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Where Does America's Fear Come From?

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the pizza-is-the-root-of-all-evil dept.

United States 926

An anonymous reader writes "While far from a dictatorship, the United States has employed a number of paranoid tactics that delegitimize its democracy. And the motivation for doing so is — fear. That seems to be a long way from 'So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself: nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.' Where is the U.S. heading?"

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Control... (4, Insightful)

QuantumLeaper (607189) | about a year ago | (#45382149)

Fear give those in Power, control of the command person.

Re:Control... (4, Insightful)

BSAtHome (455370) | about a year ago | (#45382197)

It is "Fear and consumption".

A way to keep the populations under control. The Roman Empire used "Bread and circuses".

2000 years, and nothing has changed.

Re:Control... (4, Informative)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year ago | (#45382251)

Nothing has changed because basic human nature is the same. This is the way it will always be. So you get to choose whether you want to be part of the herd near the edge looking for the wolves, or oblivious somewhere the middle, or if you want to be a wolf. Being near the edge isn't a problem because you see the danger coming, so you get a head start. Being in the middle, you don't even realize the danger is there until the whole herd is moving.. And of course being a wolf has its own unique advantages: you get to eat mutton and you get to watch the whole herd fear you. But you have no herd for protection and in trying times, the other wolves don't mind eating wolf, too.

Re:Control... (5, Funny)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about a year ago | (#45382313)

Meanwhile hippy veggies such as myself are swinging in the trees making suggestive motions with our bananas and flinging shit on the crowd below.

Re:Control... (5, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#45382325)

If you're going with that analogy - some of us prefer to be sheep dogs. Sheep are just sheep, after all. Some of us are not sheep, and are incapable of reacting as sheep. Of course, we run into another problem - the government is incapable of distinguishing between wolves and dogs. Anything with fangs must be a predator, and dangerous.

I'll keep my fangs, and damn the government. And, damn the mindless sheep as well.

It's older than that... (3, Informative)

mschaffer (97223) | about a year ago | (#45382315)

It's older than that. People haven't changed for 10s of thousands of years. We just have better records of the more recent stuff.

Re:Control... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382443)

The Roman Empire lasted until about 400 CE, so only 1600 years.

Re:Control... (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#45382489)

panem et circenses?
Mays et television.

(I leave it to you to figure out what 'Mays' means. Suffice to say I had to improvise, as the word has no direct latin translation.)

Re:Control... (1, Troll)

dcollins117 (1267462) | about a year ago | (#45382203)

Fear give those in Power, control of the command person.

Too complicated to learn, english language is.

Re:Control... (2, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year ago | (#45382271)

The world is a big place. Deal with it. These kinds of errors don't bother me as much as the obvious spelling or grammar mistakes by native English-speakers who really should know better. Ensure vs insure, affect vs effect, lose and loose, and of course many other creative spelling attempts that are blamed on auto-correct but rather should be blamed on lousy education or the willful butchering of words.

Re: Control... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382433)

Agreed. What a douchey comment to rip someone else's command of english. Something tells,me snark boy would sound much worse in that guy's language - if he could even make any sense...

A century ago, Progressives (3, Insightful)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about a year ago | (#45382429)

. . .planted the seeds that have bloomed, revealing what is tantamount to aristocracy.
1. The Big Senate [] no longer represents the people meaningfully.
2. The Little House [] no longer represents the 50 States United, or offers any thoughtful feedback to the Big Senate.
3. The federal government has eminent domain over your wallet [] .
4. DC is printing money at will [] , demolishing the value of what you think is in your wallet, and obstructing reform.
5. We're all modern monetary theorists [] now.
So shut up, peasants, and avert your gaze when your Progressive Overlords pass by.

Power (1)

mozumder (178398) | about a year ago | (#45382151)

Those with power, will do whatever it takes to maintain it.

That's how it's always been.

The best part? It's perfectly fine. I certainly don't want a world where everyone is equalized.

In life, you're SUPPOSED to struggle, which makes it all worth it.

Re: Power (3, Insightful)

Ragzouken (943900) | about a year ago | (#45382159)

I take it you've been dealt an above average hand then.

Re: Power (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382265)

Or... he could have just worked hard in his life and earned what he has.

Re: Power (5, Insightful)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about a year ago | (#45382319)

For the hundredth time.

Capitalism does not reward hard work.

It rewards marketability and cunning investment.

The whole point of the "capital" in "capitalism" is to NOT have to work hard. It's an economic system which takes advantage of human laziness. You may think this is good or bad, workable or unworkable, but that's still how it is.

The hardest workers I've ever met are all dirt poor. They either lack the fortune or the inclination to make money - IOW they're either disabled, dumb or idealistic. (And note well that there's nothing wrong with being any of these, with the proviso that being thick does not include wilful ignorance.)

Re: Power (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#45382495)

Don't forget luck. That's an important factor, too.

