The Otiosity of Fear
A few weeks ago John McCain remarked that he felt the biggest threat to our economy was another terrorist attack. I was not surprised that someone representing one of the major parties in the United States would use fear to sway the hearts and minds of the voters, it is a powerful device to use. But it left me wondering, coming upon seven years after the 9/11 terrorists attacks, have we let the terrorists win?
I’m afraid we temporarily have. And that is my hope that it remain temporary, though that hope is fading as we continue down the path of scaring people into compliance and willingness to give up their individual liberties to a governing body that we give dominion over us.
John McCain, when asked what he thought the gravest threat to our economy was, answered:
"Well, I would think that the absolute gravest threat is the struggle that we’re in against radical Islamic extremism, which can affect, if they prevail, our very existence,” McCain said. “Another successful attack on the United States of America could have devastating consequences.”
Doesn’t this give a LOT of power to an enemy that, if not for the fear that they are allowed to instill, has been largely ineffectual, save one lucky shot nearly seven years ago. As a result, we are now spied upon, herded through checkpoints like cattle, searched, documented and treated as criminals first. We have veered far way from what this country was founded upon and displayed in FDR’s famous quote "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself". Now, apparently, we have a lot to fear.
But isn’t this precisely WHY we were attacked, to cause us to alter the way we live and become less free, have less liberty and live in a state of perpetual fear? If that was their goal, they have most certainly won. A group of hate-filled radicals have successfully done what the likes of Nazi Germany and Communist Russia was unable to.
But it is not just terrorist fears that are leading us to alter our lives and convince people to give up their individual liberties. Politicians use fear to shape our voting behavior and have done so for a long time. And while it succeeds to gain them political power, where does it leave us as a nation?
It is time to put away the politics of fear. It is long past time to stop doing what we think is right because someone else might not like us for it. It is time to stop rewarding countries who, with one hand shake their fists at us and, with the other, present it to us with palms up looking for a handout.
But most of all, it is time for all of us to stop rewarding the politicians who are trying to scare your vote out of you. It is time to stop allowing government to take away more of your freedom in order to provide you some sense of security, because it is all talk. They can’t stop a determined individual or group of individuals from causing you bodily harm, either through negotiations or war. It’s the best lesson we should be learning from 9/11, but one that is most likely falling upon deaf ears.
If we are that close to the edge that a single attack by a group of lunatics who struggle against peace and hope can cause us more harm than borrowing ourselves into oblivion or turning into more of a police state than we already are, then I am afraid we are truly the ones who have lost this war.
Fortunately, I think that the American spirit is still alive and well in this country and maybe one day we will see it again. Until then, fight the good fight against the loss of individual liberty that we know from history takes a very large fight to win back once it is given up. At a much more expensive cost than we dare ever spend again.