For example, are we so afraid of the idea of burglars breaking into our house at night that we behave in irrational ways, barricading ourselves in with ten bolts on the doors and a loaded gun in our bedside table, that we would actually feel less frightened by a burglary happening. Have we all been incorporated into a fear culture which is making us paranoid and terrified to the point of phobia?
I was recently watching Bowling for Columbine by Michael Moore, and, being one who is drawn into these types of thought provoking documentaries on a regular basis, was very interested in the underlying issue of a fear culture. The actual main issues of said documentary focused on America's love for guns and the ridiculously obvious link between fear and guns, compared to attitudes of the rest of the world. Of course the mass media has a Hell of a lot to answer for with their subliminal, warped news-castings and scaremongering methods, such as a hilariously over-the-top section on FOX News on the bird-flu pandemic which I watched. I was amazed at how they can get away with such blatant scare tactics and actually felt sorry for the millions of poor citizens who can't help but feel guidable towards such a story. I'm sure some people felt terrified of contracting the disease and went to huge lengths to keep themselves safe and provided for, for when the pandemic got so bad that humans would go into survival mode and start anarchy and looting. When there is mass fear brought on by the news channels such as a terrible weather report, the public go insane and run to the grocery stores to stock up on enormous amounts of food and supplies.
Would I be crazy in maybe wondering if there could be some link between the huge domineering corporations that run the free world and rely on profit and these types of media reports? Nothing would surprise me anymore.
I have a relative who is completely enslaved in this fear culture. They are the first to put extra-safe locks on the house doors and windows and also are obsessive about using their shredder for every tiny piece of disposable paper that comes their way. The same person is convinced that the Al-Qaeda supporting Islamic population are "taking over" Britain by "stealing" our jobs, benefits and women. They have their "better safe than sorry" motto to justify their behaviour when questioned, and, strangely enough, suffer from high blood pressure, aggression and stress. So this overly-safe mode of living is doing more harm than good, it must be a pretty sad life to be so afraid of living life to the fullest that you can just because of fear. I'm regularly bombarded with "facts" of how "dangerous" it would be for me to travel anywhere without a man present, or just travel outside of the UK in general. I seriously doubt I'm going to be kidnapped by some pirate gang and transported to International waters and tortured, well I hope not. Speaking of kidnappings, I find it sad that so many parents now completely smother their children, even to the point of not letting them outside to play, just incase a head case come along and abducts them. Yes, child abductions do happen, its abhorrent, but the fact is that it doesn't happen nearly as much as we think it does. The official numbers for such crime haven't risen or declined in the last fifty years, so the fact that our paranoia has risen is irrational.
The problem I have with this fear culture is that it is something that, when taken too far, is extremely dangerous to our society. Racism, bigotry and homophobia are just some of the attitudes from the public as a by-product of the information we've been deliberately fed, and, this along with the need for weapons (for supposed protection), is what we should actually be afraid of. It's as though we are waiting for something to happen to us and we will get so trigger-happy that we need a release. I also feel that more crime nowadays isn't as much from bad gangster types but from usually good people who got swept up in this public hysteria. There are only so many times we can watch the news and hear about yet another apparent foiled terrorist plot, that we will want to protect ourselves from the terrorists and then it will be on our own terms. We are, after all, given the right to protect the lives of ourselves and our offspring as strongly as we deem necessary.
Could this fear culture be a product of our disgustingly corrupt Governments trying to keep us down? It seems like a very strong possibility to me and I feel that we should all just unlock the doors, go out, enjoy ourselves and live.
(image below via megawords)
(image top via pulp)