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    by Miracle Jones
Read the bottle: Bernie Sanders contains no active ingredient.

This may come as a shock to you, because oh man, did we ever used to pound Bernie Sanders back in the day. We all certainly thought we felt something. Remember everybody all gathering around in the study carrel, putting couch pillows in the windows in case an RA walked by, getting so blitzed on straight Bernie that our corneas shook like drops of oil on a hot skillet and we were all ready to shiv a shill or punch a cop?  On some level, we all knew that nothing was really happening and on some level this was also secretly a relief. It is embarrassing to think back to those days, but we were young and sheltered, lacking access to any real drugs and lacking any real experience doing them.

I don’t remember who it was who first pointed out that Bernie Sanders was homeopathic, but most of us didn’t even know what that meant. It must have been one of the sullen pre-med weirdos who did nothing but study and make loooooong Skype calls to their boyfriend back home ("What are you having for dinner? Oh yeah? That sounds nice. I think I am going to go to bed early. Did you get those dings popped out of your Acura? Oh wow, that is a very reasonable price. Yes, it is very difficult to find an honest body shop. OMG, yeah, SNL last night was so funny…")

I do remember one of these lame anti-social pre-med killjoys pointing out that one clear sign that Bernie Sanders was a little bit bullshit was that Bernie Sanders had no expiration date. We all had to agree that this was strange.

“If it doesn’t contain any active ingredient, then it can’t expire,” they said. “It can never go bad because it doesn’t do anything in the first place. That’s one of the reasons selling homeopathic medicine is such a successful scam. It doesn’t matter how long it sits on a shelf gathering dust: eventually some dumbshit will come along and buy it. You don’t have to replenish your stock as often if you are selling something that doesn’t do anything.”

A lot of people never turn Bernie Sanders around to read the back of the bottle. Bernie Sanders contains:

wild monkey palm 
crushed bees
maple nettle
king Wenceslaus milk
cinchona bark
red onions
peanut shrews
gummiberry juice
hero’s cairn
green mountain ivory
grandfather touches
distilled water
flustered stuttersilk

…but keep in mind, to the extent that these chemicals are contained in Bernie Sanders, they are functionally undetectable. In order to get a single molecule of gummiberry juice from Bernie Sanders, you would have to give two billion doses per second to six billion people for 4 billion years.

There is actually a general theory for how Bernie Sanders is supposed to work, even though it isn’t remotely scientific by modern standards. Bernie Sanders was developed by the German scientist Samuel Hahnemann in the 18th century, and at the time, Hahnemann's research was considered cutting edge experimental medicine. The idea was that you take a toxic, powerful chemical shown to have actual effects on the nervous system (like arnica…which can elevate the body temperature or heart rate, triggering any number of symptoms associated with the cure of an illness…“feel the bern” right?) and then you dilute this with water or alcohol over and over again until effectively there isn't any of the chemical left. As a result of this process (ironically called “potentization”), this solution is supposed to have acquired all the same healthful qualities of that active ingredient by virtue of “sympathetic transfer,” whereas any dangerous qualities will be washed away. In reality, what you have at the end is water. 

The truth is that since most of the alternatives to homeopathic medicine at the time were catastrophic and poisonous (mercury, bleeding, electric eels), homeopathic medicine was considered an improvement by virtue of doing nothing. Additionally, there is consistently strong evidence that the placebo effect can be strong as hell. Don’t ever underestimate the placebo effect!

The FDA doesn’t have clear rules about homeopathic medicine, in the same way that the FDA doesn’t have clear rules about supplements or vitamins in general. First and foremost, the FDA is supposed to prevent harm and Bernie Sanders is definitely harmless. But the history of the FDA and homeopathic medicine is long, bleak, tempestuous, and aggravating, just like the history of the FTC and multilevel marketing, a phenomenon that I would argue is much more dangerous (consider Donald Trump, for instance).

If you follow the directions, what you are supposed to do is take some Bernie Sanders every day in order to achieve “wellness.” Wellness is all that is actually being advertised, and is that such a crime? You can’t blame the manufacturers of Bernie Sanders for the crazy people on the Internet who spread more dubious claims by word of mouth. Obviously, since Bernie Sanders is just distilled water that was once exposed to some chemicals long ago (MAYBE), you can take as much Bernie Sanders as you want and it won’t kill you. Back in the dorms, we would all take 100 times the recommended dose. Some people would take shots right from the bottle. But there are some unhinged people out there who will tell you that Bernie Sanders can cure cancer or reverse aging. There are even some people who will absolutely refuse any other scientifically proven treatments other than Bernie Sanders when they are actually sick, which is a huge problem. Imagine trying to cure something like late-stage Congress with nothing but Bernie Sanders.

In those situations, Bernie Sanders can become dangerous. So it is worth reminding people that while Bernie Sanders does no harm, in the case of serious illness you should definitely seek out actual medical help. 

The real shame is that people often don’t have access to the kinds of tests and treatment that result in the best care possible and so they convince themselves that the drugs they can understand and which are recommended to them by earnest friends--such as homeopathic medicine in the form of Bernie Sanders—have actual effects. These people who can’t afford more costly alternatives and who put their faith in miracle cures like Bernie Sanders are heartbreaking. For those of us still on our parent’s health insurance, it doesn’t matter how much Bernie Sanders we take: if there is a real problem, we will ultimately be fine, which is a huge privilege. But this is not true for everyone.

I still think you shouldn’t crush people’s dreams about Bernie Sanders if it is doing them no harm, and obviously there is nothing more tedious than arguing with true believers about holistic medicine. Pounding some Bernie Sanders with your friends and acting all goofy can be fun—almost a rite of passage. But don’t mistake Bernie Sanders for actual medicine or an actual drug if you have actual problems. "Sola dosis facit venenum" is the apothethecary's adage: the only difference between poison and the cure is the size of the dose. 


(c) Miracle Jones 2019