The weaponisation of fear has been perfected by the Big State:
When you turned on your computer this morning there would have been a very small risk that it might have exploded in your face. A small risk indeed, but a risk. When you stepped in your car, you ran the risk of getting into an accident. When you walked down the street you faced the risk of some out of control drunk driver running you over.
Indeed, we just learned in the news that more people died yesterday in Victoria from falling trees than from Covid. While we must always be careful in giving our politicians even more dumb ideas, the obvious response to this fact would be to either chop down all trees, or keep everyone inside – permanently. After all, if it saves just one life…
Life is full of risks. The question is, do we live in fear of all these risks, or do we act sensibly about them, weighing up the pros and cons, the benefits and the risks? If you stay locked in your home in terror, never leaving for the slightest reason, you will reduce the risk of being in a car crash by around 100 per cent. You will also be spared the risk of being involved in a mass-shooting at the local mall.
But most folks do not let fear and the desire to be safe so consume them that they will live as a slave – whether that is self-imposed slavery or state-imposed. Yet we have clearly seen over the past two years that millions of people are utterly consumed by fear and paranoia. They now seem to worship at the altar of safety while thumbing their noses at freedom.
Too many have bought the spin by most political leaders and almost all of the lamestream media that we are all gonna die because of the Rona, and we must do everything the elites tell us to do – without question. If that means staying under house arrest for the next twenty years, wearing three masks at a time – even if you live alone – and getting an endless series of shots, far too many folks will do this quite willingly.
We have become a nation of Covid zombies, completely paralysed by fear, and we are no longer the slightest bit interested in things like freedom, democracy, human rights, and the vital necessity of critical thought. Zombies do not think – they simply emote, and they simply submit.
And zombies will be the first to attack, hate on, and report to the authorities anyone who dares to not live in complete panic as they do. They will snitch on their neighbours at the drop of a hat, and even turn on family members, dobbing them in to the police for the slightest of ‘crimes’.
That is how completely consumed with fear and paranoia they have become. A meme making the rounds on the social media says this: “I’m starting to learn who would have hidden Anne Frank and who would have turned her over to the Nazis.” Exactly right. The Covid hysteria and panic porn has reached dizzying heights, and I and so many others are utterly astounded by what we find happening.
I have appealed to various authorities on these matters over recent months, including sociology professor Frank Furedi. His 2018 book How Fear Works has much to say about these matters. He begins a concluding chapter, “The Quest for Safety in a Dangerous World” this way: “Safety is more highly valued than any other condition in the culture of fear, acquiring the status of a moral good that trumps all others.”
He goes on to speak about the “freedom-safety trade-off” and says this:
One of the most unattractive features of the deification of safety is the apparent tendency to subordinate the value of freedom to its dictates. Within the moral framework of the culture of fear, safety and security are first-order values, while freedom is reduced to a second-order value, at best.…
The relationship between freedom and safety has been a subject of debate throughout history, In numerous instances, the very human impulse to achieve safety has been used as an excuse to limit the exercise of freedom. This point was recognized by Alexander Hamilton, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. ‘Safety from external danger is the most powerful director of national conduct,’ he wrote in November 1787, warning that ‘even the ardent love of liberty will, after a time, give way to its dictates’ which will ‘compel nations’ to ‘destroy their civil and political rights.’ With a hint of fatalism, Hamilton suggested that ‘to be more safe, they at length become willing to run the risk of being less free.’ Another Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin, was unequivocally against the practice of trading in freedom for safety. He famously remarked that ‘those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.’
Calls for the freedom-safety trade-off claim that the liberties that people enjoy need to be balanced with a community’s need for security. This argument has been raised and re-raised by authorities throughout history. Relieving people of the burden of freedom in order to make them feel safe is a recurring theme in the history of authoritarianism.
Many intelligent observers have criticized the ease with which political leaders have been able to win the public’s acquiescence to the freedom-safety trade-off. . . . In fact, trading off freedom for some alleged psychic benefit is not unlike the argument that authoritarian-minded politicians frequently employ for justifying policies that curb people’s rights in order to ‘preserve their freedom’….
Arguments for a trade-off deprive freedom – in any of its forms – of moral content. The culture of fear continually promotes the idea that our safety depends on giving up some of our freedoms, and its celebration of the Precautionary Principle has led to the loss of valuation for the freedom to take risks….
The demands of psychic survival and self-esteem are used as an argument for trading in freedom for the illusory goal of feeling safe. Yet as the arguments in this book have indicated, the culture of fear continually feeds itself. The act of trading in freedom does not make people feel safe. It heightens people’s awareness of their lack of control over their lives and thereby enhances their sense of insecurity. The loss of any of our freedoms simply undermines people’s capacity to deal with the threats they face. As we suggest in the next chapter, taking freedom more seriously is the first step towards negating the corrosive influence that the culture of fear exercises over society.
Another writer I have been quoting of late is Laura Dodsworth. Her important 2021 book A State of Fear is all about how the British government weaponised fear as it dealt with Covid. Let me quote from just one portion of her book:
‘The use of fear is anti-democratic,’ sociologist Dr Ashley Frawley told me. ‘There is a lack of belief in the human subject, a subject that is seen as animalistic, incapable of understanding risk, and weak. The behavioural psychologists saw people’s proportionate responses to risk as a problem that needed to be overcome. The use of fear assumes you could never deal with this epidemic by using democratic means. And then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, because fear affects our ability to assess risk.’
The weaponisation of fear is a particularly destabilising tactic in the behavioural psychology toolbox because it clouds our judgement, which in turn increases reliance on government, which then creates more fear, which paralyses us further, creating a self-perpetuating doom-loop. William Sargant said that successful brainwashing demands ‘the rousing of strong emotions’. Your pliability is exaggerated by your fears.
Governments understand that fear is an unarguable fact of human psychology. History shows us that they will leverage fear, supposedly in our interests, ‘for our own good’, at the same time as advancing other interests which might not suit us so well. A government that nudges does not trust the people. A government that nudges has given up on debate and transparency and opted for covert manipulation – that is something to be wary of, if not frightened.
During the Covid epidemic, the UK government threatened us with longer lockdowns or tougher restrictions if we misbehaved, and rewards such as the return of the ‘rule of six’ or garden meetings were dangled in front of us if all went well. The relationship between government and citizen was reminiscent of a strict parent and child relationship, with alternating use of the naughty step and then offering sweets for good behaviour. Citizens were not treated like adults. We were told frightening ‘bedtime stories’ every day via the news and Downing Street briefings to ensure compliance with a set of ever-changing and sometimes bizarre rules.
There is something intrinsically infantilising about nudge.
Yes we have all been treated like children. The nanny state knows best, and it will punish the recalcitrant and reward the compliant. Above all, it will drown us all in a sea of fear to keep us in check. And the masses simply lap it up: ‘Well, our most compassionate and wise State is doing what is best. It is keeping us safe. Thank you dear State.’
Such willing and eager slaves we have become – all because of fear.