Opinion | The Paranoid Style in American Plutocrats


Recently Dr. Peter Hotez, a leading vaccine scientist and a frequent target of anti-vaxxer harassment, expressed some puzzlement in a post on X, formerly Twitter. He noted that many of those taunting him were also “big time into bitcoin or cryptocurrency” and declared that “I can’t quite connect the dots on that one.”

OK, I can help with that. Also, welcome to my world.

If you regularly follow debates about public policy, especially those involving wealthy tech bros, it’s obvious that there’s a strong correlation among the three Cs: climate denial, Covid vaccine denial and cryptocurrency cultism.

I’ve written about some of these things before, in the context of Silicon Valley’s enthusiasm for Robert F. Kennedy Jr. But in the light of Hotez’s puzzlement — and also the rise of Vivek Ramaswamy, another crank, who won’t get the G.O.P. nomination but could conceivably become Donald Trump’s running mate — I want to say more about what these various forms of crankdom have in common and why they appeal to so many wealthy men.

The link between climate and vaccine…

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