Fear Factor

We watched the New Year coming in around the world, the mass hysteria of no significance that was the millennial New Year’s Eve celebration. Brilliance flaring across the time zones, and none ignited by bin Laden. Light whirling over nighttime London more spectacular than anything since the splendors of colored smoke billowed up from the Blitz. And the Eiffel Tower shooting fire, a facsimile flame-throwing weapon such as Wernher von Braun might have designed for Hitler’s annihilating arsenal-the historical missile of missiles, the rocket of rockets, the bomb of bombs, with ancient Paris the launching pad and the whole of humanity the target. All evening long, on networks everywhere, the mockery of the Armageddon that we’d been awaiting in our backyard shelters since August 6, 1945. How could it not happen? Even on that very night, especially on that night, people anticipating the worst as though the evening were one long air-raid drill. The wait for the chain of horrendous Hiroshimas to link in synchronized destruction the abiding civilizations of the world. It’s now or never. And it never came.

Philip Roth,The Dying Animal

Phillip Roth’s portrayal of the Y2K hysteria, which held our nation hostage, is a remarkable foreshadowing of the culture of fear that we live in today. As soon as we survive an Anthrax scare, or a mad cow craze, or that kitchen sponge suffused with pestilence, another fear-trend dominates the headlines. It’s impossible to escape and even more impossible to determine what fears are real and what are perceived.

In this hour we’ll examine the post 9/11 culture of fear. How it is perpetuated, how we react to it and what in the world we should really be bracing for. FDR once told us, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself,” but is fear now the force that gives us meaning? Do your fears originate from color-coded threat alerts and ever-growing terrorist cells? Or are your fears the fears of car accidents, bad diagnoses, escalating crime rates in the neighborhood? How does America identify with fear? What purpose is fear serving?
Update, 9/08/06, 5:37 pm

We’re hoping to include voices from the Open Source community, and from other realms of the blogosphere, in this show. If you comment on this thread we’ll consider calling you to record a brief phone conversation, which we’ll play during this broadcast. If you are radio-shy but know someone else whose voice should be heard, please send him/her our way. Thanks.

Robert Jay Lifton

Psychiatrist Author of several books, including Destroying the World to Save It and Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima

Thanks to Potter for suggesting Mr. Lifton

Susan Willis

Associate Professor of Literature, Duke University Author, Portents of the Real: A Primer for Post-9/11 America

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross

Conterterroism consultant Contributing Expert, Counterterroism Blog
Extra Credit Reading
Station Charon, The Enduring Power of Fear, Station Charon, August 13, 2006, “‘To live in America is to be beset by fear, anxiety and insecurity, to be surrounded by potential harm, enemies and evil intent.'”

Furyious, Politics, Fear, and Creating a Culture of Scaredy Cats, Lots O’ Stuff, September 7, 2006: President Bush has made “fear” and “caution” interchangeable words in our society.

Joseph Carroll, Americans’ Terrorism Worries Five Years After 9/11, Gallup Poll, September 11, 2006.

Matthew B. Stannard, Alerts aid terror goals, study finds, San Francisco Chronicle, September 6, 2006: “‘There are findings suggesting that the administration’s use of the alert system increased inordinately before the election and each time it did, Bush’s numbers went up about 5 percent.'”

Potter suggested: Robert Jay Lifton, Giving Meaning to Survival, The Chronicle Review, September 28, 2001: “The greatest danger in our present situation would be to resort to extreme measures to deny our vulnerability and reassert a sense of superpower invulnerability.”

William M. Arkin, The continuing misuses of fear, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, September/ October 2006: “A threat that is nightmarish and enduring and can neither be proved nor disproved is a powerful lubricant.”

nother suggested:Archive Search Results: fear, the ONION, September 9, 2006.

Related Content


  • There seems to be a cultural paranoia tied to 9/11–as if to forget it, if we ever could, would lead to some sort of unpatriotic, complaicancy. Did the British use the threat of the blitz as a control in the 40’s? Do we hear reverberations of Katrina–beware! this Hurricane season? 9/11 has been tied to a method of fear unlike any other occurance. We never had this reaction after the Oaklahoma Bombing. The DC Snipers caused a terror and panic which was real and imminent during their spree. But what is happening now is fastly different. Terror or threat of it has become a political weapon–as soon as some petty beauraucrat isn’t getting their way they bring up the terror issue, as if on script.

    Even the USDA is using terror as a method of control to try to bring National Animal ID to the front line–what if a terrorist released a disease in a cattle auction barn? This level of fear mongering is getting us no where. Obviously our politicians never read their Aesop.

    At this stage of the “game” the fear of terrorism is long gone–at least for me. There are far more worrisome fears–the Madness of King George, the loss of American Soverignty through Nafta, the SPP, and the North American Union; the state of the weakening economy and the rise of stagflation; the fact that we are in an endless war which, not to mind the human toll, is a financial sink hole and is dragging down the economy, not boosting it; the rise of the Christian Fascists; the Patriot Act and the further shredding of the Constitution; RFID chips in everything–cars, driver’s licenses, pets, hamburgers, tracking everything and everyone, coming to a neighborhood near you; Big Brother on steroids, and Meth. These are the things which should keep us awake at night. Any one of them is more of a threat to the American way of life and freedoms than an actual, physical attack on American Soil. An attack, that is by Foreigners. US National terrorists acting out to push their agenda are quite another scary thing.

  • People live significantly longer now than they did in FDR’s time. So objectively our chances of dying from whatever cause – manmade or natural – must be less now than they were then. Yet I’ve always been struck by the cheerful resiliiency of many people in that (my parents’) generation. If they could be optimistic and cheerful with their greater risks, we should not allow our smaller risks to shake us up.

  • 911phobia, like Columbinephobia, is a threat that never entirely dissipates. It’s death, maybe not even ours, worse: our kid’s, our neighbor’s, our neighbor’s kids…

    Y2Kphobia is over and like fumbling through a crucial exam or finding oneself walking around naked we’re able (sometimes) to relegate these anxieties to dreamland.

