“The world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.” – Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.
Half the nation is doing great. The other half, not so much. A certain side of the political spectrum (you know who I’m talking about) has been weaponizing fearmongering to the extreme. Why? For the same reason that fear, hate, anger, prejudice and victimhood have been used by politicians for centuries. It works. It motivates the masses to come out in droves.
Gas and farting cows are going to destroy the planet.
Smart machines will take our jobs.
Hate speech is traumatizing the snowflakes.
Capitalism, corporate America and income inequality are conspiring to squash the middle class.
Men can’t stop themselves from sexually assaulting women.
Guns will kill all our children.
Cops are indiscriminately killing black people.
Toxins and ticks, germs and gluten, milk and meat are polluting our bodies.
If all that doesn’t get you, the white nationalists with Donald Trump as supreme leader in a MAGA hat are going to rid the nation of every non-white straight male that’s left. Then toxic masculinity will nuke what’s left of the planet and that’ll be it. The end.
To keep all that crazy stuff from happening the fearmongers say we have no choice but to abandon our capitalist system, give up our planes, our cars, our cows, our guns, our tech, our masculinity and our freedom, turn into good little PC pod people and turn everything over to them. They will keep us safe from all the bad stuff.
Make no mistake, fearmongering is a powerful political tactic. Stoking fear and projecting themselves as saviors is how leaders control the masses. It’s the same simple problem/solution construct we use in business. It’s how startups get funded, by offering a better solution to big customer problems. And it works.
But here’s the thing. The fearmongers in Washington have the problem/solution reversed.
We the people don’t have a problem. Nothing is perfect. There is no utopia. Life is not black and white. The world is not falling apart at the seams. And even if we were, you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Giving up and turning our freedoms — our freedom to choose what we say and do and how we live — over to the nanny state is not the solution. It’s the problem.
The only thing we have to fear is fearmongers.
Image credit Anders Gustavson / Flickr