Saturday, October 08, 2005

Coughing chickens and the seeds of dictatorship

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has prepared a report on what the bureaucrats believe could become the worst disaster in the nation's history, an outbreak of pandemic influenza, apparently triggered by that bird flu bug now making the rounds of chicken farms overseas jumping to humans and getting on a plane to Los Angeles.

The New York Times reports today that the 381-page Pandemic Influenza Strategic Plan predicts a major flu outbreak could begin in Asia and reach the U.S. within weeks. If that happened, the government believes, there would be riots and violence around the overwhelmed hospitals and vaccination clinics, there would be shortages of electricity and food, eight million Americans would be hospitalized and two million Americans would die.

They have really seen too many movies.

You won't be surprised to hear that the federal government has concluded it needs more power in order to deal with this.

The federal government concluded it needed more power to deal with city-wide disasters after the September 11th attacks, implementing a new "National Response Plan." We saw during Hurricane Katrina how well that worked out.

Now, President Irwin Allen has determined that he ought to have the power to call out the U.S. military to enforce a quarantine of entire American cities.

The HHS report admits that even if quarantines and travel restrictions are implemented, they "are unlikely to delay introduction of pandemic disease into the U.S. by more than a month or two."

There's a simpler solution. All we have to do to delay the arrival of avian flu is put FEMA in charge of getting it here.

This is actually a very serious matter and the stakes are very, very high. It is dangerous to freedom in America to permit the federal government to use passing events, no matter how awful, as a reason to permanently subvert the U.S. Constitution's limitations on its power.

Freedom means: you live under a government of limited power.

Dictatorship means: you live under a government headed by an individual who takes whatever action he chooses, with no limitations on his power.

You can tell you live in a free country if you hear constant whining that the government isn't doing enough to help people.

You can tell you live in a dictatorship if the government declares emergency powers for emergencies that never end, if the government conceals information and suppresses dissent, and if the whole country is forced to wait for government permission before taking actions that are perfectly reasonable and plainly necessary.

Keep your eyes open.

Copyright 2005