    Subjected to waterboarding, 911phobiacs never know when the next breath of air will come. Their anxieties become strongly ingrained.

    But by what slight-of-hand are we kept in the grasp of the 911phobia? Unlike waterboarding there are no restraints. Yet we choose not to dismiss our anxieties, there is no movement to quarantine 911phobia carriers, no panicked effort to develop a 911phobia vaccine.

    If thanatophobia (fear of death) sells insurance then 911phobia sells what? Guns? Missiles? Is it easier to just buy the damn insurance than it is to put death in a proper perspective? But insurance doesn’t actually inoculate one from death does it?

  • rc21

    I dont recall the big panic over y2k. Most people I know were either at parties celebrating or sleeping. I believe that we watched the movie “The Inlaws” Staring peter Falk. It was very good.

    I also dont see many people with socalled 911phobia.The only people who seem to claim that everyone is in an undue panic are the people who write or make money out of exposing the stupidity of it.

    First they make the claim that everyone is in a panic .We all think armegeddon is at our door,then they give us some antidotal evidence of said claim to prove there point. Next they go about telling us how wrong and silly we all are.

    They invent there own little story that they know is at most a half truth and usually almost totally untrue .Then they show us the error of our ways. Geez thanks for nothing. Well it does make for some good reading.

  • Potter

    Robert Jay Lifton impressed me in his radio interviews which actually helped calm me during those days right after 9/11. He wrote this piece shortly after the event :Giving Meaning to Survival.

    Fear changes your chemistry and behavior. Bush and his advisors have played into that to maintain power. Bush won many votes in the last election on that I am convinced. On the world stage this admionistration has tried through war ( making others fear us) to gain or regain the illusion of omnipotence that to some it seems we lost on 9/11.

    Howard Zinn wrote a wonderful piece in the Boston Globe ” War is not the Solution for Terrorism” in which he calls war terrorism (ie, instilling fear).

    So maybe some believe we are trying to spread democracy but maybe it’s truer to say we are trying to make others fear us.

    So when the terrorists strike, you can maybe understand why there is cheering on the other side in some quarters. They have, for the moment at least, conquered their own fear.

  • Potter

    Howard Zinn’s piece from the Boston Globe: War is Not a Solution for Terrorism

    Zinn says that war is useless in carrying out our stated aims. The operable phrase is “stated aims”. War is useful to instill fear though ( until it comes back at you that is). An “unevolved” foreign policy uses war to try to achieve dominance through fear.

  • jdyer

    Roth said this in an interview:

    “PHILIP ROTH: I really don’t know, and I don’t care. That interests me as a citizen, but not as a novelist. September 11 is not something that I can draw on in an imaginative level.�

    Let’s remembrer the distinction Roth makes between fictional representation and actual events when discussing his views of 9/11.

    The quote from The Dying Animal belongs to the world of the novel and not to Roth the author and certainly not the citizen.

  • jdyer

    “I dont recall the big panic over y2k. Most people I know were either at parties celebrating or sleeping.” rc21

    I remember a lot of talk about it, but no panic. I believe that even Chris had a show on the topic on the old connection program. Was he still at helm of the program then?

  • jdyer

    “Zinn says that war is useless in carrying out our stated aims.”

    Zinn was on WBUR’s On Point arguing his theses and he had to distort some basic facts to make his point.

    His thesis as a universal truth makes no sense even though it may be true that in today’s world it is difficult to defeat a terrorist organization through conventional warfare if it has the support of the civilians population.

    However, there are too many iffs to such a proposition for it to be useful.

  • rc21

    So what is Zinns solution.Nothing he said hasnt been said before. I was also wondering who we were at war with when 9/11 happened. I wish he would have written something that took a little more thought. It must have been a slow day.

  • I like humor as an antidote to fear. When Bush first gave us the color codes for how afraid we should be Code Pink: Women Say No To War was born.

    The name CODEPINK plays on the Bush Administration’s color-coded homeland security alerts-yellow, orange, red–that signal terrorist threats. While Bush’s color-coded alerts are based on fear and are used to justify violence, the CODEPINK alert is based on compassion and is a feisty call for women and men to “wage peace.”

    http://www.womensaynotowar.org/article.php?list=type&type=100

  • Potter

    JDyer- I heard that show and it was clear to me that the myopia and the twisting came from David Frum. Zinn is on a different plane entirely and so there was no communication and agreement with Zinn’s views prevailed in the calls. Frum kept talking about war and how we had to beat the evil out of this enemy ( we helped to create and enlarge) and Zinn was miles ahead of him (and you) with the consequences.

    I will not make this an Israel thread again but just to point out that Israeli strategy is based on making Arabs, the Arab world, fear Israel. They call it “Deterrence” some of which was lost in this Lebanon War. Thus you had the “mad dog response” from Israel first in Gaza and then Lebanon as Israel seemed to be going beserk in it’s response. It was all about terrorizing and fear. At the same time survival at home for both sides means controlling fears, transforming them into anger (or peace movements) and trying to live as normal a life as possible under the circumstances. Rebuilding.

    One reason why it’s essential to talk about fear in personal terms ( a la Nother above) is because when the next terrorist event occurs we might watch our own reactions and responses and remember the consequences.

  • Potter

    From yes! The Meaning of War: Sarah Ruth Gelder interviews Robert Jay Lifton

    Sarah:You’d mentioned that the United States is both the most powerful country in the world and also extremely fearful. How do you explain that paradox?

    Robert:I think the superpower stance is always profoundly uneasy because the superpower cannot accept any vulnerability or any opposition on significant principles. It has a superpower illusion that it can carry through. In this case, this involves what I call a “survivor mission� derived from 9-11 that aims to rout out all that it sees as terrorism, to render itself absolutely secure. There’s no such thing as absolute security, but a superpower like ourselves insists on it, and the result is an unending, self-defeating struggle with vulnerability. So the very necessity of invulnerability creates constant fear.

    Of course we make compromises, and there are times when our leaders are a little bit more pragmatic. But their impulse combines a sense of entitlement to world control—all the more so because it’s in the service of the dissemination of American virtue—with an unwillingness to accept any possible threat to that mission.

