Swine flu panic: Bad for the public, good for big government

The Great Disease Formerly Known as the Swine Flu Pandemic of Aught-Nine is convenient for a lot of folks. The panic focuses everybody’s attention on the glory of the government, and impresses the easily impressed that only the feds can stop a pandemic in its tracks, just as easily as it can take over the banking system, assume control of what’s left of the American automobile industry, restore international bonhomie (surely you’ve noticed) and “reform” the health system so that health will be carefully rationed and your doctor will be mentored by your postman on how to deliver efficient government services.

Governments elsewhere are taking advantage of the pandemic. In Egypt, the government ordered the slaughter of 300,000 pigs; no one thinks eating pork actually spreads flu, but if a Shariah menu is good enough for a mullah it will be good enough for a Methodist.