we do, I think appreciate it a lot. We’ve never been appreciated, by what I would call, the establishment. That’s the media and awards, but I understand why that is, and I stopped caring about it long ago.

Why do you think that is?
Because I tell the truth.

Just because the truth pisses people off, especially as we’ve moved into this binary world where you are either on the blue team or the red team. Truth doesn’t really matter to people so much as just that. Which side are you on? My side is the truth and that means I am going to criticize the left a lot when they’re wrong, and they’ve become real goofy about way too much shit. They don’t like that, but tough shit.

In standing your ground you’ve been on your own—how does that feel?
That’s, again, why I think we have a large loyal audience because I don’t think they can go anywhere else. I think if you want the other thing that’s going on, which is, I would say, reliably liberal philosophy regurgitated to you, you have many choices. That audience is divided, or they can watch all of them, but you’re not going to be challenged anywhere else. Certainly, I consider myself a liberal but Politically Incorrect itself, we were just talking about the old show, was not a liberal sentiment. Political correctness is a function of the left, let’s be honest, and Politically Incorrect was a revolt against that.

Getting lost in this world of caring too much about sensitivity has elevated over the concept of what’s real. That only got worse. I was trying to drive a stake through the heart of it, and Jesus Christ, I failed miserably at that. [Laughs.]

When I think about how much the world—or the country, at least—has changed as far as what is unsayable, or at least what’s going to get you in trouble for saying it. That doesn’t go back just to the ’90s. That goes back just five years ago, things are very different. Ten years ago when Twitter started, Twitter used to be, when it first started, the design of it was here’s a fun place where you can just say whatever comes into your mind and share it with the world. The problem with Twitter now is anything I’d want to say on Twitter, I can’t say on Twitter. [Laughs.] Or else I’ll get my head handed to me. The fun of Twitter was, “I’m just going to dash off this thought I had.” Now, if I want to tweet something, it’s like, “I better think about all the people who are going to go apeshit because I said this fairly innocuous thing.” They live on Twitter to basically get outraged — the professionally outraged people. That’s why I don’t tweet very much anymore, it’s no fun.

Of course, it’s a small minority who does that and the rest of the cowards always bow down to their ruling on what is acceptable. Twitter just winds up a graveyard for stale ideas and a Thunderdome for those who want to get canceled. It’s just annoying.

Why do you think the media, in general, can’t be more intelligent—and meaningful?
I’d say I think a lot of it is what I was just alluding to, the binary nature of our politics. It used to be that late-night TV was there to make you laugh. That was job one. That’s not what they’re there for anymore, and it’s not what the audience cares about anymore. You don’t really have to be funny. Sometimes, they are, of course, but you just have to be on the right side of the blue/red divide, which for that audience, is always blue. They’re not even trying. Jay Leno was — again, that’s not that long ago and it seems like ancient history, because Jay had his finger on the pulse of middle America.

That’s why he was number one for so long because he had that broad middle of the country, the same as Johnny Carson did. He would take shots at both sides. That doesn’t go on anymore. On my show, in a different kind of way, that’s what we’re doing. Jay Leno would do it in the monologue. He would, I think, reflect more on what the whole country was thinking. Just like Johnny Carson, we didn’t really even know what his politics were.

They tried to keep it close to the vest. We’re just the Will Rogers type standing on the street corner, watching the parade go by and commenting on it, and noting the hypocrisies in politics, stuff like that. That’s all gone. Now, it’s just, “Let’s get the audience clapping for the right team.”

Is there a place for political shows that also make us laugh?
The laughs have to come at the expense of the other team. I can do 1 million fat jokes about Donald Trump and that’s fine. If I say anything about obesity, even in a more serious context, and it’s not about someone who we hate, like Donald Trump or Chris Christie, then it’s fat-shaming, and I’m the worst person in the world. That’s not a good place for comedy to be.

It was not always like that. I had on Jonathan Haidt [author of Why Do They Vote That Way? amongst others]. He’s terrific. He wrote a book about it and he basically said things really changed with Generation Z around 2015. We thought Generation Z, we hoped, [chuckles.] was going to be a rebellion, and bring us back to sanity. Of course, it just got way worse. Generation Z really is the generation of micro-aggression, trigger warnings, this kind of stuff. That really ultra-sensitive. Sometimes, I can’t even tell what they’re mad at.