  • nother

    Good point about humur Peggy Sue. Your post had me checking out “The Onion” and I found some good stuff including this gem called “I fear grass.”

    “Oh, infernal grass, how your greenness haunts me! You camouflage the most diseased of vermin—insects, rodents and children scamper freely in your expansive forests of grotesque greenery we call yards.”

    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/33876

    If you have the courage to check out their archives on fear:

    http://www.theonion.com/content/search/onion/advanced?search=fear&restrict=.site:onion

  • pryoung

    Thanks for the Lifton quote, Potter, it gets right to the heart of the matter in my view.

    As someone who has lived through terror threats in Europe (80’s and 90’s) and America (2001-present), I can say that European governments and populations engage that threat on the whole more as one to be effectively countered and managed, rather than eradicated. Whether that is a more realistic and effective approach is a question I’ll leave for debate.

    But Lifton is surely right that these distinctly American fantasies of complete security and invulnerability (bred of our geography, history and superpower status) have served to fuel American militarism in the Cold War and in present time. I think they also help to infantilize the citizenry and make it more pliable to the crude manipulations of authoritarians like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et. al.

  • jdyer

    “So what is Zinns solution.Nothing he said hasnt been said before. I was also wondering who we were at war with when 9/11 happened. I wish he would have written something that took a little more thought. It must have been a slow day.” rc21

    This was pointed out to him, rc. His answer was “there will allways be nasty people,” or some words to that effect.

  • jdyer

    Potter: “JDyer- I heard that show and it was clear to me that the myopia and the twisting came from David Frum. Zinn is on a different plane entirely and so there was no communication and agreement with Zinn’s views prevailed in the calls.”

    We seldom agree, Potter, and hence I am not suprised that we seem to have listened to different shows.

    That most of the callers, not all, where on the side of Zinn, didn’t suprise me. Calls are screened and it’s easy to screen for a certain point of view.

    In most call in shows most callers tend to agree with the speakdes, this is true of conservative as well as leftist talk shows.

    I have read Zinn’s book on America history and found it to be a shabby book. Hence since I have little respect for him as a historian my expectations of his ability to support his views with factual evidence wasn’t very high. I wasn’t disappointed.

    Case in point: Zinn seems to be saying that war isn’t an efficient means of defeating terrorists. Had he left it at that he might have had a plausible theory. Debatable but plausibe. However, he had to argue some utopian view that “war is never the answer.” This struck me as ridiculous.

    If China or some other country were to attack it neighbors or make war on the US would war not be an option?

    He was also very weak on Iran whose desire to dominate the gulf ragion and control most of the world’s oil is a direct threat to the Western World. Besides, given that it’s Shiite president like the Sunni jihadists keep asking the world to convert to Islam it means that his intent isn’t just to get the nasty Americans of his back.

    Zinn did something else which went unnoticed: he kept using Vietnam as the paradigm case in his argument and never made a clear link between Vietnam and say North Korea today or Iran.

    War may not be the best option, it should not be the first option, but to rule it out all together is unrealistic.

    On Pont was supposed to have had Ambassador Kirkaptrick on the program. It’s too bad that she wasn’t on. She would have presented the case against Zinn’s view more forcefully than Frum did.

    Frum is too involved in the politics du jour to be able to step back and think these issues out clearly.

    Btw: ours isn’t the only age that has dreamed of a world without war. Too often such periods are followed by intense slaughter.

  • jdyer

    Potter to Robert: “I think the superpower stance is always profoundly uneasy because the superpower cannot accept any vulnerability or any opposition on significant principles.”

    There have been very periods on human history with only one “super power.”

    In the West there was the period of the Roman Empire. In the MidEast the period of the Persian Empire and later on the Islamic world conquest of the 8th to 11th centuries.

    There was also the in the far East the period of Chinese domination.

    These examples don’t allow for far reaching generalization. Still, one can say that total domination often leads to internal decay as was the case with China and ancient Rome.

    I doubt that the US is as dominant as were Rome or China, thank goodness.

  • jdyer

    pr young:

    “As someone who has lived through terror threats in Europe (80’s and 90’s) and America (2001-present), I can say that European governments and populations engage that threat on the whole more as one to be effectively countered and managed, rather than eradicated. Whether that is a more realistic and effective approach is a question I’ll leave for debate.”

    Indeed, as the cases of the Netherlands, Great Britain, France etc. show.

    btw: The one good point Frum brought up in the debate with Zinn was when he pointed out that even countries like Denmark, Canada, etc. which do not have troops overseas were also targeteted by the Jihdists.

    He might also have mentioned Germany and made the point that even after Spain withdrew its troops from Iraq there were still attempts by Jihadists to attack that country.

  • pryoung

    There could be many reasons for the fact that terror attacks have been more common in Europe than America since 9/11. The Muslim populations there are, on the whole, a good deal less integrated into society there than here, and religious radicalism has made far greater headway there as a consequence, particularly among young men. Al Queda and other jihadist organizations may also see greater potential for polarization through terror for that reason, and we know that they profit above all from polarization.

    It may also be easier to carry off attacks in a borderless Europe than in a more remote and now-vigilant United States. Any attempt at inflicting terror upon the United States will pale in comparison to 9/11, so potential jihadists may wish to avoid looking like a declining force when they pull off (or fail at) some less audacious act here. Beyond its homocidal intent, terrorism is a form of political communication designed to inflate the power of its practitioners. 9/11 is still “delivering” in that sense, perhaps.

    In short, I don’t know, and I’ve never heard an explanation that was analytically convincing rather than merely ideological. I do know that the absence of an attack in the US has nothing whatsoever to do with the war in Iraq.

  • Potter

    Good points all pryoung in response to jdyer. Attacks in Europe also sent a message to those countries vis a vis their support of our war in an effort to isolate us. The Denmark brouhaha was a separate issue.

