Over the past 120 days or so, the authoritarians who gravitate to elected office in the US have been having a field day implementing various new restrictive rules to control our behavior. As they do so, Americans are witnessing the repeat of a familiar playbook used by the political class. Fear-mongering has been used by doomsayer politicians to achieve their political ends for decades, the result of which is usually direct attacks on, and a weakening of, our constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms. The trade-offs promised are more security in exchange for less freedom (“vote for us, and we’ll take care of you and all your needs”). And this is what is in play during the Chicom virus crisis. It is all about obtaining political power, not the health, welfare, and safety of the American people.
While some crises are real, others are manufactured and/or greatly exaggerated. In all cases, they are politically exploited to the maximum extent possible. Democrats in particular “never let a crisis go to waste,” as Rahm Emanuel boldly told us in 2008, and are following that advice again during the Chicom virus crisis, as noted here:
PATHETIC – Democrats are using Rahm Emanuel's playbook of never letting a crisis go to waste.
Their demands have NOTHING TO DO with helping the American people combat the Chinese Virus – this is about fulfilling their liberal wish list/Green New Deal.
THREAD ⬇️ https://t.co/0w2dbrvdrU
— Marc Lotter – Text TRUMP to 88022 (@marc_lotter) March 23, 2020
Selling and exploiting fear has a long history in the US but accelerated greatly as the Democrat Party used the tactic to grow government in the post-World War II era. Let us review some examples.
Nuclear war/Red scare (1950-91, esp. mid-1980s).
There have been multiple nuclear war scares over the years that were exploited to condition Americans to fear for their own safety and security while instilling a sense of hopelessness and inability to impact world events.
- In the 1950s, the development of the hydrogen bomb led to the creation of the “doomsday” clock, which has been exploited ever since by leftists/globalists as the metaphor for the “nearness” of global nuclear war. Schoolchildren regularly practiced hiding under their desks during “nuclear war drills.” This was one of the first instances of the American public education system being used to condition/indoctrinate children on a massive scale. This is also when the “Better Red Than Dead” slogan was created to try to convince Americans to bow to Soviet aggression worldwide.
- Also, in the 1950s, the ubiquitous presence of Communist agents in American institutions was exposed by Senator Joe McCarthy (R-WI) and others. “Reds under the bed” was the cliché used by liberals/leftists to laugh off the reality of the threat in people’s minds. The Left furiously fought back, used personal attacks to destroy McCarthy, and shut down the various investigations. As the Venona Project later showed McCarthy was in fact right about the presence of Communist agents and sympathizers within federal agencies and cultural institutions.
- In the 1960s, the Cuban missile crisis brought the fear of nuclear attack from Cuban-based Russian medium range missiles to a head. The crisis eventually led to public support for a succession of nuclear arms treaties with the Soviets, the result of which allowed the USSR to survive economically for a few more decades.
- In the 1980s, the Soviets deployed short-range SS-20 nuclear missiles, which placed Western European countries at great risk due to the associated short flight time and limited launch warning. In response, President Reagan authorized the deployment to Europe of Pershing and nuclear warhead-equipped Tomahawk missiles to counter the SS-20 deployments. The US missile deployment was resisted bigly both in Europe and the US by multiple groups of leftist protesters who gave new meaning to the “Better Red Than Dead” slogan. The Pershing were deployed, Reagan’s military buildup led to the economic demise of the USSR in 1991, and the US foreign policy establishment which made a cottage industry out of hamstringing US nuclear weapons development and modernization efforts over the years were exposed as frauds (if not Soviet fellow-travelers for all practical purposes).
Global cooling (1969-79)
One of the first modern environmental scares was the “consensus” view in the 1970s that Earth was accelerating into a New Ice Age, as described here:
A review of the climate science literature of the 1965-1979 period is presented and it is shown that there was an overwhelming scientific consensus for climate cooling (typically, 65% for the whole period) but greatly outnumbering the warming papers by more than 5-to-1 during the 1968-1976 period, when there were 85% cooling papers compared with 15% warming.
Needless to say, the consensus was wrong, but the effort was a dry run for what was to come, i.e., the use of environmental crises based on models (!) to promote economic policies inimical to the US interests. The global cooling scare and pollution concerns led to President Nixon’s establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency in December 1970, which became a key source of government funding for leftist environmentalist researchers and academics over the years.