I just think they were raised by these helicopter parents. Again, it’s not the majority of people because they’ve studied this in The Atlantic, they’ve studied it in The New York Times. The vast majority of people, they don’t like what goes on, on Twitter. They don’t like political correctness. It’s certainly one reason why Trump was elected once and almost reelected, was because people felt they were choking on political correctness. They do not like a world where they have to walk on eggshells. They do not like a world where you could get fired for saying something that they don’t think is terrible.

Maybe they got the wrong pronoun or something. There’s this little minority. It’s really well-to-do, mostly, I think, well-to-do, upper-middle-class, white people on the coasts, what are often called the elitists. These people are nuts [Chuckles.]. We see it here in California. They believe some really goofy shit these days. These are the people who go into media. These are the people who wind up running the internet newsrooms. I’ll put it this way: much more woke and much less wise.

Is there a pivotal moment you can pinpoint when you’d say we felt strangled by political correctness, or you can just see it change?
For me, it was 1993, when I started the show.

I just think it slowly evolved more and more in that direction, and it was a juggernaut. I think if you ask some ancient, esteemed historian, like Edward Gibbon who wrote The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, he would say that the pattern that goes on in civilizations is fairly consistent, that when civilizations become very successful, they become soft and defeated, and they are victims of their own success.

Look at the way they dressed in the French court in the 18th century with the powdered wigs and the faces that were rouged. I feel like we’re not wearing the powdered wigs and the rouge, but we kind of are that way now. We’ve become obsessed with just the smallest things. When you think about what people get so exercised about, oblivious to the fact that so much is going on around the world. I can’t even tell you how many times worse they get crazed if you use the wrong pronoun, something like that, while so many women around the world in Muslim countries, for example, have to wear a, what I call the beekeeper suit.

Shrouding women. This is not a bigger offense than getting the pronoun wrong? They just don’t seem to have any perspective on the world. Or they don’t want one.

It’s just so much easier to get pissed off about a pronoun! Because if you really care about the world, then you have to do something, and most of these people don’t. They don’t do anything, you know that.

Because we’re so binary, what reaches them is only the echo chamber. Everyone lives in their information silos. If I open up my newsfeed or my Facebook account, I will see one set of ideas and one set of stories told in a certain narrative, and other people will see what they want to believe. That’s the way the algorithms are written so that you keep coming back, so that you are just constantly reinforced with the idea that you already believe.

You are not challenged. They don’t want challenging, if you watch MSNBC. I once, I think, said this to one of their anchors, I don’t know if it was on the air, and I said, “I heard you get your ratings every 15 minutes.” The person said, “It’s every minute.”

If you’re an anchor on the liberal news station, there’s an audience out there. You’re getting those ratings. Someone is seeing them. You don’t want to say something that makes the dial go down. I’m not saying they’re lying. I’m just saying, they’re not going to bring it up. They’re not going to bring up things that make the audience go, “I didn’t know that. That doesn’t sound right to what I already believe. Let’s just not talk about that.” It’s dishonesty by ellipsis. You shade the truth by leaving out parts.

You don’t have to actually lie about anything. You just don’t bring up things that would upset people. You only really hear one side of the story. You don’t have to have guests on that would upset people. That’s the opposite of what I’m trying to do on the show. We have a true debate show. We have different points of view. Sometimes, my own point of view is at variance with the audiences or sometimes, the guest is, but you are hearing different ideas.

That’s not what they’re doing on MSNBC. What they’re doing is, here’s a guest. I ask him a question and the guest says, “You are so right. [Chuckles.] Now, let me tell you how right you are.” That’s not good for democracy either or media.

Then, what does “news” mean now? What does the media deliver? How do we get news?
That’s a great question because as we see, half the country thinks Trump won the election. The other half believes some things that I don’t think are true either, but nothing nearly as damaging as that or as obviously false as that. I’m reading the paper today, I’m sure you saw the story. He’s making these calls to the secretary of state in Georgia and basically threatening him with jail if he doesn’t “find the votes.”

I don’t think it’s going to work, but…just the fact that it’s happening, to answer your question, says a lot about the fact that nobody trusts the same news anymore. No one trusts a common set of facts. There are no facts. It’s just what you believe and what you want. It’s scary.

It feels completely dystopian.
Because it is.

