Identifying some Sources of America’s Culture of Fear

I am sad and somewhat disgusted by the whole Boston Marathon bombing.  I wish quite strongly that both brothers had been captured alive — the crime they were alleged to have committed deserves wide open transparency on the part of investigators, and having only one/half of the “team” means that conjecture, suspicion, and personal prejudice have more room to rear their ugly heads.

This is certainly not the first time I have seen this promotion of a culture of fear on news broadcasts and among pundits and political adversaries.  Consider this statement, by Bob Beckel, host of the Fox News Channel’s show The Five, and presented on Fox News’ The Nation website:

I think we really have to consider, given the fact so many people hate us, that we’re going to have to cutoff Muslim students coming to this country for some period of time so that we can absorb what we’ve got and look at what we’ve got and decide whether some of the people here should be going, be sent home or sent to prison.

(…)

I’m going to change my one more thing before I get complaints. Let me make something clear about what I meant about Muslim and Chinese students. First of all, I recognize that a Chinese student died in Boston and it was a tragedy. I think anybody that’s here as a Chinese student or a Muslim student should stay here and finish their education.

It is now time for us to take a pause and breath and hard look at the future of immigration of students. And, therefore, I think that we ought to be very selective in allowing any Muslim or Chinese students in here. They are brought here, taught computers, go back home and hack us.”

This is but one example of a man with some media-based influence spouting an argument with no basis, expressly intended to promote mistrust and the culture of fear in America.  He is joined by many others of his political bent.  I believe, and this is my opinion, that the radical fringe members of the Republican Party are the ones using these tactics, and that more moderate Republicans, who have less to gain by spreading anxiety, nevertheless do not speak out because they are afraid of losing access to Republican’s PAC and Super-PAC funding.  Who wants to buck Karl Rove?

This use of scare tactics to whip such groups as Dittoheads and others into a frenzy of fear and blame is carried on both by politicians, and by the media personalities who support them.  Thus we have Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity, to name the three most influential fear-mongering conservatives now operating.  And they have no qualms about using racial slurs and profiling, levels of success and failure in economic matters, and outright questioning of the loyalty of some to America, simply because they have different opinions.

I find this, frankly, abhorrent and evil, and I am not afraid to say it out loud.  We have let this go on for too long.  Now is the time to gather ourselves up, and dismiss these scare tactics for the dishonest, manipulative techniques they personify.  Only then will we make any progress toward a truly involved American democracy.

Please read and consider this quote from H.L. Mencken:

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed — and hence clamorous to be led to safety — by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”– H.L. Mencken

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