A friend recently told me that he asked the management of a vegan restaurant why there was no honey on the menu. “It comes from an animal, so it’s not vegan,” she was told. He tried to explain that honey is not part of a bee but rather nectar that bees bring back to a hive, mix with enzymes, heat, dehydrate. . . Exasperated, he finally said, “That’s bee vomit!” (It’s not, but it’s not prime rib either.) He didn’t win the argument.
I mention this because last month a California court ruled that bumblebees are actually fish and may be protected under the California Endangered Species Act. It’s as dumb as the Environmental Protection Agency trying to define puddles and drainage ditches as “navigable waters.” Yes, they said a puddle should be regulated like a lake or a river. Even before that, the Army Corps of Engineers had a “watching geese” test, meaning that if a migrating bird looked at a wet location, that location was under federal jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, we have oat milk and almond milk, although they’re obviously not milk. Likewise, the oxymoron “plant-based meat”, which isn’t meat, is really fake meat. Worse, it’s nasty, full of salt, and not even good for you. Be warned, we are trained that anything can be anything. The truth has faded into the background. I do not like it at all.
In June 2020, amid the coronavirus shutdowns, tens of thousands of people marched through American cities to protest the police. In defense of the protesters, 1,200 health and medical professionals signed a letter “in response to emerging narratives that appeared to denigrate the protests as risky to public health because of Covid-19”. He continued: “Instead, we wanted to present a narrative that prioritizes opposing racism as vital to public health, including the response to the epidemic.” Oh, the story. How were the signatories not summarily dismissed and excluded from the health sector? We know why: if a bee is a fish, then protest confers immunity.
This is the world we live in today. Who actually believes this stuff? George Orwell said it best in his 1945 “Notes on Nationalism”: “You have to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like this: no ordinary man can be so stupid.” Bertrand Russell had an equally brilliant phrase: “It’s one of those opinions which are so absurd that only very learned men could possibly adopt them.”
It wasn’t just protests. I spent the week after Memorial Day 2020 switching between CNN and Fox News. I’ve seen Chicago Lake Liquors in Minneapolis looted many times – even the safe was dragged. I saw rioters throw rocks at police guarding the White House behind flimsy fences. I saw burning cars in Manhattan and luxury stores with broken windows and a line of looters stealing goods. In August 2020, CNN called the protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin “mostly peaceful” as flames from the riots raged behind the reporter. Even my own lying eyes could see it. I must not be part of the scholarly intelligentsia, who believe that if a puddle is a river, then riots are peaceful.
There’s a reason for all of this, according to Nikole Hannah-Jones, the leading voice behind The New York Times’ factually contested “1619 Project.” Awarded the Roosevelt Institute’s Freedom of Speech Award, her acceptance speech noted that “story enables politics.” As a presidential candidate, Pete Buttigieg was even more blunt. On the May 13, 2019 cover of Time With Her Husband, Mr. Buttigieg admitted that “narrative is political” and “narrative is how you get people to adopt the policies you offer.”
Remember the “Infrastructure Bill” full of social programs? Seventeen Nobel Prize-winning economists – their names are here – wrote a letter in September 2021 insisting that government spending will “mitigate longer-term inflationary pressures”. I remembered this when I was filling up my car with gas at $6.99 a gallon last week.
Maybe the intention is to change the subject. Last week, President Biden told Californians, “I’m doing everything in my power to smooth Putin’s price hike and bring down the cost of gas and food.” Never mind that prices were already rising before Russia invaded Ukraine. Mr Biden also told the UN climate conference COP26 in November that climate change is “an existential threat to human existence as we know it”. Oh good? Never trust those who push stories that conflict with the truth.
Another example: A New York Times columnist last week, speaking of the January 6 Committee, wrote, “Most political theater is tedious and partisan. Cheap meat for a hungry base. But there are times when these stagings can serve a real purpose for the general public. To paraphrase his thought: spectacles are useful whether they are true or not. Anyone making their point will be flagged on social media for misinformation.
We are so used to this nonsense that it falls on us. Cuba, Libya, China and Venezuela all sit on the UN Human Rights Council. This is considered normal. We sigh, shrug, and move on.
In culture wars, I’m okay with anyone who identifies with anything, as long as they don’t take advantage of the system – Elizabeth Warren, are you listening? But in March, a Supreme Court nominee refused to answer the question: “Can you give a definition of the word ‘woman’?” » insisting « I am not a biologist ».
A woman named Kellie-Jay Keen, in the stands of a women’s swimming meet at the University of Pennsylvania, said Lia Thomas, 6ft 4in, was not a woman and was taking advantage of the system. Another viewer stepped back and asked, “Are you a biologist? which now seems to be the established topic of discussion. I’ll spare you the rest of the exchange, but it ended with this zinger from Ms. Keen: “Are you relying on stupid arguments because you don’t have an argument?” »
Stories affect our lives, and they are not harmless. Watch the effort to promote and the subsequent alphabet soup backfires from ESG, CRT, MMT, BTC and so on. Proponents use dumb arguments – “carbon spitting”, “everyone is racist”, “free money”, “fiat hedge” – because they have no real arguments.
Perhaps sanity is returning. Last week, the Nonhuman Rights Project, which was trying to establish a ‘legal person’ for ‘great apes, elephants, dolphins and whales’, including Happy the Elephant at the Bronx Zoo, was pushed back in a 5-2 decision by the New York State Court of Appeals. For now, an elephant is an elephant, not a person, although elephants are clearly smarter than two dissenting New York State judges and the humans of the Nonhuman Rights Project.
A bee is a fish, a puddle is a river, protests cure pandemics, war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength. Beware of manipulative narratives.
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