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The Politics of Fear


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    "Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering." -- YODA, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

    We have had a good discussion going on the "politics of anger" and some of those discussions naturally have evolved into the topic of hate, particularly as it related to hate of gays by such groups as the Million Moms and the Westboro Baptist Church. But as Yoda said, hate leads to suffering, and we sure have a lot of suffering in the world today. I don't propose to revisit those specific issues that we have already hashed out, but rather go back to where Yoda suggests it all begins...with Fear.

    Fear, in fact, is a good trait.  Without fear mankind would probably not have survived.  Indeed all animals survive because of a fear instinct that has evolved over millions of years...mammals, birds, reptiles...even insects to a degree, except perhaps pesky mosquitoes that are driven by a more powerful need to suck my blood than the fear of being swatted.

    Fear as an emotion is more dominant in some people than others...from reckless Evil Knievel and his motorcycle jump over the Snake River canyon to the cowardly Francesco Schettino, the cruise ship captain who abandoned his own ship leaving his passengers to cope for themselves. For others, fear can manifest itself in extreme forms of anxiety disorders including social phobias, such as Michelle Bachmann's fear of gays, or panic attacks from being in an uncomfortable situation...like a Republican man in a room full of liberal thinking women. Ha! 

    Fear in its less extreme forms is necessary for our society of laws and punishment to exist. Without fear of punishment, obedience to laws would be moot for those that don't have much a conscience.

    Fear, however, is also a tool for exploitation...a basis for the greedy and ruthless to control the minds of others.  Dictators use fear to control the thoughts and actions of their citizens. Corporate CEOs use fear of job loss and health care benefits to control their employees thinking and actions. And politicians, especially Republicans, use fear to enhance their political standing.

    Newt Gingrich, for example, is playing on fear when he said, “All of you should be very deeply concerned about national security. Barack Obama is the most dangerous president in modern American history.”

    Rick Santorum is using fear when he criticizes Obama's education proposals: "President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college...What a snob! Oh, I understand why he wants you to go to college. He wants to remake you in his image. I want to create jobs so people can remake their children into their image, not his."

    Santorum also told Glenn Back: “I understand why Barack Obama wants to send every kid to college, because of their indoctrination mills, absolutely … The indoctrination that is going on at the university level is a harm to our country.” He added “62 percent of kids who go into college with a faith commitment leave without it."

    Rick Santorum is invoking fear of President Obama and higher education. However, it's not a fear of education per se...it's a fear of what his sons and daughters might be exposed to in college: gays and people of different religions and ethnicity...and LIBERALS and their agenda...and "RADICAL FEMINISTS"...and evolution...really a fear of critical thinking and a fear of "the different." That's why he said if elected President he would "home school" all seven of his kids in the White House as he and his wife have been doing since 2006. Keep them ignorant of life outside the bubble...perpetuate the fear of "the other."

    Fear thrives on ignorance. Fear's enemy is knowledge and critical thinking. The fear of the unknown can be overcome with understanding and management of those fears...self reflection through thought and social discourse with those of different political and religious persuasions. Liberals are much better at managing and overcoming fear than conservatives because they are more open minded, value intellectualism and have the courage to challenge the status quo. Conservatives not only live in fear and hide their fears, they promote fear so they are not alone.

    "The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown." -- H.P. Lovecraft, Supernatural Horror in Literature

    Without fear, religion wouldn't exist. It is the fear of the unknown, what happens after death.   

    Religious institutions use fear to ensure conformance and adherance with their religious edicts, whether it be some form of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism or some other. Religion's very survival demands that their followers have a fear of the unknown...the afterlife...and that good deeds on earth will manifest themselves with a more glorious afterlife, whether it be an imaginary heaven or a bunch of virgins.

    So as Yoda said: following the path of fear leads to the Dark Side. I believe CBB talked about that in this website somewhere...the big darkness cometh.

    My thoughts for the day and as usual open to challenge and debate...





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    How do the Republicans/T-Party get away with cheering for America to fail?  Why doesn't the mainstream media expose them for this?
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    “I understand that fear is my friend, but not always. Never turn your back on Fear. It should always be in front of you, like a thing that might have to be killed. My father taught me that, along with a few other things that have kept my life interesting.”-HST

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    Fear is the prime mover and shaker in America life. Politicians who are able to beat the drum of "moral panic" and cheaply arouse the democratic passions of mass culture continue to enjoy remarkable success at the ballot box. Played like a machine, the individual in this kind of polity is neglected for only what is required to arouse them to vote for how they are wanted to vote, i.e., against their own interests.
    Yet, in a society of many comprehensive doctrines and political faiths and variations, tradition and dissent is nurtured in every free man's own house. When their failure to deliver and misrule is exposed, "moral panic" button pushing politicians issue obfuscating, projectionist denials of responsibility, and survive to fight another day only by painting electoral opposition (or foreign enemies) as something far more insidious. It's a simple strategy of more Fear and Loathing Forever. Always be frightening. It's all over if the truth catches up on them.