Re: Power (2)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year ago | (#45382283)

Yep, sounds like one of these trust fund baby Marxists. I will grant the GP the following: the saying "easy come, easy go" is true. Things worked hard for are valued relatively much higher in the eyes of the person who did the work. HOWEVER it doesn't follow that therefore the whole point of life is to suffer, nor that by making your fellow man suffer needlessly you're doing him a favor. Of course most employers/managers seem to believe this, but that is sadism not compassion.

America's fear comes from... (0, Troll)

cekerr (608293) | about a year ago | (#45382161)

... Faux News

Re:America's fear comes from... (3, Interesting)

ImOuttaHere (2996813) | about a year ago | (#45382235)

You know, I think there's something to this. In Europe, for example, facts and figures are checked and cross checked. When opposing parties discuss the direction of public policy, they discuss, often from very different ideological points of view, from the same set of facts and figures.

By contrast, in the US, anyone can make up their own facts and figures to "prove" their point. No one can act as a trusted source because no one trusts the opposition's ideological basis for anything. It's all smoke and mirrors. There is no legitimate fact or real world number-based authority over which reality can be argued. In America, highly charged emotional perception is the rule.

... Faux News

Re:America's fear comes from... (4, Funny)

jmhobrien (2750125) | about a year ago | (#45382287)

This is a pretty tall claim. Any evidence to back it up?

Re:America's fear comes from... (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#45382407)

Loads. []

Re:America's fear comes from... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382411)

You have a very rosy view of european politics :)

Re:America's fear comes from... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382491)

I don't know where this magical europe is in which you live, but in the europe I live in, everybody makes up their own "facts" as well. Want to prove something? Let someone make a study and let him know what you want him to find.
Those that "check and cross check" facts are usually part of the game, they have an agenda themselves, because they are part of (or close to, and financed by) partys.

Re:America's fear comes from... (3, Informative)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#45382423)

Fox News may play fast and loose with the facts, but that doesnt change the fact that sources like MSNBC are much much worse. []

CNN: 54% factual reporting, 46% commentary/opinion.
FOX: 45% factual reporting, 55% commentary/opinion.
MSNBC: 15% factual reporting, 85% commentary/opinion.

Here is the full report. []

Re:America's fear comes from... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382439)

And CNN, though not as skillfully.

Don't get me wrong, I hate on Faux News too, but it's not just the far-right that spreads fud. More and more news networks are so scared of the Internet and social media that they'll say anything to get eyes on the TV. Journalism is slowly becoming less about uncovering the truth and more about the ratings.

Re:America's fear comes from... (2)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | about a year ago | (#45382463)

Well we have at least 25 centuries of Chicken Little/Henny Penny [] folklore warning us about the dangers of Faux News and the society destroying consequences of it. We obviously have a had time to collectively assimilate the danger however given that news organizations can now legally lie to you [] .

Despite the technological advances we as a species have been here before... and going by history - it is going to get ugly before it gets better.

Re:America's fear comes from... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382509)

...We obviously have a had time to collectively assimilate the danger however given that news organizations can now legally lie to you [] . ....

And a president and secretary-of-state that lies to us too...

It's up to the US citizen. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382165)

Would it help to vote for honest people ? Whether voting is compulsory or not.

Re:It's up to the US citizen. (2)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year ago | (#45382299)

You don't understand - it's the position that corrupts, not the person that is corrupt. You could "elect" the most honest person, and end up with the worst tyrant. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. There is a reason this is not a new saying.

Re:It's up to the US citizen. (2)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about a year ago | (#45382343)

It tends to corrupt, but that doesn't mean everyone becomes equally corrupted.

It's easy to ruin any public figure's reputation, so powerful interests have them all by the balls. If humans weren't such a bunch of self-righteous sanctimonious cunts who want glorious heroes rather than efficient administrators, we'd have politicians expert at things other than propagandising ("PR") and lawyering.

The path, not the position (4, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | about a year ago | (#45382435)

No, it's not the position that corrupts. It's the system that requires either candidate, who is successful at getting his name on the ballot paper, to screw-over, lie, back-stab and manipulate, in order to get there. No honest person would ever make it through the selection process. Nor would they ever be able to bring themselves to do all the things necessary to raise the millions of $$ needed to win (or: rather, buy) the campaign.

Re:It's up to the US citizen. (2)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#45382345)

Define "honest" first. Some of the most despicable sumbitches in history have been scrupulously honest. They believe everything that they ever said, and they honestly believe that they are creating a better world. While I despise Dick Cheney, and I only despise Bush slightly less than Cheney, I can make a pretty clear case that both were "honest men".

I would hope that you value honesty, but I would also hope that you don't naively equate "honest" with "good" or "effective leadership" or "honorable men", or much of anything else.

totally normal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382169)

The economic boom of the 90's is over. It's not coming back.

