So some morons in the government caused crowds of private citizens to run in screaming terror. I just have one question: Isn't this what they are always doing? H. L. Mencken said it best:
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.As I have said before, the only thing our masters agree on is the need to keep us in state of quivering fear. They do disagree, though, about what it is we should be afraid of. Arab suicide bombers? The extinction of the polar bears? The next banking crisis? That they might fail to expand their powers fast enough to save us?
Whether it is the swine flu of 2009, or the that of 1976, which led to a government-driven panic that caused far more tragedy and suffering than the disease itself, each incident ends with more bureaucrats being hired, more power being granted them, and more citizens hiding under their beds.
There is one difference between this case and the others, however: This time they sincerely regret their insensitive and cruel gesture. This time, the fear was triggered by accident.
Added Later: Here is a sensible article on the H1N1 virus scare by a professor of medicine who specializes in studying flu. It seems to me that the people who are promoting panic are government officials and their servants in the media, and that the voices of sanity tend to be medical people. (In the former category I except President Obama, whose statements on the subject have been pretty sensible.) Of course it could be my imagination, but I seem to see a pattern there.
Also, here is Dr. Ron Paul taking a little stroll down Memory Lane:
Hat-tip to Lew Rockwell.
Still later: Here is another sensible article (written by a journalist but reviewed by a doctor); it gives seven reasons not to worry too much about the new virus. On the other hand, Joe Biden is discouraging his family from going anywhere in an enclosed space with other people and Nancy Pelosi is encouraging her own family members to "stay home." Feh.