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The BS Brigade

There has been a bit of discussion recently about the decision made by the Australian government to cut benefits to parents who don’t vaccinate their children. Of course any sensible person would agree that, except for those with extremely rare medical conditions, every child should be vaccinated. The Australian ruling also gives a dispensation for religious beliefs but I would not agree with that, of course.

The bigger question might be this though: is it OK for a government to use that sort of coercion to force people into doing something that they might genuinely believe is a bad thing (even if they are wrong)?

The general consensus here seems to be that it would be a far too draconian rule for us here in New Zealand because we are not yet at anywhere near the same level of fascism that the Australian government is – they are surely one of the worst that Australia has ever had – even John Key looks pretty good in comparison!

So if that isn’t an option is there a better way to persuade people to do the right thing? Well I’ve been thinking about this and I think I have a cunning plan, a plan so cunning that if you put a tail on it you’d call it a weasel (I had to use that once in a blog entry, I promise I won’t ever do it again).

So my plan is to establish a group, or a force if you prefer, to help people who believe bullshit, and when I say help I mean help in the sense that the police often help (interpret that as you wish).

This group would constantly be on the alert for people who believe in bullshit such as global warming deniers, creationists, 9/11 conspiracy theorists, fluoridation opponents, homeopaths, alternative medicine followers, and of course vaccine deniers.

When one of these misfits was detected the BS Brigade would visit and point out how wrong they were. And because we know that not everyone responds to reason a certain amount of physical persuasion would be allowable, you know just a light thrashing or maybe a tasering in extreme cases – something similar to the more mild end of police tactics.

I’m sure at this point you can see what a great idea this is, but there is the old problem of funding. Well that’s just another one of the impressive benefits of my scheme: it would easily fund itself through reduced costs to the health system not needing to treat unvaccinated people who catch measles or other preventable diseases.

There is an apparently never-ending variety of different forms of bullshit which could be corrected so the BS Brigade would never run out of work. In the unlikely event that all the anti-vaccination crowd were “processed” it could start on homeopathy or some other similar nonsense, for example.

There are two other small issues which need to dealt with. The first is who determines what is BS and what isn’t? Well the obvious answer is that I could make that decision, but it would not be difficult to establish a consensus amongst scientific experts if a more democratic process was seen as necessary.

Finally, all of this would require some coordination and we would probably need to establish a ministry to oversee the complex processes. So we would need a minister of bullshit. I can’t see any major issue there because we already have plenty of politicians in our current government with great experience dealing with that every time they talk to the prime minister!

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