The Obama administration has, for the second time in six months, declared the H1N1 virus, or swine flu, a national emergency. The administration first made this declaration in April, but perhaps they needed a bit more time to stir up the desired frenzy. And set up a Web site — flu.gov. Americans are now running to the hospital by the thousands, overcrowding emergency rooms and standing in line for their shots when often the provider has already run out of vaccine. However, all this panic is driven not as much by their physical symptoms as by a government-run campaign of hysteria.
The administration has made much of the fact that approximately 1,000 Americans have died and another 20,000 have been hospitalized after falling ill with H1N1. But, according to the Centers for Disease Control, these numbers, while tragic, are actually much smaller than the number of deaths each year from more commons strains of flu. As a matter of fact, Australia and New Zealand, which did not use the H1N1 vaccine, have reported fewer flu deaths this year than in the past.
The declaration of a national emergency has also increased the powers of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. She now has the authority, for as long as this “crisis” lasts, to sidestep certain federal laws that govern the use of tax dollars for medical treatment.
While some claim this is an administrative move that will allow the government to preempt a possible pandemic, for others it brings to the forefront issues concerning the quality and reliability of government-controlled health care. Imagine, for example, that we really were in danger of dying from a disease for which the government’s much bragged about supply of vaccinations had fallen so woefully short?
American journalist H.L. Mencken once said, “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.” Perhaps flu.gov stands for “Fear-mongering Leftists Unlimited.”