political commentary

Homeopathic politics

In homeopathic politics, the cure for racism is more racism, the cure for sexism is more sexism, and the cure for too much government is more government. It is the plague of the placebo personality people.

by T.J. Nelson

political commentary

I n homeopathic medicine, a patient is given a toxin or some other harmful substance that has been diluted down to almost zero. One consequence of this is that there is no record of any homeopathic drug ever having cured anything. There has also never been a case where anyone overdosed on a homeopathic medicine—thus proving, as homeopaths see it, how much safer it is than regular medicine.

Of course there are exceptions. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, which is a branch of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, warns that some homeopathic drugs contain substantial amounts of active ingredients. In some cases, these are contaminants introduced because the same equipment used to make the homeopathic medicine had been used for a real drug and inadequately cleaned. In other cases, the contaminants were caused by insufficient dilution of the toxin, in which case the patient only needs to dilute it more, which, according to the theory of homeopathy, will also make it more potent.

Many great and immortal jokes have been made about this. But believe it or not, people have even had side effects from homeopathic remedies that were not contaminated with real medicine—a phenomenon known as homeopathic aggravation. It is, of course, hard to distinguish this from the condition getting worse because the drug just contains water.

It's understandable why people with a painful disease would try anything, even a glass of water, in the one in a million chance it would help. And sometimes it seems to help.

Doctors recognize there is a certain character trait called placebo personality: a person with a positive and upbeat attitude. Placebos almost always work for them. They are more altruistic, trusting, tender-minded, and compliant. They believe something is true because they want it to be true. Placebo personality people are really cheap to medicate. Doctors love them, because curing them is easy.

In one famous case surgeons tested a new ligation procedure using nine sham operations and nine real operations. They found that all but three of the 18 patients improved. In an article in the American Journal of Medicine, Morton E. Tavel reported that patients undergoing sham operations improve about 65% of the time. Acupuncture works 38% of the time, and placebo pills work 22% of the time.

But there is a dark side to this, called political homeopathy. Just like its medical counterpart, its effects are purely imaginary—a placebo effect. But this kind of placebo effect is not benign. People have lost their jobs and even died from this kind of homeopathy.

In political homeopathy, the cure for racism is more racism, the cure for sexism is more sexism, the cure for too much government is more government, and the cure for injustice is to go out and commit more crimes.

Why would someone adopt the idea that the cure for ‘sexism,’ assuming it to be a meaningful phenomenon, is to force employers and schools to discriminate on the basis of sex? (Strangely, many of these same people also claim to believe that gender is an artificial construct and therefore not real.) Why would they think that if using ‘he’ as a gender-indeterminate pronoun is sexist, the solution is to use ‘she,’ thereby giving every male reader, and every educated reader accustomed to the standard writing style, a good kick in the teeth?

The answer is that, despite what they say, they do not really believe that discrimination is wrong. They see it as a conflict between ‘us’ and ‘them.’ If the hated enemy (males in this case) have some advantage, then ‘we’ must take what is theirs and displace them from their positions of power. The concept that ‘we’ are all in this together and absolutely dependent on each other is alien to them. A division must be created and people set against each other to achieve the goal of revenge and revolution. The motivation is the same as all other revolutionary movements: to gain power for one's tribe, and put the other tribes down.

It's obviously necessary to conceal this from the public, which would otherwise recognize it as a tit-for-tat strategy (if indeed we are still permitted to use that expression—I have lost my copy of Approved Words and Phrases). So it's concealed in the penumbra of civil rights, which lets them criticize any opposition as opposition to equality.

As the Viagra commercials say, if the effect continues for more than, oh, say four or five hours, you may wish to reduce the dose. Reverse discrimination has been going on since the National Labor Relations act in 1935, and in the USA it was imposed by FDR's Executive Order 8802, which was signed in 1941. Another thing to blame on Hitler. So when the heck is this bitter pill going to start working? The answer is: It's not intended to work. The Revolution is continuous, and perpetual.

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