Monday, November 21, 2011

When the Absurd Becomes Reality (Part 4)

Water Water Everywhere, But Not a Drop to Think
Brussels bureaucrats banned all advertising which claims water can prevent….dehydration
Arnold Ahlert
Monday, November 21, 2011
In a column I wrote back in July, I quoted George Orwell’s immortal words regarding the power of government to alter reality: “In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality, was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense.” On November 17th, the European Union revealed what ought to be considered a “watershed” moment of philosophical bankruptcy: Brussels bureaucrats banned all advertising which claims water can prevent….dehydration.
But wait, it gets better. Producers of bottled water are now forbidden by law from making that claim. If they do? They’ll be facing a two-year jail sentence for violating the law, which will be enforced in the UK beginning next month.
And lest anyone think the Brussels boneheads didn’t put their bureaucratic hearts behind the effort to come up with this “breakthrough,” it should be noted that 21 scientists in Parma, Italy, lent their imprimatur to the idea that “reduced water content in the body was a symptom of dehydration and not something that drinking water could subsequently control.”
Apparently there is nothing that can control rampant stupidity either. Yet no one should single out scientists. The creation of EU itself was an exercise in willful, unadulterated stupidity, so breathtaking that even as fiscal oblivion threatens the entire continent, the termites of supra-national government have time—and money—to devote to absurdities such as this. Furthermore, they have the temerity to insist that anyone defying their will may be facing incarceration. Thus, the practical application of the law requires marshaling the machinery of government to produce an arrest, a trial and, if a conviction is rendered, a jail cell, a prison uniform, and three meals a day.
All for advertising that water can make things wetter.
There are times when writing columns for other people to read feels like nothing more than an effort to preserve common sense and common decency. A “keeper of the flame” kind of thing in an age where the most profound reading done by far too many Americans requires logging onto a Facebook account, where history is whatever an Oliver Stone movie says it is—and where the scientific method has degenerated into political consensus.
The late Daniel Patrick Moynihan once remarked that “everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”
That Mr. Moynihan felt compelled to make such an obvious observation, several years ago no less, is a testament
to our times. Facts are largely irrelevant these days, more so when they interfere with an ideological agenda which can only be preserved by defying them.
It is more than a little ironic that the loftiest heights of aristocratic, Brussels bureaucracy and the deepest depths of lice-infested OWS campers are motivated by the exact same determination to ignore whatever reality aggravates their sensibilities. Perhaps the world is more united than we imagine—even if it is only blissful ignorance which provides the glue.
By the time you read this, our very own Super Committee will be right up against their own date with ideological destiny, one in which the science of mathematics will most likely be cast aside in a similar display of blissful ignorance. Much like the EU, the Super Committee is a sham: only addled ideologues would consider saving $1.2 trillion over ten years, even as our current one year deficit stands at $1.4 trillion, a successful example of compromise. The good ship America has hit a Titanic-like iceberg, and these folks can’t reach a consensus on the size of the thimble that must be employed to save us from sinking.
Not to worry, though. According to EU scientists, the boat and its occupants are in no danger of being hydrated.
Arnold was an op-ed columist with the NY Post for eight years, currently writing for and Arnold can be reached at: