Panic as policy in the face of the coronavirus is dangerous and misdirected.
Panic unleashes a series of actions that are hard to contain once set in motion. It creates a competition among officials to each outdo the other in zeal for action lest they be faulted for inaction.
When panic is allowed to rule, every possible threat must be considered even if only remotely probable, every contact must be suspected and every action must be monitored. Everything must be locked down because of what might happen. Such a social order becomes not a society but a prison. Life becomes impossible under such a regime. No state can long function in a situation in which it must be prepared for all possible threats that can be imagined.
Panic policy relies on a jumble of numbers and statistics thrown out into the public forum to prove anything and everything. Panic plays with numbers and makes wild projections about what could happen – it does not wait for data to confirm conclusions but takes whatever is available and makes its own conjectures. Any number, even relatively small numbers, can be inflated and sensationalized beyond the reality. “Spiraling” cases may only involve dozens of new illnesses. Indeed, any death becomes unbearable when fear takes over. Thus, important decisions are made in haste, decisions that could have devastating consequences for the nation.
The most dangerous threat of panic is its destructive power. When set in motion, it does not care what is in the way of its mad flight. All must be sacrificed—economy, society, and even worship—in the name of irrational fear. No one denies the need to take measures to limit the spread of the virus but measures that are not proven to be effective can destroy the very society which they claim to be saving.
This danger is echoing all across the nation as business and community leaders express their concerns. Indeed, the business sector complains that the grinding of the economy to a halt will have disastrous long-term effects, which will cause enormous suffering for millions of Americans. The health risks that might be avoided by the lockdown can give rise to other risks in other areas of stress and psychological health. Many fear that the strain on government resources will prove too great to prevent a collapse.
The situation is aggravated by the political posturing of politicians who use the crisis to their own ends and the media who are not presenting the whole picture. What is missing is wisdom. Wisdom is the contrary of panic – it can calm and reflect. Wisdom is impartial and objective. It deals with reality as it is and not as one might imagine it to be. It rises above the din of the panicky crowds and media.
Above all, America needs prayerful hearts to seek after the source of Eternal Wisdom found in the Incarnate Word. Such souls have the discernment to see that natural solutions will not be enough in this crisis.
America must turn to God for help if there is to be a return to order.
Source: When the Panic Becomes Policy, Wisdom Must Step In By John Horvat, The Imaginative Conservative