Tag Archives: fear

The Climate of Fear & Powerlessness

fear1

fear1In this once free country, we have settled into a “permanent revolution” of non-stop fear and anxiety paralysis,  induced by the mainstream media’s terrorist tactics so that citizens learn to stop standing up for their rights and give in to unlimited government.

We are now pointing at inanimate objects and as amorphous a thing as “the culture” to explain the actions of a single, sick shooter. America is to blame for the miscreants and fluke tragedies of everyday life in a nation of more than 300 million people in one of the largest countries in the world.

Every last individual is to be suspected as a potential criminal, because we have depraved criminals. Every American must be asked to give up his rights, because some don’t know how to responsibly exercise their rights.

Those responsible citizens who believe in such well-accepted things as free speech, the right to adequate self-defense, and a government that spends within our means have all of a sudden become “extreme.” Because of the widespread acceptance of the truism that opinions are subjective, the perspective of what is extreme depends on the mind’s eye of the viewer. There are no objective standards for willful ignoramuses (and that is one reason why conservatives should take seriously the philosophy of Objectivism).

The right wants us to fear others. The left wants us to fear ourselves. What we should fear is the government. The behavior of the media and the government make it apparent that both parties have ulterior motives, and are exploiting tragedies for political gain in a way that would make terrorists proud.

The former hippie burnouts that make up today’s left-wing intelligentsia have gone from fighting the power to fighting for power; instead of opposing the man, they want to be the man.

In a masterstroke of irony, the same tree-hugging, weed-smoking, communal-living lefties who once wanted to “drop out” of the system now clammer for a micro-managing, hyper-regulatory, tax-and-spend government with powers tantamount to a police state. People can no longer trust themselves is the underlying message; they should trust the government with complete power in the blind faith that it will never be abused.

This is a great puzzle — something akin to playing Jenga drunk and blindfolded. But it is simply beyond the scope of a blog piece to explore why the liberal mind is a relativistic maze of internal contradictions strung together by fuzzy yarns of emotion and repressive tolerance. Simply pulling that thread would result in a mess requiring a psychotherapist on the order of Freud years to put back together. Instead of probing those irrational depths with the dim flashlight of rational thought, we will simply look at how the media manipulate non-objective minded souls on both the left and the right.

Fear. America witnessed it after 9/11. The feeling of awestruck terror, the initial shock bleeding into helplessness, as the second plane made it abundantly clear that it wasn’t an accident. Somebody had hijacked those planes and intended for Americans to die. The insecurity smoldering in the wreckage settled into a palpable way of life for years afterwards; and the event’s aftershocks are still felt today.

Unsureness as an American way of life was rare throughout the Clinton years prior; although the horrifying Oklahoma City bombing and the Columbine shooting provoked an intense sense of tragedy in the public at large. Other events were more memorable for political junkies: Waco, Ruby Ridge, the Unabomber — these events strangely came to symbolize a subculture where those who feared the government became branded by the media as nutjobs. Argument by anecdote is a left-wing media forte.

In that bygone era, mobilization to enact sweeping changes, such as something radical like gun confiscation, was clumsy and ineffectual. The populace was not sufficiently terrorized to give up its right to self-defense, whether from a criminal or the state (then again, I repeat myself)..

The hard left was once again forced to take the incrementalist road. People were alarmed and therefore wanted to “cling to their guns.” What the left needed were alarming tragedies that would persuade people their guns needed to be pried away. Left-wing agitators didn’t need to conjure up a catastrophe; they merely needed to observe the maxim “never let a good crisis go to waste.”

What gives the mainstream media game away to some extent are those things they choose to highlight and those they choose to ignore. Some things promote the left-wing media agenda, others do not. It’s in some ways a matter of timing, but also one of editorial discretion.

There had been the first WTC bombing attack in 1993, the Khobar Towers bombing of 1996, the U.S. embassy bombings of 1998, and the U.S.S. Cole bombing as Clinton was departing — but these events were intentionally muted by media that were more concerned with the president’s legacy than with effective and factual reporting.

None of these pre-9/11 terrorist attacks had provoked quite the level of hysterical crying out for action, removed from any context or rational discussion, as the recent Newtown massacre. And in some ways, the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting was outrageously brutal and inexplicable on a level uncountenanced since the Oklahoma City bombing. (And certainly since the Bath School bombing of 1927, which had killed 37 schoolchildren).

