Crises, Fear, and Big Brother Statism

Statists love to ramp up fear and panic to control the masses:

We live in an age in which most governments are simply running with one crisis to the next, and are resorting to rule by fear. What better way to control the masses and increase your power than to exploit – or manufacture – emergencies and crises, and then ramp up the fear factor?

Keeping the people in constant fear and panic, and promising them that the State exists to keep them safe, like a warm-hearted nanny, is an ideal way in which politicians can increase their control. And the amazing thing is, the masses are quite happy to simply go along with all this. The fearful are so very easily manipulated.

The hype and hysteria about Covid provide a perfect example of all this. In the name of keeping us safe, governments have robbed the people blind of their most basic and most fundamental human rights and freedoms. And most folks seem to love it. How many of these folks would readily do almost anything if they were told by the authorities that this would protect them from the Rona?

As commentator Nick Cater recently put it:

The big problem is that public policy over the past 18 months has not been driven by reason – it has been driven by fear. The public are genuinely fearful of the virus. Many people are telling the state governments to go harder, because they have been told that Covid is very dangerous. We are caught in a feedback loop, a vortex of fear, where politicians can no longer act sensibly because they have to respond to public fear. If they opened up now people would go berserk and say that it’s not safe to go outside.

 

Working for a policy think tank, we at the Menzies Research Centre have really been banging our heads against a brick wall for the past 18 months, thinking that there must, surely, be other approaches out there. I have come to the conclusion that the government has lost control. It has to obey this mantra of fear, and as a result of that it takes no risks whatsoever….

 

Nobody is prepared to put up with the slightest amount of risk. Wherever risk occurs the government has to deal with it. We are in this ‘every granny’s life is sacred’ zone, where we are unable to make public-policy or health decisions as we normally would, by looking at the costs to life and assessing where resources should go. From the very beginning we haven’t been allowed to make that calculation. www.spiked-online.com/2021/08/16/were-trapped-in-a-vortex-of-fear/  

Life is all about risks, and learning to live with them. We all want to be safe, but at what cost? As Dennis Prager writes, we need to be aware of “The Dangers of Pursuing Safety Above All Else”. He explains:

I have never led my life on the basis of “until it’s safe.” I do not take ridiculous risks. I wear a seatbelt whenever I’m in a car because the chances are overwhelming that in a bad accident, a seatbelt can save my life. But I get into the car, which is not 100% safe. You are not on Earth to be safe. You are on Earth to lead a full life. I don’t want my epitaph to be “He led a safe life.” It’s like another epitaph I don’t want: “He experienced as little pain as possible.”

 

The nature of this world is such that if you aim for 100% safety and no pain, you don’t live. I have visited 130 countries, some of which were not particularly safe. Safe, as in “no risk,” doesn’t exist. Accepting that there are degrees of safety and balancing risk with reward are part of the reason I’ve led a rich life….

 

I’m thinking of a trivial example, but life is filled with trivial examples. Most of life is not major moments. If I am at a restaurant and my fork or knife falls, I pick it up and use it. They rush over to give me a new one, like I am flirting with death if I take the fork from the floor. My view is that there’s no reason to come over. The fork fell on the floor. What did it pick up—diphtheria? Am I going to get pancreatic cancer from a fork that fell? I’m not troubled by these things. “Safe” is going to suppress your joy of life.

 

When I was 21 years old, I was sent to the Soviet Union to smuggle in religious items for Soviet Jews and to smuggle out names of Jews who wanted to escape the Soviet Union. It wasn’t safe. I was in a totalitarian state, smuggling things in and out. But it was one of the most important things I’ve done in my life. Not to mention a life-transforming experience.

 

Before I went, I told my father about my plans. We both knew it wasn’t safe. I’ll never forget what my father said: “Dennis, I spent two and a half years on a Navy ship in World War II, fighting in the Pacific. So you can take risks for a month.” Yes, he was worried. But this was a man who, despite having a wife and child, enlisted in the U.S. Navy to fight in World War II. He was an officer on a troop transport ship, a prime target of the Japanese. He wasn’t safe.

