Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Feds Cause a Panic

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.


Ann said...

And the stupid publicity fly-by cost us taxpayers more than $300,000. That's more money than most Americans earn in three years. If it wasn't done on purpose (for some nasty motive), the white house staff are even stupider than I could have imagined.

Why is Homeland Security at the forefront of swine flu 'crisis'? I thought their mission was to monitor volitional agents of harm, not naturally-occurring disease outbreaks. I wonder if it's because Napolitano has made so many public gaffes that it's a chance to distract people from demanding her resignation? The good news is if you want a cheap vacation to Mexico, the mark downs are incredible! :-) It's tempting.

Anonymous said...

Beware of "liberal" university professors!

Lester Hunt said...


On travelling to Mexico, notice that the doctor in the article I link to at the bottom of the post -- this link was added after you read the post -- seems to say travel advisories and restrictions are generally not a good idea. They are economically devastating and are not good ways to fight the spread of disease. The best way to accomplish that end is for sick people to stay home, not for well people to avoid visiting their country.

One thing about the fly-by that I haven't heard mentioned is the pitiful fact that publicity photos they took will now be un-usable. If they publish them, people will take one look at them and say "Oh my God! Those are those horrible pictures from that insane fly-by!" So that one third of a million dollars went right down the toilet.

As my mother used to say: Easy come, easy go!

Ajlouny said...

It's pathetic and was not completely thought out; and a total waste of money. Shame!