JOHN MAC GHLIONN: Joe Biden's favorite 'wellness' podcaster is a crackpot

Jay Shetty is one of the biggest podcasters in America.

When it comes to wellness and health, he's by far the biggest. Shetty is a man who radiates sensitivity and compassion, perhaps explaining why Joe Biden recently agreed to an interview with the influential Brit. On first inspection, Biden and Shetty don’t appear to have much in common. Look a little closer, however, and you’ll find that nothing could be further from the truth: both men share a penchant for plagiarism, pushing dangerous fake ideas, and hypocrisy.

Let's start with plagiarism. Biden’s plagiarism has been well-documented. Shetty’s, however, has not.

To be specific, the 36-year-old has a history of plagiarizing quotes and passing them off as his own. The comedian and content creator Nicole Arbour was one of the first, if not the first, to highlight this very fact. Arbour provided countless examples of Shetty lifting other people’s thoughts and pieces of advice, and, quite literally, presenting them as his own thoughts and pieces of advice (not only did he post them without attributing the quotes to the respective authors, he signed off with his own name).

Not very monk-like. Shetty, who spent three years living in a monastery (although some have questioned the veracity of the timeline he provides), never tires of talking about the importance of respect, honesty, and integrity. But what about hypocrisy, Jay? Actual monks aren't in the business of stealing, are they? Rather amusingly, shortly after being called out by Arbour, Shetty began attributing quotes to their actual owners.

So what, some will say, who cares?

Well, that brings me to the second point: Shetty's penchant for crackpot theories which, to any other president of the United States, would be disqualifying in a conversation partner. To any other president, but not Joe Biden.

When he's not on social media sharing comments that may or may not have originated in his head, Shetty can be found interviewing sundry diverse cranks. For example, a guy by the name of Joe Dispenza. According to Anne-Laure Le Cunff, a neuroscientist at King’s College London, Dispenza is a fake scientist. She has a point. The New Jersey-born sexagenarian is, after all, a chiropractor, not a neuroscientist or a physicist. A quick look at his website, and things get dark very quickly. Here, you’ll find dozens of testimonials of people claiming that Dispenza helped cure their cancer. An advocate of a nonsensical, unscientific practice called “coherence healing,” which one assumes is to actual medicine what Leftist ideas like "Modern Monetary Theory" are to actual economics. Nevertheless, Dispenza has amassed a cult-like following online. Cult being the operative word.

Like Shetty, Dispenza is perfectly placed to cash in on the demand for neatly packaged spiritual “woo.” Shetty has had Dispenza on his show not once, but twice.

Dr. Edzard Ernst, a retired physician who now exposes these sorts of charlatans for a living, told me that “Dispenza is at his most dangerous when he implies that he can cure serious illness. In this way, he can cause the premature death of many patients. Secondly, he systematically undermines rational thinking which inevitably will cause significant harm to the already badly damaged US society. As Voltaire once pointed out: those who make you believe in absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

Ernst’s advice is simple: “take a step back and do a reality check: ‘Dr.Joe’ is not a medical doctor or neuroscientist but a chiropractor. He does not understand quantum physics. He has not published any meaningful scientific studies. His proclamations are nothing but platitudes or empty phrases.”

Shetty has also had Dr. Zach Bush, an odd individual who famously said that children with autism “intrinsically know how to access the quantum field of consciousness," on his podcast. “Autistic children,” according to Bush, “are engulfed in the full quantum experience — the real multi-dimensional space around us, seeing all layers of humanity and its patterns of behavior.” Along with Bush and Dispenza, Shetty has sat down with Will Cole, another chiropractor who insists on giving out medical advice. This advice, according to some actual doctors, is, to say the least, highly suspect.

My point here is not to defend traditional medicine, nor do I wish to defend "the" science. My point is that Shetty is giving a platform to questionable characters to sell (and they're always selling something: courses, supplements, retreats, etc) questionable advice. This advice, especially from the sorts of people who claim to be able to cure cancer, could cost lives.

Does Shetty care? I reached out to him for a comment, asking this very question. No comments were offered.

That’s understandable. Shetty is a busy man. In addition to his podcasting duties, he’s also a writer. Which brings me to the last point: his and Biden's shared affinity with hypocrisy. 

The author of Think Like a Monk encourages readers to eschew materialism and instead find fulfillment in simpler, more substantial pursuits. It’s all a bit rich coming from a man who lives in an 8-bedroom house that reportedly cost $8.4 million. Of course, Shetty is free to do as he wishes with his own money. However, there is something disingenuous about preaching a gospel of frugality and living a life of extravagance.

That extravagant lifestyle is financed, in part, by the Jay Shetty Certificate School, which, as you can probably tell, is in the business of selling certificates. Certificates in what, exactly? Life coaching. With over 2 million students, according to its website, Shetty and his staff are helping to train the next generation of life coaches. On Reddit, one concerned user, whose mother just enrolled in Shetty’s school, asked if it was all a scam.

And so they should, because life coaching is, quite possibly, the biggest scam of the 21st century. A life coach sits in a very odd gray area, somewhere between friendship, medicine, and psychology. But life coaches don’t tend to be actual doctors or psychologists, and they certainly aren’t your friend. They are, first and foremost, salespeople – and, when it comes to “coaching life,” Shetty is perhaps the most notable salesperson in America. The idea that any one individual can address all of the aspects that make life meaningful is, of course, absurd, as is the idea that an online course can give you the skills to “coach life.” Life is not soccer, it can’t be coached. Life must be lived. But that has not stopped Shetty or other chancers from cashing in on the craze.

Worth an estimated $30 million, Shetty once lived like a monk. Today, however, the beloved guru lives like a king. In the face of the Biden impeachment for allegedly cashing in on his office while pretending to be a public servant, this might carry an important lesson: judge men by the company they keep. If Shetty's any guide to Biden's character, that's bad news for the US.

Image: Title: Biden Shetty


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