Election Day is Tuesday, and the usual suspects in both social and traditional media have been declaring this the most important election in the history of the United States since (pick a date: 2020, 2016, 2008, 2002, the 1990s, 1980, 1972, 1968, 1920, 1860, the election of Andrew Jackson). For me, the interesting thing is not that the two parties have switched personae like that Star Trek episode in which Captain Kirk and his Fatal Attraction girlfriend migrate into each other’s bodies, but that they now project their demons onto each other.
Facts have become weaponized. The Left denies their existence unless they support things like Covid vaccines for children, unlimited “reproductive rights,” the adulation of the green t-shirted Volodymyr Zelenskyy, unrestricted migration, and sustainability as peddled by the management class at the UN. Actually, I’d like to see progressive heads explode when they push for vaccination of the unborn. There’s nothing like painting yourself into a corner.
On the Right, all manner of prestidigitation has been used to prove that the 2020 election was stolen, that a globalist order is hell bent on reducing Earth’s population by four-fifths in order to rescue the planet from our pestilent presence, and that you will be assimilated into a Borg-like entity of finance-education-health-social media in the near future. Prepare to be microchipped, possibly transgendered.
To be honest, the Left has it all over the Right, mainly because they run nearly all forms of social control and indoctrination. Still, I am inclined to agree with them. Namely, what is a fact? And does a fact have any relevance apart from its context and use? I imagine you agreeing with Mike Tyson that a punch to the face can wake you up regardless of its context. That reminds me of the joke about how many Californians does it take to change a light bulb? The answer is five. I won’t insult your intelligence by explaining it here. If you need it, send a comment.
Enter dihydrogen monoxide. This is a chemical that, as researcher Nathan Zohner pointed out in 1997, has a number of dangerous side effects. It causes severe burns in its gaseous state, corrodes metal, has been found in tumors and acid rain, causes excessive urination and bloating if consumed by humans, and kills countless people annually. Zohner also reported that the chemical can kill you if you develop a dependency on it and then suddenly stop taking it for any length of time. Yet, it has not been banned anywhere. Neither has a single candidate from any party called for its removal from our natural resources and food supply.
If you didn’t know that dihydrogen monoxide is another way of saying H2O, or water, you would be forgiven for thinking that something drastic needs to be done now. That’s exactly how I presented it, and that’s exactly how indoctrination works. Not only are facts manipulated but they are used to whip up people into a shameful frenzy under the guise of commitment to a cause. Everything depends on the cause, which has its concrete expression in the party. All must be done for the collective and its leaders. It takes a village (with a well of dihydrogen monoxide) to raise a child.
In truth, Nathan Zohner was a clever, 14-year-old science student in 1997. When he asked if dihydrogen monoxide should be banned, 43 out of 50 of his classmates voted to ban it. The others, presumably, either knew it was water and Zohner was pulling a fast one, or they had no idea what he was talking about but had the good sense not to vote. Think about that for a minute.
“Zohnerism” has come to be associated with using facts to manipulate people into winning them over to your position. It may be hard to believe, but, as Zohner demonstrated, facts can be completely true and thoroughly misleading at the same time. This kind of thing can be harmless, but in the hands of the indoctrination specialists at places like CNN and MSNBC, it is downright dangerous. It can ruin an individual’s health as well as the commonweal. Have you noticed that “democracy is on the ballot” on Tuesday? You should. Everybody’s talking about it.
There’s a lesson there for all of us.
Image credits: feature by sasan rashtipour; Erlenmeyer Flask by Vedrana Filipović. For source for dihydrogen monoxide, see Anthony Davenport, “Are There Any Facts that Are Extremely Scary to Know?” in Quora (accessed November 5, 2022). Like fiction? Check out the Mercury “trilogy” (The Gringo, Laura Fedora) here. Also, go to Robert Brancatelli.
Not sure what I can bear to say about the recent elections, except this.
I live in Pennsylvania, and I watched the entire debate between two woefully inadequate Senate candidates, John Fetterman and Dr. Oz. Unfortunately I had to vote for one.
I saw what I saw, unfiltered by commentators and spin doctors. John Fetterman has no business serving as a U.S. Senator. None.
But he was elected. Political parties value the power balance more than the actual qualifications of a candidate. It is there for all to see in this case, naked power politics at all costs, without shame or apology.
Since election day, I have totally tuned out all political newspaper articles, television news shows, and personal political conversations. Instead, I’ll watch musical artists perform on You Tube. Or finish the draft of that next book.
I understand the disgust and resignation. There doesn’t seem to be “civil” in civil society anymore.