The good doctor recounts a telling discussion between two French acquaintances related to a Bernard-Henri Levy article on our general response to the Wuhan virus in Takimag.
On the other hand, says Lévy, our new sensitivity, or sensibility, means that we are prone to panic and, even worse, blindness to the consequences of our reactions, or overreactions, to a crisis. So awful does the loss of lives appear to us that we will do anything to avoid it, even those things that will cause enormous problems later on, problems that will have health consequences in themselves. We are not able properly to balance advantages and disadvantages. The French liberal economist Bastiat pointed to the problem more than a century and a half ago. Any action or policy has easily seen consequences, but it also has consequences that are unseen and may be even greater, which are then ignored unless they are deliberately thought about.