The Atlanic Subscription
BERLIN—Today, we face the global outbreak of a disease that has the potential to catalyze what the historian Eva Schlotheuber terms a “pandemic of the mind.” As misinformation proliferates and lines between fact and fiction are routinely and nonchalantly crossed, world leaders must, now more than ever, illuminate a thoughtful path forward, one reliant on science and evidence-based reasoning.
Indeed, many have. One leader goes further still. Trusted by her people to navigate this outbreak’s murky waters, without inciting or succumbing to a pandemic of the mind, one politician is less a commander in chief and more a scientist in chief: Angela Merkel.
For weeks now, Germany’s leader has deployed her characteristic rationality, coupled with an uncharacteristic sentimentality, to guide the country through what has thus far been a relatively successful battle against COVID-19.
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