Mindless Panic Over Ebola Is Better Than Mindless Panic Over ISIS

Ebola is not a serious threat in the United States

I was thinking about pointing out how the media hyperventilating over Ebola in the United States is overblown, because the chance of someone in American dying from it is likely way less than them winning the lottery. While it is a very unpleasant disease that is serious problem in Western Africa, that is mainly because of extreme poverty, insufficient health care services, and problematic governments. America has the systems in place to effectively deal with this.

But pointing this out is won’t do much good because it seems the default setting for the media and politicians in the height of the campaign season is spread mindless panic about something that affects very few Americans and no real danger to the American public as a whole. This panic is either replaced by a new panic or ends with the adoption of rash and often stupid fixes.

Having the focus on people exacerbating regular Americans’ fears about Ebola is preferable to exacerbating regular Americans’ fears about ISIS, with the probability of their killing any particular person living in the United States  is practically nil. At least a panicked overreaction to Ebola might lead to a positive spillover — like deciding to do improve health care services in parts of Africa, instead of getting us involved in another expensive and ill-convinced war in the Middle East.

Photo by European Commission DG ECHO under Creative Commons license

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