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Is there a certain group that needs fear?

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  • Is there a certain group that needs fear?

    I started reading some blogs about climate change when I came across a climate change article while doing the stumble upon thing.

    I noticed something about the "sky is falling" ones. They sound much like the "terrorists are going to kill us all" or "immigration is going to destroy us" blogs that I often run across.

    All of them take basic information and blow them out of proportion.

    I wonder if a certain sub group just needs, really needs, a boogy man. They require something to fear. They find their life pointless without a bad thing.

    I also wonder if the cold war was still going full bore out would these issues be as front and center.

    I think not. They would be fringe issues that would creep in occasionally but as soon as the USSR clamped down on another satellite they would fade back into the background.

    I don't mean to say that illegal immigration or climate change aren't important. I just wonder if the reaction to them would be as great.

    Really I wonder what the internet and all the blogs would look like if the cold war was still going on. Many of you probably don't remember what it was like in the early 80's. The threat of nuclear war with Russia was real. War with Russia was not ever an actual threat. Their armies where large but largely ineffectual. They could probably (maybe) defend the mother land from invasion but they never posed any real threat to NATO countries or those NATO looked over.

    But nuclear war was a real fear and it gripped the world. It was actually more real than most realized.

    So what would a world connect by such huge tubes look like with a 70's era USSR?
    Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
    - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
    - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
    - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
    - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
    - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
    - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

  • #2
    Re: Is there a certain group that needs fear?

    We live in a country and society that is constantly bombarding us with fear from all directions 24\7. Fear of germs, car wrecks, weather, terrorist attacks, war, the economy, insurance policy coverage, hygiene and cleanliness, beauty and attractiveness, fitting in with current trends, work instability and career focus, money, bills, debt, creditors, news, TV personalities, political alignment, body image, nutrition, social status, level of education, and on and on and on.

    For a government, fear is an essential tool if it is to maintain control over a populace. External threats work best since they create less internal instability which makes governance harder, and promotes a sense of collective nationalism against foreign enemies. This gives the government a continued license to perpetuate its authority and legitimacy in the eyes of its citizens.

    The USSR was a good external national enemy, and a global nuclear holocaust made total war impractical. I'd imagine if the internet and all its different communications technologies were around, it would have been more complicated for the propaganda arms of both countries to dominate the political dialog for so long, much less the limited news coverage from newspapers and the few major TV networks here in the U.S.

    If the internet was around in the 70s, it would look similar to how it is today. For example, the first few minutes after the 2008 wall street crash, news was traveling around the globe instantly in texts, e-mails, phone calls, faxes, instant messages, and on internet blogs and message boards. Anybody from New York to Fiji that had the internet would be aware that something was going down as it was happening. Shortly thereafter, anybody from anywhere in the political, socio-economic, or educational spectrum can post their thoughts on the event from anywhere on the entire planet! Imagine how an event like the Cuban missle crisis would have played out at this speed?

    The volume of all this information has become so incredibly dense, all news has become a niche. You can essentially listen to a news station that caters exclusively to only information that you want to hear. There is much less rational, civilized, and honest open debate between people of differing views. There is a LOT more yelling, unfair one sided debate, and general cacophony that has replaced it.

    The government has adapted well though, and can employ the use of spin doctors, TV personalities, and PR companies to shape and direct the nature of public debate in their favor. Anyone who holds an unfavorable (although legitimate) view can be drowned out simply by the bombardment of more favorable information to the government's cause.

    Communism was a good enemy, but terrorism is the perfect enemy. It can happen anywhere, any time, by anybody, and for any reason. It has been around since the dawn of time in myriads of forms, and can never be defeated (unlike a state actor like the USSR). The perpetuation of government power is assured since the threat will never go away. Fear, power, and profit is the root of what drives our industrial, military, spy, and media complexes today. Fear, whether real or fabricated, is a staple of living in the modern post-industrial world. It's only natural to exploit it if you have the power to do so.
    Last edited by aeroripper; 12-19-2009, 05:01 AM. Reason: spelling\phrasing
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    • #3
      Re: Is there a certain group that needs fear?

      Wow. That's deep. Coming to this realization that so much is simply based on fear, almost makes me more apathetic to even more. How depressing! :(
      "Common sense is not so common." -Voltaire


      • #4
        Re: Is there a certain group that needs fear?

        I'm not sure if there is a group of people that use "fear" as a driving force in their lives. Perhaps it is that there are persons out in the world that buy into the worse predictions simply because they're gullible?


        • #5
          Re: Is there a certain group that needs fear?

          The humans ego needs to create an external enemy to distract from the real enemy which is the ego itself.

          After creating these imaginary enemies, the imaginary enemies become real.

          How many people could come to terms that their own mind is trying to hurt them most of the time, instead of help them? Very few.


          • #6
            Re: Is there a certain group that needs fear?

            How many people could come to terms that their own mind is trying to hurt them most of the time, instead of help them? Very few.
            I wouldn't say its trying to hurt them, but rather a built in survival mechanism in action. Better off being irrationally afraid and vigilant, than not paying attention to potential causes of death. I'm sure this mechanism has helped our species survive throughout millions of years, but it can be exploited by those looking to control groups of people. Every government in the history of man has used this knowledge to stay in power.

            We're not really that much different than early man, except our tools and social adaptations have become very sophisticated since we've been stuck on this rock for so long.

            I think we can all agree this scene is aptly fitting:

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            • #7
              Re: Is there a certain group that needs fear?

              Control itself is a response to fear. People seek out control of others to keep out the uncertainty that they fear. My own fear is of others controlling me, so I tend to be libertarian. I suspect that those who seek more control fear independence.

              I question how likely it is that governments seek out sources of fear to control the populace. OTOH, the global warming email leaks suggest that those who fear warming sought control over the interpretations of their opponents to insure their own fears weren't undermined.

              The media sell fear because people love to buy it, and that in turn generates revenue. That's just simple economics, and you don't need any evil to explain it.
              Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

              snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

              Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."


              • #8
                Re: Is there a certain group that needs fear?

                There is some truth in the fact that people like to be afraid...

                Now when I say this I'm talking more of people enjoy being scared for limited periods of time as appose to a climate of fear encompassing their everyday lives. People subject themselves to fearful situations almost every day. Many seek the adrenalin rush associated with such fear. Roller coasters being an example of such, horror movies another one. Some people just like to be scared.

                As for political fear... To be honest I think it boils down to motivation. Most people are in many ways complacent middle of the road people. Now there are two ways to motivate people; the carrot, and the stick. Positive reinforcement, and negative reinforcement. As almost anyone can tell you it is a lot easier to incite a response with negative reinforcement then it is positive.

                This is not to say that the results are better with negative reinforcement. In many situations you get better results with positive reinforcement over time. But 'time' is the key. Where the outcome maybe better if you encourage people join your cause you get a lot quicker response if you get them to fear the opposition instead.




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