Do you think the new administration can turn things around to restore confidence in American government and society?
I’ll just say, I’m cautiously optimistic right now, like a guy who’s on a first date and he spots a condom in the girl’s purse.

I know this is going to sound terrible and pessimistic, but I don’t think anything is going to arrest or slide the situation because I think the problem was so much bigger than Donald Trump. It’s so easy to blame everything on him, and we should, because Keith Olbermann used to do that tongue-in-cheek segment on his show, The Worst Person in the World.

You literally cannot overstate how horrible this guy is, but it also is true that the problem is so much bigger than Donald Trump or else he wouldn’t have gotten elected.

 

Bill Maher John Russo

 

Seventy million people thought this was the guy. How does that happen?
That’s the last show that we did, my ending editorial was about Democrats have to figure out why so many voters pull the lever for him, again, when he’s the worst person in the world. They were supposed to flip state legislatures, they didn’t get one. They lost seats in the House. He did way better with minority voters.

This was supposed to be the big year of, “Now, we’re all aware about racism.” He did better. Quite a bit better.

My point was liberals can either write off half the country as irredeemable or they can ask, what is it about a “D” next to their name, as a candidate, that makes it so toxic? The answer to that question is that people look at Donald Trump, and I don’t think they’re deceived that he’s not crazy or that he’s not rude, or that he’s not out for himself. They just look at him and go, “The other people are nuttier in a way that’s more threatening to me. Russia was a terrible thing to try to get them involved in our election. It was wrong to try to involve Ukraine in the election, but that’s far away.”

Whereas, the liberals, their shit is right up close and personal to my life. I was talking about the fact that a three-year-old can come home from school and say, “I think I’m a girl now,” and you just have to go along with that. They can say, “I’m changing my name,” or, “I’m changing my sexual identity,” and, “Okay.” It seems a little young to be making a decision like that. That kind of stuff.

Critical race theory, where everything has to come down to race, the opposite of what liberals, like myself, were taught as children. I thought what Martin Luther King was trying to tell us, that we should aspire to live in a society where we don’t see color, as opposed to what critical race theory seems to be telling us, which is that we should always see it. I think what I said that night was, each party has to own everything that happens on either the left or the right as their own, because that’s the binary world we live in.

The Republicans are the party of, and then whatever you don’t like about the right, they are the party of kids in cages, they are the party of “lock her up,” they are the party of Donald Trump and everything he stands for. The Democrats are the party of “silence is violence and looting is not.” They’re the party of chasing speakers off of college campuses and making everyone walk on eggshells, and replacing “let’s not see color” with “let’s see it always and everywhere,” which was formally the position of the Ku Klux Klan.

Do you get criticized more by the right or the left?
That’s a great question and I would say it certainly used to be more the right. Fox News used to have me on their front page every Saturday morning.

They called me Pig Maher. So clever. The left is so much more vocal now and they control the media so much more, and they’re so sensitive. They’re constantly witch-hunting for anybody who doesn’t fall in line with, what I call the one true opinion. It’s so funny. They’re the generation that absolutely hates bullies. God, do they hate bullying and they’re the biggest bullies in the world. Everything with them reminds me of that movie, Mean Girls, where the girl says, “On Wednesdays, we wear pink. Everyone wears pink on Wednesdays.” You know what? I don’t. I don’t wear pink on Wednesdays. [Laughs.] I’m not good enough for them.

I think there’s definitely more to be feared because again, they are the ones who are on Twitter, they are the ones who are always looking to cancel people. The Republicans not only tried to get me canceled in 2001, they did get me canceled [Laughs.]. They literally got me canceled, but it was a different time, it was a much weightier issue. I understood that, obviously, the country was going through a trauma like we had never had before.

Now, it’s different. Now, it’s just like anything. It’s this culture. Somebody says something and then there’s a guy on Twitter or somewhere in the press going, “Is this something? Is this anything? Can we get somebody on this? Because we’re sure going to try.” It’s just obnoxious.

Quick question about Proud Boys: Do you think they’re all closeted?
I think a lot of them are incels: It stands for “involuntarily celibate.” It’s a movement of young men who basically can’t get laid and are pissed about it. There were certainly times in my life when I couldn’t get laid, but I shut up about it. It wasn’t something I was bragging about.