 

The World War II generation has been dubbed “the greatest generation.” Part of what made them great was the last thing they would ever ask was “Is it safe?” If you want to lead a good and full life, you cannot keep asking “Is it safe?” Those at college promoting “safe spaces” are afraid of life, and they want to make you afraid of life.

 

We’re going crazy on the “safe” issue. It’s making police states. That’s my worry: In the name of safety, many Americans are dropping all other considerations. “Is it safe?” shouldn’t be the overarching element in your life. Pick the fork up. Wipe it off and use it. www.dailysignal.com/2020/05/22/the-dangers-of-pursuing-safety-above-all-else/

A related articles speaks about “Why an Obsession with Safety Creates Sick Minds and a Sick Society”. It begins:

Our age has been called many things, but an age of cowards may best describe it given the immense fear, anxiety and helplessness that most people display in the face of even trivial threats. We are not a generation that moves forward into the uncertain future in a bold and heroic manner, instead most people fear the future and prefer safety, comfort, and ease of life, to risk-taking, experimentation and freedom….

 

Overawed by uncertainty, fearing the future, conceptualizing oneself as vulnerable, weak, and fragile is not a recipe for individual or social flourishing. Rather this way of life promotes mental illness and paves the way for authoritarian rule and so, as we will explore in this video, the world would benefit if more people were willing to live just a little more dangerously. For danger, when a by-product of pursuing worthwhile goals or in defence of values like freedom, justice or peace, is life-promoting and as the Roman historian Tacitus put it “the desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise”.

 

Not all societies, however, have ranked safety as high on the scale of values as does the modern West. Many flourishing societies of the past considered safety to be a secondary value and showed a remarkable capacity to take risks in the face of an uncertain future and to display courage and bravery in the presence of danger….

 

A further flaw with an approach to the future that strongly favours the safe road is that it creates fertile ground for tyrannical, or even totalitarian rule, for as Alexander Hamilton famously stated: “to be more safe they at length become willing to run the risk of being less free”. When a society elevates safety to the position of a first-order value, freedom is by necessity demoted to the position of a second-order value which can be trampled on by those in power who, throughout history, have disguised tyrannical intentions with claims of wanting to make a society safer. What makes matters worse is if a society socializes people to be fearful of the future and overawed by uncertainty, the masses will welcome, or openly call for authority figures to protect them. academyofideas.com/2021/07/why-an-obsession-with-safety-creates-sick-minds-and-a-sick-society/

That is exactly where we are now at with the Covid hysteria. Masses of scared and panicky people are readily handing over all their freedoms and basic human rights to the Saviour State, just as long as they can be “kept safe”. But as Benjamin Franklin once said: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Image of A State of Fear: How the UK government weaponised fear during the Covid-19 pandemic
A State of Fear: How the UK government weaponised fear during the Covid-19 pandemic by Array Amazon logo

Many books have already been written about how leaders thrive on fear and panic to gain and keep control. Let me bring to your attention just a few important recent books which deal with these themes, with four of the six specifically focusing on the Covid crisis:

Laura Dodsworth, A State of Fear: How the UK Government Weaponised Fear During the Covid-19 (Pinter & Martin, 2021)
Niall Ferguson, Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe (Penguin, 2021)
Frank Furedi, How Fear Works: Culture of Fear in the Twenty-First Century (Bloomsbury Continuum, 2018)
Nicole Saphier, Panic Attack: Playing Politics with Science in the Fight Against COVID-19 (Broadside Books, 2021)
Marc Siegel, COVID: The Politics of Fear and the Power of Science (Turner, 2020)
Augusto Zimmermann, ed., Fundamental Rights in the Age of COVID-19 (Connor Court, 2020)

I close with just one quote, from the very important Dodsworth volume. While dealing with the situation in the UK, it is fully relevant to the scene down under:

People are notoriously bad at judging risk and numbers, but we substantially over-estimated the dangers. And this wasn’t helped by the daily reports from the government and media. We heard about new cases, but never the recoveries. Hospital admissions but not discharges were reported. We were given numbers of daily deaths, but largely without the context that about 1,600 people die every day in the UK anyway.

 

By the end of March 2021, just 689 people under the age of 60 with no co-morbidities had died from Covid in England and Wales according to NHS England. The average age of death with Covid was 82.3 years – one year more than the average life expectancy in Britain. Of course, all the deaths associated with Covid count, but if these facts had been widely reported and people had realised it was a disease which was primarily dangerous to the elderly and otherwise unwell, then ‘a substantial number of people’ would probably not ‘feel sufficiently personally threatened’.

 

One government report said that lockdown could cause 200,000 people to die as a result of delays in healthcare and economic effects, also equating to one million years of life lost….

 

The government, public health bodies and the media used alarmist language throughout the epidemic. Big numbers, steep red lines on graphs, the use of selective information, careful psychological messaging and emotive advertising created a blitzkrieg of daily fear bombs.

Exactly right. There is a clear correlation between our rising levels of fear and paranoia and the amount of truth and facts NOT being shared by our governments and media.

[1885 words]

17 Replies to “Crises, Fear, and Big Brother Statism”

  1. I wonder what the 300 Spartans thought the night before going to battle with the Persian army of over quarter of a million. I wonder what they would think of the so called men in this generation.
    John Abbott

  2. I wonder at the factor of being in not only a post-Christian West, but a post-secular West, where all sorts of empty ‘spiritual’ rhetoric floats around without real hope. People are now terrified…or they love being terrified because it gives them a ‘mission’ and a break from routine.

    Yet the Christian church is completely complicit, another hope-free fear filled group that has none of the courage or perspective of Paul who prayed for…boldness! Do we pray for boldness, do we seek creative ways to conduct our mission in these bizarre time, do we seek to to deal with the unwarranted fear that infects almost everyone?

    The church, in the form of this hired help (the paid Christians), has been as useful as a wet donut.

  3. Bill, Aside from the stark comparison that can be drawn between proposed vaccination passports and the wearing of gold stars, there is also the Rev 13 spectre that is conjured up by moves to limit movement and ability to transact within society. Receiving a mark indicating one’s vaccination status to enable one to buy goods and services with impunity is no longer within the domain of the far-fetched, delusional or fringe dwelling conspiracists.
    As an aside to all this, I still shake my head and wonder at those who thought that Trump was the manifestation of the Anti-Christ or the beast or something else of that ilk. The list of things and achievements that were diametrically opposite to this concept is mind bogglingly long, yet there are those who would say that socialism and the like is our salvation.
    It has been years since I was immersed in the sphere of the political. As a candidate, party member and party official. Ill health removed me from that scene and yet there is still a part of me that yearns for the fight. Much like a former footballers’ yearning is mitigated by his aching bones but still wishes he could pull on a pair of boots. It is a shame that the dearth of talent in the political realm has deepened rather than been enriched and I am saddened by all the weak willed, dim-witted, ignorant, namby pambies that call themselves christians in this day and age.

  4. Bill, I’m AFRAID(!!!!) that you are correct in this analysis. Freedom is Number ONE, especially freedom in Christ, which makes all fears diminish. But power is too attractive to our crazy leaders, who will not let it go – just to save us.

  5. It seems to me that beginning with the fear of God rather than Covid is a better idea.
    I have just finished writing a Covid vaxx death/injury summary. I am hoping to present it to the principal of the Christian School where my grand daughters attend. Feel free to use and pass on.
    Vaccine Safety Report
    The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) Australia publishes a weekly Covid vaccine safety report. On the 26th of August 2021 the report included 476 post vaccine death reports and 48,143 ‘adverse events’. COVID-19 vaccine weekly safety report – 26-08-2021 | Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)
    This euphemism does not mean headaches, fatigue or rashes. It includes heart attacks, heart inflammation, strokes and paralysis.
    The TGA does not accept every report sent to it. The TGA has thousands of reports that have not been entered into the system. Most deaths and life destroying reactions are not sent to the TGA. The reasons for this are; people do not know about it, a doctor convinces them it is not related, people are overwhelmed by grief or caring for a disabled family member or friend or they are not confident to access the system. Long term auto-immune reactions are completely missed.
    A US study completed by Harvard in 2009 found that less than 1% of vaccine injuries were reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). They found the true rate of vaccine injury was one in 39 people (2010 Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality 2010). A CDC Whistleblower has provided a sworn statement that deaths are conservatively at least five times higher than reported. VAERS Whistleblower: “45,000 Dead From Covid-19 Vaccines Within 3 Days of Vaccination”, Sparks Lawsuit Against Federal Government – Rights and Freedoms (wordpress.com)
    The latest VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) report in the US (August 20 2021) states that 13,627 people have died post Covid vaccination. There have also been 55,821 hospitalisations and 623,341 serious injuries. (openvaers.com) This may represent less than 1% of deaths and injuries. ‘The number of vaccine-related deaths since the emergency approval of the COVID-19 jab have exceeded the number of deaths recorded for all vaccines combined in the last 29 years.’ http://www.christianitydaily.com
    In UK the yellow card system reported (12 August 2021) 1,596 post vaccination deaths and 1,151768 serious injuries. yellowcard.ukcolumn.org/yellow-card-reports
    The European data base, EudraVigilance reports 17,503 deaths and 1,687,527 serious injuries post Covid vaccination. See: Suspected Deaths and Injuries From Vaccines In Europe | peckford42 (wordpress.com) for analysis of Moderna, Pfizer, Astra Zeneca and Janssen statistics.
    Covid 19 has for most people a more than 99% survival rate. Many epidemiologists and health professionals state that the vaccines are creating the variants. (https://rairfoundation.com/bombshell-nobel-prize-winner-reveals-covid-vaccine-is-creating-variants/
    Covid vaccines do not protect against the virus and do not contain infection. In a recent Massachusetts infection, over 75% of patients had been vaccinated. CDC study shows 74% of people infected in Massachusetts Covid outbreak were fully vaccinated (cnbc.com) Israel has 78% of the population vaccinated yet has one of the world’s top rates of infection. Dr Charles Roffe explains how deaths and injuries are caused by the action of spike protein which causes microscopic blood clots throughout the body. How the Jab Works, Why It Causes Blood Clots at a Microscopic Level – Forbidden Knowledge TV How many more people will die or be severely injured before the truth is told?

  6. Thanks Bill.
    This obsession with safety reminds me of the “safety first” batsmen in cricket in days gone by. A particular disease of English batsmen, but by no means exclusively so, was the concern to be “not out at stumps”. Whether he had made any runs along the way in the day’s play was neither here nor there—supremely irrelevant! The important thing was that he hadn’t done anything foolish, nothing out of line, no rash shots; he had kept an end up, and “held the side together”. He was “not out at stumps”, and as such was the cricketing hero, or so it was believed. Any wonder spectators at the time thought that cricket as a game was finished: it was so boring as a spectacle, and served no purpose as a competitive sport.

    But what we have here is no mere game: our country’s future as a free democracy is at stake, and the horrific prospect we face is tin pot dictators, alias state premiers, having shut down parliaments, and issuing arbitrary decrees to a frightened populace, and backing up their executive power with a militia-style, Gestapo-like police force. I view the situation so seriously that I have joined the Reignite Democracy Party, and seek to play my part in hopefully dismantling this move to a totalitarian state.

    Also, this propaganda urging us to drop our concerns for freedom in the name of “safety” reminds me also of the regime of Robespierre in revolutionary France: what was the department which sent thousands to the guillotine? Answer: “The Committee for Public SAFETY”! Let that never be forgotten. We may not have reached that stage yet, but already there are calls, and even plans, for unvaccinated people to be herded into quarantine settlements, or something similar, the new version of concentration camps, or Gulags.

