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Of the many things that you may have been worried about this week, the good fact-checkers at Politifact would like to free you of one possible source of anxiety: No, the practice of water fluoridation did not begin in Nazi Germany. Please remain calm and go about your business.


You see, former Minnesota Governor and X-Files bit player Jesse Ventura recently did an interview with Salon in which he shared his deep thoughts about how America was going all fascist, which is a documented fact, because we are just imitating Nazi Germany all the time:

My wife said something to me the other day that was extremely profound, and I hope people in this country pay attention and read a bit of history. My wife and I do a great deal of reading and she looked at me the other day and said, “You know, the people of the United States of America right now are behaving identical to the German people in the ’30s.”

Is that something you really worry about — the U.S. becoming a fascist state?

I worry about it tremendously. We’re forever incorporating Nazi things into our lives. Fluoride in the water, that was originally done by the Nazis! I don’t particularly like anything the Nazis did too much, and they were the first ones to put fluoride in the water. They tell us, “Oh, it’s for your teeth” and all that — well, isn’t that your parents’ job, to teach you how to brush your teeth and use mouthwash? Why do you need the government putting some type of chemical in your water?

I don’t know if you know this [but] fluoride is the main component of Prozac! What you’ve got is people drinking Prozac-water. Well, what does Prozac do to you? It calms you and dumbs you down so you’re less emotional. There’s a reason for all that stuff; what do we need fluoride in our water for? There’s no reason whatsoever to put chemicals in our water.

Two things make us love this. A: It followed Ventura's actually-reasonable debunking of the late Ebola panic -- he pointed out that anyone worried about Ebola in the U.S. was actually far more likely to die in a traffic accident -- and 2: Politifact found it significant enough to debunk. (We suppose we could also include III: Ventura seems not to be worried at all about the Interstate Highway System, which really was inspired by a Nazi idea. Once again, Herr Eisenhower escapes history's notice!)

As debunkings go, we have to give Politifact credit: they quite conclusively prove that the use of fluoride in drinking water -- "either for mind control or for healthy teeth" -- was definitely not pioneered by the Nazis. Now, they do note that this article was largely a hashing of a 2011 piece Politifact did on the topic, when one Florida county decided to stop fluoridating its water. Ventura's interview was mostly just an excuse to revisit the topic, only with a political-celebrity spin. Who knows, maybe Politifact is just as sick of the real news this week as everyone else, only they didn't think they could get away with just posting adorable kittens.

In any case, this is one of the most exhaustive debunkings of an online conspiracy theory we've seen, and from a certain obsessive nerdy perspective, it's fascinating. They even contacted Patricia Heberer-Rice, a historian at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, who notes that the concentration camps often didn't even have reliable water supplies, much less systems for the injection of fluoride. She notes that the story is just a rehash of claims made about water fluoridation by anti-communist loons in the '50s, only with Nazis as the villains. That's a pretty good conspiracy revison for a post-Cold War world. Calling fluoridation a commie plot is so dated; saying it had its origins in the Holocaust is every bit as much a lie, but also adds in a bad guy we all can agree was evil. They also checked several other researchers, and even an anti-fluoride activist who says that "the Nazi angle is something that he’s been steering people in his movement away from."

Also worth noting: the long, long debunking looks only at the questions of whether the Nazis added fluoride to water. For a debunking of the claims that fluoride in water is creating a nation of blissed-out compliant sheeple, Politifact actually sends you to a whole 'nother response to Ventura, from the pro-fluoride "Campaign for Dental Health," which is supported by several public-health organizations -- you know, the Powers That Be. We didn't read much of it, because the radio broadcast in our fillings said not to trust it.

Oh, and in purely coincidental timing (OR IS IT????), we learn today that three years after Ted Cruz's natal village in Canada stopped fluoridating its water, tooth decay is rampant. But apparently that's a small price to pay for all the money people are saving on tinfoil hats.

In short: Jesse Ventura, still amusing and wrong. Politifact: Still a source of hard-hitting fact-checking of selected but very limited claims. Internet: Still goofy. Pants: On fire. Pinocchios: Shut up, that's the Washington Post. Dear Shitferbrains: We look forward to the usual raft of letters about how fluoride is poisoning us all.

[PunditFact / Campaign For Dental Health]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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