Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Nothing stirs up the American policymaking community like talking about crime. This is understandable when crime skyrockets, but anxiety levels have remained high even as America's crime rate has descended to its lowest level in 40 years.
~ from Why Is Crime in the US at a Historic Low? by Sudhir Venkatesh ~
We live in a very fear-based society. Americans own guns in droves. We install security systems and the well-to-do live in gated communities with their own security personnel. The lead story on almost any local news station is a murder, rape, robbery or some other violent crime, yet, as Venkatesh points out above, violent crime is at a 40-year low.

Americans are scared of all the crime supposedly committed by "illegal aliens," but immigration from the south is a trickle compared to what it used to be. And, of course, we're scared of the next mass terrorist attack, though there hasn't been one of those in a decade.

In many ways, we are scared of nothing more than bogeymen created by politicians trying to scare people enough to vote for them. When a person is frightened, he/she is more apt to hand over power to those they believe can protect them. And so, the corporate/political class has conspired to keep the people -- you and me -- as terrified as possible.

Yes, they have molded us into a gelatinous blob of molten fear!

As long as we barricade ourselves in our homes fearful that the front door will be broken down any second -- more apt to happen from the police than a criminal -- we will continue gladly not to object as more of our basic rights and freedoms are removed for "our safety and peace of mind."

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