  7. Hi Bill, I’m a recent convert from Islam which teaches respect for authority. I see the same edict in the Bible in Romans 13. My spiritual advisor referred me to Romans when I showed her one of your recent posts.

    I got vaccinated on medical advice as I’m over 60 so I’m confused by some of the views I see here from you and other Christians. Could you please explain more about how I should approach scripture as a new believer.

  8. Thanks Battid. Three replies if I may:

    One, this post was about how governments so often exploit a crisis and use fear to maintain control and power over the masses. That is something we see happening plenty now and in history. A crisis is used to ramp up hysteria and fear, making it much easier for people to become willing to surrender their freedoms and basic human rights. Freedom matters, and so do human rights. They are not something the state gives us nor something the state can take away. Freedoms and rights come from God, and we all should be concerned when we see the state becoming more authoritarian – and seeks to take the place of God – as it snatches away our essential civil liberties.

    Two, as I have often said, those who want to get the vaccine, or take on board any of the other measures being pushed are free to do so. I will not try to block their freedom of choice in this regard. But in the same way, those who have legitimate questions about things like vaccines should also have their right to choose as well. Thus my very grave concerns about things like mandatory vaccines and vaccine passports.

    Three, I have written often on Romans 13 and the biblical understanding of what the proper role of government is. Yes, generally speaking we are to submit to civil authorities, but the state is not absolute, and at times the believer must resist or disobey the state. See these three pieces for starters: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2020/05/15/the-state-is-not-absolute/

    And here: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2014/12/03/difficult-bible-passages-romans-131-7/

    And here: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2020/05/05/christianity-and-the-state/

    Hopefully reading these pieces will help you understand where I – and other Christians – are coming from on these sorts of issues. Thanks for your thoughts.

  9. We now have the IPCC turning up the panic porn to 11.

    Sex may sell, but fear controls.

  10. Thank you Bill for taking time to answer my questions. I have read the pieces you recommended and I see that wise judgment is needed to discern when we can ignore certain scripture passages.

    But are we not all biased in our political views? There seems great difficulty in discerning whether our worldly predispositions are affecting our judgment about the decisions of our statesmen. I take a generous view of our state and federal leaders that they seem genuinely to want to do best for the citizens and listen to the wisest medical advice. If we disagree with policies we do live in a democracy and can judge accordingly at elections. I am also mindful here of Matthew 7 that I must judge fairly.

    I am a civil engineer and can work from home during Melbourne lockdown as do my colleagues. I feel sorry for those in occupations that cannot work but I understand they receive government compensation. We seem much better off than most other countries.

    Our governments seem to be planning for a future return to normal soon and I pray that God guides our leaders to wise judgment.

  11. Thanks again Battid. And let me again reply. I did not say nor imply that ‘we can ignore certain scripture passages.’ My point is we must judge all of Scripture together, and not pull texts out of context, or ignore all of the biblical revelation. Thus a basic principle of Bible interpretation is to compare scripture with scripture. If Romans 13 were the only text on the state and how believers interact with it, that would be one thing. But it is not – there are hundreds of texts that speak directly or indirectly to this matter, so we must take all of them together. So when we read in Acts for example of believers disobeying the state, those passages must be equally considered and weighed up. We are not to ignore any passage of Scripture, but we are to seek to properly interpret them in the light of the whole Bible.

    Yes we are all biased, including politically. And that would include yourself as well. If we want to be fully biblical, we must take seriously all the key biblical themes. One of these is the sinfulness and selfishness of man. We are all sinners fixated on self, and that is our natural orientation, apart from God’s grace. Related to this, the Bible warns from Genesis to Revelation about the dangers of sinful leaders and arrogant rulers. One of the big themes of Scripture is how evil rulers can do so much damage and injustice. Scripture takes these matters seriously. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    So we must avoid unbiblical extremes here. If some believers think all governments and leaders are only always evil and corrupt, and that we all should be anarchists – that is an unbiblical extreme. But so too is the view that all our rulers – mostly pagan – are wonderful, selfless and caring people who only want the very best for us. Such credulity, gullibility and naivety is also not helpful – nor is it biblical. The Bible speaks over and over again about speaking truth to power, and holding arrogant and power-hungry leaders to account. Even King David grossly abused his power and privilege at times, and was roundly rebuked for it. So we must be realistic and biblical here – not naïve and unbiblical. See more on these matters here: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2020/09/25/speaking-truth-to-power/