Fear is a natural and appropiate response to any situation where the future is inferior to the past.

Re:totally normal (4, Informative)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year ago | (#45382305)

Sure it is, it's just not happening where it used to happen. Been to Latin America lately? Hell of a boom down here. We're not that poor anymore.

Re:totally normal (1)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about a year ago | (#45382351)

This is the third world verion of "we are not poor", of course.

A cousin married into some Indian aristocratic family. They're not that poor either.

Is it fear ? (4, Insightful)

Melkman (82959) | about a year ago | (#45382173)

I don't think the primary motivation for massive surveillance and such things is fear. In my opinion it is about control and power. Being able to silence any opposition before it gets organized and knowing in advance which groups dissent is growing gives you the power to stay in control longer. Fear is only used to gain acceptance of the public: think of the terrorists etc.

Fear used to control (4, Insightful)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about a year ago | (#45382321)

If food an games aren't sufficient to keep your populace at bay, you'll use fear. Using fear has it's limitations, because once people will get hungry because you don't provide them with food, they will revolt. History has always proven this principle right and it will do so again. Over 40% of the USA citizens are around or below poverty rates and this number is still growing each year. Regardless of what political party is in control when that happens, there will be mass protests and plundering going on, just like in Egypt or any country where hunger and poverty is abundant and only a few rich people have control.

Re:Is it fear ? (4, Insightful)

Pinkfud (781828) | about a year ago | (#45382349)

I think you're exactly right. The Bush Administration used 9/11 to gain the level of power and control that allowed them to pass the Patriot Act and create the DHS with all its Draconian aspects, and now the Obama Administration is either unable or unwilling to change it. Do you want to fight terrorism? Well, you don't gain a damn thing by giving the terrorists what they want! Their name says it all - their goal is to put their enemies in FEAR of them. By running scared and giving up our freedom in the name of 'security', we have given them a major victory. It needs to stop. We the people need to MAKE it stop. Because where we are heading is ever deeper into the swamp, and in that swamp there lies nothing but mud and snakes.

Re:Is it fear ? (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#45382363)

I suggest you dig a little deeper into human psychology. Try to figure out why people feel the need to be "in control" to start with. The need for power has it's roots in fear. The glory, adulation, respect, love, wealth, and whatever else are just fringe benefits. The need for power is based on fear.

Re:Is it fear ? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#45382441)

I don't think the primary motivation for massive surveillance and such things is fear. In my opinion it is about control and power.

Of course.. fear is just the excuse, and its articles like this that reinforce the deception that the excuse is also the motivation. Americans arent afraid.. its just the people in power saying that Americans are afraid.

Its cause (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382175)

I can't fathom that there might be someone better than me

Nothing new (2)

zmooc (33175) | about a year ago | (#45382177)

Where is the U.S. heading?

Nowhere special. The US has been like this for ages. Apart from some details (TSA, leaks, technical possibilities) there has not been any real big change.

The fear has been around for just about always. And when there's nothing left to fear (like communism or alcohol) something new will be made up (like terrorism or drugs). Since the US spends more on its military than on social security, the military has become some kind of social security. It must be kept busy.

Re:Nothing new (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382219)

...or drugs

Yes, George Washington was famous for being tolerant of crack cocaine users.

One very big change (2)

petes_PoV (912422) | about a year ago | (#45382263)

there has not been any real big change

The USA used to have the USSR to keep it in check and provide a limit to the US's more paranoid actions against foreign countries it imagined might harm it. Now that the USSR is no more, the USA allows it's fear and insecurity to run rampant and bomb the crap out of every little thing that gives it nightmares - whether rational or not.

Re:One very big change (5, Insightful)

Alain Williams (2972) | about a year ago | (#45382427)

When the soviet union imploded the USA needed to invent other enemies, they found: terrorists and paedophiles.

This is not about protecting human life, the number killed so far by the USA in drone attacks in Pakistan [] (2,830) is about the same as the number killed in the 9/11 attacks [] (2,978); then start counting the number killed in Afganistan (Coalition casualties: 3,395 [] civilian casualties (an order of magnitude more) [] .

Capitalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382181)


Fear Sells.

It's true (1)

itsphilip (934602) | about a year ago | (#45382191)

This is a really nice, eloquent way of legitimizing a bunch of conspiracy theories which, it turns out, are often true

Fear and Paranoia... (5, Interesting)

ImOuttaHere (2996813) | about a year ago | (#45382193)

My family visited Europe this Fall and were surprised at the level of civility experienced there.

It seems that fear and paranoia drive Americans to give up liberties in trade for some vague promise of security. "Stand your ground" laws and the vast supposedly all knowing NSA wiretapping program are just two small examples of the manifestation of all pervading fear and paranoia.

Other First World Nations have a different balance between liberty and security. It's not that they don't spy on each other. It's not that good people don't die at the hands of bad people. It has to be experienced elsewhere to know that things don't _have_ to be they way they are in the US.

