Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A Mind is a Terrible Thing...

In the midst of the religious right's war on reason, we now have to contend with a resurgence of militant stupidity on the part of the left. I have been bombarded with bizarre rants claiming that the threat of crossover avian flu is a hoax, cooked up to enable the Cheney/Rove cabal to take us ever closer to martial law and suspension of civil rights. I don't for a minute put it past Cheney et. al. to use this threat to those ends, but that does not mean that the threat itself is not real.

The same nuts who think this is a hoax are the ones who opposed fluoridation in water, and who deny that vaccines and antibiotics have saved millions of lives. To these people, modern medicine (yes, it has deep flaws....and?) is a huge conspiracy to poison us. What if we listen to them, and ignore the threat of crossover strains of avian flu? You can rest assured that, in the event of an epidemic or pandemic, they will be the first to point fingers, comparing the situation to our criminally negligent preparations for, and response to, Hurricane Katrina. And they will be right.

It is depressing to be an advocate of rationality today. We have to contend with Bush and his band of idiots, who don't believe in science, and then we turn around to find ourselves being betrayed by so-called progressives and their own brand of aggressive ignorance. There are real issues that they could help us address, for example the fact that high-density farming greatly increases the chances of a crossover influenza pandemic (not to mention the spread of other pathogens). But they would rather we just hid our heads in the sand. How sad.

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