Acid rain (1980s)
Another environmental scare in the 1980s involved acid rain. It was theorized that industrial pollution, automobile exhaust, and associated by-products that comprised “smog” contributed to the acidification of lakes and rivers in the Upper Midwest. A more than half-billion-dollar, decade-long national Acid Precipitation Assessment Program study was initiated in 1980 to research the matter. Leftwing US senators lined up something called “Project 88” to be a mechanism for converting environmental issues into business opportunities. That effort led to the concept of “allowance trading” legislation to create markets for buying and selling excess sulfur dioxide (SO2) credits, as SO2 was supposedly the major compound causing acid rain. This “allowance trading” business was the precursor for the later development of “carbon credits,” “carbon taxes,” and the Chicago Climate Exchange. All these efforts were meant to regulate, shackle, tax, and chain the US industry while providing a major source of campaign contributions to Democrats politicians. Few Americans remember that one of the biggest SO2 traders was Enron. Andrew Weissmann (of Mueller Special Counsel infamy) and other Democrat lawyers who prosecuted Enron knew where the bones were buried!
Oh, and the results of that decade-long study? As reported by Forbes here:
The investigating scientists reported that they had “turned up no smoking gun; that the problem is far more complicated than it been thought; that other factors combine to harm trees, and that sorting out the cause-and-effect was difficult and in some cases impossible.”
But the study served its political purpose: the creation of the means to monetize wacko environmentalism using “allowance trading credits.” That’s where Al Gore (and other Democrats) made their millions while perpetrating environmental hoaxes on Americans.
HIV/AIDS Epidemic (1981 – Present)
HIV/AIDS was the first truly “political virus.” It was exploited endlessly by the Left for over two decades, mainly through early claims that there would eventually be unchecked outbreaks among the general public, when in reality the virus was largely limited to specific demographic groups, i.e., homosexuals and intravenous drug users. What? Focusing on demographics is important in managing epidemics? Someone should inform Drs. Fauci, Birx, and Redfield about that regarding the Chicom virus! At any rate, the Left totally politicized HIV/AIDS, and the investment in research and development of AIDS-related drugs and treatments exploded in the 1980s – probably beyond that which was warranted in comparison to the human impact of other diseases, as noted in a 2015 JAMA article here:
According to the CDC, there are roughly 1.2 million people in the US with HIV/AIDS and 13.4 million people alive with a history of cancer (either past or current), compared to over 29 million people living with diabetes. By that comparison, the NIH spends about $2,583 each year per person with HIV/AIDS, $418 each year per person with cancer, and only $38 each year per person with diabetes. Indeed, as the American Diabetes Association stated in a recent press release, “Diabetes kills more Americans each year than breast cancer and HIV/AIDS combined with no sign that these odds are improving. Twice as many Americans have diabetes as have cancer and diabetes is 20 times more prevalent than HIV/AIDS.”
Once again, the Left successful got their political priorities funded using scare-mongering tactics!
Nuclear winter (1983-present)
The Sunday newspaper supplement “Parade Magazine” featured an Orwellian article by Carl Sagan about “nuclear winter” in 1983 that dramatized the doomsday scenario of the aftermath of nuclear war and frightened millions of Americans. Sagan claimed that it wouldn’t take both major nuclear powers firing all their weapons to create a nuclear winter. Rather, even a smaller-scale war could “destroy humanity.” Atmospheric scientist Richard Turco had developed a one-dimensional scoping model that purported to show that, after a significant number of nuclear explosions, massive quantities of soot and smoke would remain aloft in the atmosphere for years, causing a severe planet-wide drop in temperature and subsequent devastation of agriculture. This model was yet another scare-mongering effort used by the Left to achieve a policy objective, in this case, the cancellation of President Reagan’s “Strategic Defense Initiative,” which was aimed at providing the US with a defensive shield against the Soviet-launch nuclear missiles. However, Reagan persevered, SDI-related efforts were funded, and the USSR subsequently collapsed when it couldn’t keep up with US development efforts, but it was a close-run thing. And the nuclear winter scare hasn’t completely dissipated. Watch for it to reemerge in the Democrat-media complex as the Chicoms seek nuclear parity with the US over the next few years!
