There’s a fine line between healthy skepticism and clincal paranoia.

Anarchists often face a temptation to endorse extraordinary claims. As we recognize the inherent malevolence of ruling elites, in a general sense it’s perfectly reasonable to suppose there might be monstrous things going on that aren’t public knowledge. After all, much goes on that is monstrous and is public knowledge in the first place. Even so, skepticism amounts to defense of one’s credibility for those who advocate radical social change.

The rumor du jour is the suspicion that the recent swine flu outbreak is a ‘black op’. While I suppose that could be the case, it hasn’t been demonstrated yet. At this point, it remains just a suspicion. More importantly, anarchists already oppose the state completely — regardless of whether such suspicions are true or not. And we do that because we already have plenty of damned good reasons to.

The article linked above, however, tries to seek confirmation of that suspicion in a recent statement found in an Associated Press video clip:

This strain of swine influenza that’s been cultured in a laboratory is something that’s not been seen anywhere actually in the United States and the world, so this is actually a new strain of influenza that’s been identified,” said Dr. John Carlo, Dallas Co. Medical Director (video clip here).

Real briefly, “cultured in a laboratory” isn’t some verbal slip that exposes a genetically-engineered origin of the flu strain in question. Rather, context provided by the rest of the video (and a little knowledge of what disease researchers do) indicates that when Carlo says “cultured in a laboratory“, he’s talking about the process of identifying the disease pathogen. Medical samples are collected from suspected victims and cultured in a laboratory to get testable quantities of disease pathogen. That’s how they know they’re talking about swine flu rather than some other disease.

Let’s be careful out there.

Brad Spangler is the director of the Center for a Stateless Society and publishes a blog:

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