Frank Furedi discusses the 2020 Coronavirus Crisis and the real pandemic – fear.
(Stream / download audio at bottom of page)
COVID-19 is a disaster without precedent. Not primarily in terms of the disease itself, but in how we have responded to it. The climate of fear is such that populations worldwide have willingly abandoned their way of life, given up rights and fundamental freedoms, and accepted government-imposed lockdowns – all in the name of protection from the threat of infection. While governments were delighted that a fearful public was so ready to exchange its freedoms for the promise of safety, they now have a new problem: citizens have become too scared to leave their homes when the lockdowns end.
Whatever the actual physical threat from COVID-19, most people are now discovering that the devastating economic, social, and psychological impact of lockdowns will have a much greater impact on their lives. Once the exercise of freedom is perceived as unsafe, and a threat to human health, society is in trouble. Depriving people of freedom does not make anyone feel genuinely safe, and after months of living in lockdown, millions of people have become terrified of everyone and everything. We can never be 100 per cent safe, but by stepping outside of our homes, we can begin to live as free citizens again. We can begin to take back control, get on with our lives, and learn to contain the threat posed by COVID-19. No power on earth can do more to strengthen our ability to deal with fear than freedom.
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