Jewish World Review Oct. 11, 2002 / 5 Mar-Cheshvan, 5763

Drs. Michael A. Glueck & Robert J. Cihak

The Medicine Men
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Using pollution "scare labeling" to political advantage | Words change meaning over time. Sometimes this happens "naturally," in response to social and cultural changes. Go back a couple centuries, call your friend "intelligent" or your priest "enthusiastic," and you've made two new enemies; at that time, "intelligent" meant sneaky, and "enthusiastic" meant unwholesomely and excessively possessed. Sometimes the changes are forced from above: George Orwell's "Newspeak" (War Is Peace, Freedom is Slavery), Hitler's "Word Rules," the gangrene terminologies of Marxist dictatorship.

And sometimes, words change meaning by losing meaning - deliberately. The Mandarins and Gauleiters of Political Correctness know how it's done. Racism, homophobia, genocide, rape - all have been stretched beyond rational usage as means of political intimidation and control.

Latest candidate for inclusion in the Dictionary of Tortured Terminologies: "pollution." And as always when the meaning of a word is expanded, there's an agenda afoot.

Today, "pollution" means anything you want it to, even if it is good for you (or the world) in the right dosage. True, even now, some dictionaries carry the outdated definition of "pollution" as "the introduction of harmful substances or products into the environment." The key determinant was harm. No injury, no harm; no harm, no pollution.

Self-evident, almost. But what exactly is harm? As we've remarked before, every harmful substance or agent is harmless in low doses; in fact, many substances harmful in high doses are helpful or even essential to life in lower doses.

Aspirin, Vitamin A, iron, Vitamin C, water, ionizing radiation, and even oxygen come to mind.

Further, harm cannot be measured in isolation; trade-offs are always involved. Even though urban air pollution increased dramatically during the Industrial Revolution, so did life expectancy, due to the beneficial material advances that Revolution wrought. But today, perhaps because we're living longer and healthier lives, some now regard nearly all theoretical and remotely potential threats to themselves and the "environment" (another tortured word) as unacceptable pollutants.

This trend probably started with ionizing radiation, for example, from the atmospheric "fallout" of the early nuclear era. Demagogic scientists, such as Linus Pauling who invented unfounded fear of low radiation doses, did their parts. So did technology; increasingly sensitive tests could detect many agents, such as radiation, at levels far below the threshold of harm. Pesticides, ditto. Myriad industrial chemicals, the same.

And of course, there's the latest fad of "global warming" caused, in part, by that most natural and useful of "pollutants," carbon dioxide. Some people worry that changes in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere might possibly contribute to warming of the earth's climate over the next century. Even though these projections are based only on theoretical calculations and even though the changes would be tiny and even though the earth's climate was warmer in past good times (such as in the Medieval Warm Period when the Vikings found Greenland green and grew grapes there), some people want to control carbon dioxide. Toward what end? Even if totally successful, the controls might possibly cool the world's climate by less than an immeasurable one-half of one-tenth of a degree Fahrenheit. The true beneficiaries would be power-hungry bureaucrats - international, national and local - who would expand their control and income.

Have we forgotten that plants thrive on carbon dioxide?

Yet another example, far too typical of what passes for science nowadays. Researchers have found that abnormal genital organ developmental in some male laboratory rats follows experimental doses of di-2ethylhexyl-phthalate (DEHP). DEHP is present, in tiny amounts, in the life-saving plastics used to make millions of very useful medical products, such as intravenous (IV) fluid bags and tubes. The evidence is that monkeys (and other primates, such as humans) aren't sensitive to these doses and that rats are unusually sensitive. The FDA admits "Everyone is exposed to small levels of DEHP in everyday life." and "We have not received reports of these adverse events in humans, but there have been no studies to rule them out." Yet even without evidence, the FDA warns us to avoid plastic IV bags, if possible.

Verdict first, trial later. Once again, the deal-makers, including lawyers, would be the beneficiaries.

We would suggest that the agenda goes far beyond using pollution "scare labeling" to advance political power and anti-capitalist, anti-growth, anti-western policies. It involves nothing less than a redefinition of both human beings and the planet we inhabit. We're no longer dynamic, rugged, adaptive systems. We're weak. We're vulnerable. "Those of the Agenda" want us to believe that without constant protection, achieved via minute and coercive regulation by the social engineers, we and the planet would succumb to even the mildest of threats.

Enjoy this duo's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Michael Arnold Glueck, M.D., is a multiple award winning writer who comments on medical- legal issues. Robert J. Cihak, M.D., is past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Both JWR contributors are Harvard trained diagnostic radiologists. Comment by clicking here.


10/04/02: The Great Asbestos Heist: Did Litigation and Junk Medical Science Helped Bring Down the World Trade Center?
09/27/02: The imminent rise of civic feminism: A far healthier national alternative in war and peace
09/20/02: A Ray A Day" to replace the daily apple?
09/13/02: Beware of celebrities hawking drugs
09/06/02: Avoid 9/11 overdose: Give blood to begin "September of Service," SOS
08/28/02: From Doubleday to strikeday: Baseball's collective anxiety attack
08/23/02: Should she or shouldn't she?: An alternative view on treating menopause with HRT
08/16/02: Cooking up defenses against germ warfare
08/02/02: Medicine, crime and canines
07/26/02: Lies, pathologic lies and the Palestinians
07/19/02: Medicare Drug Follies as in "now you see it, now you don't"
07/12/02: Anti-Profiling: A New Medically False Belief System
07/08/02: Don't procrastinate, vaccinate!
06/28/02: The scientific advances on the safe and effective deployment of DDT are being ignored, or denied. Why?
06/21/02: Sex and the system: In seeking healthcare men are different from women
06/14/02: The FDA, drug companies and life-saving drugs: Who's the fox and who's the hen now?
06/07/02: Medical Privacy Lost: A hippo on the healthcare back!
05/24/02: To clean up America's game: A (soggy) ground rule
05/10/02: Free speech is good medicine
05/03/02: Medicine's Vietnam
04/26/02: Attack on alternative medicine could lead to alternative lawsuits
04/12/02: Insure the 'crazies'?
04/09/02: No Time for Litmus Tests: In War We Need a Surgeon General and NIH, CDC, and FDA Directors
04/02/02: The scoop on soot: A dirty rotten shame?
03/22/02: Too many beautiful minds to waste: The first annual Caduceus Movie
03/15/02: Terror and transformation: Defense essential for health & state of mind
03/08/02: Diagnosis: Delusional
03/06/02: The great matzah famine
03/01/02: Is new Hippocratic Oath hypocritical?
02/15/02: Why the recent moaning about cloning?
02/08/02: Searching for Dr. Strangelove
01/15/02: Score one for the value of human life
01/04/02: Medical-legal-financial wake-up call
12/28/01: Who's afraid of a 'dirty bomb'?
12/21/01: End of medicine?
12/14/01: More heroes: Docs deserve a little credit after 9/11
11/16/01: Do we need 'Super Smallpox Saturdays'?
11/09/01: Why the post-9-11 health care debate will never be the same
11/01/01: Common sense good for our mental health
10/26/01: Your right to medical privacy --- even in terror time
10/12/01: Failed immigration policy ultimately bad for nation's mental health: Enemy within leads to epidemic of jumpy nerves
09/28/01: Can legal leopards change their spots: A treat instead of a trick
09/21/01: Civil defense again a civic duty
08/30/01: Shut down this government CAFE
08/23/01: School Bells or Jail Cells?
08/15/01: Time to take coaches to the woodshed
08/10/01: Blood, Guts & Glory: The Stem of the Stem Cell controversy

© 2002