The Left was getting its act together in using the confluence of Congress, Academia, Hollywood, and the Media to falsely spin Americans up in order to advance left-wing political agendas. The insecticide “alar” was one such coordinated effort, as summarized here:
The scare started when the CBS News program ”60 Minutes” aired a segment publicizing claims that 6,000 preschoolers may eventually get cancer from residues of the pesticide in apples and apple juice. It got help from Meryl Streep, who showed up on Capitol Hill and on TV talk shows to lobby against alar.
The stampede was on. Schools yanked apples off their menus; parents threw out their apple juice. The EPA began the process of banning alar. Finally, Uniroyal Chemical Co. simply stopped selling it.
Except that the scare was vastly overblown, as PBS reported here:
[V]irtually every reputable scientific body and leading scientist – ranging from the National Cancer Institute to the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization, and C. Everett Koop – has gone on record as saying that the use of Alar on apples never posed any risk to the health of either children or adults. Are we to dismiss all of these testimonies as a “concerted disinformation campaign by industry trade groups”?
Virtually the only scientists who still regard the Alar scare as genuine are those associated with the EPA – who, in doing so, are merely carrying out the agency’s protocol that any substance that causes cancer in high doses in even a single rodent is, therefore, a “probable human carcinogen” (a standard that, if applied to natural substances, would lead to the banning of peanuts, honey, mushrooms, and tap water).
You read that right: the only “true believers” about the alar scare remained in the EPA! The EPA budget was expanded, Americans were further sensitized to the supposed perils of “big US chemical companies,” and the Left/Democrats continued their efforts to regulate and restrict the growth of US industry.
Mad Cow Disease (1996 – Present)
Who could forget Oprah Winfrey’s exploitation of mad cow disease in 1996 to try and shut down the US beef industry? According to the CDC, a grand total of 6 Americans have died of the disease between 1996 and 2018, but that didn’t stop Oprah from using her then top-rated TV talk show to sow fear and disrupt an entire industry simply because she went on an anti-beef crusade. Oh, and Oprah helped gift us Barack Obama, the second-worst president in US history, when she enthusiastically endorsed him on her show in 2007. One entertainer, two diseases.
Anthropogenic Global Warming (1997-present)
More fake models have fueled the ongoing man-made global warming scare, which has now morphed to “climate change” and “climate alarmism” since the catastrophic predictions from the models have failed to materialize. The basic premise is that man-made global warming – largely due to the production of carbon dioxide attendant with the Industrial Revolution – must be “reversed” through draconian regulation of US industries in order to “Save the Planet”. Note that it is always the US that is identified by the Left as the main culprit. The movement has involved decades-long indoctrination of American schoolchildren in the public schools, colleges, and universities and led to the concoction of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s absurd “Green New Deal,” which advocates a complete greening of America, including getting rid of all internal combustion engines in favor of green transportation alternatives. Never mind the immutable laws of thermodynamics! Virtually the entire Democrat Party is invested in the Green New Deal, which is one major reason they cannot be allowed to win the White House in November.
Global terrorism (2001-present)
The phrase “global terrorism” was created by globalist elites in the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 attacks in New York City and Washington, DC. The Brookings Institution (a flagship globalist think-tank) published an article entitled, “Terrorism Goes Global: Extremist Groups Extend Their Reach Worldwide,” just 10 days before those attacks (!). The George W. Bush administration used “global terrorism” to focus America’s attention on the perpetrators of “radical Islamist terrorism” throughout the Middle East, justifying large military budgets and weapons acquisitions for nearly two decades now to deal with the “terrorist threat.” Pretty much President Eisenhower’s “military-industrial complex” on steroids, and projected to be approximately $6.4 trillion through 2020, as reported here.
Catastrophic Illness/Healthcare (esp. 2008-09)
The American healthcare industry was well on the way to being fully socialized through Democrat-sponsored regulation and oversight beginning in the 1960s. The concept of catastrophic illness – the overwhelming costs of major surgeries to uninsured individuals – was used as a scare-mongering tactic to engender public support for the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in 2009. Obama’s promises of lowering healthcare costs and being able to keep one’s physician(s) did not materialize, but no matter! The fear-mongering helped ensure Obamacare’s passage into law, and another major left-wing objective was achieved at our collective expense.
