Threats, Real and Imagined

Mankind's existence is always being threatened, or so it seems. The number of societal-threatening events that have occurred in roughly the last thirty years is nothing short of amazing.

In 1976, hundreds of people became sick and dozens died at a convention in Philadelphia from what later became known as "Legionnaire's Disease." The illness was initially unrecognized, and it was feared that this "mystery" disease might break out into the general population with catastrophic results.

In the late 1970's, Newsweek cited several scientific climactic studies that pointed to an unmistakable cooling trend in the Earth's weather pattern, one that might lead to the return of a global ice age. All manner of climate-related doomsday scenarios sprang forth from the press.

Remember the "killer bee" threat? A version of an "Africanized" bee from South America-unusually aggressive bees that were supposedly extremely dangerous and difficult to control-had apparently made their way up into the southern-most regions of the United States. The worry was that these bees would be able to mate with the indigenous bees in the U.S., creating a hybrid population of super-aggressive insects, able to survive colder weather and migrate all over the country, menacing the population.

Then there was the Ebola Virus. A particularly deadly disease, characterized by internal and external bleeding, overall body pain, vomiting, it has no known treatment. Mortality rates are as high as 90%. There was widespread speculation that this might break out into a global epidemic.

Ebola was quickly followed by the "Flesh-eating" Virus (Necrotizing fasciitis). A few well-publicized cases of this tissue-destroying disease once again caused rampant speculation about the potential for a worldwide health crisis.

The latest health scare, of course, is the H5N1 "Bird Flu." As the sky-is-falling crowd breathlessly awaits the evidence that the flu has mutated into a form easily transmittable from human to human, every isolated incidence of the illness is seemingly gleefully reported by the doomsday media.

Even AIDS has "disappointed" those who were expecting it to break out into the general population and cause incalculable harm.

The Mother-of-All threats de jour to our existence is, without question, Global Warming. Despite a veritable mountain of evidence that at the very least calls into question the inevitability of a total permanent meltdown, Global Warming has become the newest cause celebre of the Antique Media. No matter that slowly rising sea levels and any consequent significant shoreline encroachment are centuries away.

All of the foregoing so-called "threats" to our existence (and there are undoubtedly many more which have been omitted from the list) have one important thing in common: None of them have come to pass. None of them.

They also have one other, just as important, thing in common: They're either just blameless occurrences of nature or they're the fault of Conservative Republicans. In the case of Global Warming, the Antique Media clearly imply that it's the result of shameless capitalistic Republicans and their ruthless pursuit of profits, operating their money-churning businesses without regard to the environment, employing illegal immigrants for slave wages in sweat shops, while denying them taxpayer-funded health benefits. All authorized and approved by President Bush, needless to say.

However, the AM are not quite so quick to point out the real threat to our way of life: radical Islamic terrorism. While the list of potential catastrophes listed above remains just that-potential-the threat from Islamic extremists is very real and immediate. Another historical recounting of innumerable terrorist acts against Western interests is hardly necessary, but the Kobar Towers, the African embassies, the U.S.S. Cole, 9/11, 3/11, and 7/7 all provide hard evidence that Islamic extremists are actively waging war against our culture. The availability of WMD to terrorists only heightens the immediacy of the danger.

The secular-progressive/moral-equivalence factions in most Western countries will not even acknowledge that we're involved in a War on Terror. Most of them undoubtedly subscribe to the thought put forth by H.L. Mencken in 1920, recently cited by Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe:
"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
As Kerry so revealingly said during the 2004 Presidential campaign, he hoped that we could get back to the point where terrorism was a mere "nuisance," implying that the "War on Terror" was a trumped-up Republican political ploy. Yet if we're to have any real chance of ending (or at least controlling) terrorism, the liberal bloc-both media and political-must wake up to the realities of how things are, as opposed to how they pretend things are.