I can't help but feel it has to do, in small part, with basic civility between humans. Too bad America can't/won't follow these better, more secure examples.

Re:Fear and Paranoia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382277)

It seems that fear and paranoia drive Americans to give up liberties in trade for some vague promise of security.

Indeed []

Re:Fear and Paranoia... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382385)

"My family visited Europe this Fall and were surprised at the level of civility experienced there."

With the exception of the waiters in Paris, you mean.

Re:Fear and Paranoia... (3, Informative)

Melkman (82959) | about a year ago | (#45382459)

Well, I live in Europe and have been to the US. And the waiters in Paris pale in comparison to some waiters in Florida ;-). But on average people are people wherever you go. You got friendly and entertaining people in all societies as well as rude obnoxious ones. In areas with high populations like big cities you got more of both of them.

Re:Fear and Paranoia... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382419)

America has largely stood alone, with only two neighbours whom it outnumbers or out classes technologically there has never been anything to fear from them.
The American people have lived in a fortress surrounded by (vast) ocean.

Pearl harbour penetrated that and look at the response.
Ted Kaczynski and Timothy McVeigh attacked from within and look at the response.
Same with the 9/11 attacks.

Americans haven't ever lived with the threat of violence, except sporadically. The response is disproportionate, but that's largely natural to unfamiliar circumstances.

Re:Fear and Paranoia... (5, Insightful)

FlyHelicopters (1540845) | about a year ago | (#45382469)

This is actually a pretty smart post...

We like our oceans, it keeps us away from all the "crazy" people in the world.

Note, I know they aren't all crazy, but considering that most Americans don't even have a passport, much less have ever left the country, to a large number of Americans, the USA is the center of the Universe.

If anyone even makes noise about coming over here, the general reaction is, "bomb them". And if that doesn't work, then you aren't using enough bombs.

The irony is that much of the hate towards America is caused by America's own actions. On the flip side, we do need to protect our interests overseas, the world is very much smaller than it was 100 years ago.

There are no easy solutions.

Re:Fear and Paranoia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382437)

Well, it took us half a millennia of bashing in eachothers heads to realize that being civil really works out better, and even then...

Where Does America's Fear Come From? (5, Insightful)

cardpuncher (713057) | about a year ago | (#45382205)

Same answer as always: You've Got to Be Carefully Taught [] .

Re:Where Does America's Fear Come From? (2)

alexhs (877055) | about a year ago | (#45382479)

Also, "people are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it."

Darwin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382211)

Says that without competition there is no evolution, the best regress to meet their neighbor.

The Cold War (2)

Poddus (1189325) | about a year ago | (#45382213)

once american politicians realized that they could use a great common enemy as a political tool, it soon followed that all they needed to do in order to maintain their power was to invent more enemies. first "communism", now "terrorism", along with all the other vague ideas america wages war against, it all seems to have its roots in the cold war.

Re:The Cold War (0)

ImOuttaHere (2996813) | about a year ago | (#45382273)

... um... perhaps you should read and understand Howard Zinn's "Peoples History of the United States." Failing that, read less verbose, though no less eloquent, Charles Dickens comments from after his 1830's trip through America...

Re:The Cold War (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382467)

Howard Zinn is a loony-bin nutbag!!!

It's Obama's fault (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382215)

Obama has done more to destroy democracy in 5 years, than all the other presidents combined.

This so-called "community organizer" quickly found out that he was in way over is head. His simplistic campaigh promises and empty platitudes cuoldn't stand up to the hard reality of running a superpower. The man is a fraud.

Re:It's Obama's fault (3, Insightful)

Falconhell (1289630) | about a year ago | (#45382247)

Lol Trust me Bush did more damage in one year than the whole of the current presidents will ever do.
The rest of he world is either crying over their dead or alternating between amused and disappointed in US actions since 9/11.
Guns, healthcare, climate change, Iraq war, summary execution without trial and with innocent victims, It's like watching a bizarre right wing satire show. If it was fiction it would be hilarious.

Re:It's Obama's fault (5, Insightful)

meglon (1001833) | about a year ago | (#45382259)

Your post is merely confirmation that the biggest problem we have in the US is really stupid fucking people who can only regurgitate bumper sticker talking points, and who prefer to be lied to like two dollar whores instead of using their brain to actually think. People like you are why the fucknuts get elected who go out of their way to pass crap like the Patriot Act, and to invade other countries for no reason.

Re:It's Obama's fault (3, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#45382383)

Didn't take long to disintegrate into partisan politics, huh? As Falconhell already pointed out, Herr Bush instituted most of the stuff that Obama plays with today. Think about it, Herr Coward.

While far from a dictatorship... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382227)

From the point of view outside of USA , this is not the case... Most of the people in the world see US as a well crafted dictatorship masqueraded in the democracy.
The US actions, not spoken words are the proof.