But the calls for gun control within hours of the terrible news comes off as both contrived and classless. The normal reaction for a human being upon learning of such rare and chilling news is to mourn and to pray for the families and victims. It’s not to beat the war drums of left-wing issue group causes and to instantly vilify known political adversaries like the NRA.

So, it’s hard for me to figure out who is sicker: Adam Lanza or those in the mainstream media who know the facts about gun control and immediately try to use the deaths of 20 children to promote a cause that has lost after long-standing rational and fact-based deliberation. It was the same mainstream media terrorist tactic that was seen with 9/11 and the ill-conceived Patriot Act (renewed twice by former opponent Barack Obama) — take a statistically rare but psychologically traumatic occurrence and exploit it to the utmost for more government power.

The left didn’t mind renewing the Patriot Act, because the Department of Homeland Security is like a mini-KGB for spying on Americans and running depraved operations like Fast & Furious, which deliberately put assault weapons in the hands of drug cartel members. These fine folks then predictably used those untraced weapons to kill dozens of Mexican citizens and at least one American, border patrol agent Brian Terry. Horrific, right? Well, the scandal doesn’t promote the gun control agenda, so you won’t hear about it.

And what about Benghazi? The administration refused to clearly call the security debacle the result of a “terrorist attack” for weeks, meanwhile blaming a pathetic anti-Islamic video. It was our fault for allowing wiseguys like that movie’s director to speak his stupid mind about Islam, and the president basically did the terrorists a service by promoting the al-Qaeda-preferred message: we are to blame.

The lapdog media lapped up and repeated the idiotic, implausible meme that a ridiculous YouTube video was the cause of the 9/11 anniversary attacks (after all, it helped promote the notion that al Qaeda was all but defeated in the president’s all-important re-election year). It’s our insensitive First Amendment that should be scrutinized, and not the Muslim extremists rioting at embassies and burning our flags — this was the media’s implicit chide. The future doesn’t belong to those who slander the prophet Muhammad, as the president so eloquently put it in his UN address.

And due to those reasons, the media are barely interested in the Benghazi attack that killed four Americans: Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stephens, diplomat Sean Smith, and security personnel Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. The heroic story of how Woods and Doherty disobeyed multiple stand-down orders, which were almost certainly known by and possibly given by the executive branch, is the stuff of Hollywood gold. But the mainstream media don’t care about their deaths, because they don’t help take away free speech or gun rights.

What does promote the gun control narrative? Slain children. It’s a harrowing image the mainstream media can project, and it is on that basis they can make their irrational arguments. (There are other images — like the conjuring up of a “fiscal cliff.”) Uber-tolerant leftists now want to fundamentally transform our culture into one that permits the petty manipulators in government to have their way with us. And yet there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that violent video games, movies, or music caused the rampage killing at Sandy Hook.

How can that be? Because as usual, mentally obtuse people only see what they see, and not what they don’t see. It’s the same with the economy as it is with violent crime: there is the fallacy of the seen and the unseen. People see the similarities among spree killers and conclude those similarities must cause them to kill; they don’t consider just how rare these spree killings are and just how many millions of people share those same characteristics and yet find a way not to kill classrooms of innocent children.

Activists in the mainstream media want to convince us that we are sick, that America is sick, and that we cannot be trusted with freedom. On the contrary, they are the ones who are sick. The control freaks of the left are intrinsically without shame and will exploit any tragedy to further their unquenchable powerlust.

The Politics of Fear

niccolo-machiavelli - bust

Niccolò Machiavelli, the famed Florentine political philosopher, once posed the question whether it is better to be feared than loved. It is well-remembered by every schoolboy that his reply was that, “it is better to be feared than loved,” with the provision that both fear and love must be unattainable.

But too often lost in the passage is the caveat that, “Nevertheless a prince ought to inspire fear in such a way that, if he does not win love, he avoids hatred; because he can endure very well being feared whilst he is not hated, which will always be as long as he abstains from the property of his citizens and subjects and from their women.”

Suffice to say, we can temporarily be at ease that the ruling elites do not intend to seize upon our women, but the promulgation of like fear in the public mind has been sustained for so long that the two dominant parties, perpetually resorting to the contrivance of crisis to shore up their shortfalls and to mask their failures, are breaching upon new territory: abject hatred of both.

