Many journalists who hyped the irradiation scare didn’t know that. And when a consumer-advocacy group named Food & Water told them that the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association didn’t approve of irradiation, they reported it as fact. But it turns out that WHO and AMA do approve of irradiation. Indeed, WHO told Stossel they consider it as important as pasteurization (which was itself denounced as “meddling with nature” when it was first introduced).
How about another subject that’s close to home: education. We reward teachers for excellence, don’t we? In the government monopoly that is public education, don’t bet on it. The fact is, Stossel writes, mediocrity is rewarded. In one of the most amusing (and sad) sections of the book, he includes a flow chart titled “How Do I Fire an Inept Teacher?” The bottom line is, you can’t. The whole, bewildering process amounts to a Byzantine maze that seems designed specifically to protect bad teachers -- because, short of an act of Congress, it’s virtually impossible to fire one.
One by one, Stossel sets ‘em up and knocks ‘em down, often in only one page or two. Think that farm subsidies help guarantee an ample food supply? That premium gasoline is better than regular gasoline? That fast food makes you fat? That buying on the Internet risks identity theft? That the Kyoto Treaty will stop global warming? That vouchers will hurt public schools? That a red car attracts police attention? Think again!
Why is John Stossel probably the gutsiest journalist of all time? Because he’s a man of and for the people. He doesn’t hesitate to boldly proclaim such truths as “Capitalism is responsible for lifting more people out of the mud and mire” than any other force in history.
“Many Americans don't appreciate the miracles of capitalism,” he said. “I can rent a car from someone who doesn’t speak English and, when I get home Visa or MasterCard will have it counted to the penny. And the government can’t even count the votes in Florida.”
There’s a reason we need to be vigilant, according to Stossel: “The founders fought this war for liberty and we are gradually giving it back bit by bit.” Armed with the good sense and incontrovertible facts in his new book, though, you can dig through all the “Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity” that are out there -- and reach the truth.