May 5, 2008
How many times has humanity been held back by fear? Fear is the most effective emotion in the survival of humans. Hiding from a saber-toothed tiger saved prehistoric man, but it did not feed him. As life expectancies rose, fear expanded from saving lives into the social arena. Rather than reacting to fear, humans have learned to use fear. For all the songs and poems written about “Love” there are more tickets sold to rollercoasters and horror movies. Fear of damnation, fear of ostracism, fear of punishment. Fear those who differ in origin, in denomination, in tolerance. Terrorism, be afraid. The manipulators of fear know that by scaring people real power can be seized. Current manipulators agree with “The Onion” in 2001, “Our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity is finally over.” Use of fear wields THE tool for exercising power, i.e. hatred, simple hatred. Hate corrodes our values: reason, fairness, decency, justice and mercy. President Roosevelt said, “… the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” None call for sacrifice in order to advance. It is not advancement the fearful seek, it is conservatism. Locked behind their gated communities, sealed in their sects, their children tucked in private academies, their wealth protected by military might, conservatives are captives of the fear of their own making. There are no appeals to higher ideals, only to self-interest and self-indulgence, but the tigers are long gone.