When Richard Hofstadter, the highly esteemed and most pre-eminent of political scientists, a card-carrying member of that sequestered class of lofty law-givers whose penchant for impartiality and altruistic distance from the statist program never ceases to astound, colored American politics as portraying a “paranoid style,” he was speaking, all winks and nods aside, particularly of right-wingers, and particularly of opposition to the amoral and gutless rule of the technocrats.

But all clear-sighted and wise politics stems from paranoia; in the sense that a free people is always watchful of the statist wolf in the proletarian henhouse. When men become distracted from fear of the government, that’s when the nation’s politics go awry.

What made Mr. Hofstadter, if one may characterize him as a mere man, “paranoid” is the idea that the unenlightened proles would seek a measure of self-rule without the meddling of utopian technocrats. After all, what mad world might result if the trend towards chaos and disorder was not reversed? What mad world if all individualism were not subjugated to the one cause, the elite-determined caused, which should triumph and reign for eternity?

Alas, the inextricable human condition of self-interest makes such fantasies as those possessing the global governance fetishists impossible to transfigure into reality. The inability to remove self-interest, this ineradicable barrier to unlimited manipulation of the human psyche, has turned the hatred of self-interest into the hatred of humankind: what else is the explanation for sacrificing man to mosquitoes, crushing his dreams to safeguard avian ova? Snatching him from the jaws of polar bears to drown him in a sea of regulatory red ink? Cutting down his habitations in order to preserve in tact sacred tree bark?

The fear of nature has been facetiously wielded against the unmoved masses for two decades; ever clamoring for the end times, ever clamoring for a bigger slice of the public dime, the eschatological guild of environmentalism has sought to profit from its dire prophecies; but it has become common knowledge that the apocalyptic utterance is a lie, if not through scientific exposition, then through the sheer elapse of time.

It would be remiss not to remind the reader that it is consensus within both political parties that manmade global warming (yes, you read that right, scientists of the future!) represents a grave threat to human civilization; and therefore, proceeding with airtight logic, all progress within human civilization, all accoutrements of industrial society making us safe from the vicissitudes of nature, along with the intellectual freedom that made those innovations possible, and along with the economic system that allowed invaluable goods to be so widely distributed – must be scuttled in order to prepare the way for a new man, a mediocre society, and a cowardly political order: one of blind irrationality within the public and calculating hyper-rationality within the political elite.

Such a schism results when one considers that rationality is the greatest enabler of freedom, so long as it is promulgated throughout the whole of society. But when state-controlled schools become a breeding ground for ignorance and irrationality, there must necessarily be a gaping chasm into which liberty falls. And when academia becomes a haven for a collectivist priest class, whose dichotomy in profession is the public pronouncement of teleological bromides like the inevitable triumph of socialism and the private hoarding of scientistic psycho-political manipulation, society falls prey to sundry schemes.

But only for so long. Despite the rantings of the lunatic leftists, the war-championing of the rabid right-wing, and the daily dissembling of the press, the American people have been fairly inoculated to the fear-mongering. Estimates of the drivers of political fear show “big government” far and away the leader, seconded by “big business,” and “big labor.” Big things are apparently scary.

Yet delving into what prevents citizens from focusing their rational fear of tyrannical government (to rephrase their perception more accurately), we find cross-cutting cleavages. Social conservatives fear a godless society, an understandable phobia from their perception, which is fueled by progressives. Those attending the public education system are forbidden the exercise of their free speech rights guaranteed by The Constitution, as the left-wing feigns that religious speech is somehow different from “ordinary speech.” Not to say that classes should devolve into a cacophony of chatter and noise, interrupting the nominal advancement of their intellects; it is to point out that religious persons are persona non grata and religious sentiments intrude upon the secular priest’s hallowed ground.

From the converse point of view, religious ideals frighten the wits out of progressives. The poor souls imagine a restoration of the Malleus Maleficarum, the Salem witch trials, the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, and the burnings of atheist heretics if not for the steady hand of opinion suppressors like themselves. Beyond this irrational fear of the innocuous nature of religion in our current political confines is the unmistakeably leftist program to extricate religion from the cultural conversation so that recognized morality can be wiped clean as a tabula rasa and our sentiments overwritten by unabashed statists.

But the division of Christianity in the United States is such that it is both flourishing in its abundance and brittle in its lack of cohesion and public eminence. This is the secret meaning behind the hysteria regarding the threat of radical Islam. Christians recognize the threat as metaphysical and disallow their fellow citizens the rational faculty of realizing the doctrine is not at all persuasive — perhaps to violent criminals who are a threat in any case.

