Fearing Fear and the Fear Mongers

Paul Krugman points out the dangers of fearing fear itself, as the fear mongers continue to make it a focal point in the upcoming presidential election:

In America’s darkest hour, Franklin Delano Roosevelt urged the nation not to succumb to “nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror.” But that was then.

Today, many of the men who hope to be the next president — including all of the candidates with a significant chance of receiving the Republican nomination — have made unreasoning, unjustified terror the centerpiece of their campaigns…

Krugman goes on to say:

All of this would be funny if it weren’t so serious.

In the wake of 9/11, the Bush administration adopted fear-mongering as a political strategy. Instead of treating the attack as what it was — an atrocity committed by a fundamentally weak, though ruthless adversary — the administration portrayed America as a nation under threat from every direction.

Most Americans have now regained their balance. But the Republican base, which lapped up the administration’s rhetoric about the axis of evil and the war on terror, remains infected by the fear the Bushies stirred up — perhaps because fear of terrorists maps so easily into the base’s older fears, including fear of dark-skinned people in general.

And the base is looking for a candidate who shares this fear.

Just to be clear, Al Qaeda is a real threat, and so is the Iranian nuclear program. But neither of these threats frightens me as much as fear itself — the unreasoning fear that has taken over one of America’s two great political parties.

Really, truly, “the only thing to fear is the fear mongers.”

Oh, and just in time for Halloween, we have predictions on the race from at least one dead president. Some days I just want to say… wake me when it’s over.

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4 Responses to Fearing Fear and the Fear Mongers

  1. Pingback: Fearing Fear and the Fear Mongers | Political news - democrats republicans socialists greens liberals conservatives

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  3. Virginia Cotts says:

    Thanks to Tom for his clear example of conservative argument. Don’t respond with specifics, just generalities and labels will do.

    As a fairly intelligent, independent thinking liberal, I find Krugman a valuable read almost all the time. He brings information and insight into his subjects that few liberals articulate as well as he does.

    Always good to know what really hits the conservatives enough to respond.

  4. Larry says:

    If the GOP has used the fear of terrorism to gain power, then can the Democrats be accused of doing the same with global warming?