Civilization, in fact, grows more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary. Wars are no longer waged by the will of superior men, capable of judging dispassionately and intelligently the causes behind them and the effects flowing out of them. The are now begun by first throwing a mob into a panic; they are ended only when it has spent its ferine fury.
~ H.L. Mencken

Because I spend so much time outside of the USA, when I'm home and watch TV it is so obvious how much fear based propaganda comes out of the idiot tube. Some subtle, some not so subtle.

There was a time when being an American meant something. It meant a spirit of freedom and a willingness to take on anyone that would deny us of that freedom. An individual or a country, Americans were known for not backing down. Right or wrong, we stood up for ourselves, our family and our country.

But now we seem to live in a state of media-hyped fear of everything. From the latest strain of the flu to unknown terrorist to the fear of not having money, the media, with the government’s support, keeps most Americans afraid of not only their own shadow but everyone else’s’ shadow.

But with that fear mongering, comes a solution. A new drug, a new government program, a new “War on”, new laws, new restrictions. All supposedly designed to keep us safe from others and ourselves.

Of course we will lose some rights or will take away the rights of others but in the interest of security, most Americans will readily agree.

I think I first started noticing this when pharmaceutical companies were allowed to advertise on TV. I think this was back in the 90s sometime and I remember an advertisement for something heart related that was a man going about his day with a hospital bed following him around through his office, on the street, etc. just waiting for him to fall over from a heart attack. The commercial was more about fear of a heart attack than what the drug actually did for you.

Today little has change. I seldom watch the news but when I do, it is all about fear. Fear from another country, fear from another religion, fear from a new stain of flu…and it goes on and on.

I don’t think I was ever as ashamed of a president then I was when Bush made the comment that Iraq was a grave danger to the USA. Really? Iraq? Did anyone even look at the map to see where this country was before accepting his lies?

The end result of this is a society of weak, fat and unhealthy citizens that are scared to do anything unless the get some type of validation from the TV or the government.

We are told how to drive, what to drive, what to eat, where we can and cannot go, what papers to carry, who to be afraid of and who to trust. And it is mostly sold as being for our own good.

What kind of life is it when you live in fear? What is the quality of your life when you live in fear that your next breath might be your last (so take our new and improved drug!) or that some country on the other side of the world is going to bomb us (so we must strike first, right?) or that if we go 5 miles over the posted speed limit, we automatically become a danger to ourselves and others?

Fuck that, I refuse to live my life in fear. My life will end, tomorrow, next year, or in one minute. I won’t live in fear until that time.

I will live my life on my own terms and damn the consequences.