Monday, November 08, 2010

The Prongs of Fear

"Only in a deeply pathological society is reason a synonym for weakness."

Christopher Fettweis

Tom Ricks gives a synopsis of Professor Fettweis's latest essay. Here's one sling at media television news.

"Fear is an essential component of the business model of both CNN and Fox News, a necessary tool to keep fingers away from remote controls during commercial breaks. Voices of reason tend to spoil the fun, and may inspire people to see excitement elsewhere."

Ricks thinks a whole generation is pissed off.

"I think Baby Boomers as a class are pissed. They came to maturity during Woodstock, when they were going to show the world how to live and love. In maturity they would smoke a little weed, sit on the beach, and hold forth. Instead, they find themselves old, mocked by technology, threatened financially, having to work longer than expected -- and al Qaeda wants to blow them up. So I think we are in for some very cranky years of politics."

I believe that Mr. Ricks is being optimistic. He's missing a generation or three. Tail end baby boomers like me and those that follow my cohort, the Generation Y's and X's, are being screwed by terrible economic policies. Many boomers lost 40% of their retirement savings in the last crash, and due to the 2001 and 2008 Recessions, made little money on their retirement investments (about the same as inflation, 2%). If I'd put my money in the bank, I wouldn't have made anything on it, but I'd have lost less due to inflation than from Wall Street fraud and thieving of my mutual funds.

So, we have two prongs of the pitchfork of fear -- psychological fear for profit and distraction, and financial/economic fear for further profit and control. The fearful monster we all perceive is likely a figment of an overactive collective imagination. The people who profit are certain political and business leaders. They will not be that much different from the respectable people who supported Hitler on his rise to power. Who profited mightily from his Third Reich after German democracy died. Who escaped the physical suffering and death of millions of other less fortunate people. Scapegoats will be found and sacrificed to the mob in order to pacify its artificially created and stimulated fear. When will we start acting like adults instead of children being afraid of the darkness or terrorists lying in wait under the bed?

We pay millions to kill a Taliban insurgent - blood money that would be better spent on jobs. One of the prices of irrational fear I suppose. I wonder where the torch of anger is?

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