Again, the way these kids are raised now, by parents who tell them that their shit don’t stink and nothing they ever do is wrong. It’s not that they’re doing something wrong that they can’t get laid. They’re just pissed about it. They should be getting laid. In fact, part of the movement is they’re literally some of them asking the government to pay for prostitutes for them. That should be subsidized because, again, they can’t get laid. There was a shooting, a guy in Santa Barbara about six, seven years ago. Nice-looking kid. I think he had a Mercedes, and he couldn’t get laid. He went and shot at least one of the women who had rebuffed him, and he’s like a hero to them [the Proud Boys]. It’s not that different than what I think goes on among radical Islamic terrorists.

Anytime you take young men who are young, dumb, and full of cum, and deny them female companionship, they’re going to get pissed off and they’re going to find a reason, an ideological or political reason to cloak it in. To give it some veneer of respectability, but really, they’re just pissed off that they can’t get laid. Proud Boys, I don’t know, but given the economy and how tough it is, and it is tough for the younger generation to make their way in the world, with student loans and debt. There’s not a lot of great jobs. I can see why they’re having trouble with women. [Chuckles.]

Women are doing better educationally, way better. They do way better in college, they’re doing better in their professions now. There’s a class of angry, young men, which is never a good thing for society. I would guess that some of that is what is going into the Proud Boys because they see a blustery guy like Donald Trump, and they’re like, “This guy, he’s really sticking his finger in the eye of society which hasn’t given us a fair shot. He’s our hero.”

Obviously, you piss a lot of people off—are you ever afraid of anything or anyone?
Fearful, I think, is too strong a word, but I’m aware that it could always, on any given day, end tomorrow, as far as me being allowed to have a public platform, because again, the world is so sensitive and because there are so many people on both sides always gunning for me, always looking to cancel me. Not just me. That’s their raison d’être in the world. It’s just hunt people down and cancel them because that’s how you know you’re a good person, by pointing at someone who somehow hasn’t measured up to your level of political correctness. I’m not afraid of it. First of all, I’m 65. I’m playing with house money. I’ve been on television for 28 fucking years.

They’ve tried to get me almost the whole time. If they get me now, I’d still say I won because that’s a pretty long run. Not a lot of people have been on television for 28 years.

What can you do? My brand is being honest with the audience and being honest with myself, and what I’m saying. I can’t give that up and I’m not going to give that up. If that’s how it shakes out, that the world just became too sensitive for me, it’s not like it would be a shock. I would completely understand that. That doesn’t mean I’d forgive it. What I would probably do is try to find a platform where I’m unfireable because I have an audience, and I think they would follow me.

You see people like Sam Harris who does a podcast that has no advertisements. He is unfireable. He can say whatever he wants, and he does. He’s another great, honest voice speaking about a lot of the issues that are so incredibly Third Reich-ish in America right now. That’s just a bad place for a democracy that lives on the lifeblood of civil discourse to be, where so many things are unsayable. There are a few people who keep saying the unsayable, but it’s nerve-wracking for us.

I’m definitely less stressed at times like this when I’ve had a couple of months off from having to be out there because anytime I’m out there, it’s like walking points on a mission through the jungle, you could get shot.

 

Bill Maher 2016 Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

 

Do you still love performing live?
Oh, I miss it so much. No one, not just me, of course, has been able to perform live since March.

I don’t know anyone who’s done it. I guess you could do a show in a cornfield, and a few comedians have and I guess some have done something outside with a sparse crowd. Please, I’ll wait till things return to semi-normal and I hope that’s sooner than later, but I miss the live performance so much, because that’s a place where I can be, shall we say, ultimately truthful.

Not that I’m pulling punches on television, but you can be a little more raw, live, because those people are the real fans. They paid money to see me, the people who [Chuckles.] come to the studio in L.A., that’s free and it’s television and there’s guests who are nervous about being on a show with someone who is such a loose cannon like me. We’re talking about senators and governors and people in politics who don’t even want to be seen with someone who’s a pot-smoking atheist and stuff like that.

You have to be a little more careful. I think I’m more out there than other people on television, but I’m still not as out there as I am live, because those people who come to see that show, they want me to be the full me and not hold anything back and they’re not the kind of people who groan at something that’s a little politically incorrect or a lot politically incorrect, they want that, because that’s what stand up comedy should be. I miss that terribly. Not to be able to be out there performing live has been the hardest part, for me, of the pandemic experience.

