Saturday, May 02, 2009

Idle thoughts for a winter's day...

This starts with one of Liberty Bob’s articles about the Swine Flu. Not the PC of H1N1 around these parts. Officials and the probligo have decreed that the name is Swine flu; in just the same way as the Geographic Board has decreed that “North Island” and “South Island” are just not good enough, nor do they reflect the “traditional" Maori names, but most importantly of all they have never been Gazetted.

Be that as it may, and back to Liberty Bob. He had a (non-probligo) comment bewailing the millions who had died in the avian flu epidemic. The probligo, intentionally and because he was in a bit of a mood, took it seriously and was quite rightly mildly castigated by L-B for not recognizing the sarcasm of the first comment.

Be that as it may as well, and moving on from Liberty Bob to the wider world… Well, America in fact.

Why is it that Americans (and it seems to be a fairly general trait and not something that is in just the small circles of Americans that I have met) have this propensity for mindless bravado, for totally disregarding risk, for being the villagers who ignored the little boy who cried wolf once too often? I have to admit that it is a trait that has given impetus to their country’s place in the world. Without that bravado, a lot of very valuable things would never have happened, and the world would be the poorer (and in some cases, the better) for it.

Just a second, the cat is trying to crawl into my lap…

Now, WWI? Oh, yeah, the bravado.

To take examples other than Bob writing on the Swine Flu we could look at the overall reaction to the warnings of Katrina as a Cat 5 storm; or the warnings back in 2005 and 2006 that national and international financial systems were getting “overheated”; the scepticism that “global warming” is something we should worry about. “We’ve heard them before and nothing happened!” “Cry wolf again…”

Perhaps there is a converse here. If we look at the national reaction to 9/11; a mixture of justified outrage at one end and a paranoic fear at the other. When America “worries” it is an all-consuming fear. The current “fear”, now that Osama has not been found in Afghanistan, is that Obama will ruin America. Will he? I believe no more than it has already been “ruined” by successive administrations each following their individual political mantras into oblivion. And there is still that chance that he might do good…

So, it looks like Americans at least consider the Swine Flu – sorry H1N1 Mexico – to be little more than a beat-up by the left wing media. Once again. Tail wags the dog – again.


David said...

I've come to the conclusion that the end result of Americans' often pleasing positivity and optimism is that they come to believe that, left to their own devices, they will live forever.

When something comes along that they're mortal after all, they become terrified and enraged in equal measure.

David said...

Please insert the word "proves" between "that" and "they're" in paragraph two.

Thanks for listening.

Eugene Tan said...

Even if we were to go by the Spanish flu standards, 2% or less of the world's population will die. And this world will not be so crowded. Global warming will cease. Demand for medical care will drive my RMG share prices through the roof. The overfished oceans get a reprieve and restocks itself....

You are indeed idling your winter away, dear Bob.

The probligo said...

David, agreed.

Eugene -

Yes, perhaps.
Not measurably.
Not likely.