Re:While far from a dictatorship... (4, Insightful)

meglon (1001833) | about a year ago | (#45382267)

Probably more as a plutocracy than a dictatorship.

Re:While far from a dictatorship... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382307)

We can call it names.. But at the end it's a pure fascism. Actions verify that.

Re:While far from a dictatorship... (5, Insightful)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about a year ago | (#45382387)

In the sense of merging of corporation and state, America's as close as the world has got to sustained Italian corporatism, i.e. fascism in the pre-Hitler sense.

(Hitler wanted the same thing, but he also wanted a land war in Asia, and that's where he went too fa.. oh wait. Seriously though, America is fascist, for the traditional European definition of fascism.)

Two big sources (4, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | about a year ago | (#45382245)

First of all: the amount of stuff people have. The more you have, the more you are afraid of losing it - and the more jealously you guard it.

Second: guns. Having a gun is a sign you are afraid. What are you afraid of? Ans: all the other people with guns.

There is no easy answer to these problems as they are deeply rooted in human nature and are probably survival instints. Just ones that were developed as cavemen but have now got way out of control.

Re:Two big sources (2, Interesting)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#45382417)

"Second: guns. Having a gun is a sign you are afraid. What are you afraid of? Ans: all the other people with guns."

Your first statement suggests that you might have a clue or two. Then you make that second statement, which suggests that you're actually pretty clueless. The one thing that defines a free man, is the right to keep and bear arms. Suppose that you take away all the guns. Suppose that you invent something tomorrow that can find and destroy every single firearm in the United States. The one weapon that YOU fear most is gone. The cops are without firearms, the criminals are without firearms, the honest citizen is without firearms. No one can any longer reach into a pocket, pull out a firearm, and kill. No one. Security guards and armed robbers alike are without guns.

Do you REALLY believe that no one will be murdered again?

If I really feel the need to murder someone, I may resort to a rock, a knife, a sword, a club, an electrical booby trap, poison, assault with a vehicle, assault with a trained animal, or just choke or beat the guy to death with my bare hands.

Wake up and smell the roses. PEOPLE murder people. Guns are as impassive and inanimate as any kitchen utensil.

Re:Two big sources (4, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | about a year ago | (#45382515)

The one thing that defines a free man, is the right to keep and bear arms

The ONE THING? So nobody is free unless they have the right to a gun? So nobody in any other country, who doesn't have a gun-carrying laws possiby be free?

C'mon. Just a little common sense or a second of thought would make it obvious that the statement has no truth to it whatsoever.

Re:Two big sources (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382505)

I have to call complete and utter bullshit on supposition #2

For example, do people only have watches to tell the time? NO.

I have a pair of firearms, pistols, that I use to shoot targets with. For me, target practice is an exercise of patience and control. I don't know if I could ever shoot someone to protect myself, though it could happen. I didn't buy these firearms for protection, I don't keep them loaded when I'm not using them. I bought them for relaxation. I also enjoy the physicality of a gun's mechanical nature. They are very efficient machines.

I know that many people collect fire arms simply for the joy of shooting. Other buy old but perfectly lethal firearms because they are part of our collective history and can be very emblematic of the times they were made.

Many people use guns for hunting, and for food gathering.
Maybe they fear starving.

What do I fear? Willful Ignorance.

Ignorance (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382253)

Your country has been undervaluing the importance of education for a long time. No wonder you've got so many ignorant people who are easy to scare, and therefore easy to control.

You're deluding yourself (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382257)

The "fear" you imagine is your rationalization of outcomes you don't like. When someone gets elected you don't agree with, or some policy emerges or persists that you would rather not have or abolish, you attribute this to "fear" because you wish to believe that rational, courageous behavior would have led to a different result.

The Iraq and Afgan wars are excellent examples of this. Malcontents attribute support for these wars to "fear"; citizens trembling in fear of terrorist boogeymen, and blinded by fear to the crimes of warmongers.

The truth is that support for these wars came from Anger. Bloody, mortal rage. Not fear.

But you go on indulging your delusions. Your echo chamber is plenty loud enough to drown out whatever you'd rather not hear.

Re:You're deluding yourself (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#45382425)

Oh, please. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars really are quite different.

In Afghanistan, a punitive expedition was warranted, to punish the Afghan government for harboring Al Queda and it's agents.

In Iraq, we invaded to liberate oil, first and foremost. The Iraq war was an openly profiteering war. Haliburton and it's subsidiaries were in the news constantly, always in connection to contracts worth billions, or at least hundreds of millions. No-bid contracts were the order of the day.

