I was watching MSNBC this morning just for a few moments. They had a piece on the question "Is the government prepared for a bird flu pandemic?" It was also a promo for an upcoming special I think Sunday night on NBC titled "Pandemic Possibilities."
I wondered why MSNBC wants the government to be prepared. Doesn't responsibility for one's health rest on one's own shoulders? Isn't the medical profession responsible for some of this?
By framing the question in this way MSNBC is promoting the idea that people are not and should not be responsible for their own actions; that it's ok to shrug that responsibility and place it on the shoulders of others like the government. It always amazes me how people can put something as important as their health in the hands of an institution that is not efficient at any market function.
One of the reasons this mindset is prevalent in America today is the morality of altruism. If people believe it is their moral duty to sacrifice for the benefit of others, they will, when they are in need, demand that others sacrifice themselves for them. This is why altruism is not a morality of benevolence towards men. Rather, it breeds distrust, resentment and hatred amongst men.
MSNBC should be encouraging people to take resposibility for their own health and perhaps run some shows on how to do this. But no. Following Katrina, America saw what happens when a large chunk of a city relies on someone else to provide for them.
Does MSNBC see a need to try and change attitudes even slightly? Obviously not.
In fact, MSNBC was just doing a little scaremongering because nobody is prepared for a pandemic regarding the bird flu. Only after it mutates into a human form will we be able to make a vaccine for it, not before. Scientists now tell us that H5N1 is not likely to undergo such a mutation, and if it does, it won't be very contageous.
So, I might look in Sunday to see what they say about how unprepared we are to handle a disaster so big nobody can handle it.
The proper function of government is the protection of people's rights. If they do a good job of that, the people, through a free market, can take care of the rest.