Libertarianism and Silicone Brain Implants

I have an announcement to make. But before I do, I want to talk about silicone brain implants.

I just learned, in what may seem surprising but in retrospect makes perfect sense considering how little people think about stuff, that you can actually cut half of a person’s brain out of his skull and aside from the opposite side of his body being numb and  the loss of side vision, the person will be fine. Maybe a bit forgetful (as in, “Hey, where did I just put my hemisphere?”) but pretty much fine.

The procedure is called a functional hemispherectomy, and it’s a real thing. The doctor basically comes at you with a really precise chainsaw and after flipping a coin for dramatic effect and making a doctorish quip or two like “Don’t worry, I know it’s the left one, right? Don’t get ahead of yourself! Just kidding! Relax!” carefully removes half of your brain. In preparation for surgery, it is recommended that you store all critical information in the remaining hemisphere, such as where you put your car keys, and remembering why the chicken crossed the corpus callosum. (Answer: to get to the other hemisphere.)

Some questions you may be asking yourself at this point:

  • Why would someone have half of his brain removed?
  • Are silicone brain implants available for these patients?
  • Where can I get a really precise chainsaw?
  • Where are my car keys?

The answer to question 1) is life-threatening childhood seizures. This is a serious non humor thing. Apparently, functional hemispherectomies have a 75% success rate in stopping these seizures which is great for 3 out of 4 people. The other 1 out of 4 apparently just feel a bit lightheaded.

Now, while it is generally known that cannabis oil can sometimes be helpful in treating seizures in children, that is only the case in jurisdictions where cannabis is not a schedule I drug that has no generally accepted medical use and has high potential for abuse. In said jurisdictions, doctors first resort to chemically engineered lab-created schedule II drugs that thankfully do have a generally accepted medical use and high potential for abuse. If those don’t work, you can always just calmly and gently remove half your brain.

At this point (.) I’d like to share a passage from a post on the interwebs that I found by googling “Cannabis hemispherectomy” because surprisingly, it didn’t lead me to a porn site. (At least not yet.) The post opens thusly thus:

Just a a (sic) quick post today. MCANZ has heard second hand anecdotal stories from an (sic) NZ Refugee to Colorado, that CBD rich Cannabis oil has worked on children for seizures where this much more drastic (and rare) [functional hemispherectomy] procedure has failed.

You hear that boys and girls and other assorted genders? After having half their child’s brains excised and the procedure failing, only then did these responsible parents try cannabis oil for their child.

Now call me old fashioned, but I’m the type of parent who, before resorting to having a doctor slice half of my child’s brain out and having to go through the trouble of finding a suitable tailor-made silicone brain implant – quite expensive from what I hear – I would first maybe try to get my hands on some cannabis oil somehow on the off chance that perhaps, possibly, it might help a bit even though it is a schedule I drug with no generally accepted medical use and high potential for abuse. That just seems more reasonable to me than cutting out half of your kid’s brain first before even trying it.

But the author has another critical point I didn’t mention, one based on the Hippocratic Oath of Do No Harm. There’s an ethical dilemma here:

So we have an ethical dilemma, the use of an experimental medicine [cannabis oil] with scant but positive scientific research and attached legal baggage, versus a rare, but extreme, and on average effective treatment for those children with life threatening seizures.

It’s a question of morality, people! If you have your child take a schedule 1 substance before first removing half his brain, he may get stoned for a few hours for nothing! After all, in three out of four cases a hemispherectomy will work just fine, so why risk it? Aside from the matter of the opposite side of the body losing feeling, at least until a suitable brain donor can be found. And on the off 25% chance it doesn’t work, just think of it this way. You won’t even have to fit him with a silicone brain implant. You can just have the doctor stuff the old hemisphere right back in there with a shovel maybe and save some money.

Don’t worry. It’s a very small precise shovel. It comes in the same do-it-yourself hemispherectomy kit as the chainsaw.