Is there any real hope of their coming around to support the War on Terror? Given the current state of rancorous political discourse in this country, it's tough to imagine.
Mankind's existence is always being threatened, or so it seems. The number of societal-threatening events that have occurred in roughly the last thirty years is nothing short of amazing.

In 1976, hundreds of people became sick and dozens died at a convention in Philadelphia from what later became known as "Legionnaire's Disease." The illness was initially unrecognized, and it was feared that this "mystery" disease might break out into the general population with catastrophic results.

In the late 1970's, Newsweek cited several scientific climactic studies that pointed to an unmistakable cooling trend in the Earth's weather pattern, one that might lead to the return of a global ice age. All manner of climate-related doomsday scenarios sprang forth from the press.

Remember the "killer bee" threat? A version of an "Africanized" bee from South America-unusually aggressive bees that were supposedly extremely dangerous and difficult to control-had apparently made their way up into the southern-most regions of the United States. The worry was that these bees would be able to mate with the indigenous bees in the U.S., creating a hybrid population of super-aggressive insects, able to survive colder weather and migrate all over the country, menacing the population.

Then there was the Ebola Virus. A particularly deadly disease, characterized by internal and external bleeding, overall body pain, vomiting, it has no known treatment. Mortality rates are as high as 90%. There was widespread speculation that this might break out into a global epidemic.

Ebola was quickly followed by the "Flesh-eating" Virus (Necrotizing fasciitis). A few well-publicized cases of this tissue-destroying disease once again caused rampant speculation about the potential for a worldwide health crisis.

The latest health scare, of course, is the H5N1 "Bird Flu." As the sky-is-falling crowd breathlessly awaits the evidence that the flu has mutated into a form easily transmittable from human to human, every isolated incidence of the illness is seemingly gleefully reported by the doomsday media.

Even AIDS has "disappointed" those who were expecting it to break out into the general population and cause incalculable harm.

The Mother-of-All threats de jour to our existence is, without question, Global Warming. Despite a veritable mountain of evidence that at the very least calls into question the inevitability of a total permanent meltdown, Global Warming has become the newest cause celebre of the Antique Media. No matter that slowly rising sea levels and any consequent significant shoreline encroachment are centuries away.

All of the foregoing so-called "threats" to our existence (and there are undoubtedly many more which have been omitted from the list) have one important thing in common: None of them have come to pass. None of them.

They also have one other, just as important, thing in common: They're either just blameless occurrences of nature or they're the fault of Conservative Republicans. In the case of Global Warming, the Antique Media clearly imply that it's the result of shameless capitalistic Republicans and their ruthless pursuit of profits, operating their money-churning businesses without regard to the environment, employing illegal immigrants for slave wages in sweat shops, while denying them taxpayer-funded health benefits. All authorized and approved by President Bush, needless to say.

However, the AM are not quite so quick to point out the real threat to our way of life: radical Islamic terrorism. While the list of potential catastrophes listed above remains just that-potential-the threat from Islamic extremists is very real and immediate. Another historical recounting of innumerable terrorist acts against Western interests is hardly necessary, but the Kobar Towers, the African embassies, the U.S.S. Cole, 9/11, 3/11, and 7/7 all provide hard evidence that Islamic extremists are actively waging war against our culture. The availability of WMD to terrorists only heightens the immediacy of the danger.

The secular-progressive/moral-equivalence factions in most Western countries will not even acknowledge that we're involved in a War on Terror. Most of them undoubtedly subscribe to the thought put forth by H.L. Mencken in 1920, recently cited by Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe:
"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
As Kerry so revealingly said during the 2004 Presidential campaign, he hoped that we could get back to the point where terrorism was a mere "nuisance," implying that the "War on Terror" was a trumped-up Republican political ploy. Yet if we're to have any real chance of ending (or at least controlling) terrorism, the liberal bloc-both media and political-must wake up to the realities of how things are, as opposed to how they pretend things are.

Is there any real hope of their coming around to support the War on Terror? Given the current state of rancorous political discourse in this country, it's tough to imagine.