    That 9/11 is “still delivering” is thanks to GWBush as well.

    jdyer: He was also very weak on Iran whose desire to dominate the gulf ragion and control most of the world’s oil is a direct threat to the Western World. Besides, given that it’s Shiite president like the Sunni jihadists keep asking the world to convert to Islam it means that his intent isn’t just to get the nasty Americans of his back.

    jdyer you sound like a vicitim of this administration’s fear campaign as Zinn would say and did say in response to a caller: even if it were so, is war the way to respond?

  • Potter

    Wow, I am all warmed up for this show. So who is/are the guest/s?

  • jdyer

    “There could be many reasons for the fact that terror attacks have been more common in Europe than America since 9/11. The Muslim populations there are, on the whole, a good deal less integrated into society there than here, and religious radicalism has made far greater headway there as a consequence, particularly among young men.”

    If this is the case how do you explain attacks in India where the Muslims have been quite well integrated for centuries, or in Egypt where Muslims are the majority, or Algeria where it’s all Muslims all the time.

    People like to come up with one explanation or excuse after another. Point being, that the Jihadists attack because they want to take over countries and spread their faith.

  • jdyer

    “jdyer you sound like a vicitim of this administration’s fear campaign as Zinn would say and did say in response to a caller: even if it were so, is war the way to respond?”

    I believed this long before Bush became President. In fact I have been aware of the Jihadist threat since the mid 80’s when these murderers unleashed a terror campaign in Algeria and France which killed tens of thousands of people including children.

    I am no victim of Bush, am a life long Democrat and didn’t vote for Bush.

    This is the kind of weak ad hominem counter argument that Zinn and people who think like he does engage in.

    Is war the way to respond? Not in all cases, though, are times when war is the only possible response.

    This was true of Nazi Germany’s attacks on Europe as well as Japan’s attack on the US.

    More recently it was necessary during Gulf war 1 when Saddam invaded Kuwait.

    It was also necessary when Hizbollah invaded Lebanon, though Israel should have relied less on air power and more on ground troops.

    It would be true if North Korea gets long range missiles and threatens Japan or South Korea.

    I can think of some scenarios when it is necessary and many where it is not.

    There is no one size fits all solution to aggression and ruling out war will make war more rather than less likely.

  • jdyer

    Ptter: “Wow, I am all warmed up for this show…”

    She is hot to trot!

  • jdyer

    “So who is/are the guest/s?”

    Oh, Zinn will be among the talking heads.

  • rawehage

    How inconsiderate we are, worrying about dying from some highly improbable envent, when hundreds of millions around the world are facing the prospect of dying from highly probable events 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Mr. Roth ought to be examining the fear in these people.

  • jdyer

    SA much as despise the fromer President of Iran Khatami for his hypocrisy he did say something that is worth remembering by all those who love to blame the West especially the US for all the ills in the world:

    “Critics have charged that Khatami’s trip is riddled with hypocritical contradictions since, during his presidency, the Islamic republic was guilty of widespread human rights abuses. Although Iran’s hard-line judiciary is widely blamed for the arrest of dissidents, Khatami was unable to restrain political rivals.

    Pressed on Iran’s abuses, Khatami said he would not deny that his country has serious problems, but he cautioned that democracy is a “process” that cannot reverse centuries of despotic rule overnight. Iran was ruled by various dynasties for some 2,500 years.”

    http://hurryupharry.bloghouse.net/

  • rc21

    To Jdyer thanks for giving me Zinns response” there allways will be nasty people.”

    You sure cant question the brilliance of that response.

    ” War is never the answer” I guess most black Americans are pretty glad Zinn wasnt advising Lincoln during the 1860’s

    It seems like so many people want to blame the west or Bush for this Muslim terrorism that go’s on day after day. I first became aware as a youg teen while watching the 72 olympics,more than 30 years ago. Just about 11 years later I sat off the coast of lebanon as over 200 Marines and sailors were blown up acting as peacekeepers. Some of us read people like Zinn, Chomsky, Cole ,etc and think it is our imperial hubris and desire for world domination that causes The Muslim terrorist (or should I say freedom fighter) to hate us.Others know the truth first hand. I can tell you it is not quite as Zinn et al would have you believe.

  • My fear is associated with my Freedom Alert, now on Code Orange. After lots of advice from the US, including a visit from security chief Chertoff, the Japanese government decided to pass a new immigration law that will now require all foreigners to be fingerprinted when entering the country, except for “special permanent residents”, the people of Korean decent brought over for labour during WWII or their off-spings who have not become Japanese citizens.

    I have lived here for over 15 years and have a permanent residence visa, but I’m not “special”. As a resident, whether permanent or not, I must carry an Alien Registration Card. But since I am permanent, up until now my fingerprint was not registered and did not appear on the card. It does for those with other kinds of visas, though. I could even line up with Japanese citizens at airport immigration.

    I know it was fancy on my part, but I wanted to believe that my commitment to the society granted me a certain acceptance, a certain level of trustab. That I was not a potential criminal or terrorist who needed to be monitored and printed for the anticipated day I became a threat to public safety or national security. I thought I had paid my taxes, planted my roots and grown to be an acknowledged member of the community.

    Now I fear that day at the airport when I come back from a trip abroad. I will wait in that long line with all the newcomers, visitor and other foreigners entering Japan. I will place my hand out for scanning and my unique mark will enter the growing global database of public paranoia.

    Some will argue that you shouldn’t worry if you have never done anything wrong. That it is for your and your family’s safety ultimately. But I can’t resign myself to such functional explanations. This is about dignity, recognition and, finally, that term now on worn out and twisted knees, freedom.

    The suspicious eyes that are always watching its house will find itself imprisoned in a cell of its own making, whereas that hand that reaches out in friendship will be repaid in kind. I wonder now if it is not time to move on to more welcoming lands… In the post 9/11 xenophobia, I fear it will be a long journey till I find them.

  • rawehage

    To rc21 and others: What is the definition of a “terrorist”?

    Is a terrorist someone who illegally, by our definition of illegal, uses illegal weapons and explosives to terrorize or kill other people?

    If so, then what is someone who legally, by our definition of legal, uses legal weapons and explosives to terrorize or kill other people? A soldier? A CIA agent? A mercenary?

