Reader Ryan Quick is a member of the Yahoo! Group EastRangeFreecycle, a northern Minnesota chapter of Freecycle. Freecycle (http://freecycle.org/) is a fine, nonprofit association of groups where items can be given away for free rather than having them go into a landfill. I’ve never used their service, but I’m a strong proponent of the philosophy and have given away a number of items over the years, mostly furniture.
Someone offered the following item for free on the list:
Offer: Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You to Know About
By Kevin Trudeau. Excellent book – I just have two of them.
In case you’re not familiar with this particular book, it is yet another product by convicted felon Kevin Trudeau, who has made himself a millionaire many times over by selling quackery, much of it of the “natural cure” variety. This book, like most of his books, is essentially an upsell brochure intended to draw you in to purchase his worthless pills and supplements. Thus, Trudeau’s organization happily gives the book away, in addition to its being a bestseller in bookstores.
This particular offer came from Virginia, even though this list is explicitly limited to items from northern Minnesota.
Ryan was not so fond of this book being offered, so he posted the following reply:
This may be inappropriate for this list, but I decided to post anyway since this a matter of health and safety.
Kevin Trudeau is a notorious con-man and huckster. He has been banned by the FTC from ever selling anything on TV again because his claims about health are so wrong and dangerous.
Here’s some information about him:
Again, sorry if I’ve overstepped bounds here, but I’d hate for someone to delay real treatment for health problems based on what’s written in this book.
The list is moderated, and it seems Ryan’s reply was moderated to that great freecycle bin in the sky. It was never posted. I can totally understand this: The purpose of the list is to get items recycled, not to talk people out of recycling a given item.
Personally, I think it’s better for the public good to have Trudeau’s books in a landfill and not in a potential victim’s hands, but we have free speech in this country. Trudeau is free to write his books (so long as he manages to thread the needle and avoid breaking laws), the poster was free to offer it and say it’s a great book, Ryan was free to write his reply, and the list owners are free to accept or reject whatever posts they want based on whatever criteria they want.
Freecycle’s charter is to keep stuff out of landfills, not to be a filter for what’s good science and what’s bad science. It’s just a little irksome that they bent their northern Minnesota rule to allow the Trudeau sales brochure “books” from Virginia, but wouldn’t bend the rule to allow a public safety and health warning from a local member in good standing. Those books aren’t headed for a landfill; they’re being given out to suckers, wherever they can be found, to get them to buy worthless supplements. In short, the offer was spam.
EastRangeFreecycle is, of course, free to choose whichever of their own rules they wish to bend for whatever reason they like.