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Friday, October 29, 2004

Sick Flu Claims

The tendency of even the more popular and respectable outlets of libertarianism to adopt and disseminate crank ideas is a truly off-putting aspect of that movement., for example, all too regularly presents bizarre and hysterical screeds like the one that science writer Michael Fumento rebuts in today's National Review Online, available here.

In the piece to which Fumento refers, the flu vaccine is seen as a conspiracy between government and big business to make money for a couple of huge pharma firms. As a result, author John Keller asserts, the publicized numbers of flu deaths in the United States are wildly exaggerated. Fumento powerfully refutes this ignorant suggestion. Yes, the flu is not a modern-day mass-killing plague, but it can be highly dangerous, and people do die from complications of flu. Hence, it is wise to take the vaccine if it is available to you.

Keller's piece, unfortunately, has very much the flavor of a Lyndon LaRouche argument.

So, to our libertarian friends:

Yes, it's fun to complain about all the wicked things powerful people do in this world, and we encourage people to spread the truth about them. However, a strong sense of fealty to the facts and a skeptical application of common sense and adult wisdom are essential. Spreading wild claims is all great fun until somebody gets sick and dies from it.

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