Friday, February 3, 2012

Ramping up the politics of fear

Here we go again.

Four years ago I wrote:
Towards the climax of the great movie about violence and the state V for Vendetta, megalomanical leader Adam Sutler declares the time has come for the rulers of totalitarian England to remind the peasantry "why they need us." What follows is a montage of news reports clearly intended to cow the citizenry into a state of fear, reminding them that the government is the only thing standing between their security and utter chaos.

A civil war drags on in the former United States. Water shortages are reported and predicted because of a lack of sufficient rain for two years. Police arrest nine suspects who were hoarding vaccine against the deadly avian flu. Twenty-seven people have died in the wake of the discovery of a new airborne disease. New evidence links the terrorist V to an attack on London 14 years earlier - reminding them of the attack that made citizens turn to the government for protection in the first place. A skeptical bar patron says out loud: "Can you believe this shit?" Of course we can't, and we shouldn't.

The truth revealed by the movie is that the state is the source of the chaos. The titular character V, either a freedom fighter or a terrorist depending upon point of view, helps detective Finch uncover the reality that the central terrorist attack of his age was staged by government forces seeking control of citizens' lives under the cover of providing more security. V himself is the product of secret government medical research gone awry.

A central theme of the movie is the same as mine: Refuse to be afraid. The standard political script has been unchanged for decades now: Remind people about something they fear. Offer yourself as the solution to that which they fear. Once elected, strip people of freedom in the name of fighting that which they fear. Rule with an iron fist or a velvet glove, but rule; do not let people live for themselves in freedom.
Thursday night I surfed around the Web and found: Israel could attack Iran in April, May or June. James Cameron has bought a farm in New Zealand and speculation is it's to ensure his family is safe if America collapses. President Obama says his religious faith leads him to seize wealth and redistribute it among the masses, citing the Gospel of Luke. A new flesh-eating virus is spread by sneezes.

Can you believe this shit?

The politics of fear is being ramped up again. Think through your fear; don't let the demagogues control you. Don't be conned into surrendering your freedom in the name of protection from imaginary hobgoblins.

Adam Sutler is revealed in the end of the film to be a ineffectual, frightened little man who know no solution but violence. You don't need the Adam Sutlers of the world. Think for yourself. Refuse to be Afraid. Free yourself. Follow your dreams.

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