Glenn Beck: The Great Influenza

The Great Influenza: The story of the deadliest pandemic in history

by John M. Barry

New York Times Op-Ed

Where Will the Swine Flu Go Next?

GLENN: You know, honestly I don't know what to think of this swine flu. You know, maybe most likely it's absolutely nothing but, you know, you've got to pay attention to these things because it has happened before and it has been nasty. Now, most people if you've been alive, 1968 we had another pandemic. I was 4 at the time, but do you even remember reading anything about it? The one that everybody fears is 1918, the great influenza. There is a great book out called The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague In History. Imagine this scenario in America where we just had the former Health and Human Services secretary where he said all businesses need to just have in their head some sort of a plan. What are you going to do if a third of your workforce can't come in to work? That sounds crazy. I don't know how you how does anything survive if that's the way it is? John Barry is with us. He is the author of the Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague In History and fantastic book. John, set the scene a little bit on what was happening in America right as the plague hit. How did this manifest itself and what happened?

BARRY: Well, for us it hit right toward the end of World War I, although people did not realize it was, the end of the war was only weeks away. So because we were at war, the government was so concerned with, quote, morale, unquote, politicians didn't want to say anything bad is happening, but that compounded it. In addition they had a law on the books that made it punishable by 20 years in prison to criticize the government.

GLENN: Right. If I'm not mistaken, to even criticize the president. By the way, if you are a fan of this show, you can guess what president it was. It was Woodrow Wilson. And so this played into people being quiet about the flu? They couldn't speak out?

BARRY: Absolutely. In fact, when one newspaper started to tell the truth about the flu, the army started to prosecute, and they were serious about the war. They sent a United States congressman to jail for 15 years for criticizing the government. But that's the setting, and the reason it's important is because the whole approach of both local and national government almost everywhere was to say what they actually said, it was called Spanish flu. And they said, this is ordinary influenza by another name. You have nothing to worry about if proper precautions are taken. But people are hearing this message but in their homes they are seeing their neighbor or spouse dies 24 hours after the first symptoms with horrific symptoms. Probably the scariest would be bleeding from not just nose and mouth but the eyes and ears. And they very quickly know this is not ordinary influenza and they very quickly lose all trust in any authority. And personally I think society is based essentially on trust. That's the bond. And when trust broke down, society in some places started to disintegrate to the extent that people with influenza were dying of starvation because healthy people were afraid to bring them any food. And I think that was a direct result of what today we would call bad risk communication strategies, unquote. And worldwide i n a population only one third as big as today's, 50 million people probably died at least and possibly 100 million. And that number comes from a Nobel Prize winner. So that was a very scary pandemic. But I think let me make a couple of comments about today. First, this is not the swine flu of 1976. There is absolutely no question this is an extremely serious threat right now

GLENN: Wait, wait, wait. John, why do you say that? Why do you say that?

BARRY: Because of the nature of the virus. Because we have you know, it's in New Zealand and Nova Scotia. It clearly has human to human transmission. The 1976 event was limited to a single locality really under special circumstances. Everyone they were army recruits, they were already stressed, weakened immune systems, they were all together, barrack situation, so forth, and

GLENN: And it never left Fort Dix if I understand.

BARRY: That's the point, whereas this has already gotten all over the world and infected I don't know the case count in Mexico, nobody does. But I would guess it is at least ten times and it could easily be many more than ten times the number of cases that are reported.

GLENN: Well, how many what are they saying? There's 100 dead and I think they are saying there's 1600 cases. If so, that makes it extremely virulent, much more virulent than anything that we saw in 1976.

BARRY: That's true, I wouldn't get too concerned about that. I am dead certain

GLENN: That's what you are saying, there are many more cases out there that aren't dying.

BARRY: Exactly. You know, if you've got 100 dead and there are 100,000 cases, that is still something to be concerned about, but it's not the same and I don't know if there are 100,000 cases but I can guarantee you there are more than 10,000 cases.

GLENN: Well, if I'm not mistaken, and you would know, that in the great influenza, it was about 2% mortality rate.

BARRY: In the west. In the west, in the developed world. In the less developed world it got much higher. I mean, there were and the reason, and your readers may be interested, today's there's an op ed in today's New York Times that I wrote that covers background on the four pandemics that we really know something about in detail. There were isolated places in the world where they had probably, people had never seen any influenza virus whatsoever in their lives. So they were extremely vulnerable to it. Their immune systems couldn't protect them. And in those places it was not unusual to see 30% of the entire population dead, whereas in the developed world where ordinary everyday influenza was, you know, an annual occurrence, so they had some cross protection to this new virus, that's where the case mortality was around 2%. Now, interestingly Mexico was sort of in between the worst case and the developed world. You know, obviously Mexico City is a very different place today than it was in 1918, but it is perhaps worth noting that the mortality rate in Mexico was much higher than the United States.

Terry Trobiani owns Gianelli's Drive Thru in Prairie Grove, Illinois, where he put up a row of American flags for the Fourth of July. But the city claimed he was displaying two of them improperly and issued him a $100 ticket for each flag.

Terry joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Tuesday to explain what he believes really happened. He told Glenn that, according to city ordinance, the American flag is considered "ornamental" and should therefore have been permitted on a federal holiday. But the city has now classified the flag as a "sign."

"Apparently, the village of Prairie Grove has classified the American flag as a sign and they've taken away the symbol of the American flag," Terry said. "So, as a sign, it falls under their temporary sign ordinance, which prohibits any flying, or any positioning of signs on your property — and now this includes the American flag. [...] The only way I could fly the American flag on my property is if I put it on a permanent 20 to 30-foot flagpole, which they have to permit."

Terry went on to explain how the city is now demanding an apology for his actions, and all after more than a year of small-business crushing COVID restrictions and government mandates.

"COVID was tough," Terry stated. "You know, we're in the restaurant business. COVID was tough on us. We succeeded. We made it through. We cut a lot of things, but we never cut an employee. We paid all our employees. I didn't take a paycheck for a year just to keep our employees on, because it was that important to me to keep things going. And, you know, you fight for a year, and you beat a pandemic, and then you have this little municipality with five trustees and a president, who just have no respect for small businesses. And right now, what I see is they have no respect for the republic and the United States ... I think it's terrible. The direction that government, at all levels, have taken us to this point, it's despicable."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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The Biden administration is now doing everything it can to censor what it has decided is COVID-19 "misinformation." But Glenn Beck isn't confident that the silencing of voices will stop there.

Yeonmi Park grew up in North Korea, where there is no freedom of speech, and she joined Glenn to warn that America must not let this freedom go.

"Whenever authoritarianism rises, the first thing they go after is freedom of speech," she said.

Watch the video clip below from "The Glenn Beck Podcast" or find the full episode with Yeonmi Park here:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.

Most self-proclaimed Marxists know very little about Marxism. Some of them have all the buzzwords memorized. They talk about the exploits of labor. They talk about the slavery of capitalist society and the alienation caused by capital. They talk about the evils of power and domination.

But they don't actually believe what they say. Or else they wouldn't be such violent hypocrites. And we're not being dramatic when we say "violent."

For them, Marxism is a political tool that they use to degrade and annoy their political enemies.

They don't actually care about the working class.

Another important thing to remember about Marxists is that they talk about how they want to defend the working class, but they don't actually understand the working class. They definitely don't realize that the working class is composed mostly of so many of the people they hate. Because, here's the thing, they don't actually care about the working class. Or the middle class. They wouldn't have the slightest clue how to actually work, not the way we do. For them, work involves ranting about how work and labor are evil.

Ironically, if their communist utopia actually arrived, they would be the first ones against the wall. Because they have nothing to offer except dissent. They have no practical use and no real connection to reality.

Again ironically, they are the ultimate proof of the success of capitalism. The fact that they can freely call for its demise, in tweets that they send from their capitalistic iPhones, is proof that capitalism affords them tremendous luxuries.

Their specialty is complaining. They are fanatics of a religion that is endlessly cynical.

They sneer at Christianity for promising Heaven in exchange for good deeds on earth — which is a terrible description of Christianity, but it's what they actually believe — and at the same time they criticize Christianity for promising a utopia, they give their unconditional devotion to a religion that promises a utopia.

They are fanatics of a religion that is endlessly cynical.

They think capitalism has turned us into machines. Which is a bad interpretation of Marx's concept of the General Intellect, the idea that humans are the ones who create machines, so humans, not God, are the creators.

They think that the only way to achieve the perfect society is by radically changing and even destroying the current society. It's what they mean when they say things about the "status quo" and "hegemony" and the "established order." They believe that the system is broken and the way to fix it is to destroy, destroy, destroy.

Critical race theory actually takes it a step farther. It tells us that the racist system can never be changed. That racism is the original sin that white people can never overcome. Of course, critical race theorists suggest "alternative institutions," but these "alternative institutions" are basically the same as the ones we have now, only less effective and actually racist.

Marx's violent revolution never happened. Or at least it never succeeded. Marx's followers have had to take a different approach. And now, we are living through the Revolution of Constant Whining.

This post is part of a series on critical race theory. Read the full series here.

Americans are losing faith in our justice system and the idea that legal consequences are applied equally — even to powerful elites in office.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to detail what he believes will come next with the Durham investigation, which hopefully will provide answers to the Obama FBI's alleged attempts to sabotage former President Donald Trump and his campaign years ago.

Rep. Nunes and Glenn assert that we know Trump did NOT collude with Russia, and that several members of the FBI possibly committed huge abuses of power. So, when will we see justice?

Watch the video clip below:

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