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Planting Fear Into The American Mind

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President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued the following admonition to the American people in 1933: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself -- nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror. What a great, insightful statement that was; and how meaningful it is when considering the degree of fear and apprehension that now exists in this country.

Contrast those words of wisdom with what we've been hearing from our presidents in recent times; for example the warnings issued by Bush/Cheney after the 911 tragedy: "Be afraid, be very afraid." It's a message exactly the opposite of what Roosevelt said as he warned U.S. citizens about the mounting dangers of that time; one positive message designed to instill hope and courage and the other to instill fear.

President Obama, while not specifically telling the American people that they need to be afraid, doesn't hesitate to use the threat of terror to justify his administration's increasingly aggressive military policy and actions across the world. Just recently he sent a draft resolution to Congress asking it to authorize funds for an expanded global war against terrorism; and he is constantly talking about ISIS and the threat it poses. So he's obviously reading from the same basic playbook.

How did Bush/Cheney justify attacking and occupying Iraq in 2003? They struck fear into the hearts of Americans by convincing them that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction (nuclear weapons); that he had the delivery systems to strike America and was ready to launch them against our cities. It didn't matter that Saddam had no such weapons; this clever ruse worked beautifully. The vast majority of the American people and practically the entire Congress bought it, hook, line and sinker; and, believe it or not, many millions of Americans still firmly believe that Saddam had WMDs and was about to strike.

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Down through history governments have used fear to manipulate the masses with great success. If you can instill fear into a society you can control its people, that's a given. Here's an excerpt from an article in The Independent Institute which supports this contention: "Over the ages, governments refined their appeals to popular fears, fostering an ideology that emphasizes the people's vulnerability to a variety of internal and external dangers from which the governors--of all people!--are said to be their protectors. Government, it is claimed, protects the populace from external attackers and from internal disorder, both of which are portrayed as ever-present threats."

That clearly illustrates what is taking place in America today as this government and its mouthpieces, the controlled national media, constantly issue warnings about terrorist threats, day in and day out. We hear news reports about terror, about ISIS or ISIL, Al-Qaeda, or Daesh terrorists and are told of the ongoing recruitment of thousands of new terrorists in many nations. Terror, terror and more terror, it never stops.

Let's think of terrorism as a form of energy, one that fuels the engines of war; in effect, it provides the justification for this government to spend hundreds of billions and trillions of our taxpayer dollars on war in order to generate a never-ending stream of profits for the massive defense industry corporations that produce the weapons of war. So it follows that the more fear that is sown into this society the more this government is given free license to fuel the engines of war.

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Those who know where the journalistic truth exists, certainly not within the American media, understand that there was absolutely no Al-Qaeda presence in Iraq prior to the invasion and occupation of that country; neither were there any ISIS terrorists. Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya bombings created yet more terrorists, as did the drone attacks on Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. It's likely that we will never run out of this form of fuel because this government is very adept at producing it.

The title of this article includes "planting" fear because that term best describes how our government and its indentured servants in the media are planting the seeds of fear and apprehension, watering them, nurturing them, and then harvesting the crop, which is a silent, fearful, and compliant society. The planting of this fear can also be thought of as a form of mind-conditioning, the definition of which is: "A steady, intensive indoctrination, usually political or religious, aimed at altering a person's basic convictions and attitudes and replacing them with an alternative set of fixed beliefs."

So, once again, let's return to this lesson of history: "If you can instill fear into a society you can control its people." Well, it seems that this government of ours is not only using the threat of overseas terrorism to plant fear into the minds of Americans but it is also causing great fear and apprehension to these same Americans by what it is doing right here in this country.

What kind of fear is that? Well, for those who still haven't noticed, the NSA, the National Security Agency, has been collecting all forms of communications of Americans, from emails to Facebook to Twitter. It knows what we are saying and with whom we are speaking. That's ominous enough but now we hear that another government agency is tracking our movements as we travel by auto. This article explains how the DEA, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has cameras in various states that "snap each vehicle that passes, recording its license plate, the direction of travel and the time. Some cameras also snap a picture of the driver and passengers." Whoa, does that not sound like Big Brother?

What's the end goal here; to eventually have the American people spying on each other and reporting suspicious movements or actions of our neighbors or even friends to identify any potential terrorists?

Another growing element of fear in America is the fact that, in recent years, this society has witnessed increasing incidences of overly aggressive and brutal actions by police against American citizens. Both large and smaller cities and towns have SWAT teams, many have police snipers. Police departments have been equipped with powerful military-style weaponry, including large armored vehicles (MRAPs) and even machine guns, and are beginning to resemble the military itself. The question is: are the American people considered to be a dangerous enemy?

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Some brave individuals use video cameras to record abusive police actions; while it's legal it can be a rather stressful exercise. The best course of action is, when one sees law enforcement officers cross the line of proper conduct, to write or email the mayor or council members and demand that corrective measures be taken. And if they refuse to do so then attend council meetings with neighbors and friends and, collectively, voice strong opposition to these abuses of power. Most cops do their jobs as expected and are not overly violent, but the bad apples must be thrown out.

Well, it's one thing to fear the terrorists but it's far, far worse when people fear their federal and local governments. But, yet, that is exactly what's happening. Put all these elements of fear together; the constant warnings about terrorist threats, the intrusion of the NSA and DEA into our private lives, the increasingly militarized police force in America, and what do you have? You have a nation and society that is being manipulated and controlled.

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Michael Payne is an independent, progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues. He is a featured writer on Opednews and Nation of Change and his articles have appeared on many other websites (more...)
 

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