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What we have to fear isn't just fear

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Waxing on FDR's "Nothing to fear' speech, it broke on me that, what with the horrific mess we're mired in, while we do have to fear fear, as it can provoke the worst behaviors in all of us, unrelenting, undiminished ignorance and the wallowing giddily in it, is today our gravest peril.  

Two evenings ago, a friend of a friend of a friend dropped by, and began to opine on matters political. He postured with great emphasis on the certain correctness of his opinions.  

The fellow liked Michele Bachmann, though he knew not a single syllable of her too many to note gaffes; Paul Rever's warning the British they weren't going to take our guns, how the founding fathers "worked tirelessly until slavery was no more," how when immigrants arrived in America "everyone was the same," how wives "should submit to their husbands," and on it went relative to the Minnesota representative.

Similarly he thought Barack HUSEIN! Obama and his Obamacare was a terrible program, although he did not know that every objected-to component was a Republican idea, including the now ruled unconstitutional individual mandate.

This fellow thought Harry Reid was the worst Speaker of the House in U.S. history, and that "Oh, somewhere around two-thirds" were the votes required to overcome a filibuster, though he wasn't able to say with any certainty what a filibuster was, or in which chamber it took place.

He hadn't heard of "Citizens United," or numerous other governmental issues, each and all of which had either been in the news or in any 10th grade civics class.

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He was, in fact, so like so many who now compose the American electorate: bombastic while knowing absolutely nothing about what he was talking about.   And, like so many "conversations" I've overheard, too often, the topic segued off the table to the floor and onto juvenilistic speculative silliness: "Ronald Reagan wouldn't have [as did President George Bush] given Saddam Husein five days warning, he'd have just gone and attacked, blowing them to bits."

When I asked which country or countries Reagan had "blown away," the fellow couldn't name Club Med, or any other locale, or that Reagan had left Lebanon's shores within days of the attack on the Marine barracks. It so reminded me of the sort of stuff you can imagine coming out the lips of a 10-year old, "Man, you're crazy; Superman could take Bat Man any day of the week." Or, out the lips of our Republican-voting next door neighbors.

Understand, this friend of a friend of a friend is not a "bad" man. And that is the problem today, the one we need to be terrified of. It's not badness, necessarily. It's much more serious: it's profoundly stupid ignorance.   -- Ed Tubbs, a short time yet in Reno.            

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An "Old Army Vet" and liberal, qua liberal, with a passion for open inquiry in a neverending quest for truth unpoisoned by religious superstitions. Per Voltaire: "He who can lead you to believe an absurdity can lead you to commit an atrocity."

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