Intellectually Vulnerable — I saw the term on Facebook, of all places. The complete phrase read, “…trying to sell his snake oil to the intellectually vulnerable.” Intellectual snake oil — that’s another interesting term, combining the two in the sentence.
Snake oil, according to Merriam-Webster, is “any of various substances or mixtures sold as medicine usually without regard to their medical worth or properties.” A vulnerable buyer might pay for this snake oil and get stuck with a worthless product.
The snake oil on the market today doesn’t come in a bottle. Today’s snake oil is more a collection of misinformation, often talk with no action or talk that has no basis in fact.
Back to Merriam-Webster. Intellectual snake oil, ideas without merit, sound wonderful because they sound simple. The vulnerable might think, “Yeah! I like this! It’ll solve all the world’s ills in one shot!” But no. Nothing is ever that simple. And those that are vulnerable might also be those that are hurt by the simplistic faux solution.
Where is this heading? Tuesday, it’s headed to the polls – at least I am. We have a school board to elect and a new City Council member for our ward, too. I can’t quite bring myself to use the term “alderperson.” It sounds so impersonal.
I think I’ll make a bumper sticker that says, “I’m NOT intellectually vulnerable; and I vote!”