But then thinking about this again with both my hemispheres, (sorry for triggering those with only half a brain) I don’t quite get the ethical dilemma here. Maybe it’s because I’m on the “spectrum”. Perhaps I need a functional hemispherectomy in order to see things more clearly. I just don’t have the money for an implant and I’m a DD.

Anyway, here’s my announcement. After thinking long and hard and after several seizures, I’m rebranding this blog. I used to be a humor writer, even before I was a libertarian. And I used to be really good at it. It made me happy. Google “Rafi Farber hoot” and you’ll find some good stuff. (Google “Rafi Farber hemispherectomy” and you’ll end up right back here, probably at this very parenthetical sentence. (Not as in a sentence that is very parenthetical, but as in this very sentence that also happens to be metaparenthetical.))

I’m still The Jewish Libertarian, but instead of blasting righteous anger at politicians and governments like some abused half-brained chipmunk, I’m going to return to my roots and instead employ humor. Because I know politicians would never try Schedule I drugs with no generally accepted medical use.

I don’t want to be angry anymore. Anger leads to hate leads to suffering leads to Yoda leads to Hayden Christensen mumbling super creepy Attack of the Clones dialogue about sand being coarse and irritating (It gets everywhere!) and none of us want to see that movie ever again. I’m sure we’d all rather have double hemispherectomies, whether functional or not.

And a shout out to Dave Barry, who probably gets shouted out at a lot. He is the closest thing to a professional writing role model guy that I have. And I’m pretty sure he’s libertarianish, too. He runs for president every election cycle. Vote for him. I will. (I’m seriously not joking.)

And President Dave, might I add that The Silicone Brain Hemisphere Implants would be a great name for a band. Trump could probably use one. Or two.

Bonus for alert readers: Describe, in 100 detailed illustrations or less, what a cannabis-hemispherectomy-themed porn site would feature. 


The Best Lines from Dave Barry’s 2014 Thunderous Bidet Year in Review

Just reading this now. Dave Barry is my mentor in writing. He doesn’t know that, but I’ve always looked up to him. Before I got all libertarianish and serious and fiery I was primarily a humor writer. You can see my old college stuff here.

Dave Barry, I am convinced, is a libertarian at heart. For the whole review, click here. Here’s my favorite part (so far, I haven’t finished reading yet):

In Washington scandal news, the Internal Revenue Service, responding to a subpoena, tells congressional investigators that it cannot produce 28 months of Lois Lerner’s emails because the hard drive they were stored on failed, and the hard drive was thrown away, and the backup tapes were erased, and no printed copies were saved — contrary to the IRS’s own record-keeping policy, which was eaten by the IRS’s dog. “It was just one crazy thing after another,” states the IRS, “and it got us to thinking: All these years we’ve been subjecting taxpayers to everything short of rectal probes if they can’t produce EVERY SINGLE DOCUMENT WE WANT, and here we lose YEARS worth of official records! So from now on, if taxpayers tell us they lost something, or just plain forgot to make a tax payment, we’ll be like, ‘Hey, whatever! Stuff happens!’ Because who are we to judge?”

…President Obama announces that the U.S. military, which finally, with much fanfare, managed to get out of Iraq after a long string of operations including Operation Desert Fox, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn, is commencing an operation in … Iraq. This new operation — against a group called “ISIL,” an acronym that stands for “ISIS” — is hampered when a technical glitch causes the Pentagon’s Operation Name Generator to spew out a string of unacceptable candidates, including Operation Staunch Bedspread, Operation Iron Tapeworm and Operation Thunderous Bidet. While technicians work to solve the problem, the military is forced to refer to the new operation as “Bob.”

In military news, the Pentagon announces that it has finally come up with a name for the current U.S. actions in Iraq and Syria: “Operation Inherent Resolve.” Seriously, that is the actual name. They should have gone with Thunderous Bidet.

In sports, the top college football teams play in the traditional year-end bowl games, including the TaxSlayer Bowl, the Bitcoin Bowl, the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl, the Duck Commander Bowl and the Thunderous Bidet Bowl. All but one of these are actual bowl games.