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The conceivability that climate change, torture, or Pope’s Catholicism isn’t.

The January 2015 Smithsonian Magazine asks “Did Civil War vets suffer from PTSD?” which seems a progressive conceit from an arbitor of the accepted version of events. I think it’s useful to ask “Does a bear shit in the woods?” by which I mean, is it conceivable to you that bears don’t shit in the woods? Because your incredulity is critical. Apparently these days, history is written not by historians but by pollsters. Today the commonplace perception of history and science prevails as the dominant verdict. Whether Climate Change is real, or whether torture is torture, depends on how the public polls. Presumably truth being what we want it to be would poll favorably too.

While the Smithsonian’s question suggests to upend institutional dogma, dragging 19th century medicine into the 21st century, it’s actually the reverse. Doctors treating veterans have always known that nearly all people exposed to combat will suffer PTSD, ancient times didn’t favor acronyms perhaps, yet today’s spin doctors want public comprehension to pivot on a question, contingent upon whether is is. Of course DO BEARS sounds more objective than BEARS DO. It also smells of the dissembling of a torture doctor. TORTURE IS.

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