Monday, October 13, 2014

The Ebola Factor

     I have tried in recent years to limit my beliefs, reactions, and analysis to logic, reason, and facts. I have not always succeeded, but I feel if one lets his emotions and fears dictate his actions and decisions in life he will forever be subject to the tyranny of ignorance. This theory has been on full display in our country as it relates to the current Ebola scare. And with two cases out of a nation of 300 million, some are calling it an epidemic, further proving the need for my disposition outlined above.
     Some have suggested that the spread of Ebola is just a matter of exponential math, e.g. one case turns into two, two turns into four, four turns into eight, etc., ad infinitum until some significant portion of the population is infected and dies. But viruses do not follow the rules of mathematics and their courses are determined by thousands of variables. Besides, many of those advancing the "it is just about numbers, and numbers do not lie" theory, are the same people saying President Obama should take aggressive action against the virus. Well, if it is just a matter of numbers, and the outcome of the virus is based on invariable math, then it does not matter what anyone does.
     It is the illogic of the "numbers people" that I have tried to avoid in situations like the one in which we currently find ourselves. The other group of individuals that seem to have abandon any desire for perspicacity are the Hysteria addicts. These are people who have some sick and twisted belief in end-of-the-world scenarios and will pounce on anything they think will advance that notion. So they are the first ones to jump on global cooling, global warming, AIDS, bird flu, Avian flu, swine flu, Hong Kong flu, Obama's re-election, over-population, deforestation, Ecoli, mad cow, Ebola, or anything else that they can convince others is going to kill mass numbers of human beings on the planet.
     When it comes to hysteria, I tend to hold fast to an attitude I heard advanced by conservative author, commentator, and radio talk show host, Dennis Prager. Mr. Prager said if he was on an airplane that was crashing, and death was imminent, his death would not bother him as much as the hysteria of others on the plane. Hysteria is not going to right the plane, or increase one's chances for survival one iota. It only makes the last minutes on earth more horrifying than they would otherwise be.
     Mr. Prager's reasonable response to the inevitable is even more relevant to situations like Ebola where the outcome is not so inevitable. It shocks the conscience how many Americans are ready to declare, "the end is near" with so little provocation. As for me, I will continue to live my life like Dennis on that plane. I will choose calm over calamity, reason over rashness, and prayer over pandemonium. Because in the end, the best tool we have to deal with anything in life is sanity, something that seems to be in short supply in the Ebola madness that has gripped our nation.

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