Dispatches from the Creation Wars

The Internment Camps Are Coming!

Run away, run away, the internment camps are coming! That’s the latest breathless pronouncement by the absurdly paranoid. How bad is this nonsense? Even the Worldnutdaily has debunked it. First, the vaguely alarming setup:

President Obama announced today that he has declared a “national emergency” over the H1N1 virus, a phrase with an ominous sound, but with little explanation offered by most of the news media.

The Associated Press, for example, merely stated that the declaration removes “bureaucratic roadblocks” and enables officials to “bypass federal rules.” Other news outlets were even vaguer, saying the declaration waived federal requirements, but not saying what those requirements govern.

And then the resulting paranoia:

“Obama just declared H1N1 a national emergency,” wrote a WND reader in an e-mail, “Here we go with martial law.”

An article by Kurt Nimmo of InfoWars took the worry a step further, wondering if the White House’s declaration engaged certain measures of the National Emergencies Act:

“In the weeks ahead,” Nimmo writes, “we may witness a move toward martial law, forced vaccination and internment of those who refuse.”

Astonishingly, the Worldnutdaily actually debunks these hyperbolic claims, which they would usually be pimping relentlessly. When a claim so steeped in paranoid delusion that the Worldnutfreakingdaily won’t buy it, you’re truly on the lunatic fringe.

Has any right wing conspiracy theory ever actually come true? Social security was supposed to be the leading wedge of communism; flouride was supposed to destroy our brains and usher in the communist future; the UN and China were poised to invade the country, reading the secret maps on the backs of road signs to take over the country. We are forever, it seems, on the verge of being thrown in concentration camps. Yet none of these fantasies ever come true. Chicken little comes to mind.


  1. #1 inverse_agonist
    October 26, 2009

    While certain scenarios are, well, unlikely, it’s a fact that $385 million worth of detention camps are actually being constructed by KBR:


    These would presumably be used in the case of large influxes of immigrants. Rising sea levels are expected to cause mass migrations and, more immediately, Mexico’s oil production is declining rapidly, which doesn’t bode well for its economy.

    It’s also true that the Posse Comitatus Act has been weakened greatly over time by the drug war and “homeland security” concerns:


    The MA State Senate has passed a bill that would allow people refusing vaccination to be detained or fined $1000/day for noncompliance:


    By itself, this isn’t evidence for an evil conspiracy to put everyone in concentration camps, but people are right to be worried about the increasing militarization of our society. There is every reason to expect social unrest as a result of climate change and resource depletion, whenever we reach the point that our unsustainable practices can no longer be sustained. The United States has a history of supporting dictatorships abroad, and we now openly torture people. Consider the increasing militarization of police responses to protests at party conventions, international meetings, etc. We know that the government is engaged in large-scale surveillance of, well, everyone who uses communication infrastructure (with the cooperation of the telecom companies, now immunized from lawsuits). On vague pretexts, the government has demanded people’s home addresses for comments they’ve made on websites:


    Even though we’re not going to be put in concentration camps over flu shots, imagine a scenario of huge waves of desperate people from Mexico, combined with ever-worsening deterioration of our economy and angry right-wingers with guns. Or hungry people looting on a large scale in a few major cities.

    Can anyone say that our present situation is good enough to definitively rule out these sorts of scenarios? They strike me as more likely than, say, the world’s governments meaningfully decreasing carbon emissions.

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