    What should people on the receiving end of our “legal” weapons and explosives call those who use them? Liberators? Democratizers?

    I encourage everyone to think about these questions and then ask why so much of the world hates Americans.

  • Old Nick

    rawehage and others, re the common definition of ‘terrorist’:

    Here’s a worthwhile 52 minutes from Friday, September 8th that streams and podcasts at

    http://www.kuow.org/programs/theconversation.asp?Archive=09-08

    (quote)

    What Do Terrorists Want?

    As we approach the fifth anniversary of 9/11, the Bush administration says we are safer from terrorist attacks. Is that true? Is it possible to know?

    The Bush administration regards terrorists as mad killers, pure evil. But is there something to be gained by looking at the goals and motives of terrorism? Louise Richardson thinks so. She teaches at Harvard University and she’s the author of a new book called What Terrorists Want. Richardson draws on her experience in Ireland during the IRA bombings. She asks what terrorism is and what causes it. She believes the war on terror can never be won, and she’ll tell us why.

    (unquote)

    It’s worth a listen. It’s also worth stating that I think we’re all capable of drawing our own conclusions. (i.e., I don’t agree with everything Ms. Richardson says.)

    Also, this from earlier on Friday the 8th was worthwhile and pertinent:

    (quote)

    Lawrence Wright

    ‘The Looming Towers’

    Following September 11th, Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda took center stage. An unknown group was suddenly notorious, becoming the focus of anger, grief and fear. With the fifth anniversary upon us, we take a step back to take a closer look the events leading up to 9/11.

    New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright explores the events that preceded 9/11 in his new book The Looming Towers.

    Lawrence Wright is a staff writer at The New Yorker and a fellow at the Center on Law and Security at New York University School of Law. He spent two years teaching at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. He is the author of six books including City Children, Country Summer, In the New World; Saints and Sinners, Remembering Satan, and Twins. The Looming Towers: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 is his latest book.

    (unquote)

    http://www.kuow.org/programs/weekday.asp?Archive=09-08

  • Potter

    jdyer: People like to come up with one explanation or excuse after another. Point being, that the Jihadists attack because they want to take over countries and spread their faith.

    That’s what the fear-mongers would have you believe even though it makes no sense at all if you think it through.

    RC1 To Jdyer thanks for giving me Zinns responseՉ۪ there allways will be nasty people.Չ۪

    You sure cant question the brilliance of that response.

    ‘’ War is never the answer’’ I guess most black Americans are pretty glad Zinn wasnt advising Lincoln during the 1860’s

    A mischaracterization. Listen. Read. Zinn was a bombadier in WW2. He is not an absolutist pacifist. His remarks are not about the Civil War but most military actions (including the Viet Nam War (and other actions assumed essential mentioned above by jdyer) especially since WW2 where the stated goals have not been achieved by war.

    Fear-mongering has been used especially recently to gain support for what amounts to terrorism because of the way we conduct our war actions using modern weaponry from above on civilian populations.

    Zinn includes the bombing of Afghanistan when we did not even catch the perpetrators of 9/11 ( Saudi’s mostly) and ignored the Taliban’s offer to turn OBL over under conditions.

    This speaks to rawehage‘s post above.

    Sidewalker is even feeling the reverberations in Japan.

  • I heard someone say the “war on terror” is a “war on an irregular verb”. We might as well have a war on ill humor or a war on peevishness. And how ironic that instilling fear in people’s minds is what is used to build up support for a war against a fearful state of mind. Why not declare war on irony?

  • jdyer

    “Lawrence Wright author of the

    ‘The Looming Towers’”

    He was interviewed on On Point last week.

    I think the interview is on line.

    He sounded as if he knew what he was talking about and I intend to read his book.

  • jdyer

    “That’s what the fear-mongers would have you believe even though it makes no sense at all if you think it through.”

    Tell it to the Brits or the Belgians.

    In Britain the Jihadist make no secret of their desire to bring GB into the Muslim sphere.

    In Belgium the Muslims want Arabic to become an official language.

    This nonsense about “the fear factor” so called makes no sense.

    You could have said the same thing about it during WW2. During that conflict it was the Republican who accused Rooselvelt of using fear in order to get us into the war.

    After the attack on Pearl they accused the Roosevelt administration of insitigating the attack in order to get us into the war.

    La plus ca change.

  • jdyer

    I would suggest that people on the left read the followin article by a man who founded the New Left Review:

    The Left and the Jihad

    Fred Halliday

    http://www.opendemocracy.net/globalization/left_jihad_3886.jsp

  • jdyer

    I would love to see Fred Halliday debate Howard Zinn.

  • nother

    nother’s storefront babble: To fear is to lament vulnerability, to love is to embrace vulnerability.

    There seems to be a direct corratlation between love and fear, we engage everyday in an emotional tug of war between the two.

  • rawehage

    “Then conquer we must,

    for our cause is just,

    And this be our motto:

    ‘In God is our trust’;

    And the star-spangled banner

    in triumph shall wave

    O’er the land of the free

    and the home of the brave.”

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/index.html

    Could fear and terrorism have anything to do with the fact that the U.S. looks and acts like an Empire?

