I sometimes wonder if any form of nuttiness is too nutty, if there is a single notion so wild that it is simply excluded from public dialogue.
I wonder not how low the bar is, but if there is a bar.
And recently, I've found reason to hope, based on the Hernando County Commission's reaction to the ideas peddled by gadfly Shirley Miketinac.
Yes, Miketinac gets her three minutes at nearly every commission meeting. But even the tea party favorites on the board tend to ignore her. She, likewise, is clear that she is not a member of the tea party, probably because it's too mainstream.
No, her big issue, or pseudo issue, is Agenda 21.
To most of the world, Agenda 21 is a nonbinding plan for a sustainable 21st century that the United Nations created in 1992 and that, like many other U.N. initiatives, has had virtually zero impact.
But to Miketinac and her fellow Glenn Beck acolytes, it's a blueprint to destroy the comfortable, affluent American lifestyle.
"The environment was chosen as a vehicle to bankrupt us. … We are systematically destroying the lives of our citizens and (the) sovereignty of our nation by following the script for Agenda 21," she wrote in an information packet about the agenda that she presented to the commission last month.
She did this mostly to sound the alarm about a county strategic plan that is just as likely to gather dust as Agenda 21 and is almost as full of empty, high-minded language.
Which, it turns out, is a big part of the problem.
Included in Miketinac's packet is a list of more than 100 "key words" that reveal the sinister hand of the U.N.
"Sustainable" is the big one. Various forms of it made her list six times. The word "environment" is another sure sign of trouble. So are "equity," "open space," "habitat," "inclusive" and even "fair."
Yes, it's a strange world that Miketinac lives in — one in which the wealthy countries that fund and control the U.N. have secretly conspired to work against their own interests. Even sadder is the assumption that no effort to get together and limit damage to the planet or tackle education or health care reform is sincere — that all are suspect.
Which brings us to a few other phrases on Miketinac's list, starting with "Common Core (State Standards)," a joint effort by states to raise educational standards across most of the country. Gov. Rick Scott backed away from it last week with the erroneous claim that it was a dictate of the federal government.
"Sustainable medicine" is certainly one of the goals of Obamacare, which Scott has tried to sabotage with another false claim — that people hired to help guide folks through the law are prying agents of the federal government.
We once had a state department devoted to "growth management," but it has been disbanded on Scott's watch, while the name of the state agency that contains the word "environment" — the Department of Environmental Protection — has become a joke.
Other than saying he's not a fan, Scott doesn't talk much about Agenda 21. But, really, his list isn't much different than Miketinac's.
So much for hope.