Just who can a liberal trust anymore?
I am one of the eight liberals left in America who hasn’t seen Michael Moore’s movie: “Fahrenheit 9/11.”The controversial film was released at a time I was feeling particularly paranoid regarding the current administration’s policies and I thought it best not to feed my growing fears with the super-suspicions of Mr. Moore.The complacency that followed has served me well. I have managed to sublimate my concerns by focusing on more important matters – the lack of consistent Cubs pitching, for instance. But my contentment ended last Thursday when a colleague cursed me by handing me a book along with a demand. “Read this,” he said, “and let me know what you think. It is very disturbing.”Just about every week it seems, someone hands me a book with a similar request, but because I knew this fellow to be rather conservative in temperament and not subject to fits of wild liberal alarm, I complied.
I sure wish I hadn’t. David Ray Griffin’s “The New Pearl Harbor” is a seemingly careful compilation of the inconsistencies and unanswered questions surrounding the terrible tragedy of 9/11.I’ll leave it to others to refute his allegations or renew requests for a reopening of the official investigation. As for me, suffice to say my Mistrust-O-Meter hasn’t pegged so hard since Watergate.Which made this week’s revelation that the former No. 2 official in the FBI, W. Mark Felt, was the infamous, and to some of us, heroic, “Deep Throat,” a frightening reminder of what any government is capable of doing. This is why I am so excited by the announcement that some Swiss scientists have discovered that an infusion of a natural hormone, oxytocin, released in a nasal spray, increases the level of trust in the recipient. According to the latest issue of Nature magazine, this discovery may go a long way to helping those who suffer from social awkwardness such as shyness or even severe sociopathologies.
In an experiment conducted with male college students, it was shown that with increased dosages of oxytocin, the willingness of subjects to trust others with their money was similarly increased. Now, I don’t know if the Swiss have a particular problem with shyness but I suspect there could be a big market for the hormone here in America.This initially comforting scientific breakthrough may have a less savory side on this side of the pond. For instance, what if those folks who have most to lose with our growing mistrust get their hands on large quantities of this trusting hormone?Used car sales would skyrocket! Infomercials could fill up prime time! Pastors might preach to people-packed pews again!Feeling a little reticent regarding a particular person’s integrity? A quick sniff of oxytocin will remedy the situation. Worried that a politician can’t produce what he once promised? Relax and take a snort from a nasal hormone spray. Got a question or 30 regarding a certain governmental investigation? Arrange a street-corner buy from some savvy Swiss scientists.
If you thought fluoride in our drinking water was risky, imagine rivers of oxytocin flowing through our taps! Now I really am getting paranoid.Maybe I should stop reading for awhile. Skip the news. Ignore the press. Toss the books that are tendered my way. Perhaps the best strategy to combat growing doubt is a good dose of ignorance.I know it used to work for me.Rich Mayfield writesa Saturday column. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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