    “The United States is the most powerful nation in the world and it often acts unilaterally, but is it an Empire? Though some insist that ’empire’ means only direct rule over large-scale conquered territory, the United States today looks decidedly imperial. The term empire has entered common usage, not only among critics but also among advocates of muscular US policy and global superiority. Economist Niall Ferguson has written about the British Empire as a lesson-book for contemporary US power. Influential Washington neo-conservatives are using the E-word freely, insisting that the United States is the world’s most benevolent nation and that it should use its imperial power robustly to expand ‘freedom’ across the globe. This section considers not only the utility of the Empire concept but also the way in which the United States (empire or not) deploys its economic, political and military power globally, limiting the force of international law, shrinking the capacity of international organizations, and reducing the possibility of multilateral action and democratic self-governance in an increasingly interdependent world. We ask also: what limits will this empire encounter, can it sustain ‘full spectrum dominance’ for the forseeable future or will it provoke such broad opposition that its era of hegemony and prosperity comes swiftly and decisively to a close?”

    http://www.globalpolicy.org/empire/empireindex.htm

    More on U.S. influence:

    http://www.topsy.org/MilArWorld.html

  • Potter

    Frank Rich of the NYTimes in his piece today “Whatever happened to the America of 9/12?� quotes Bush a few days after 9/11 quoting Franklin Roosevelt at the National Cathedral service:

    “Today we feel what Franklin Roosevelt called ‘the warm courage of national unity.’ This is the unity of every faith and every background. It has joined together political parties in both houses of Congress.� What’s more, he added, “this unity against terror is now extending across the world.�

    Rich goes on to praise our resilience in those days after:

    What we’ve forgotten too quickly is the outpouring of affection and unity that swelled against all odds in the wake of Al Qaeda’s act of mass murder. If you were in New York then, you saw it in the streets, and not just at ground zero, where countless thousands of good Samaritans joined the official responders and caregivers to help, at the cost of their own health.

    Frank Rich:

    The destruction of that unity, both in this nation and in the world, is as much a cause for mourning on the fifth anniversary as the attack itself. As we can’t forget the dead of 9/11, we can’t forget how the only good thing that came out of that horror, that unity, was smothered in its cradle.

    When F.D.R. used the phrase “the warm courage of national unity,� it was at his first inaugural, in 1933, as the country reeled from the Great Depression. It is deeply moving to read that speech today. In its most famous line, Roosevelt asserted his “firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.� Another passage is worth recalling, too: “We now realize as we have never realized before our interdependence on each other; that we cannot merely take but we must give as well; that if we are to go forward, we must move as a trained and loyal army willing to sacrifice for the good of a common discipline, because without such discipline no progress is made, no leadership becomes effective.�

    What followed under Roosevelt’s leadership is one of history’s most salutary stories. Americans responded to his twin entreaties — to renounce fear and to sacrifice for the common good — with a force that turned back economic calamity and ultimately an axis of brutal enemies abroad. What followed Mr. Bush’s speech at the National Cathedral, we know all too well, is another story.

    On the very next day after that convocation, Mr. Bush was asked at a press conference “how much of a sacrifice� ordinary Americans would “be expected to make in their daily lives, in their daily routines.� His answer: “Our hope, of course, is that they make no sacrifice whatsoever.� He, too, wanted to move on — to “see life return to normal in America,� as he put it — but toward partisan goals stealthily tailored to his political allies rather than the nearly 90 percent of the country that, according to polls, was rallying around him.

    This selfish agenda was there from the very start. As we now know from many firsthand accounts, a cadre from Mr. Bush’s war cabinet was already busily hyping nonexistent links between Iraq and the Qaeda attacks. The presidential press secretary, Ari Fleischer, condemned Bill Maher’s irreverent comic response to 9/11 by reminding “all Americans that they need to watch what they say, watch what they do.� Fear itself — the fear that “paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance,� as F.D.R. had it — was already being wielded as a weapon against Americans by their own government.

    Less than a month after 9/11, the president was making good on his promise of “no sacrifice whatsoever.� Speaking in Washington about how it was “the time to be wise� and “the time to act,� he declared, “We need for there to be more tax cuts.� Before long the G.O.P. would be selling 9/11 photos of the president on Air Force One to campaign donors and the White House would be featuring flag-draped remains of the 9/11 dead in political ads.

    And so here we are five years later. Fearmongering remains unceasing. So do tax cuts. So does the war against a country that did not attack us on 9/11. We have moved on, but no one can argue that we have moved ahead.

  • rawehage

    It won’t be long before more Americans will have died in Iraq than in 9/11. Tragic.

  • jdyer

    nother Says:

    September 10th, 2006 at 1:07 am

    “nother’s storefront babble: To fear is to lament vulnerability, to love is to embrace vulnerability.”

    Not just “storefront babble,� hackneyed nonsense.

    To love is embrace the person you love, period.

    I am no psychologist but methinks that people who accuse the government of “fear mongering” are projectig their own fears of Islamo terrorism on everyone else.

  • jdyer

    rawehage,

    hey who did Algeria attack when it suffered tens of thousands of death in an Islamic assault on that country in the 80 and early 90’s?

  • jdyer

    Frank Rich has written another long winded, wrong headed article.

    Unity? There is always unity the day after the attack and disunity the day after that.

    Check out the US after the Pearl attack.

    More recently Israel was united after every Arab attack and afterwards there is disunity.

    There are contrary examples of unified societies but I wouldn’t want to live there would Potter?

    Stalinist Russia maintained unity after the attack by the Germans, but at what price?

    In a vigorous democratic society like ours different points of view will be expressed. How is this a bad thing?

  • According to George W. Bush you fight terrorism by terrifying as many people as possible.

    Thich Nhat Han says you create peace by being peace.

    From my experience “being peace� requires getting more comfortable with your own fears.

    nother’s “ To fear is to lament vulnerability, to love is to embrace vulnerability�.

    Sounds like basic Buddhist practice to me.

  • jdyer

    So according to peggysue’s logic terrorist=antiterrorists since terrorists terrorize and anti-terrorist in order to fight terrorist warn about terrorists and since the warnings scare some peope, ergo terrorists and anti-terrorists are the same.

    Brilliant.

  • George W. Bush terrifies me.

    My usual mode of operation is to immediately bat the fear away with, ridicule, sarcasm, criticism or intellectualizing. This is easy to do and I do it automatically.

    I have done Buddhist practice particularly dealing with my fear of George W. Bush. I sat on my meditation cushion with a Time magazine featuring Bush on its cover in one hand. I looked at him breathing in slowly. Looking between my thoughts I sat with the feeling. I knew it was hate but until I sat with it I didn’t even know how based in fear my hatred of Bush was. Fear of what he will do to my planet, my country, my home and my friends, fear of how his policies will affect me. It felt like hot around the edges hard black tar in my solar plexus.

