Coping with Fear

by Wayne Spencer - May 19, 2003 (Rewritten June 17, 2003)

I believe that the following tactics are in use by the present Bush Administration:

The main pillar for a totalitarian state is fear. Not fear of the dictator, but the instilled fear of a common enemy or enemies. Fear is rewarded with the further growth of fear. Our security walls soon become our prison. Fear is not compatible with reason. Would reason dictate that we spend over $400 billion this year to fight terrorism? Does it require the expenditure of such sums to protect ourselves from nineteen suicide highjackers? We already were spending at amounts near that for national security before the tragedy of September 11th. Did it help? Will the added billions help? Tragically, four thousand people have died from acts of terrorism on September 11th and after in the United States. During that same period hundreds of thousands have died from smoking cigarettes yet our government subsidizes the growing of tobacco and does not try to instill fear into the minds of the public. Tens of thousands die each year due to inadequate heath care insurance in the United States yet our government makes up excuses why the richest country on the planet cannot do what other less wealthy countries do for their residents.

Fear needs a fertile field in which to grow. I believe there are three main ingredients at work providing this fertile ground here in America. Our lack of education in the humanities, political interest groups posing as fundamentalist religions, and a corporate news media which is more interested in power than fostering democracy.

This potent combination has provided the successful use of misinterpreted metaphors in place of reason. They are fixed in time and space like a tree. Their steadfastness and simple beauty are mistaken for intelligence and reason.

Our school system is often used to foster dogmas rather than to instill reasoning powers in students. In some cases parents are using home schooling to protect their children from the outside influences of the modern and corrupt world as their stated goal.

I have traveled up and down the east coast of the United States many times since September 11, 2001. I have been surprised in the differences in the level of fear from one place to another. I have visited New York City twice since then and have found the level of fear from terrorism to be less than other places. Some of the measures instituted in New York to fight terrorism seem silly to the average New Yorker. For example, men stationed in Grand Central Station with high powered weapons dressed in combat boots and camouflage outfits are laughable. I wish someone could tell me how combat boots and camouflage will aid anti terrorism in Grand Central Station. The very presence of these men in Grand Central seemed to instill fear not security in passers by. Incidentally, there seems to be much more antiwar activity in New York than in other places visited. I found very fewer American Flags or American Flag stickers on cars there. Compare that with what you find in some other areas where almost every car sports an American Flag. Why, in the very city which reaped most of the havoc on that dreadful day are they acting with more calm and reserve and with less fear than in areas far removed from New York? I am only asking the question, I don't have an answer, do you? Your thoughts are welcome here. E-mails to wayne@spencers.net are encouraged.

What can we do as defenders of liberty to counter fear? We are not often inspired, but when we are it is important to speak out. When we do speak out we may not be heard. But that's O.K. We humans hear only when we are prepared to listen. Sooner or later Americans will be prepared to listen. Because we do not know when the preparation for listening will begin, it is important to continue to speak out. We will eventually be heard. If I did not believe this I could not go on writing this column and maintaining the Liberty World website.

When I was in college I thought it was for the purpose of learning a profession such as engineering and business. The curriculum required only a few courses in the humanities back then (English Lit.). Wasted time I thought. Now in my later years I realize that those courses of study I rejected as time wasted are now the most important and cherished ones. Those are the ones which most prepared me for life and especially for the times I live in now. Among other things they provided me with the power of reason to help overcome my own fears.

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Copyright © 2003 by Wayne Spencer - This article may be freely distributed with this copyright notice attached.