Genetic Literacy Project
Genetic Literacy Project

They exist everywhere, but seem to me they stand out more (manner of dress partly responsible) in a tourist magnet where unfamiliar products found on a food market shelf needs careful review before making a financial commitment. I’m sure the type is found elsewhere, but in tourist land they act and are a bit out of place conducting label research in an aisle where their scholastic aim clogs the commercial artery with the cholesterol of undigested worrisomeness. I made the word up because nothing else seems to fit the deep concerns of a label reader washed up on a foreign food mart shore. All attention, all awareness of aisle impediment and of other shoppers is lost in content inquiry. Does the product in hand meet the strict code? The aisle-stopper shopper can recite in full the critical difference between organo kale enzyme and a crypto kale emulsion in terms of reported health benefits refined down to the effect of parts per million.

I do not side with the unbelievers who call this food fetishism. And indeed it is not, but rather we see here a form of science gowning where a healthy claim is good as a proof. Ye of lesser faith beware thy unbelief because beyond any shadow of claim it is known that following the partway of healthy claiming leads faithfully and flawlessly to the pearly gate where the believer sees firsthand the undeniable result that following the Way of the Claim brings measurable seconds of longer life to the faithful follower. Whether these be moments worth living is another matter and beyond the grasp of health claim living which none of the dead can ever dispute.

For reasons of personal survival and sanity I avoid during tourist season (alas we can’t really bag any, but one can dream) the farmer and organic outlets where the food faith driven turn into creatures out of Z consumed by need to grasp an organic Roma to damp their desiccated lips or die in the attempt. The non-organic (a somewhat silly distinction thinks I regarding plants having the distinction of themselves being organic things) outlets are safer as the zealous shun them; never attending a regular service but risking exposure at the funeral of suspect lettuce in a bag.

Wherever your food faith falls I’m confident you get the picture and likely have direct knowledge of a believer doing faith sustaining research on his/her cell while standing mid aisle in adoration of the Summer Squash Magi. Nothing moves them until their prayer cycle is complete. Worshipers of the banana organic warrant respect for their zeal. Do NOT Touch Their Banana. You are warned.

Now you’re ready I can relate a devout label reader and health faith follower accosting me lately with dire info found on a recent label. They’d read from a survivor (that’s all of us so far) a chilling account of the rise of Nazism and did I know that right now that was exactly what was happening. Thinking “No I did not” I asked “Nazis?” “Yes,” the faithful mouthed going into warning stance “Our government!” That would be bad news by any mark, but I wondered how such a governmental reversal could happen. I repeated “Nazis?” The answering “Yes” was adamant. Stunned I had to ask “How did Sanders manage it?” The speaker who I was confident had voted in that direction decried “Not Sanders: TRUMP!” “Oh,” I apologized, “my error, but Sanders is the socialist, not Trump.” “Trump’s the Nazi, not Sanders,” the speaker put me in my place. “Umm, “I nodded, “but Nazi was the short term used for the German National Socialists. They weren’t the German National Capitalists.”

You’ll be spared the short history review shared with the other party. It is, frankly, confusing to all of us when labels, facts, claims, and assumptions collide in disagreement. Understanding is not simple as a label makes it sound. It is not easy to grasp the way a socialist controlled German economy incorporated so fully the major capitalist forces. I. G. Farben is a good example of a union of unlikely partners. National socialist goals needed oil and chemical resources and I. G. Farben had the contacts and expertise to deliver. The National socialists were quite ready to deliver the enslaved labor of lesser people and make I. G. Farben all the wealthier and powerful doing so. The union was so tight that Farben built (using enslaved labor) a plant near a major extermination camp where enslaved labor supplies and their disposal when used up were conveniently located.

When labeling doesn’t agree with an existing conclusion a volume of historical info is unlikely to get in the way of steaming ahead. I was told “So what if the Nazis were socialists? They aren’t like the socialists of today and our immigration policy proves it.” There was a leap I wasn’t ready for. Are you? Do you see the connect between controlling entry as the same as preventing exit. Nazi border policy prevented exit in order to keep the assets and property of lesser people and to ensure their forced labor would be kept as well. Does that sound like what you’re hearing in terms of today’s US immigration policy and enforcement?

Reading labels, heeding warnings, assessing claims, and reviewing facts can bring as much confusion or uncertainty as before. Sometimes the problem is not hearing the other side through the growl of a mind fixed on a rebuttal or denial. This problem is even more acute when a party is not intent on discovery or inquiry and aims instead to bully others into silence or submission. No matter a person’s position some conclusions may fall well off the mark of accuracy or truth. A particular block to finding and understanding what might be true is the much cherished ideal. Dear to many hearts is an aspiration for justice, but that desire of itself doesn’t make for fairness and understanding without which justice cannot be reached.