The media uses fear to sell themselves and to expand their viewership/readership. The government uses fear to sell this program, that tax, or worse, a softening of our rights. And lately, some in both the media and government have been trying to make us fear our own country rather than our enemies, as if our enemies aren't trying very hard to kill us.
Ron Silver (yes, that Ron Silver) writes about how fear can be a healthy thing as long is the thing we fear is tangible and there is little doubt that the fear is not unfounded.
In February of 2004, NYU held a conference about fear. The conference was called “Fear: Its Uses and Abuses.” In the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, posters with crude caricatures of Japanese and Nazis appeared with “Warning! Our homes are in danger now!” Exclamation points at the beginning and close of the warning, in case the message escaped us. It was called propaganda. As reported in the New York Times, in an article by Edward Rothstein, (propaganda’s) “accepted function was to galvanize, urge, justify, remind and yes, frighten.” (italics Ron's)
After September 11, with the emerging threat of Islamic terrorism becoming more manifest in the public mind (many of us took this threat more seriously than others prior to this atrocity), what sticks out most immediately is how, again according to Edward Rothstein, there were “[s]o few examples of graphic American propaganda and none using ethnic or racial caricatures. Yet beginning with Al Gore, who delivered the keynote address at the Conference, the former vice president asserted again and again that the American government is preoccupied with instilling fear.” The conference was essentially about fear being encouraged by our government and exacerbated by the media. It was compared with the irrational fear of Communism and the perversions of McCarthyism.”
The goal of the conference promoters was clear to me. Indeed we now all have reason to be afraid. But apparently we’re afraid of different things. Some factions are less concerned with the folks who have declared war on us and who are determined to kill us, our children and our civilization. These factions have chosen our elected government, chosen by us to secure and defend us, to be their adversary. Evidently my fear was rational. I just had the wrong enemy in my sights. To which my grandfather would have responded, had he been born elsewhere and not in a shtetl, “poppycock.”
So, rather than being afraid of the Islamofascist who have carried out attacks and still plan to do so, some of our progressive “intellectuals” are afraid of our government. The Islamofascists only want to kill us and everything we stand for. Our government is tasked with protecting us against them, yet they are the ones we're supposed to fear? Excuse me? The fear generated by the Islamofascists is something that is tangible, seeing their actions and their cruelty and inhumanity. Fear of our government is intangible and, while a little fear that our government may go too far is not unhealthy, to think that it is the greater evil is stupid, to say the least.
As one commenter to Ron's post wrote:
The Left are more afraid of what enemy might think of us then what they might do to us.
Rings true, doesn't it?