Does It Mean We Can’t Stop Fearing?

An analysis of the famous quote FDR in another time of crisis eight seven later. .



President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as he gives his first inaugural address on March 4, 1933.

Lord Toussaint, Chief CSN Political and History Corespondent

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

– Franklin Delano Roosevelt

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said these words as he was sworn into office on Saturday, March 4th, 1933. At the time, the United States was in the worst of the Great Depression, an event that like the Corona Virus outbreak has left millions unemployed, afraid, and uncertain.

President Roosevelt brought stability and reason to a nation that was afflicted by an economic crisis greater than any it had faced during its lifetime. The Corona Virus,  although not a crisis that has stemmed from the economy is a crisis that has affected the economy as adversely as any crisis that had stemmed from the economy. This is thanks to the measures it has taken to combat it and has therefore created the same sentiments as the Depression, fear and uncertainty…

But I find myself asking a question, how do you stop fearing if we must fear fear?

Essentially, must we fear an emotion? But can’t fear be good? Can’t it help keep you straight and on course for success? Can’t that serve as a motivation? Can’t fear help you? But then what is the antithesis of fear? Maybe the answer lies there.

Well that antithesis is courage. No? But now factor in this other quote by Franklin Delano Roosevelt:

“Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”

– Franklin Delano Roosevelt

But if the “emotional antithesis” of fear isn’t the absence of fear, then what is? Confidence maybe? But courage feels to be more admirable than confidence especially when facing a disaster or hardship. Confidence is more a feeling of self-assurance, certainly not a feeling that one has in a crisis. But how does one get to feeling confident again after falling from grace like the world has today or like it did in 1929? Moreover, how does a modern world like this one go about doing that, our last example was back in 1918, the world was different then and so was the disease.

I say that maybe it’s a little bit of both of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s takes on fear. If courage is what it takes to venture off into the unknown in the face of adversity in the context of uncertainty; then what drives that wish to get away from the state of fear brought by that uncertainty is  “Fear itself.” Hence, “the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” That assessment more often than not is that getting away from fear is more important than succumbing to “fear itself,” because if we keep fearing we can’t get anywhere.

If we need motivation to have courage in the face of uncertainty and if there is fear as a result of uncertainty, our motivation is getting away from fear! So that means “fear itself” isn’t always a bad thing, it’s just a motivation to either prevent the worst or get out of the worst. We just can’t let fear define us.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email