The Recurring Virus Epidemics (2000 – Present)
Epidemics have been exploited by the Left to grow government, condition Americans to accept arbitrary controls on everyday life, and infringe on individual rights protected under the Bill of Rights in order to undermine our constitutional republic. Here is a list of those epidemics which were used to pressure Bush 43 and Donald Trump, or were ignored and obfuscated in order to politically protect Barack Obama.
- West Nile virus (2002). First detected in the US in 1999, the summer of 2002 saw “the largest outbreak of West Nile meningoencephalitis ever recorded anywhere, and also the largest outbreak of arboviral meningoencephalitis ever documented in the western hemisphere,” as reported by NIH here. There was a brief panic during which maximum political pressure was exerted on the Bush administration by Democrats and their media allies, who claimed inadequate preparation and response by the federal government.
- SARS (2003). Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus. There was a worldwide outbreak that begins in China in February 2003 that later spread to the US. Eight Americans subsequently died, but once again the Democrats and their media allies made political hay in pressuring the Bush administration to “do something.”
- Bird flu, H5N1 (2006). The media, academia, CDC/NIH, and Democrats spun up the country on the impending catastrophe from the bird flu in order to gain political points at the expense of George W. Bush, and then nothing happened.
- Swine flu, H1N1 (2009). The federal government’s swine flu response was botched by the Obama-Biden administration and covered up by the legacy media, as reported here. There were 12,500 American deaths due to the swine flu, but of course no one in the media blamed Obama for an inadequate response to the virus.
- Ebola (2014-16). The Ebola virus originated near the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa. Eleven people were treated for Ebola in the United States during the 2014-2016 epidemic. The Obama-Biden administration response has been touted by the Left as the “correct” way to handle a global epidemic, despite the fact that even though the mortality rate of Ebola is very high, the spread of the contagion is slow and difficult to achieve. One product of the Obama-Biden response was the draw-down of NH-95 masks, which stocks were never replenished, but the media buried that, too, until President Trump brought that point up in his daily coronavirus task force briefings earlier this year.
Which brings us back to the Chicom virus, a/k/a COVID-19. As previously reported here at UncoverDC, the Democrat-media complex have exploited the Chicom virus to the maximum since the first case was discovered in Seattle on 20 January. Democrats first condemned the President for early implementation of the China travel ban as a “racist act,” then flipped and accused the President of leading an inadequate federal response to the virus. Democrat governors and mayors have, for all practical purposes, effectively coordinated the shutdown of the US economy with congressional Democrats and Democrat apparatchiks at the CDC and NIH. Fake models were used to justify the economic shutdown, the reporting of virus death statics was incentivized by a de facto bounty system, and deaths were ascribed to the virus whether true or not in order to inflate the statistics. Sheer, unadulterated fear-mongering for political purposes! And the arbitrary exercise of raw political power by these authoritarians has been used to sacrifice the freedoms of certain groups of Americans – especially the religious – on the altar of supposed benefits to public health.
With Republican governors beginning to reopen their states, the Democrat-media complex has been propagandizing an increased number of positives tests for the virus in order to place maximum pressure on those governors to shut down their states again. Never mind that there are more tests being conducted, including people without symptoms than ever before. Never mind the fact that total daily deaths in the US due to the virus have continued to decrease since April. And never mind that Sweden, which did NOT lock down its economy, may have taken the correct approach to develop herd immunity among its citizens while minimizing the economic damage, as reported here. Americans are learning that the numbers are being manipulated bigly to serve Democrat political interests, the most important of which for them is the defeat of President Trump in November.
The Bottom Line:
The American political class – especially the Democrats – have long used fear-mongering to achieve their desired political ends. We are witnessing that power-play yet again with the Chicom virus. Don’t be fooled by it!
Stu Cvrk served 30 years in the US Navy in a variety of active and reserve capacities, with considerable operational experience in the Middle East and the Western Pacific. An oceanographer and systems analyst through education and experience, Stu is a graduate of the US Naval Academy, where he received a classical liberal education. This functions as the key foundation for his political commentary. He threads daily on Twitter on a wide range of political topics, such as the military, foreign policy, government, economics, and world affairs.