Saturday, August 20, 2011

The politics of fear

Fear is all around us these days. It seems regardless of one's personality there is something to be afraid of. Fear of terrorists. Fear of economic collapse. Fear of losing one's livelihood. Fear of losing health and not being able to pay for care. Fear of immigrants. Fear of the future. Fear of the present.

I have been convinced for some time that our political philosophies (if one can call them that) that dominate the popular mind revolves around fear. It would seem that all sides are afraid of something. And this fear dictates how people wish the state to behave.

On the right I find that we are afraid of the external. Things we are not capable of controlling that are outside of us. This often is the foreigner, the government bureaucrat, and often our fellow citizens. This group wishes two be left alone, not to be bothered by others, and absolved from all obligations hence.

On the left we find fear of life. They are afraid of non-personal factors. they fear the health market. The consequences of their own actions, such as unrestrained appetites of the sexual nature. They fear what they cannot control internally, and feel that they must be protected from life itself and hardship.

Both sides fear things and thus are driven to embrace ideologies that would seem to alleviate that fear. Everything is a crisis. The health market crisis. The terrorist crisis. The economic crisis. The ADIS crisis. The welfare crisis. Every challenge that as a society must face as if the world would end if not treated now with drastic measures.

And so as a society we bounce back and forth between the two types of fears, the external and the internal. We exhibit all the signs of a directionless and insecure society. We have lost any sense of direction. In short, we do nothing but be afraid.

This to me is based on a false notion of control. We tell ourselves if only society would listen and control what we say should be controlled everything would be fine. It is others, are told, that are the problem. They do not listen to us. They are simply stubborn. They want to distort then country, etc.

We believe that we have a control that is actually false. We believe that we can fix the important things. That by ourselves we can simply beat those who disagree with us (and therefore are evil) and everything will be right with the world.

And when things do not go our way and our philosophical goals are not met we give in to fear all the more. We vent and fume at the those who think differently than we do. They stand in our way. Our fellow citizen is now an obstacle to overcome, rather than a partner in a solution. They are stupid, evil, and selfish.

And so we remain fearful and divided. Fearful of each other, of the outsider, of life itself. Hardship is feared like the plague. We demand quick solutions that cause us no pain, for we are afraid we cannot endure.

How does this notion of fear come about? Why are we so afraid?

And are our fellow citizens really evil? Stupid? Selfish? I believe the answer in a sense is yes. And why I the that we will discus next.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

No comments: