If fear is not placed in proper perspective, irrationality can prevail – especially as we encounter the unknown. Unfortunately, in the current climate, fear has had the driver’s seat, leading to disastrous consequences.
First, fear has led our political leaders to impose an unparalleled shutdown of the nation’s economy by giving credence to worst-case pandemic projections that have failed to align with actual events to a remarkable degree. Our leaders have initiated events which are certain to increase impoverishment. Ironically, the resultant poverty may, if history is any lesson, make us sicker as a people, poverty being a leading indicator of public health.
Second, fear has led to restriction of civil liberties to an alarming degree. The founding generation of our country instituted the Bill of Rights during an era in which people regularly contended with disease and epidemics. Yet, fear leads us to believe that fundamental freedoms, such as the right to peaceably assemble and the right to provide for our families, cannot be upheld while successfully fighting disease.
Finally, fear may lead us to refuse to hold our leaders accountable. Political leadership which accepted worst-case projections without rigorous scientific challenge. Political leadership that acquiesced to the notion that quarantining healthy people is required to fight disease. Political leadership which continually changed the criteria for ending the economic shutdown. Such political leadership must be held accountable. If things get as bad economically as they seem to be, remember that such political leadership, not a pandemic, put you there.