Fear comes from (3, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | about a year ago | (#45382261)

  • Loss-aversiveness: a strong desire to avoid harm or loss, so much so, that we will undergo self-destructive behavior to avoid the remotest of risks of of death, harm, or loss.
  • The reality of the situation we live in: The inherent Uncertainties and risks that we all face throughout life.
  • Reminders of Uncertainty, such as natural disasters, 9/11, etc
  • Political figures reminding us, that we are at risk, and they need to do things to protect us

I blame the parents (2)

Virtucon (127420) | about a year ago | (#45382275)

And the Kardashians!

Oh and Honey Boo Boo! []

And the schools!

We've become a nation of self-gratifying, illiterate dip-shits who would much rather not be informed and learn about an issue and take the time to vote or to become involved even when your liberty is at stake. Human nature being what it is, It's easier to panic and pray that the leaders we elect can actually lead and take everything they say at face value. Unfortunately for the rest of us, your { congressman | senator | president } is senile or so wrapped up in pandering to big campaign contributors or party interests that they have little stake in protecting your liberty; for them it's all about getting re-elected. That's why when things like the patriot act come along we all say "it's a good thing because it will protect me from all the terrorists out there." "Terrorists are bad mmkay?" and the spin doctors go on all the news talk shows that drone on and on about issues like Benghazi and then suddenly shift to Obamacare because Benghazi is so like last year dude! Because you don't become involved and you keep voting that party line you suddenly realize now that you have to have a virtual strip search just to board a plane or that TSA agents will stop you getting off of a train and search you. [] Why? Because those terrorists are bad people and they hate us so you have to give up your privacy and your liberty in order to win the war on terror. And all the while you hear "we're winning!" That's right, we're winning and just because every new drone strike creates more hatred and more enemies for us to kill [] , we'll be able to keep this war up as long as necessary or until we can't sell anymore bonds to pay for it all. Because we're "in a war" we'll then create more government bureaucracy and will give money to your local law enforcement so they can all dress up like jackbooted Nazis with sub-machine guns! []

So keep watching the Kardashians and just leave your safety to those folks you elect, who get re-elected over 70% of the time, who you've probably never met, who have staff that create talking points that become sound bites, that play video poker during important hearings, that lie to you about keeping your health insurance, who really were "C" students in college and were drunk all the time, who receive all that money from special interests that feed off of your tax dollars, who hand feed pieces of legislation they never read already written up so they really don't have to work and slap their name on it, who pass legislation because it's so massive "You just have to pass it to see what's in it" and because they go through special lines at the airport and don't get nudeo scans.

Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382281)

The tenor of the country has changed dramatically in the past 40 years. The unrivaled economy of the US started facing competition, the politics became distinctly more polarized starting with Watergate and progressively getting worse, we’ve been chasing the ghost of Viet Nam, and the seemingly happy-go-lucky days of yore pretty much ended for good with 9/11.

And it has been a death of a thousand cuts , but each of those fused in the American psyche and left scars. There are so many different ways America has faltered in the past few decades that to isolate it to a single or even majority cause is fruitless. The world became more complex, and America became more neurotic in response.

Welcome to the reconstruction (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about a year ago | (#45382289)

Since 2001 things have changed.
Before 2001, those in power, politicians, fought eachother.

Since 2001 these guys teamed up with the corporations and multinationals;
their differences vanished in a double sense. The moral dissonance that
this brought on (lost sense of duty) created a tremendous fear. Fear, by
those in power, of the hordes. The hordes that would one day be enilightened
to find they had been quad-crossed and fucked over all the while being
taxed to support the privileged.
This fear of discovery, small wonder, translates into paranoia, which translates
into control. Fine gems such as Feinstein are an excellent example.

This is class warfare of the opulent against those who provide. Provide
through taxes. The latter which are exactly their achilles' heel.

Land of the fear home of the scared ? (1)

burni2 (1643061) | about a year ago | (#45382295)

Yep, America has lost it's nimbus, and I think it won't be able to regain it again.

Perect safety comes with a steady state that's a fact.

Republicans are fear mongers (0)

Required Snark (1702878) | about a year ago | (#45382303)

Part of the fundamental right wing world view is that they are out to get us.

To put this in the vernacular of George W Bush: "They hate us for our freedom."

If you are trying to achieve political goals via manipulation, fear is the easiest tool to use. Cue references to 1984 and Nazi. In Iran, they chant "Death to America".

Of course, in the case of Republicans, they do have something objective to fear: it's the shrinking percentage of the population with European roots. That's why the Tea Party types say "I want my country back". What they really want is a nation controlled by immigrants from Western Europe (i.e. White People). Immigrants from Africa or Latin America are those people who are lazy and shiftless and just want to live off the hard work of Real Americans.

Of course political reality is not quite this simple. Take Cubans. Ever though they are Latin American, their ant-commie/anti-Castro stance has made them be easily accepted as right wingers. On the other hand, Mexicans (anyone from Mexico or points further south) are, to quote Rep. Steve King from Iowa [] :

for everyone who is a valedictorian, there’s another hundred out there, they weigh 130 pounds and with calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.

