Our fears allow others to manipulate us
Here’s a challenging exercise: Count how many words in the English language express some degree of fear. Everything from apprehension to terror. Fear is a huge factor in our lives that affects everything from how we dress (“I’m afraid of what people will think”) to actual effects on our health and psychological well-being.Fear is a tool that starts with parents, moves to school and in adulthood is used on us by everyone including our spouse, our boss, the police, the federal government clear up to God. (the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom).Over the years there have been, and continue to be, many scares that play on everyone’s fears. To name a few, there was Alar, DDT, the cranberry thing, and the poisoned grapes. Recently it’s been bird flu, mad cow disease, second hand smoke and Radon gas.The big Y2K thing used to be the top of the list but now the top seems to be the new religion of global warming.The news media gets great mileage out of all these scares and plays them to the hilt. They are usually blown way out of proportion and seriously distorted. For instance the coming of the year 2000 was not really the first year of the new century as they claimed. It was the beginning of the last year of the current century.Most of these so called crises of world proportion fizzled. The first serious byproduct of these events is great losses to business and commerce. Huge quantities of products are dumped, farmers lose whole season’s crops and people’s paranoia grows. One mother even ran down a school bus to get the grapes out of her kid’s lunch. Another effect is that some people seize the opportunity to capitalize financially. Y2K was a huge business windfall for everything from canned food to generators. People still have stocks of supplies, books, battery radios and survival manuals.The one positive effect was we became aware of our vulnerability to disaster. That lesson was soon forgotten.The big scare going now is the claim of global warming. It has become virtually a religion, with Al Gore as its self-appointed prophet.Well, hot dog! Opportunists are capitalizing on our fears and selling all sorts of things. There are books, T-shirts, wind generators, solar panels and endless media participation with all the attendant advertising. There is a positive side. Conservation is a positive initiative. In fact, the first recorded command of God to man was “Tend the garden.”The big drawback to all of these scares, however, is that it increases the speed of our slide into socialism. We expect dictators to use fear to gain power and control. In a democracy, it is more subtle, but each of these scares gives government impetus to increase regulations, agencies, staff and taxes. To name a few, Homeland Security, the EPA, and FEMA demand more control and money under the guise of protecting you. Is the crisis real or contrived? Are we just a bunch of sheep needing more shepherds? Just for fun, look up “gore” in the dictionary.Actually, the shepherds already outnumber the sheep. Some year back we passed the 50 percent line, and now more people work for government than in the private sector. If that surprises you, start making a list of all the government-run agencies that control your life, starting with the local school system.Speaking of fear, I am afraid we are being seriously manipulated, and we are paying for it all. Ross L. Talbott lives in New Castle.
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