    It is terrific that you can work from home and keep your income rolling in. That is NOT true for hundreds of thousands of people because of these disproportionate and draconian lockdowns. Tens of thousands of businesses have already been lost, and countless livelihoods destroyed – many forever lost. How many suicides and bouts of mental health have occurred because of all this?

    The biblical Christian cares about ALL people. We care about those who might get Covid – although we know that 99% of those who get it will have mild cases. We also care for children, teens and adults who are struggling right now, suiciding, missing out on other hospital care, and experiencing all the other problems due to this shadow pandemic. The Christian cares just as much for all these people, and all the problems harsh government measures are causing, including mental health problems, drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, self-harm, suicide attempts, ruined economies, lost jobs, and so on. The sad truth is, many of our leaders clearly do NOT give a rip about any of this. They are far too interested in all the power and control they have over the masses.

    Most of our leaders here are making $7000 or $8000 a week – and also giving themselves large pay rises. Sorry, they do NOT know anything about those who are struggling now to feed their families and pay the bills on a paltry government handout that is a fraction of what our leaders are making. If our leaders were all so benign and benevolent and caring they would freeze their massive salaries immediately and give 90% of their income to all the people struggling without jobs and without income right now.

    And the so-called ‘best medical advice’ has been a joke – it is all over the place. They are making things up as they go along. They not only disagree with each other, but they also disagree with themselves. One day masks are seen as not being all that effective, the next day they are. Some say a certain vaccine should NOT be used for the young, while others say it is just fine. Please show us the medical advice for how sitting alone on the beach makes you a super-spreader. Please show us the medical advice for why 52% of Victorian LGAs with zero Covid cases must be locked down with everyone else. Please show us the medical advice for keeping playgrounds and skate parks shut. Not one child has died of Covid.

    And you may also be rather naïve about the end of lockdowns. Most of our leaders have no plans at all to open up. They are even saying if the arbitrary 80% vaxx figure is reached, there will STILL need to be lockdowns! Here in Victoria we are now in day 213 of lockdowns – the harshest and longest of anywhere in the world! Andrews will keep this going for as long as he can. He is utterly drunk on power.

    The biblical Christian is deeply concerned about justice and helping the poor and marginalised and oppressed. He does not make excuses for all the injustice, suffering and oppression millions of people are going through right now because of out-of-touch leaders on massive power trips. Turning a blind eye to evil or burying our heads in the sand is not the biblical response. Caring deeply about all the anguish and pain being caused by reckless government responses is the proper place to be in, as is speaking prophetically to uncaring, aloof and hardhearted leadership. See here: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2021/07/07/jesus-politics-and-speaking-truth-to-power/

    You are right however that we need to pray for our leaders. I pray that they are improved or removed. Either they start governing justly and compassionately for all people, or they get moved out of office. But thanks again for writing in.

  12. It seems in the West people are too often saying keep us safe and you can do what you want. Then again trust in the people running things, provided they have the proper beliefs, has been a hallmark of western education for a couple generations now.

    The west believes now UNQUESTIONED obedience to government is the answer while in the East they are seeing the results of their parents and grandparents unquestioned obedience.

    A global communist state is what the PTB want and that is exactly where we are headed. More have died under communism than any other ideology. To think it was 76 years ago we said NEVER AGAIN!!! The coming holocaust will make what the Nazis did pale by comparison. Not like them??? The “free world” has become them.

    We beat enemies with tanks, guns and bombs only to succumb to ones with morterboards, books, and sheep skins.

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