Government & Politics

Only Flat-Earthers Oppose Haphazard Ebola Quarantine Policy

If you disagree with Obama, it's because you hate Science™.

Oct. 30, 2014

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Well, anserine gender stereotypes aside, it turns out that what’s good for one potentially Ebola-stricken American is not good for another. So says this White House, which is against the practice of forced quarantine – except when it’s for it. And if you disagree, it’s because you hate Science™.

Barack Obama recently lashed out at Governors Chris Christie of New Jersey and Andrew Cuomo of New York for instituting mandatory quarantine for individuals suspected of carrying the Ebola virus. In New Jersey, nurse Kaci Hickox was quarantined after returning from treating Ebola patients in West Africa, prompting her to protest that her basic human rights had been violated. She now refuses to comply with a quarantine, insisting through her lawyer, “She’s a very good person who did very good work and deserves to be honored, not detained, for it.” While her work is good, evidently in her opinion, doing that good work involves no risk to herself or others.

The Obama administration sided with Hickox, issuing the veiled threat, “We have let the governors of New York, New Jersey and other states know that we have concerns with the unintended consequences … policies not grounded in Science™ may have on efforts to combat Ebola at its source in West Africa.”

Of course, it’s purely coincidental that nurse Hickox is a CDC employee whose lawyer attended an official White House state dinner earlier this year. Complete coincidence. We’re sure Obama would just as quickly have rushed to the defense of a Tea Party leader whose lawyer was a member of the NRA. But we digress.

Ironically, while Obama was attacking state-mandated quarantines with phony appeals to Science™, his Defense Department was instituting mandatory quarantines for troops returning from Ebola-ravaged regions of West Africa.

Apparently, this is okay with the administration because, as White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest put it, the difference is that civilians returning from West Africa may number “a couple of dozen health-care workers,” while military personnel include “thousands of military service members who have been or will be deployed to West Africa.” Therefore, the military policy simply wouldn’t do for civilians. Or, as Earnest says, “The Science™ would not back that up.”

Confused? So is The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto, who – tongue planted firmly in cheek – ponders, “So the Pentagon has a de facto quarantine policy, whereas civilian federal health agencies are leaning on governors not to impose similar policies stateside. If only there were an official assigned the task of coordinating the government’s response to Ebola!”

Of course, new political hack Ebola czar Ron Klain has been spotted fewer times than Bigfoot.

The president also claims quarantining civilians constitutes “running” and “hiding” and would prevent medical personnel from traveling to Africa to fight Ebola. “If we are not dealing with this problem there, it will come here,” Obama said, neglecting to note it is here. “If we’re discouraging our health care workers who are prepared to make these sacrifices from traveling to these places in [need],” he continued, “then we’re not doing our job in looking after our own public health and safety.”

It’s more than unfortunate that the president doesn’t have the same “fight it there so we don’t have to fight it here” approach to Jihadistan, but that’s another story.

In all of this, the curious sound bite that keeps coming from the White House is the claim that civilian quarantines simply aren’t backed by Science™. However, common sense dictates that if Ebola in 100 people should be quarantined, then one person who was exposed to Ebola should be quarantined so it doesn’t spread to 100. A Nobel Prize-winning doctor agrees. But since when has science ever guided this administration’s policies?

If it had, the Keystone Pipeline would have been approved five years ago, Secretary of State John Kerry wouldn’t have compared the terrorist threat of ISIL to Al Gore’s bugaboo of man-made climate change, and our government dietary guidelines, which have helped build Americans’ menus for nearly 35 years, would be updated based on new scientific studies showing the low-fat craze ingrained into dietary lingo may actually do more harm than good.

Unfortunately, Democrats consider science nothing more than a word to be trademarked and then tossed around to silence debate. And where science does guide policy, it’s science purely of the political kind.

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