Tag Archives: Patent medicines

Beware the fast-talking gentlemen bearing snake oil

Must be fall. Traditional time for fairs and festivals around our state. And one of the traditional accompaniments to these events is the patent-medicine man, selling his Secret Natural Herbal Remedies, good for whatever ailments may befall Man, Woman, Child, Horse, and Dog.

And hightailing it to the next town before too many locals get sick from the dubious contents of those thick, opaque bottles.

Well, here come our snake-oil salesmen of politics, hawking their Foolproof Solutions To Our School Funding Ills. Just a tablespoon of my tincture, they cry, and all your problems are solved.

ambition-pillsOn the back of one horse-drawn cart we find a tall slender redhead brandishing a bottle of Olde Mahatma’s Secret Curative, a formula crafted by the Wise Men of the Far East (a.k.a. Pomfret), a stern purgative guaranteed to cleanse the system of blockages, growths, tumors and humors of all sorts, paving the way for a fresh start in a bright new tomorrow.

Behind all the label’s mumbo-jumbo, Olde Mahatma’s Curative is a simple solution with only one active ingredient: a two-year freeze on property taxes. This seemingly harsh treatment pays no heed to complications or practicalities; it just reams out the entire waterworks.

Over here, across the town square, is a dark-haired figure of serious mien offering Doc Feliciano’s Ache-Be-Gone, an elixir which, taken internally or applied externally*, is strong enough to banish every trace of pain from any cause, including lumbago, neuralgia, ague, impetigo, quinsy, and The Screws. Doc F has used all his extensive scientific training to fashion a singular combination of analgesics, potions, and elixirs, including some that have been foolishly prohibited by unimaginative¬†authorities.

*You choose the method and dosage, for each man is the best judge of his own medicinal needs. 

Doc Feliciano promises to banish all pain and discomfort from the unrelenting pressure of property taxes through the indubitable mechanisms of the Free Market. His solution for a public school system with too few students and rising costs? A whole lot more schools! Free Choice For All! Which will, somehow, magically, bring down the cost of the system.

My friends, you would be wise to eschew the easy blandishments of the political snake-oil salesman. Complicated problems require time and care, and nuanced approaches by learned practitioners. You will not find the answers to your educational troubles at the bottom of a murky brown bottle! Keep your hard-earned money in your pocket, and let the peddlers be on their way.