I RARELY raise my eyebrows when eating breakfast (because it's usually far too early for that sort of strenuous exercise), but last week when I read a letter to the editor claiming the Nazis used fluoride to control populations, my eyebrows went flying over my receding hair line.
Intrigued, I immediately consulted Professor Google (Bach. History) and found pages of links, but didn't have time to read them because I had to go to work.
Therein lies the trouble.
Too many of us rely on 'experts' to do all our critical thinking for us, ie: doctors, lawyers, politicians, advisors, scientists, researchers, journalists, or folk with nothing else to do all day but look up conspiracy websites then write letters to the editor.
So each day in the paper, a seemingly indifferent public watches from the sidelines as highly trained experts argue their cases against self-taught amateurs who often demonstrate an incredible ability to find and publish controversial claims, while displaying an even more incredible ability to ignore major established facts.
Look, I understand if you're convinced 'they' are killing our harbour, or adding poisonous toxins to our drinking water, you may be a tad upset and feel quite justified in squawking like Chicken Little on social media sites until our elected officials take notice.
But judging from the lack of rioting outside our council chambers, it appears many Gladstonians don't particularly care about being slowly poisoned by fluoride, GM crops, phone radiation, self-serve supermarket checkouts, dredging, flu vaccinations or whatever else it is 'they' are trying to foist upon us 'sheeple'.
Personally, I'm far more anxious about surviving my daily commute to and from work.
But I reckon Gladstone has much bigger things to worry about, particularly when most of us can't tell the difference between the truth and a prank letter written by some local practical joker.