Bored with Fear

Posted: October 6, 2010 by Magnus of Longshanks in From the Porch:, Wisdom Bombs
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Fear is a terrible master. Americans know this well.
Look wherever you want , on television, in the newspaper or the local bookstore. Someone or something is standing there like Simon Legree to remind you that you can’t get away from all the things you are supposed to be afraid of: Terror, Religious Extremism, Sickness, Loneliness, Poverty.
Different names reside on this list from time to time, but no matter how much we scurry around to avoid it, the list never diminishes.

Yet somehow we are encouraged to live “In freedom from fear.”

It’s a statement everyone has heard at some point, and usually right after someone in power has told us why we can’t and shouldn’t actually be free of it. Still, this “freedom from fear” is held out to us as a future reward. A reward we will get when we trust the government enough, love America enough, and sacrifice enough. Sadly though, this is a game that is a sure loss for everyone who plays.

Consider our War on Terror. An American who does not find himself regularly paralyzed by shadows and rumors might easily be persuaded that he is himself in danger of trampling under our nation’s hallowed traditions – and equally bad – the well-being of “our boys.” This mix of civic religion and militaristic nationalism is more than most of us can pass up or shrug off. It just feels too damn good to be on the moral high ground that a condescending oligarchy shoveled underneath you. “Don’t you care about protecting America from __________?” Fill in the blank and feel good about yourself. You care about your friends and neighbors. Together we can be united under fear, and live handing over our liberty and good sense to government we hope will protect us.

Isn’t it bizarre? We don’t trust the government to do anything else right. Corruption and injustice are bywords that we accept in jokes, sketch comedy shows and even the voting booth. Many people continue to be horrified that their government would enable abortion, the taking of life and liberty from the innocent. Yet somehow well-founded disgust and suspicion are suspended when it comes to believing that the same government would lie about our security, or use fear to meet its own ends.

Here’s where the really terrible part of fear comes in, the real terror of our government’s war on the same. The more that fear of losing safety and well-being gnaws at your mind, the less it matters that other people are losing theirs every day. Hell, it might even become necessary that someone else have their freedom sacrificed to keep that comfortable mindset of being “right” in place. That is truly terrifying!

How else could so many people who claim to value “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” care so little when innocents in other countries are crushed under the boots of empire?  Monuments and bumper stickers will never stop reminding America of the death of innocent people in acts of terror, but oddly enough this makes the death of civilians – and even children – in the countries we invade more palatable. Fear kills peace of mind, and it kills compassion even in people who claim to live by it.

Fear is no way to live, yet too many people seem willing to build a culture around it.

As Corey Robin says in this startling quote,

“one day, the war on terrorism will come to an end. All wars do. And when it does, we will find ourselves still living in fear: not of terrorism or radical Islam, but of the domestic rulers that fear has left behind.”

You are under no obligation to live in fear, so don’t. It will leech you dry of freedom and joy. Plus it’s boring and predictable.

Even if it’s just a trial run, refuse to be led about by the worries your whole world is throwing at you. There is a lot to see, a lot of good people to meet, and a lot of beer to drink. Give it a go. Certainly your own common sense is more worthy of giving you direction than pundits and politicians.

Leave the War on Terror to the terrified, and join us in fighting the War on Fear.

  1. Mr. BS says:

    ss you;re not afraid are you? You arent worried about terror at all eh? Sorry if I buy into the “governments scheme” but I’ll just go along with the FACTS that show terrorism is a real threat to our way of life. What a bunch of hippie Bull shit

  2. xxx says:

    Ignore Mr.BS. I totally agree with your post, Magnus. Fear campaigns are just are prevelant and, unfortunately, just as successful as they were in WWII.

  3. threebillz says:

    Mr BS I’d like to know these “FACTS” you mention. I am very interested to see if you mention the one attack on American soil, which was propogated by known associates of the American empire, or some other terror act that has befallen you personally.

    The fact is what happened in the towers was horrible. We have used that one terrible act to murder and oppress far more people than were in the two towers.

    Unfortunately my friend the biggest threat to our way of life is Big Government kicking everybody in the nuts. At some point our warmongering will come back to haunt us and truly steal away our way of life. We need look no further than a history book to see this coming.

  4. Magnus says:

    I would like to roll your comment into a fat joint, Mr. BS. It contains enough delusion and fantasy to turn the rest of the evening into a trip to the Forest Moon of Endor. That’s really about all I can say.


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