“Never let a good crisis go to waste.”
That is the thought that came to mind while reading a recent Politico summary of recent Obama statements regarding the much ballyhooed and over-dramatized issue of the Ebola virus. It is a virus, extremely rare and difficult to pass from one person to the next, and yet, from the sound of the media gongs one would think that it can be contracted simply by logging into Facebook and reading about it.
And yet, the State needs crisis. It thrives on crisis; for in times of desperation, the masses fling themselves to the foot of the Almighty State. In the movies, the idea of martial law in response to a medical epidemic is heartily romanticized. While Ebola is clearly no medical epidemic, the US Government and its media cohorts are pretending it is. The media are swooning in profound hysteria over the idea that this virus is going to wipe about American (and African –don’t forget this started there… and that we have been looking for reasons to invade for years) society. Oh help us Almighty State!
And help us they will. Perhaps Ebola won’t turn out to be the excuse for a cramp-down after all. But things in politics tend to build upon themselves. If you thought the US government was too big and encroaching before 9/11, look at us now. Slowly and in the shadows, the Central State that operates in Washington DC is suddenly unrecognizable. Don’t get me wrong, its growth and fascistic tendencies have been expressed since the dawn of the Progressive era at the close of the 19th century; this is all nothing new really. However, it is much worse. Things have not stagnated in regards to the American police state. One only needs to read John Whitehead’s weekly column, which echoes the same thoughts wonderfully presented in his book, to understand that the United States Federal Government has gone rogue. (Interestingly, I have also confirmed that this John Whitehead who is prominent in the libertarian movement is the same John W. Whitehead that wrote for John Robbins’ Trinity Review –here is an essay from 1981.)
Now, Politico is reporting that the horror of a more aggressive response by the rogue state under the guise of combating a virus is actually being promised:
President Barack Obama sought to reassure the U.S. public Wednesday that Ebola is under control domestically and that his administration will respond “in a much more aggressive way” to new cases.
Yikes. What might that look like? Politico continues:
After meeting with a group of senior advisers who have been involved in the Ebola response, Obama told reporters that the Centers for Disease Control would deploy a “SWAT team” to “go in as soon as a new case is diagnosed,” preferably within 24 hours.
Yes, the CDC has the ability to deploy SWAT teams. Yes, a diagnosis is the the circumstance that will trigger armed invasion.
I don’t know whether Ebola will be the means of a new era of martial law. I don’t know if it will set the grounds for a new, even Scarier Virus, to become the Greatest Enemy to Humanity that must be addressed with US or UN troops. I just don’t know. But the truth of the matter is that it is times like these, when the media is warning of Doom and the US government is Taking Things Seriously, that the most liberties are encroached upon. As Robert Higgs so conclusively demonstrated in his book Crisis and Leviathan (free pdf), times of catastrophe (such as bank failures, wars, biological epidemics, natural disasters) provide the ammunition for the State to intervene in a way that inspires and encourages their growth patterns.
The relevant Law of Politics here is this: “never let a crisis go to waste.”
Politico’s final paragraph was this:
Earlier Wednesday, Obama discussed the spreading Ebola outbreak with British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
On the call, Obama “made clear that the world must marshal the finances as well as the international personnel required to bend the curve of the epidemic, noting that it constitutes a human tragedy as well as a threat to international security,” the White House said in a readout.
If you think this should be dealt with by people in the community and local governments, the international superpowers disagree with you. It’s on their turf now.
Everything is their turf.