Swine-Flu is a Man-Made Panic..

My new piece on swine-flu is up at Lew Rockwell.

Please note, I have it as Harold Varnus in the piece. It should be Varmus, as in my previous blog post on the subject. In my defense, I wrote it mostly in very dim light…

“The latest in the barrage of media reports on swine flu is a Bloomberg news report (August 25, 2009) that it might hospitalize 1.8 million patients in the US and over-burden hospital intensive care units.

This comes from a planning scenario released by the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology

The Bloomberg story cites some theatrical numbers:

  • Half of the US population infected (that is, over 150 million people)
  • 300,000 people in hospital intensive care units
  • 30–90,000 people dead
  • By-pass surgery emergency operations disrupted

But hidden in paragraph 5 of the Bloomberg piece is the most pertinent part:

These numbers are only “scenario projections” that were “developed from models put together for planning purposes only,” says a Centers for Disease Control spokesman.


  • Statistical projections.
  • Projections from models of past pandemics. (And not the past, as in 1968 or 1957, but way back, as in 1918.)
  • Projections developed for planning purposes only.

That’s three stages removed from anything you could call reality.

But perish this tenuous link with facts, PCAST wants Obama to rush through vaccine production so that 40 million people can be infect – er – injected by mid-September.

And who should make that decision?

A doctor? The surgeon-general? A medical team?

Why, the homeland security adviser!

That’s John Brennan, a former CIA station chief in Saudi Arabia, deputy executive director of the CIA under George Tenet, and the director of the National Counterterrorism Center (CTC) from 2004 to 2005 during the exact period when the CIA became most heavily involved in torture practices in Iraq and elsewhere.”


I wanted to state here that my social views are quite liberal, and I do not have any objection to voluntary family planning and contraception. I’m also firmly pro-choice. And in terms of the environment, I support far greater consideration by each of us, as individuals and as communities, for animal life, nature, and conservation.

But those are my personal views. Putting the legal and physical force of the corporate- state behind those preferences, in the form that Holdren apparently thinks will work, is, in my view, completely misguided.