If everybody smoked pot, do you think the world would be a better place?
Not everybody. [Chuckles.] Everybody should not smoke pot, pot only really works for about a third of the people, trust me, I’ve studied it. A third of the people smoke pot and they would get sleepy and we don’t want a sleepy populace. A third of the people would smoke it and would get paranoid and that’s not a good thing. Pot works on about a third of the people, luckily, I’m one of them.

A third of the people find pot makes you well, high. Like we say, it’s high, it makes you more energetic. If I wanted to go to sleep, the last thing I would do is smoke pot, some people smoke pot to go to sleep. It would keep me up, it would be like drinking coffee right before I went to bed, but for some of us, the pot works great, makes us more creative, helps us think.

Whenever I have a really pressing problem that’s troubling me and worrying me, what do I do about this? I think about it when I’m sober and then I think about it when I’m stoned and then I compare, it’s like the two houses of Congress. If the House and the Senate, which for me is sober and stoned, if they both agree on the legislation, then I will sign it.

Will you take the COVID vaccine?
I will not ask for it, but it’s interesting. This vaccine has to be recognized as a great advancement in vaccines, it’s not your grandfather’s vaccine, they did find a way. I looked at this very carefully, they did, I think, find a way to do a vaccine way better and it makes sense that they would. Vaccines have been around since the ’50s, look at everything else that’s been around since the ’50s, cars. Just take one example, cars used to be on the side of the road half the time with the hood up and steam coming out, cars would break down.

I haven’t seen that for 20 years.

They just figure out better ways to do things, and part of the reason why they did is because, for good reason, people were skeptical about vaccines. I always said, and I’ll repeat it, I’ve never been an anti-vaxxer, I’m a medical skeptic. I’m skeptical of everything in medicine, as everyone should be, because medicine, Western medicine, in my view, does a lot wrong, and has gotten a lot wrong, vaccines are part of that, they shouldn’t be excluded.

Were people reasonably cautious about vaccines? Of course, because they’ve been lied to a lot about a lot of things in medicine, and a lot of things that Western medicine told us about lots of stuff wasn’t true. There’s been almost 200 drugs they said were safe and effective, that were then taken off the market. I was on one, God knows what it did to my liver, they drilled mercury into my teeth, they misdiagnosed fungal infections as bacterial infections. I don’t think their general model of how we should take care of ourselves works.

They treat symptoms, they don’t heal and cure root problems. I don’t think how they have handled this pandemic is the right way, they never had the guts to look into the camera, and tell the people in this country, “The best way you can ensure yourself surviving this virus is to get your own self into better metabolic shape.” The viruses are opportunistic, they’re going to take the people who are unhealthy, to begin with. The biggest problem in this country is not germs or even genes, it’s lifestyle. That’s what was killing people before the virus and when a virus comes along, that’s who it’s going to mostly take, it’s obviously older people, you can’t do anything about being old, but you can do a lot about other stuff, as opposed to having people sit home and put on weight and day drink and never get any sunshine or Vitamin D.

I saw in the paper the other day that 80% of the COVID deaths, they think now, are people who are Vitamin D-deficient. Their view of how we cure this was all external, we just get the vaccine, we never tell people to take care of their internal immune system. To get back to your original question, that’s how I would prefer to handle it, I think my immune system can handle this one, I’d always rather do it with my natural immune system, but having said that, this vaccine, the people who came up with it, they should get a Nobel Prize for it because it is a step up.

They used to put mercury in vaccines, they used to put formaldehyde in them. This was probably the stuff that was hurting people more than the vaccine itself. They made a better vaccine, that’s the good news.

In essence, you will have to have it if you want to live in society. I don’t think that’s right, but I would take it, yes, but as long as there’s not enough vaccine to go around so far, all I read about is that there’s not enough and more people want it than can have it, please, this is for you.

 

National Treasure

 

Do you think the COVID vaccine signifies a change for the better in our fractured healthcare system?
The worst part of the American medical system is that you are not allowed to ask questions about all the alternative therapies, which would make sense if they had cured cancer, if they had cured Parkinson’s disease or autoimmune diseases. or ALS, or the 7,000 rare diseases where they have no clue what’s going on. To not have cured these things and to have the American population essentially be so unhealthy that we had the worst outcome of any country in the world, and that’s a large reason why we did, to have this as your background and then say, “Yes, but don’t ask questions and don’t suggest any alternative therapies.” The balls, the sheer gall to not have cured cancer, but then tell people, “Well, you can’t try an alternative therapy, just keep using the ones we’re using that don’t work.” That to me is just outrageous.

