Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Enslaved to fear

Is it just me, or is there a determined effort by Government to keep us in fear?  If, in the UK, we can be kept fearful of terrorism, we can be persuaded to accept all sorts of inconveniences.  Similarly in the USA, but there is also a move (fuelled by the Tea-Party) to keep Americans in fear of Government itself.

I don’t deny that we face threats, and that we should expect government to provide some level of protection, but it has to be realistic.  Crossing the road is still more likely to kill me that Al-Qaeda.  When I was young I was taught to  “Look Right, Look Left, Look Right again; then if all is clear quick march” and that vastly reduced the threat to an appropriate level.  The government does not feel that it needs to keep me in fear of being run over, yet I am supposed to be fearful of being killed by terrorists and should hence be compliant in accepting anything done in the name of security.

Now for me, “accepting security” means avoiding London and tolerating the occasional idiocy such as removing a webbing and plastic belt so it can go through an airport x-ray machine, whilst I walk through the security doorway, holding up my trousers (which have metal zips and buttons)!  But this apparently makes me safer – and makes others safer – so it is anti-social to complain.  If I lived in an urban area and was brown-skinned (or worse, wore the garb of a Muslim), I would have to “accept” far greater restrictions on my lifestyle that go beyond idiocy.  Such restrictions would alienate me from the “free West”.

Yet I feel the establishment has a lot to gain in the short-term, if it can teach us to love “big state”.  We become infantilized and acquiescent, we become less likely to protest and it is easier for the establishment to maintain themselves in power (irrespective of the actual political colour of our government).

Is this what the Tea-Party is protesting about in the USA – or have they been persuaded to fear Government itself?  Americans have always seemed to need an enemy whether that is Liquor, Nazis, Commies, “Bad Folk”, Socialists (like Obama!), or now even Government.  Listening to their “diagnosis” of Obama as Socialist convinces me that they are neurotic or possibly paranoid and have an over-weaning desire to feel under-attack.  The people behind the Tea-Party have a lot to gain if they can win over not just republicans mourning loss of power, but also impatient democrats who believe that you should be able to fix the consequences of eight years of George Bush and a US-Bank driven recession in just 18 months.  They could make Reagan look like a socialist and propel a true loony-tune to the presidency in 2012/3.

Should we in the UK be worried?  Well, because we are “under threat” we have been taught that we should cosy up to our “closest ally”. If that is the case we should consider whether they are a reliable ally.  Are they minded to have concern for their allies, or are they isolationist (either through conscious choice or through incapability)?  What are their instincts and are they in-line with ours; are they vindictive and vengeful, or deliberate and determined?

I am fearful.


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