    I didn’t get very far dissolving this inner tar pit. That might take sitting in a cave in the mountains for a few lifetimes. But I am more aware of the nature of my own fear. The awareness of the nature of my fear is helpful in that it is less likely to control me unconsciously.

  • jdyer:

    All perptrators of violence generate fear no matter what uniform they happen to be wearing or what their excuses are.

  • Potter

    Warnings have to be based on reality not fears. When they are not based on reality these warnings are immoral. They increase anxiety and fear especially in emotionally vulnerable people. “Anti-terrorism” is non-violence, learning how to deal with your fears… and not reacting violently.

    I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder years ago after my sister’s murder and my father’s death.

    I had periods where everything scared me such that I needed tranquilzers to calm down. I can relate to Peggy Sue’s story because I had to learn to recognize and control my fears, fears that were all around me. I was even afraid of answering the telephone. I accomplished this through self-examination, meditation which I learned through (Jon Kabat-Zinn’s) mindfulness based stress reduction( MBSR) course that originated here in central MA. Bill Moyers did a program about this years ago on PBS.

    It took five years of practice to get it under control. I have to be aware of those elements in my environment that set me off- it’s a chemical reaction. The adrenalin starts flowing, the blood leaves the extremities, the heart beats faster as the body gears up for the attack. I know people live everyday with low-level versions of this and they manage. But for some, those who are sent to war for instance and come back with a version we call post-traumatic stress, or others who have been abused or victims of an accident or a crime, the bodychemistry is altered and it’s hard to shake it.

    So when I hear the fearmongering of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld I cannot tell you how angry I get.

  • rawehage

    jdyer said, “hey who did Algeria attack when it suffered tens of thousands of death in an Islamic assault on that country in the 80 and early 90’s?”

    I don’t know, but maybe the answer is in this summary…

    “Historically, the United States and Algeria have had competing foreign policy objectives that have come closer only gradually. Algeria’s commitment to strict socialism and to a global revolution against Western capitalism and imperialism antagonized relations with the United States, seen, in Algerian eyes, to embody all that the revolution scorned. United States maintenance of good relations with France precluded close ties with Algeria in the years during and following the War of Independence, although the United States sent an ambassador to Algeria in 1962. Algeria broke diplomatic relations with the United States in 1967, following the June 1967 war between Israel and most of its neighbors, and United States relations remained hostile throughout the next decade. United States intervention in Vietnam and other developing countries, Algerian sponsorship of guerrilla and radical revolutionary groups, United States sympathies for Morocco in the Western Sahara, and United States support for Israel all aggravated a fundamental ideological and political antagonism. Official relations resumed in the mid-1970s, although it was not until the late 1970s that relations normalized. By then Algerian leniency and passive tolerance for terrorist hijackers drew enough international criticism that the government modified its policy of allowing aid and landing clearance at Algerian airports for hijackers.

    “In the 1980s, increased United States demands for energy and a growing Algerian need for capital and technical assistance lessened tensions and resulted in increased interaction with the United States after the relative isolation from the West during the Boumediene years. Liberalization measures undertaken by Benjedid greatly facilitated the improved relations. In fact, an economic rapport with the West had been growing throughout the previous decade despite tense political relations. Algeria was becoming an important source of petroleum and natural gas for the United States. In 1980 the United States imported more than US$2.8 billion worth of oil from Algeria and was Algeria’s largest export market.

    “Algeria’s role as intermediary in the release of the fiftytwo United States hostages from Iran in January 1981 and its retreat from a militant role in the developing world as its domestic situation worsened opened the path to peaceful relations with the United States. Algeria’s domestic situation was becoming increasingly critical because its traditional source of economic assistance, the Soviet Union, was threatened by internal problems. In search of alternative sources of aid, in 1990 Algeria received US$25.8 million in financial assistance and bought US$1.0 billion in imports from the United States, indicating that the United States had become an important international partner.

    “On January 13, 1992, following the military coup that upset Algeria’s burgeoning democratic system, the United States issued a formal but low-key statement condemning the military takeover. Twenty-four hours later, Department of State spokesmen retracted the statement, calling for a peaceful resolution but offering no condemnation of the coup. Since then, the United States, like many of its Western counterparts, has appeared resigned to accepting a military dictatorship in Algeria. The military government has reaffirmed its commitment to liberalizing its domestic economy and opening the country to foreign trade, undoubtedly accounting for some of the Western support for the new Algerian regime.”

    http://countrystudies.us/algeria/152.htm

  • jdyer

    “George W. Bush terrifies me.

    My usual mode of operation is to immediately bat the fear away with, ridicule, sarcasm, criticism or intellectualizing. This is easy to do and I do it automatically.”

    Peggy, will he nill he, he will be gone in two years.

    If the Demos play it right they have a strong chance of winning the White House.

    I hope they don’t blow it again by their obsessive hatred of Bush.

    We have seen the worst that Bush can do. Let’s think about the best the Demos can do.

  • jdyer

    peggysue Says:

    “jdyer:

    All perptrators of violence generate fear no matter what uniform they happen to be wearing or what their excuses are.”

    Yes, but would have wanted the American or the German nazi uniform to be on your side in 1942?

    As for me the answer is obvious.

    Let’s also remember that Jihadists don’t wear uniforms.

  • jdyer

    Potter: “I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder years ago after my sister’s murder and my father’s death.”

    I am sorry about that.

    I hope you are better now.

    “Warnings have to be based on reality not fears. When they are not based on reality these warnings are immoral. They increase anxiety and fear especially in emotionally vulnerable people. ”

    Again I am sorry about your anxieties. However, I don’t think that the Bush people have been guity of needlessly raising the alert lever.

    Still, I would rather they erred on the side of caution than to allow people to be blown away.

    This is a case of “you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t do…”

    Suppose one terrorist got through and blew up lots of people on a subway or bus somewhere then we would be accusing the government of not doing enough about terrorism..

    I do hold the Bush people responsible for not taking the warnings seriously enough before 9/11. Neither he nor Ms. Rice knew what al Kaida was.

