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Fear Itself

January 28th, 2006

If you try to tell people that the government is using fear to manipulate them, they will not accept it. That’s partly because few people want to admit to being fearful, but it’s more because they have the image of “fearful” as nail-biting, shaking-in-your-boots, pants-wetting terror, which it is almost always not. You can feel perfectly calm and rational and still have fear and be manipulated through that fear. We all have fears. In fact, if you deny having fear, you’re likely more easily manipulated. It’s a question of whether you consciously recognize and acknowledge your fears, and then whether you allow them to change your behavior, not to mention whether you accept as real all the claims about things you should fear. Still don’t think you have fear? Do you buy into the idea of the “War on Terror”? If so, how can it be “terror” and yet you have no fear?

Here’s a small reality check. What concerns you more, terrorists or street traffic? If you answered “terrorists,” then you not only have fears, you have irrational fears. Street traffic is far more dangerous for you. The chances of you encountering a terrorist attack is way, way down on the list of things that are likely to harm you.

Next test: are you willing to give up some measure of your privacy and liberty because the government says that it will try to protect you in exchange? If the answer is “yes,” then you win the grand prize: you are being manipulated by fear. And in the current case, outright false fears at that; the perceived safety you gain as a result of surrendering your privacy and liberty is minimal if it even exists at all, and is more than displaced by other internal dangers you have opened yourself up to by surrendering those freedoms.

Franklin D. Roosevelt told us not to fear, and carried us most of the way to our grandest victory over fascism. George W. Bush is telling you to be afraid, constantly afraid, and tells you that you should give him virtually unlimited power, similar to what the fascists wielded, because we are in a “war.” And while he makes sounds as if we will win this “war,” a reasoned observation will inform you that the “war on terror” is, by definition, unending and unwinnable. In short, you’re being conned.

Read this. I’m not kidding.

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  1. ykw
    January 29th, 2006 at 03:42 | #1

    I’m afraid of terroists hitting the usa, and then making us crazy with fear, which is stressful for me. Also, I’m afraid of getting killed or maimed somehow, by terrorist or other means. I don’t think Bush made me afraid. I don’t pay much attention to him when he speaks. I don’t know anyone who pays attention to what he says. I think the tv made me a afraid. There is a lot of blood on the tv. Blood on tv. Yikes !

  2. Tim kane
    January 29th, 2006 at 04:43 | #2

    Nice post.

    Fear is what drives people to become conservatives.

    I’ve worked with talented salemen. They all told me that a big decisions are all driven by emotions.

    Irving Crystal said that a liberal is a conservative that has just been laid off, a conservative is a liberal who has just been mugged.

    In otherwords conservatives suffer from post traumatic stress syndrome – they have an inflated sense of fear, having been vandalized once.

    Every day the Bush regime pumps out more to be fearful about. That creates only more republicancs.

    They have underminded every institution they never created, From UN, to Nato, to Social Security, to the militarty, to the nations treasury (this is a double bonus because they get to enrich the aristocracy as well as soe fear) and now the constitution itself. As they undermine these institutions the sense of unease grips the populace – creating only more of a conservative reflex in the populace. This is nifty politics, even if it is gravely immoral and most unsightly. And it is the doom of my country.

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