Tuesday, June 21, 2005

I Heart DDT and Phyllis Schlafly and Bubble Wrap

I had been meaning to post this story on the bleak news about West Nile virus. Okay, this bad boy is worse than we thought, but we're not powerless, oh no, simply deluded and wobbly.

As any semi-regular reader knows, I love DDT. (See one such post here) I think it's a human advancement right up there with Salk's polio vaccine (don't get me started on the anti-vaccine lobbies), and we ought to be using it today to save the millions of people in developing nations who are painfully debilitated and/or killed by malaria. Even in America, where its use was also banned, though fortunately only after we'd made substantial progress through spraying, not only is West Nile on the rise, but we're seeing new emergences of dengue fever- remember when that funny name was a punchline? It's unconscionable and foolish that we've allowed this decades-old internalization of well-debunked junk science to petrify into a knee-jerk gospel of ignorance that contributes to catastropic and remediable human suffering.

In my opinion, Live 8 is a celebrity strokefest which will only put more money into the hands of tyrants like the butcher Mugabe. Meanwhile, if we seeded Africa with low-cost and easy-to-distribute DDT, we'd be guaranteed to save lives, impacting people in a way that tinpot dictators couldn't coopt to feed their own hunger for Mercedes. Let me paint the picture.

Aside from the obvious joy or relieving suffering, we'd increase the potential for Africa since more people would be alive to care for their now-orphaned children. We'd increase the wealth and productivity since we'd have large majorities without the chronic malnourishment and dehydration from persistent diarrhea that keep so many from being able to work for their own and their communities' welfare. If you wonder (with a touch of superiority) why Africans are still living as so many do, realize that the horrible physical circumstances which decimate the population preclude steady education, consistent social institutions, and actually affect basic brain development. Chronic illness keeps Africa from using its own creative potential for progress. Healthy Africans could create beneficial, working societies that would, I hope, topple regressive oppressors from their seats of power. Be sure that tyrants want checks from the West, written against our impotent pity. They don't want DDT.

I had not expected to find myself in bed with Phyllis Schlafly today. Really ever. However, as I read her well-presented Townhall article on the issue, I wonder whether I, too, haven't absorbed someone else's dusty propaganda without getting the facts. I'm giving you the straight-up chance to rock me, Phyllis, 'cause anyone for DDT can't be all bad!

Here's your online, bubble wrap connection. Sure, some may find it boring and pointless, but to some it's transcendently theraputic. Thanks, Bonnie, for the link. I do mine on manic mode.

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