An influential President of the past once said “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” as he led America into a war against a dastardly enemy who killed millions of people. The media flocked to his standard. News stories supported the war effort and exhorted Americans to be calm but wary of their dastardly foe. Hollywood actors, sports heroes, and even cartoon characters volunteered to go to war, and a common enemy united America.

The President of today now says “There is no reason to panic,” as he leads America into a war against a bug. A virus that has killed thousands and worst case projections suggest could kill millions. And the media flocked to the standard of his political enemies. Hollywood actors and sports heroes stayed in their homes, and those in popular media mocked the dastardly President for his racism and incompetence. A common enemy divides America.

It is a powerful tale of two wars and two times. The war of the past required everyone to go to work and build things to combat an enemy they saw in action on news reels every week at the movies. The war of the present requires everyone stay at home and hide from something they can’t even see. There is a lot of fear in the media right now, and I do not think that is good.

We have a strong and vibrant economy. One we have built over the last century to feed billions of people on this planet and to bring us a standard of living that kings and queens in early ages only dreamed of. We laudably do what we can to save the most vulnerable of us from this Wuhan Virus. But we must take care that what we can do is also wise to do. Is it wise to shut down the infrastructure that feeds billions? Or are there other steps we can take that will save the most vulnerable amongst us while also keeping the rest of the world alive?

I believe there are. And I believe we have let fear stampede us beyond the wise steps and into reactionary steps whose full consequences have not been mapped out before choosing. We should be careful and measured in our responses to fighting this bug. For the only thing we to fear is fear itself. And we should not give in to panic.