With realistic appreciation of the enemy’s desire to commit mass murder within the nation, Christians brush by the implication that terrorism is a weapon of the weak; that America will not be laid low by such barbaric techniques of psychological intimidation so long as its society remains united, there is the will to triumph, and its military remains the most effective fighting force, backed by nuclear weapons to boot. So easily we are cowed by these liberty stealers, these faceless abetters of the unlimited state!

The moderates, for their part, fear disunity; and all incumbent accompaniments, such as fractiousness, and rough-and-tumble politics. And on their behalf those who rationally fear unchecked government are scolded to sacrifice the heat of their rhetoric, to tone down their verbal epithets, and to concede that the middle is comprised of the “reasonable” ones.

We the extremists are implored to revere the sagacity of the centrist, the wisdom of the pragmatist, and the far-sightedness of the know-nothing fool. In a climate of fear propagated by the government, we are meant to adore the calm hand of the cool-toned chameleon, who strokes our hair, reassures us the experiences of the past sundry years were all but nightmares, the government indeed means us no ill, and the bitter acridity of our tea would best be replaced by the somnolescence of warm chamomile.

But we are mutually afraid. Fear of death, war, terrorism, tyranny, atheism, heresy, pollution, disease, natural disaster, cataclysm, the end times, extinction, makes us vulnerable to the depredations of politicians, who shamelessly redirect our imagination from the rational fear of government towards numerous irrational fears.

And under guise of protecting us from the realization of these fears, the government robs us. Donning the face of the friend, it constantly stabs us in the back.

In some ways, the original party of government-fear, the former Republican Party, was put in an impossible position. Charged with representing people who were both apathetic and hostile to government, Republican politicians were put in the position of self-loathing; implored to hate the very power it was entrusted to wield. The Democrat Party suffered a psychical break during the era of radical politics; its Alinskyite doctrine taught that power is neither good nor evil, and the all-too-eager converted then shamelessly and guiltlessly grasped the reigns and never looked back. Over time, the Republican Party was bullied into recognizing its public pretensions were unreal; that power was a cudgel to wield against its adversaries lest it be bludgeoned to death.

The Republican Party developed two enemies: the Democrat Party and the freedom-loving American people. And just as voters have had to do over countless years, it chose what it viewed as the lesser of two evils: the Democrat Party.

Both loving power, fame, influence, and wealth, the parties have made a tacit peace; and both have turned against the citizenry, which had been the assumed source of constitutional authority. Sacrificing esteem for material benefit, glory for mundane comfort, and to wit, love for fear, the elites fancy themselves princes ruling over a populace made too ignorant, too distracted, too divided, and too preoccupied by fear to act in defense of self-interest.

And those still unpersuaded to abnegate their self-interest, in a word, those who value freedom, are tempted by the fiat-and-debt conjured welfare that is precisely the perversion of enlightened self-interest.  What is meant by that potentially mischievous phrase is that the public life continually lived at the expense of the future eventually compresses the opportunity of the present until the economy, the society, borders upon crisis.

The rational in society, those who are able to perceive, to predict, to feel this malevolent mechanism in process, are chided to hold their peace, to cease ruminating about their “paranoia,” and to allow the managers to do their magic. All of human history points otherwise – not that we should believe history or our lying eyes, say the fork-tongued technocrats.

Once Americans revered their government as an entrusted protector of their freedoms. That time is no more. Endless deception, calumny, scandal, and crisis has propelled the entity that was to remain in the backdrop of our lives to the forefront. And until the beast is tamed, that inevitable circumstance is here to stay.

Fear is healthy when roused and applied to the rationally recognized fountainhead of our problems. But chasing phantoms of the imagination, chimeras born of demonization, and irrelevant scapegoats leads us into the empty desert. The solutions to our problems begin and end with us, and begin and end with the mind. Mastering our fears is the key to mastering our political future; with reinvigorated courage and steely rationality we can decide our own fates.

Kyle Becker blogs at RogueGovernment, and can be followed on Twitter as @RogueOperator1. He writes freelance for several publications, including American Thinker, Misfit Politics, Independent Journal Review and OwntheNarrative, and is a regular commentator on the late night talk shows at OTNN. He holds an M.A. in International Studies with emphasis on Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies and is an advanced PhD. student in Political Science.