    Radicals help keep this nation honest.



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    Carlitos Wrote: Fear is the prime mover and shaker in America life. Politicians who are able to beat the drum of "moral panic" and cheaply arouse the democratic passions of mass culture continue to enjoy remarkable success at the ballot box. Played like a machine, the individual in this kind of polity is neglected for only what is required to arouse them to vote for how they are wanted to vote, i.e., against their own interests.
    Yet, in a society of many comprehensive doctrines and political faiths and variations, tradition and dissent is nurtured in every free man's own house. When their failure to deliver and misrule is exposed, "moral panic" button pushing politicians issue obfuscating, projectionist denials of responsibility, and survive to fight another day only by painting electoral opposition (or foreign enemies) as something far more insidious. It's a simple strategy of more Fear and Loathing Forever. Always be frightening. It's all over if the truth catches up on them.

    Radicals help keep this nation honest.




    Carlitos Wrote: Fear is the prime mover and shaker in America life. Politicians who are able to beat the drum of "moral panic" and cheaply arouse the democratic passions of mass culture continue to enjoy remarkable success at the ballot box. Played like a machine, the individual in this kind of polity is neglected for only what is required to arouse them to vote for how they are wanted to vote, i.e., against their own interests.
    Yet, in a society of many comprehensive doctrines and political faiths and variations, tradition and dissent is nurtured in every free man's own house. When their failure to deliver and misrule is exposed, "moral panic" button pushing politicians issue obfuscating, projectionist denials of responsibility, and survive to fight another day only by painting electoral opposition (or foreign enemies) as something far more insidious. It's a simple strategy of more Fear and Loathing Forever. Always be frightening. It's all over if the truth catches up on them.

    Radicals help keep this nation honest.




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    lakeview Wrote:
    Carlitos Wrote: Fear is the prime mover and shaker in America life. Politicians who are able to beat the drum of "moral panic" and cheaply arouse the democratic passions of mass culture continue to enjoy remarkable success at the ballot box. Played like a machine, the individual in this kind of polity is neglected for only what is required to arouse them to vote for how they are wanted to vote, i.e., against their own interests.
    Yet, in a society of many comprehensive doctrines and political faiths and variations, tradition and dissent is nurtured in every free man's own house. When their failure to deliver and misrule is exposed, "moral panic" button pushing politicians issue obfuscating, projectionist denials of responsibility, and survive to fight another day only by painting electoral opposition (or foreign enemies) as something far more insidious. It's a simple strategy of more Fear and Loathing Forever. Always be frightening. It's all over if the truth catches up on them.

    Radicals help keep this nation honest.




    Carlitos Wrote: Fear is the prime mover and shaker in America life. Politicians who are able to beat the drum of "moral panic" and cheaply arouse the democratic passions of mass culture continue to enjoy remarkable success at the ballot box. Played like a machine, the individual in this kind of polity is neglected for only what is required to arouse them to vote for how they are wanted to vote, i.e., against their own interests.
    Yet, in a society of many comprehensive doctrines and political faiths and variations, tradition and dissent is nurtured in every free man's own house. When their failure to deliver and misrule is exposed, "moral panic" button pushing politicians issue obfuscating, projectionist denials of responsibility, and survive to fight another day only by painting electoral opposition (or foreign enemies) as something far more insidious. It's a simple strategy of more Fear and Loathing Forever. Always be frightening. It's all over if the truth catches up on them.

    Radicals help keep this nation honest.





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    The GOP and its Tea Party allies have nothing to offer but fear. They are the haves in society and do not like what they think will happen in the future......they see a future in which non-Hispanic whites will be a minority and they fear this above all else.......
      During periods of prosperity the survival instincts are more subdued......in the current climate the GOP and TP are older, whiter, and more affluent than their fellow citizens. They see society as a zero-plus game. They see the world they have disappearing thus the anger of the right.
      The elections of 2012 are seen by them as a virtual last-stand and will do anything to unseat Obama. They will fail in this......
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    Let's be clear....politicians on both sides of the aisle are "moral panic" button-pushers.

    I think we all do this...we all press the panic button. 

    Why we press the panic button, and how we go about presenting what evidence there is to support our case is where you can separate the scaremongers from the whistle-blowers. 

    I think it is safe to say that one side is more guilty than the other in playing fast and loose with the facts in a matter more consequential to the affairs of everyday citizens. But we shouldn't absolve the other side of error just because they finished second in this race.