So Republicans peddle fear, and it's been a successful message to a great extent. Democrats don't have much in the way of backbone, so they tend to go along.

Does that answer the question?

Re:Republicans are fear mongers (2)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#45382395)

Uhm. You're demonstrating yourself as being a participant of the problem itself. Look here for my comment on what you have just stated. [] I don't want to be too redundant.

Go back in time, if you're old enough to remember, the long history of fear-peddling in this country. We have gained a "grazing herd of farm animals" level of instinctive fear in this country and we, as a people generally buy into the narratives without question. The media has catered almost exclusively to the "lowest common [intellectual] denominators" for decades on end. You think that hasn't affected the development of the US culture over the decades?

It goes well beyond what you're trying to suggest. You're looking at a single symptom and excluding all of the rest of the data.

Re:Republicans are fear mongers (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382413)

Here is an example of fear mongering propaganda that goes hand-in-hand with the other part of the problem: ignorance.

"Fear the Tea Party because they are racist." "Fear those who are against the ACA for they are waging a war against women." "Those who are against illegal immigration are racist and hate all immigrants."

Can you not even see in your own rantings that which you rail against? Are you so fearful of your opponents position that you must use fear and deception to try and influence others to accept your position? Can you not accept that there may be an intellectually honest reason to limit the power of the federal government to that which was outlined in the U.S. Constitution?

Finally, are you unable to see that it is precisely because of the unfettered power sought by the federal government that it has the power to use fear to do those things many on both the right and left abhor?

Generally speaking, the Tea Party wants limited federal government. Generally speaking, the Democrats and "centrist" Republicans want a larger federal government. The only difference between the Democrats and those Republican "centrists" is the part of the federal government they want to have larger.

Attempting to reduce your political opponents to racist, jingoist mysogynists does nothing to reduce fear or further an intelligent debate.

Closer to an oligarchy than a democracy (1)

mschaffer (97223) | about a year ago | (#45382311)

The fear mongers are trying to gain more power by peddling fear to the masses---all the while wealth and power is being redistributed.
Constitutional liberties are eroded one by one in the name of "National Security" and the "Greater Good".
Fairly soon, the USA will be an oligarchy policed by the government's jackbooted thugs standing on the necks of those who oppose the will of the government. Nothing can be hidden from the cameras, wire taps, profiling, meta data, and cameras. All must obey or be put on secret lists, subject to secret laws, and held in secret prisons.

In a hundred years... (1)

Ginger_Chris (1068390) | about a year ago | (#45382331)

We'll have the "Slightly Less United States of America", or maybe even "The Independent States of America". It's already becoming more and more divided (from an outside perspective).

Where is the U.S. heading? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382339)

Straight into Obama Care!

It all goes back to actual persecution (1)

WaroDaBeast (1211048) | about a year ago | (#45382357)

Today, Americans fear terrorism.

A few decades ago, it was communism.

Before the fear of communism, was the fear of black people.

Before the abolition of slavery, was the fear of the wilderness (what lied beyond the American frontier).

Finally, before the fear of the wilderness, was the fear of tyranny — i.e. from the English crown.

I suppose that fear is quite simply an integral part of American society's fabric.

(Note that those events sometimes overlap. I did not imply that, for a given one event to start, the ongoing one needs to stop.)

P.S. : I can't remember where I read or heard this. It was most likely during American civilization class.

Re:It all goes back to actual persecution (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about a year ago | (#45382517)

"Today, Americans fear terrorism.

A few decades ago, it was communism."

Nuclear war was between, fear sold millions of shelters to morons. Some of them even keep them stocked to this very day, only the sign with threat theme gets changed from time to time, from 'storm of the century' to 'collapse of civilization' or 'rapture'. Only 'Climate Change' is never mentioned for some reason.

"Before the fear of communism, was the fear of black people."

Nothing like fear of women voting!

"Before the abolition of slavery, was the fear of the wilderness (what lied beyond the American frontier)."

You mean 'the injuns!'

"Finally, before the fear of the wilderness, was the fear of tyranny — i.e. from the English crown."

At least this one was real. Those inbreds were really bonkers, to this very day.

Heading off a cliff (2)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#45382359)

This has been going on for a very long time and I saw it as a kid. WAY back when there was rampant Trick or Treating, there were vague reports of "razors in apples" and stuff like that. [] It's just nonsense. As a child, even I saw it as nonsense, but my mother took it quite seriously every year inspect our haul piece by piece.

We have systems over-run with parasitic lawyers who live on fears which eventually becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.

And the Vietnam "domino theory"? That war on "communism"? Once again, I have seen this for the farce it was since I was a child. When I learned what communism is, I thought "hey this is a great idea for the future of man's civilization!" And when examining what existed, we saw extreme violence against the people and an elite power structure that benefited themselves while making their people miserable. That's not communism. And THAT image is what got everyone "fighting the war on communism." From that we got the Cold War, the Military Industrial Complex thrived on the fears of a whole nation.