This is a little different with the vaccines, but to sit up there in your white lab coats, like, “Well, we’ve got the white lab coat and we’ve got the diploma on the wall and we’ve got the stethoscope around their neck. Just listen to us and shut up and get it in you. When have we ever been wrong?” When have you ever been wrong? A lot! That’s my answer to that. You’ve been wrong a lot. Fifteen years ago you were telling us to eat trans fats, which are now illegal. I saw a good quote from — I forget the name of the scientist or the doctor — she worked at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York. It was in a profile a few months ago in the New York Times magazine. She said, “Nothing in medicine is fixed or precise, unlike other sciences.” I thought, “Thank you.” It was so gratifying to read that, because that’s the case that, or certainly one of the main cases I have been trying to make for these many years on television about this issue.

Nothing in medicine is fixed or precise, unlike other sciences, because I hear people make that comparison all the time. Like, well, if you don’t want a vaccine, then you’re like a climate denier. No, you’re not. It’s not the same thing. Climate science is not that complicated. Could I be a climate scientist tomorrow? No, but I understand that climate science is relatively straightforward.

It’s not nearly as complicated as the human body, which is still a giant mystery to even the so-called experts. They still don’t understand a billion things. They don’t understand yet why anesthesia works. They know that it works. They don’t know why. They don’t know why Tylenol works. They just found a new saliva gland that they never knew we had.

The human body, it’s the ocean floor. They just don’t know enough about what’s down there and how things work. Again, if they did, they would have been able to cure so many of the things that ail us.

 

National Treasure Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for EB

 

The mind and the body all work together.
Could not agree with that more, another big problem that I have with Western medicine is they completely discount the mind-body connection. If you cannot quantify it, if you can’t see it in the blood work, if you can’t see it written on a chart, it doesn’t exist. That is not at all how health operates and the proof of that is the placebo effect.

Everything works together, including the mind. One of the proofs of how important the mind is, is that up until a couple of hundred years ago, when we had the beginnings of modern science, and by the way, I would say we are still at the beginning of modern science, when they had nothing, when they only had bad and wrong information, the placebo effect was basically all they had to cure people. It worked a lot. A doctor would do something insane, like rub dirt in a wound, but because he was a doctor and you thought it was going to work, it did. I wouldn’t suggest that’s how we do it today, but the mind is very involved in the healing process. Western medicine just laughs at that.

I honestly think that it’s possible that the leading cause of death in this country is the medical system itself.

Certainly, it’s lifestyle, but I would say that doctors are a huge part of that problem because as I’ve mentioned many times on my show, I never had a Western doctor who no matter whatever malady I was grousing about in his office ever said to me, “What do you eat?” Something so basic, what do you put in your body? The main thing that affects your health. The fuel you run on. They just don’t count it.

To me, that is medical malpractice. It’s not the same as leaving a scissor inside my kidney. That’s malpractice to not ask that question. “What do you eat?” It’s so basic. They just don’t care. We get very drunk on how advanced we are because of course, we are the most advanced we’ve ever been. It’s Jan. 4, 2020. That’s the latest date has ever been on earth. We have this idea in our head that we’re on the cutting edge. Yes.

Do you really think in 20 years, people will look back on Jan. 4, 2020, and say, “Well, that was the day we really had it all figured out. There really wasn’t much after that, except just to dot the I’s and cross the T’s?” No. They’re going to look back in 20 years and go, “I can’t believe we were doing this.” The way we look back now and say, “I can’t believe they put wooden teeth in George Washington’s mouth.” It’s not as bad as wooden teeth, but we are doing things right now that I promise you are killing people and hurting people and making them sicker.

Just because they have the white coat on doesn’t mean they know everything. They don’t. They want you to think they do and most people, because they’re scared because this is a subject that scares them, they just want to go, “Okay, I’m just going to listen to the experts. Dr. Fauci knows everything that anyone could possibly know. He must know everything. He’s got the white coat. He’s the smartest guy in the world and I’m going to do what he says.”

