We live in a dangerous world, full of violence, evil and uncertainty. As human being our instincts drive us to seek safety, to work for certainty, and to desire justice for wrongdoing because in these ways we feel that we contribute to some semblance of security in our community. It is an illusion. To a large extent we understand that safety, security, and justice are not absolute on our world and in our day to day lives… but we maintain the illusion because it gives us comfort. It makes us feel better about the tenuous state of affairs that our loved ones engage in every day – because in reality the illusion is the only thing we really have control over.
Do you know who else understand these feelings of fear? The government, our politicians, the elite class who we allow to govern our day to day. They not only understand these fears – they work in them, they contribute to them, the rely on them. Those who govern over us use our fear (for our family, our friends, our loved ones, and ourselves) to hold us hostage to the will of the majority. The majority says protect us, feed us, clothe us, heal us, teach us, take away the uncertainty, take away the responsibility, take away the fear! And so, our government does – they give us “free” education, they give us “free” healthcare, they give us our welfare programs, they give us our protectors… our protectors who can so easily become our jailors.
The ruling class feeds on our fears like animals at a trough. They warn us of disease, of masked men who would seek to do us harm, of the enemy at our gates! Why do they want us afraid? Our fear is the engine that drives their power – in the 1930’s we feared losing all we had and so our leaders began to develop the modern welfare state. Social Security will ensure that all Americans can live comfortably in their old age – how has that pipe dream worked out? Have you noticed how our older generations still struggle and many still have to work to make ends meet? What has social security wrought, other than drain our nation’s coffers, it has stoked the fire of fear in our older generations hearts. Today they vote with social security, Medicare, and Medicaid on their minds; because they fear what may happen to these programs. Why didn’t we let them keep their forty to fifty years of income and let them save for their own retirement? The rates of return on social security investments have never been better than other savings accounts, and they have been getting worse and worse as the program has aged.
In the 1940’s because of fear we allowed our government to imprison thousands of American citizens based solely on their ethnicity. Those citizens sued, and our Supreme Court, ever the arbiter of justice ruled that the government was well within it’s authority to do so! Years later, removed from the fear of our ethnic Japanese citizenry we apologized and even reimbursed them financially. Aren’t we magnanimous?
In the 1960’s we spent billions of dollars to race our enemies into space, and eventually all the way to the moon. Today we may romanticize the reasons for our heavenly journeys but the real reason for the space race was fear. We feared Soviet dominance of the skies and so we poured out our government’s energies on sending man and machine into orbit. Perhaps this seems like a small thing to trifle over but think of the monetary costs of the space programs over the last fifty years! The numbers are astronomical (though a fraction of what our many wars have cost), pun intended. Had we allowed private interests to do the work for us the costs would have been much less and the gains in technology much faster – just look at the advances in technology made by the private sector over the last 30 years since the government and military have begun turning over these areas to the private sector. Work that took the government decades was either discarded or vastly improved in a fraction of the time.
In the 1970’s and 80’s the drug culture invaded our conciseness and fears leading us to begin our decades long war on drugs. Where has that war brought us? Today the war rages on more violent than ever, the costs are staggeringly high, in both financial costs and human costs. In the last five years alone, almost 50,000 people have been killed in drug war related deaths in Mexico. Fifty thousand, in Mexico alone… how many more thousands of American citizens can we add to that roll? Our prisons are overflowing with boys who instead of attending college are being educated by criminals for crimes are oftentimes victimless. Should a person consuming or selling marijuana be punished in the same manner as a child abuser, rapist, or murderer? Over the last forty years we have spent over $1Trillion dollars fighting this war, and we have met none of our goals and we are losing. This monetary cost does not include the billions more we have spent in jailing people on what we term as “minor” drug offenses either. Isn’t it time to reevaluate how and why we are fighting this war?
Today our fears are plentiful; terrorists, unemployment, homelessness for once middle class families, healthcare – the list seems unending. Thus far in our new millennium we have allowed fear to create the Patriot Act which opened the door for the most egregious government access into our lives since the Alien and Sedition Acts of the Adams administration. No, neither President Bush or President Obama used the law to it’s fullest extent to batter the civil liberties of the “average” American citizen (that we know of)… but the point is they could have. The Patriot Act gave them legal access into areas of our lives that the government has never had before. All because of our fear. We let it happen. This new millennium has also seen our fear allow itself to masquerade as “HOPE” and we elected a man who told us how he would take away our rights long before he ever fought to do so. It gave us socialized Healthcare, because we allowed the fear the Democrat Party bred in us to make us worry that our children and senior citizens would die without it. Sure, healthcare costs have been rising steadily for years – but why not allow the private sector to ease those costs? The government used our fear to dramatically change its relationship to us by taking control of our medical industry, and we allowed it. Fear has given us bank bailouts, automotive industry bailouts, and bailouts of seemingly anyone and everyone who is not an average American. The banks were not to big to fail, but we feared they were. It would have been extremely painful to let them fail, to let the auto industry fall into bankruptcy and lay of thousands… but it would have been the right thing to do,
I believe Americans are getting tired of fear, I hope they are getting tired of fear. It is time that we recognize that life is an uncertain thing and that danger will always be a part of the fallen human condition. We must realize that it our own duty to protect our family as best we can, it is our responsibility to provide for ourselves, it is our purpose to see that justice be done when wrong is committed. We must stop trying to lay our responsibilities at the feet of our government, because the government will try and take responsibility… but they will also take everything else that comes with that responsibility. We cannot purchase security – in fact all we have done is purchase the illusion of security at the cost of our freedom. It is high time we get a refund.