Using kids for political purposes is one of our pet peeves as is climate nonsense. The two are joined in an ad we saw the other day in The Advertiser. You perhaps saw it? The one with the cute little girl and the headline that said “One in five kids in Nova Scotia now has Asthma” then in big letters “IDLE FREE For our kids”. The implication is that idling is a cause of asthma.
This is not true. The causes of asthma are not known and there is very little evidence that environmental factors are a cause, only perhaps a trigger. The incidence of asthma has risen remarkably in the west (where air standards have improved) and not in Asia ( where air quality is if anything worsening). There is some evidence there are genetic factors and some evidence that over cleanliness in early life (an immune system unchallenged by allergens and pathogens) may be have something to do with the increase in our increasingly sterile world. Whatever. Facts mean little to the Clean Air Network (euphemistically called the Children’s clean air network; the possessive is false- it is not run by children for children, it is run for adults for adult purposes) which proudly trumpets that using kids works to its purpose.
Kids on TV can make the IDLE-FREE message stick
says their latest headline on their website. And when they see kids with the message, change happens.
We are taught to be suspicious when businesses use children to market their products ( say cereal), why not these “non profits” which nevertheless provide a “living” for an increasing number of the sons and daughters of our elites?
This is not to say that the people involved aren’t sincere. They believe what they are doing is great stuff. Shame really. Just think if they put all that time and energy into something that really wasn’t a sham.
They don’t know what they are doing and may be causing harm. It doesn’t surprise us for example that environmentalists had a hand in exacerbating the fires in Australia by discouraging the cutting down of trees and brush as was traditional in the area before.
No doubt they were sincere too. There is more general harm as well.
People, including children, are feeling guilt and are worried about climate and the environement.
Last year, an anxious, depressed 17-year-old boy was admitted to the psychiatric unit at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. He was refusing to drink water. Worried about drought related to climate change, the young man was convinced that if he drank, millions of people would die. The Australian doctors wrote the case up as the first known instance of “climate change delusion.”
Robert Salo, the psychiatrist who runs the inpatient unit where the boy was treated, has now seen several more patients with psychosis or anxiety disorders focused on climate change, as well as children who are having nightmares about global-warming-related natural disasters. [Link to source]
And this doesn’t count the delusion of the people actually marketing these ideas, ideas unsupported by good science, ideas repeated in the article linked above, ironically adding to the psychosis!
It reminds us of a story Michael Chricton (RIP) told.
A friend of mine was an intern at Bellvue Hospital in New York. A 28-year old man from Aruba said he was going to die, because he had been cursed. He was admitted for psychiatric evaluation and found to be normal, but his health steadily declined. My friend was able to rehydrate him, balance his electrolytes, and give him nutrients, but nevertheless the man worsened, insisting that he was cursed and there was nothing that could prevent his death. My friend realized that the patient would, in fact, soon die. The situation was desperate. Finally he told the patient that he, the doctor, was going to invoke his own powerful medicine to undo the curse, and his medicine was more powerful than any other. He got together with the house staff, bought some headdresses and rattles, and danced around the patient in the middle of the night, chanting what they hoped would be effective-sounding phrases. The patient showed no reaction, but next day he began to improve. The man went home a few days later. My friend literally saved his life.
Sometimes that’s what we feel we are doing here at WW, dancing around shaking our rattles trying to ward off lunacy everywhere.
In fact, we need to recognize that this kind of human response is well-documented. Authoritatively telling people they are going to die can in itself be fatal.
You may know that Australian aborigines fear a curse called “pointing the bone.” A shaman shakes a bone at a person, and sings a song, and soon after, the person dies. This is a specific example of a phenomenon generally referred to as “hex death”—a person is cursed by an authority figure, and then dies. According to medical studies, the person generally dies of dehydration, implying they just give up. But the progression is very erratic, and shock symptoms may play a part, suggesting adrenal effects of fright and hopelessness.
Yet this deadly curse is nothing but information. And it can be undone with information.
And that information is complex and requires, guess what? Thinking.
Risks in life don’t have simple causes or simple cures; many of them are less dangerous than we are led to believe, and the supposed cure worse than the disease.
Once I looked at Chernobyl, I began to recall other fears in my life that had never come true. The population bomb, for one. Paul Ehrlich predicted mass starvation in the 1960s. Sixty million Americans starving to death. Didn’t happen. Other scientists warned of mass species extinctions by the year 2000. Ehrlich himself predicted that half of all species would become extinct by 2000. Didn’t happen. The Club of Rome told us we would run out of raw materials ranging from oil to copper by the 1990s. That didn’t happen, either.
It’s no surprise that predictions frequently don’t come true. But such big ones! And so many! All my life I worried about the decay of the environment, the tragic loss of species, the collapse of ecosystems. I feared poisoning by pesticides, alar on apples, falling sperm counts from endocrine disrupters, cancer from power lines, cancer from saccharine, cancer from cell phones, cancer from computer screens, cancer from food coloring, hair spray, electric razors, electric blankets, coffee, chlorinated water…it never seemed to end.
Only once, when on the same day I read that beer was a preservative of heart muscle and also a carcinogen did I begin to sense the bind I was in. But for the most part, I just went along with what I was being told.
Just going along with what we are told. That’s it. And told now by our kids (led by believers). Well, we don’t go for fast food information. We prefer health food, more complex carbs for the mind. And leave our kids alone.
Whether a believer or not, read the rest of Crichton’s piece on complexity. It might take a load off your mind.