I have written before on the purpose that fairy tales served in our not too distant past before they were sanitized and Disneyfied. In short, they were very useful for keeping children in line. Fear. Our first method of discipline as children is often fear. It is typically the same method that many western religions use. It is the reason that the phrase “god-fearing Christian” still exists in our lexicon. (That, and it is baked into the Judeo-Christian religion at a fundamental level.) As we grow and mature, we can develop into more complex and reasonable ways to discipline and learn. Fear need not be the way we teach our children the difference between right and wrong, nor should it be the way we govern ourselves, or our society.
Decisions made on the basis of fear are almost always knee-jerk reactions, and more often than not, short of truly critical individually life threatening emergency situations, they are wrong. Fight or flight responses are almost never appropriate for a society.
This is precisely what we do though. We elect people more often than not based on fear. Fear of “the other guy”. Fear of what will happen if we act on the courage of our convictions. Fear that “this election is too important to take a chance”. Fear that we are “at war” with al Qaeda, on drugs, on poverty, on women, on ________ .
All too often, those we elect, and worse yet, those we do not elect, but that are in positions of extraordinary power, are more than happy to use this fear to manipulate and control the populace in the ways that they see fit. In fairness, some of them are dong so because they sincerely believe that it is necessary. They truly believe that “the world is a dangerous place” and that “the ends justifies the means”. These are the people that I most feel sorry for. They fail to understand that they are actually creating or exacerbating the problems that they are seeking to protect us against.
Yes, there are bad people in the world, and yes, we do have to take steps to protect ourselves against them. We do not, however, have to go overboard with that. We do not have to start sacrificing our liberties and our minds in that pursuit. With complete honesty and not the least bit of hyperbole, it is these people, the ones that are supposed to be protecting us, that scare me far more than the al Qaedas, the M-13s, or the Somali pirates of the world. I literally have no fear of walking through Chicago’s Auburn Gresham or Shanghai at 2:00 am (which I have done), but these people at the NSA, Homeland Security, the FBI, and the other nearly 1,300 other governmental organizations plus 2,000 private companies? Yeah, they cause me a great deal of alarm. Read those numbers again, and stop to think about that. That is a security apparatus that is not transparent. It is not even fully known how widely it stretches. You will not find anyone, any where, who can eve tell you how much money is being spent on these operations. You will find estimates, but no accurate totals.
And, it is, by its very nature based on fear. What do animals that are fearful do? Have you ever seen a cornered dog or cat? One that is afraid? That is a dangerous animal!
Then, there are the other types of people who are involved in this community. Those are the people who should be removed from their positions, stripped of their wealth and prosecuted for a variety of crimes. In many cases, crimes against humanity. These are the people who have used fear to manipulate and control simply to enrich themselves and their friends. They have used fear to maintain positions of power, wealth and prestige. These people are rightfully called terrorists. For they use terrorism, and the dictionary definition of terrorism is clear:
Osama bin Laden was “on the run” for more than a decade after having been identified and claiming responsibility for the attacks on America on 9/11/2001. During that time we launched three wars – The War on Terrorism, the War in Iraq, and the War in Afghanistan. (Though the right has tried to revise history, the Bush cabal clearly made an effort to tie the War in Iraq to al Qaeda and sold it as part of the War on Terrorism.) All three of these wars were to have two purposes. First, to defeat al Qaeda, and by extension, any and all terrorists who would attack the US, and by extension, any Western interests anywhere around the world. Second, to find and capture or kill Osama bin Laden.
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