I think he’s a smart guy. I think he’s an honest guy. I also can say, again, I don’t think he handled this the right way because he never told people “Get yourself in better shape.” Also, you could not come up with a better prescription for making people unhealthy than locking them inside, no sun, stressed out, overeating, and day drinking. If you just wanted to make people unhealthy, that’s the way you would do it. If I wanted to make a human being vulnerable to the virus, that’s what I would have them do.

I’ve heard over the years that you’re a vegan—are you?
No. Again, one of the many areas where we just don’t know. There is no definitive, “Yes, this is the best way to eat.”

First of all, we’re individuals. Second of all, look, here’s the thing. Meat is definitely, no doubt about it, horrible for the planet. It may not be horrible for us. That’s the inconvenient truth but that’s what science is. Let’s deal with the reality. Is meat horrible for me as a person? I don’t know. I don’t know that it is horrible for me. It’s easy to conflate the thing.

You can make that argument, “Well, it’s terrible for the planet.” Okay. I agree. Don’t tell me that that’s a reason why it’s terrible for me, for my body. What I found that I think is a very effective health tool is fasting because our ancestors grew up in a fasting atmosphere, not by choice. [Chuckles.] Because they’d catch some shit, they’d eat it, and then they wouldn’t catch something else for five days.

That’s how our digestive systems developed, but what kind of food? We don’t really even know where the immune system is. It’s all just such a mystery.

How does the way we talk about health and healthcare affect our ability to implement systemic change?
Well, just look at the way we talk about it. Western medicine says someone “gets sick.” Well, you don’t get sick. You become sick over time because your body is not getting the right nutrients. Western medicine also loves to compartmentalize everything. Everybody has to have a specialty. Oh, you got to go to an ear, nose, and throat guy for this and the kidney guy for this and some other.

I don’t know if that’s how — I think the body works all in concert. I think everything works together. Whenever they find something new, they name it as a new disease. I think most diseases are the same thing. It’s toxic material. It’s your cells. Your cells are either getting too much toxic material or not enough of the good nutrient material that they need. It manifests itself in a myriad of ways that they then name a bunch of different diseases, but it all really comes back down to that same thing. Obviously, it’s more complicated than that, and there are lots of things that can go wrong with the human body and some of them are no one’s fault.

You get a cyst on your ovary or your kidney. Things just grow on you and you have to cut it off, then that creates other problems and then you’re on antibiotics. There’s just a million things that can go wrong. It’s true. In general, we could be so much of a healthier society if we understood that it is more about lifestyle than it is about germ theory.

Obviously, germs are real, but even Louis Pasteur said on his deathbed, “It’s much more about the terrain that the germ is invading than the germ itself.” This paranoia people have now about masks and I get it that there’s a pandemic and viruses, but viruses are in the atmosphere and they always will be and we’re not supposed to avoid them all the time. I get it that this one is a little tricky and it can get you.

To me, the scary thing about COVID is that you may not understand that you have something underlying wrong with you until you get it. In other words, the virus could expose that. I know it generally does not take out people who are fundamentally healthy. We see that with millennials. It just doesn’t basically kill millennials. Has it killed some? Of course. Of course, it can because people don’t always know what their underlying condition is, but they also lie about it in the press.

I’ve seen so many stories in the paper. This person was 42 years old and no underlying conditions and then they have a little picture of him and I’m like, “Are you kidding? I can see in the picture that they have an underlying condition.” I can see how round their face is. This person is at least 100 pounds overweight. What are you talking about they had no underlying condition? I see it in the picture.

You don’t always know. You don’t always know what is going on inside you. The body is miraculous in keeping you going and basically sometimes concealing what’s wrong with you so you can keep going. Then the virus comes along and you could find out. It’s like a pan that has a little hole in it and you’re not aware of that hole until you pour water in it. Then you say, “There’s a hole in that pan.”

That’s the one thing, but for me personally, I still would rather go on with my life and take that chance. A lot of this is just philosophical. Of course, I understand social distancing and masks and not doing anything that would endanger other people. I’m all for everything like that and everything we can do to make sure that the vulnerable don’t get it, but for me personally, yes, I would rather [Chuckles.] take a risk.

That’s a philosophical thing in life. For me, that’s what I’d rather do, is take a small risk. I think I can beat this if I get it. I’m not looking to get it. The French have a saying, savoir vivre, and it’s the ability to live elegantly and I’d rather do that. If it gets me, well, I had a good run.

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