October 12, 2005

Cracker Barrel Philosophers

I have, as you know, done a number of posts on the risk of Avian Flu. And now, belatedly, it's getting serious attention from government and the press.

And one of the reactions I'm now noticing is from the type of people you might call "cracker-barrel philosophers," who are slapping their knees and saying, "Yew can't believe them big-gummint types. They're always tryin' to skeer us, 'cause there's a lot of money in to be made in this."

First of all, this isn't a "government" scare. It's been forced on government by people in science and Public Health who have been screaming about it for several years, and getting precious little attention from government.

And because a source has been wrong in the past doesn't mean they are always wrong. Stopped clock, and all that. (Even Democrats criticizing Bush are bound to be right sometimes, even though they have disgraced and discredited themselves with lies and by blaming him promiscuously for every ill and happenstance, and gloating when things go wrong.)

And in the case of disaster warnings, it's the nature of the things that there will be many false alarms. Same with warnings of terrorist attacks. In fact the people who issue such warnings soon become gun-shy, because they know they will be criticized and mocked if the problem doesn't happen, and people will ignore the next warning.

Secundus, it's good if people are making a lot of money off of Flu preparations. We used to have many more providers of vaccines, but most gave up the business, tired of lawsuits and low profits. (If you find yourself in a Flu pandemic, and want someone to lynch, consider stringing up the vile animals of the "Plaintiffs' Bar," or maybe their patron saint, Ralph Nader.) What we ought to be doing is offering a sort of "X-Prize" of a billion dollars to whoever finds a fast way to produce vaccines. Instead, if there IS a vaccine available during a pandemic, I have no doubt we will hear loud calls to restrict the obscene profits of the wicked drug companies, who are getting rich while the poor suffer. [Example #378 of how "Liberalism" kills.]

Tertius, The "philosophers" like to say things like,"I'll just wash my hands and drink orange juice and eat healthy, and I'll be OK." Even if this saves you from flu (unlikely) it's not enough, because many of the preparations we should all be making, for any possible disaster, involve being ready for interruption of food or water supplies, or electric power. And the person who doesn't prepare, far from being a strong individualist, might end up like those wretched Katrina folks, part of a hapless rabble waiting for the National Guard convoys...which may not come. Waiting for government to save them. They remind me of the staunch individualists who resist those obtrusive government regulations about wearing motorcycle helmets. Which would be fine, except that one knows that when they end up paralyzed, they will be complaining that government doesn't do enough to take care of the handicapped.

Posted by John Weidner at October 12, 2005 9:11 AM
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