President Roosevelt reminded us in 1941 that “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” yet we allow ourselves to be led, goaded, whipped and mesmerized into an almost constant state of fear. We’re beset on all sides by false prophets warning us that this or that is to be feared and it is to be feared now. The market is going to crash, coronavirus will wipe out humanity, Trump will start a nuclear war, you’re going to die. The hand wringing and cries of Alas,Alack and Woe are we stream from our televisions and our computers. We live in a constant state of fear and people feed off of that fear. They sell fear mitigation, insurance, news you need, medicine, cure-alls (not FDA approved but just read our testimonials).
Turn your TV on and listen to the news broadcasters; there is little news but lots of commentary with lots of panic provoking adjectives about what this means for you; and they sound nothing like Laocoon warning the Trojans about Greeks bearing gifts but more like Chicken Little and the acorn. We need to learn to think for ourselves and not depend upon others to tell us what to think.
Let’s use the Coronavirus as an example. As of today there are 2,100 deaths in China from a reported 76,000 cases. China has a population of more than one billion and nowhere the health service capability of the United States. Keeping this in mind, let’s look at flu in the U.S. for 2019-2020 flu season: We have a population of 350 million and the Center for Disease Control estimates that we will have between 29 million and 41 million cases of flu this season, now remember we have a flu vaccine which most people have taken. Of those cases the CDC estimates between 16,000 and 41,000 will die.
As of today there are more than 26 million cases of flu in the U.S. and less than a hundred of Coronavirus yet the media has us running around flinging our arms in the air lamenting the fact we may have a Coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. And what is Coronavirus but a variation of the flu just as SARS was some years ago. Facts are facts, Coronavirus is something with which we may have to contend. And what steps do we take to avoid it, why the same steps we take to avoid getting the flu. If we get it how do we treat it? Why, the same way we treat the flu but it isn’t the bubonic plague and it is doubtful it will kill off populations. It has killed my stock portfolio but with appropriate care that too will recover.
Point is don’t let others make you fearful by their prophesies. Most of what they prophesy isn’t going to happen. Look at the polls that predicted Hillary Clinton winning the election or how about all these financial advisors; if they really knew what the market was going to do they’d already be rich and not having to take a percentage of your money. Remember: All we have to fear is fear itself and if we choose to chuckle at all the Chicken Littles on TV and online, well remember laughing is much better for your health than fear.