Reign of Paranoia
By William Warren
In case you missed the headline, we are all going to die.
Swine Flu has engulfed Mexico and is spreading to ever corner of the globe. Egypt is slaughtering its entire pig population, the UK is dispensing information leaflets to every single home, and Barack Obama has recommended that some schools be shut down.
And yet, only one victim has been claimed in the United States by the strain of influenza. Likewise, the World Health Organization says that seven—not the reported 152—is the total worldwide death toll thus far.
What is replicating rapidly and claiming the psyches of millions, however, is paranoia.
Simply put, the Swine Flu is the latest in a long line of over-hyped illnesses and so-called pandemics that have done little more than send the world into a paranoid frenzy. In case readers have a short-term memory, consider some of the Swine Flu's precursors (and consider the uniform media and government response to each):
• In 2003, Avian Flu claimed four lives. Paranoia and fear ensued.
• In November of 2002, the first case of SARS (sever acute respiratory syndrome) was reported in China. Paranoia and fear ensued.
• In 1999, the first case of West Nile Virus was reported in New York City. Paranoia and fear ensued.
And now, in 2009, the first cases of Swine Flu have been reported. And, predictably, paranoia and fear have ensued—all of which has been entirely goaded by the government and media alike.
Also predictable is the Obama Administration's response. As with any other “good crisis”, Barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel, and the rest won't let this one go to waste.
One way they've already seized upon the crisis is with the successful confirmation of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius to the post of health and human services secretary. Mere days ago, the Sebelius nomination was mired in controversy regarding the Governor's shady ties to a particular Kansas abortionist.
And then Swine Flu happened.
On Tuesday, she was promptly confirmed by a 61-35 vote in the Senate. As Barack Obama said of his new cabinet member:
“I expect her to hit the ground running…We had to swear her in right away [because the outbreak of swine flu will need her] immediate attention.”
In the same vein, Chris Dodd remarked:
“The challenges facing the secretary are so serious….she brings welcome experience.”
In addition to Governor Sebelius, Barack Obama wants the American people to understand that everyone in Washington is “closely monitoring” the flu outbreak and is ready—and definitely willing—to step in. As he said:
“Every American should know that the federal government is prepared to do whatever is necessary to control the impact of this virus.”
“Whatever is necessary” is a frightening phrase, especially coming from President Obama who sees every crisis as an opportunity to expand the size and scope of government. The obvious side effect of Swine Flu will be a swollen government.
Exploiting a "crisis" like this, however, is nothing new for the new president.
For instance, when Barack Obama was bolstering support for his gargantuan $3.6 trillion budget in March, he used similar fear and urgency tactics. The President made it perfectly clear: only his budget could save the nation from certain economic doom. As he said:
“That's why this budget is inseparable from this recovery -- because it is what lays the foundation for a secure and lasting prosperity.”
According to Mr. Obama, if the people fail to support his policies, fire and brimstone will fall upon America. The same can be said regarding the $787 billion “stimulus” package, all the TARP funds, and any legislation predicated on “Global Warming” logic.
Given the Obama “Oh-gosh!” track record, Swine Flu ought to be viewed through the critical lens of the iconoclast. The public ought to be wary of any issue with which the government and the media attempt to whip the masses into a frenzy.
What the public ought to be concerned about is the reign of paranoia that President Obama's first one hundred days has shaped up to be. At this rate, the strain of paranoia will undoubtedly mutate into something akin to hysteria that renders the public dependent on the protective care of Big Government for everything from a bounced check to a hang nail.
But don't worry about it too much. It's not like we're all going to die.
William Warren is a Contributing Editor of ALG News Bureau.