It has been going on far longer than partisan politics in its current form. You realize that "the conservatives" were once the democrats and "the liberals" were the republicans a few decades ago? But that was before the republicans pulled "god on their side" to get the religious vote.

Before people can see past the current partisan politics, people have to be able to see a history that hasn't quite made it into the books.

The Sword of Damocles (2)

mentil (1748130) | about a year ago | (#45382373)

The fear comes from propaganda penned by the elite. The elite that control America's politics and economy are constantly afraid of the Sword of Damocles -- an angry mob of Americans calling for their blood for their failure to do something or other. Fifty years ago it was a fear of a communist revolt, where the people take away their power if not their life. Now it's a fear of some crisis happening and being seen as not having done enough to prevent it. As a result, politicians want to be seen as "doing something", even if what they're doing is ineffective or counterproductive. If there's supposedly a "drug crisis", politicians will pass laws to be seen as "tough on drugs". It works the same for terrorism or any other societal ill, real or perceived. Opportunistic politicians, as opposed to being afraid, turn this around and sponsor a bill, make a story and pretend as if there's a real problem, in order to gain popularity or power; this is the malice on the flipside of the former problem's ignorance.

Despite most Americans being more interested in money than politics, big business and finance tend to get less public scrutiny than government. These sectors are equally afraid of the people though: witness how quickly they used government resources and propaganda to cause the Occupy movement to lose steam.

working conditions and economic uncertainty (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382381)

USA has absurd working conditions and very poor welfare systems. Most people spend most of their time at work. With despotic middle managers, shitty working hours, very little time off. You ask why people are easily manipulated wrecks?

Your government (2)

smash (1351) | about a year ago | (#45382447)

... and its promotion of a xenophobic education system, xenophobic religious presence, and xenophobic foreign policy.

America is a dictatorship alright... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382455)

... a corporate dictatorship. How americans can view obama as a socialist is a testament to corporate propaganda. There is no leftwing in america. Just the hard corporate right and the one party corporate system with two halfs (R&D).

Historians will have a field day about how the american mind using science and modern media have successfully been brainwashed via school and ads to believe things that are false and go against their own interests.

Herman Goring said it best (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382457)

GÃring: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.
Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.
GÃring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

conception - inception - perception (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382465)

we all have to agree on "what is fear?" in order to have this conversation - i, for two, don't agree with the definition of fear that most people have been conditioned with.

Human Nature? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382475)

I see a lot of talk about human nature, I think that should be changed to American nature. As mentioned, the world does not all live the way Americans do or even aspire to do so. Other countries may have, *gasp*, produced a better way to do things. Arrogance and lack of real empathy may play a part. Unfortunately these problems may be so deep rooted that it will take something big to dislodge them, hopefully there is something that resembles a functioning country afterwards.

Terrorism is the new smuggling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45382477)

In the 1700s the government violated civil liberties to stop... SMUGGLING! Terrorism is the new smuggling. And *FUCK* King George. []

Fear is inherent. (4, Interesting)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#45382497)

It's not a new thing. Remember the Red Scare? Remember the Internment Camps and Witch Hunts? It's the ancient fear of the unknown, of other tribes to be precise.

Fear is instinctual in humans, granted to us through millions of years of evolution. It exists, and need only be cultivated into hysteria to cloud minds. The fear comes from within, that's what makes it powerful. It should be considered a crime to wield fear against the ignorant masses. Those stoking the fear are fearmongers, or scaremongers -- The word looks familiar because these are the same as warmongers. As the Chomsky showed us decades ago, fear and filters are used to manufacture consent. []

For what ends? Oh, I think we know that too, very well indeed. []

The question is wrong. We know where the fear comes from. The more apt question is why we are more scared of terrorists than fast cars and fast food, which combined claim over four hundred 9/11 scale attacks in victims every year? The answer isn't no one is brave. The answer is no one is educated. It's been over a decade. That's four thousand 9/11 scale attacks in victims... Will you still drive and occasionally eat junk food? Yes? Then how can anyone justify the spending to prevent such a minuscule threat to life in terrorism at such a great cost? It's because they're ignorant.

A small child turns on the light to reveal what the dark has kept from them, and is no longer afraid. Without ignorance there can be no fear. The scale of the threat is never given context, so it seem more ominous than it is; When in reality its not that big of a deal. Terrible, yes, but so are car accidents and heart attacks, yet we wouldn't agree to give up our Freedoms, Privacy or our French Fries to prevent them.

The warmongers who want to line their pockets with trillions we could be spending to actually protect and benefit us at home claim Terroists are nothing to sneeze at, but if you set a 9/11 scale attack next to the Flu, you'll notice there are six times more dead Americans every year from the Flu. Fire the liars. Fight fear with facts. []

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