A Nation Armed to the Teeth but Living in Fear
A new study by researchers at the University of Illinois in Urbana, showing that young children who are fearful in childhood are likely to be conservative when they grow up got me to thinking.
It’s not just that a whole generation of kids who get regularly belted by their parents, who are warned that if they behave in a certain manner they’ll go to hell, or that their faces will freeze in some horrible contorted way, or that they will be thrown out of the house, are becoming Republicans. It’s that virtually the whole country is populated by adults who have been raised in a climate of fear by a media and a government that are hell-bent on scaring the shit out of everyone.
The result is that a nation that once, for better or worse, was full of people who could strike out for unknown regions to stake a claim on land when they didn’t even know how to farm (land admittedly belonging to native Americans who could understandably be expected to react with aggressive hostility to being expropriated), who could weather brutal winters with nothing to get them through but a musket and a store of root vegetables in the cellar, who could stand up to the mightiest military of its day and throw off a colonial yoke and boldly create a new country, now cowers in fear at the imagined threats of a landlocked group of uneducated and incredibly poor people living in a country that is a throwback to the 16th century.
America is supposedly the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave,” as our unsingable national anthem puts it at its most unsingable point, but to tell the truth, it is no longer either of those things. Don't believe me? Just try telling a cop who stops you for standing off the side of the road with your thumb out and says you are breaking the law against hitchhiking, that he is wrong and that the law does not in fact bar thumbing. For exercising your right of free speech, even if you were polite about it, he will in response threaten you with arrest. Argue (which is your right), and you’re likely to be slammed against his vehicle, cuffed, and dragged off to the slammer. Never mind that the cop is wrong about the law, and that your charges will be tossed out later. If you resist, or mouth off further during this arrest process, you might even be tased. In the end, you are busted, probably bruised, too, and you’ll be detained for a couple of hours until your family can come spring you by paying an extortionate bail.
In an environment like this, you're not free, and the cop is certainly anything but brave. And that is the situation we're in today in the U.S.
When the Twin Towers in New York City were attacked and struck by two planes and collapsed, I agree it was a horrible shock, but at no point was the survival of the United States, or even of the American people, threatened. Even if you throw in the attack by a third plane on the Pentagon, which collapsed a section of the world’s biggest building, the US wasn’t facing any existential risk. But the reaction of the American public to this attack on 9-11-2001, encouraged mightily by the US government, was to hunker down, beg for police-state laws, and to stop all normal activity. (In fact, any serious damage to the US following those attacks was caused by the reaction of government, business and the people of the US to the event, not by the events themselves.)