    In this sense, the Clinton White House was much more on the ball than Bush was. They did catch the millenium bomber and they did have a task force tracking terror suspects.

    Bush’s aggressive use of the alert system is, I believe, and overcompensation for not having acted before.

    “Anti-terrorismâ€? is non-violence, learning how to deal with your fears… and not reacting violently….”

    Well, that’s a nice mantrs, Potter, but there is a real world out there with “bad people” to quote Zinn and we may disagree on how best to act against them but we all agree that some action is necessary.

  • jdyer

    .

    rawehage Says:

    September 10th, 2006 at 12:35 pm

    “jdyer said, “hey who did Algeria attack when it suffered tens of thousands of death in an Islamic assault on that country in the 80 and early 90’s?â€?

    I don’t know, but maybe the answer is in this summary…”

    How does this justify the Islamic assault on villagers in that country and the slaughter of tens of thousands of childeren, women, and especially educated men?

  • My input on the question, in no particular order:

    1. I fear Iran and North Korea, and how our foreign policy has done nothing to reduce the threat over the last five years.

    2. I fear the capitulation of Israel, due to many possible causes, but among them, the insistence on “unified” opinion from the American Jewish community. Weeks ago, the Jewish community urged its constituents to criticize an editorial in the Globe that merely raised questions about the war with Hizbullah. Now those same questions are being pressed by the Israeli cabinet.

    3. I fear for the health of this country; there were too many decisions made in the Bush era that may have ill effects for years to come. I fear not just from politicians or rabble-rousers, but journalists and scholars who ought to above nonsense. Supposedly mainstream conservative pundits are about to publish books entitled Liberal Fascism: The Totalitarian Temptation From Mussolini to Hillary Clinton and The Enemy At Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility For 9/11.

    Those are three things I can’t control. And thus I fear for them.

    I have a last fear, but one I actively work on to ameliorate: the reckless use of online blogs and forums. Perhaps many readers who caught jdyer’s snippy comment yesterday (“she’s hot to trot!”) were offended by that, but there’s no way to gauge that at all.

    It’s not on the same level, but it’s an everyday occurence. People sacrifice decency in order to attack another person.

  • Hmm. To expand on #2 above, I fear the “politics of crowds” (mobs). It’s as easy to manufacture popular opinion in democracies as in repressive societies. I think we just try to pretend that it doesn’t exist here.

  • jdyer

    Jon Garfunkel Says:

    “I fear for the health of this country; there were too many decisions made in the Bush era that may have ill effects for years to come. I fear not just from politicians or rabble-rousers, but journalists and scholars who ought to above nonsense. Supposedly mainstream conservative pundits are about to publish books entitled Liberal Fascism: The Totalitarian Temptation From Mussolini to Hillary Clinton and The Enemy At Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility For 9/11.”

    Well that is a pretty stupid title. But Jonah Goldberg is not in the mainstream and his book was published by a commercial not an academic press. To be frank it is trash.

    btw: I intend to vote for Hillary if she run in the primary and in the general election.

    Still I am more worried when an acedemic press like Princeton publishes an worthless screed and calls it scholarship.

    The Question of Zion

    by Jacqueline Rose

    http://www.amazon.com/Question-Zion-Jacqueline-Rose/dp/0691117500/sr=1-1/qid=1157923033/ref=sr_1_1/102-7504022-1156903?ie=UTF8&s=books

    Here is a review of the book by an historian of the subject and political philospher who is also a Socialist (the type that would drive Goldberg crazy with hatred).

    “The Caricature of Zion” by

    Shalom Lappin

    http://www.democratiya.com/review.asp?reviews_id=40

    here is a url for the journal’s index:

    http://www.democratiya.com/default.asp

    As for your other fears they are just that, fears. There two way to deal with fear physiologically, flight or fight. I prefer fight. But whatever works for you, Jon.

  • Peggy Sue @ work

    jdyer:

    If I were a German housewife in 1942 I would not have wanted to be fire-bombed even if it was by my favorite historian Howard Zinn.

    If someone is trying to kill me their mode of dress, politics and affiliations are of little concern. Even under “friendly fire” you can be just as dead.

  • rawehage

    jdyer Says: “How does this justify the Islamic assault on villagers in that country and the slaughter of tens of thousands of childeren, women, and especially educated men?”

    Algeria was in a civil war brought on by a U.S.-backed “domocracy” that turned into a dictatorship:

    “The Algerian Civil War was an armed conflict between the Algerian government and various Islamist rebel groups which began in 1991. It is estimated to have cost over 150,000 lives. The conflict effectively ended with a government victory, following the surrender of the Islamic Salvation Army and the 2002 defeat of the Armed Islamic Group. However, low-level fighting still continues in some areas.

    “The conflict began in December 1991, when the government cancelled elections after the first round results had shown that the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) party would win, citing fears that the FIS would end democracy. After the FIS was banned and thousands of its members arrested, Islamist guerrillas rapidly emerged and began an armed campaign against the government and its supporters. They formed themselves into several armed groups, principally the Islamic Armed Movement (MIA), based in the mountains, and the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), based in the towns. The guerrillas initially targeted the army and police, but some groups soon started attacking civilians. In 1994, as negotiations between the government and the FIS’s imprisoned leadership reached their height, the GIA declared war on the FIS and its supporters, while the MIA and various smaller groups regrouped, becoming the FIS-loyalist Islamic Salvation Army (AIS).

    “Soon after, the talks collapsed, and new elections were held—won by the army’s candidate, General Liamine Zéroual. Conflict between the GIA and AIS intensified. Over the next few years, the GIA began a series of massacres targeting entire neighborhoods or villages; some evidence also suggests the involvement of government forces. These massacres peaked in 1997 around the parliamentary elections, which were won by a newly created pro-Army party, the National Democratic Rally (RND). The AIS, under attack from both sides, opted for a unilateral ceasefire with the government in 1997, while the GIA was torn apart by splits as various subdivisions objected to its new massacre policy. In 1999, following the election of a new president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, a new law gave amnesty to most guerrillas, motivating large numbers to “repent” (as it was termed) and return to normal life. The violence declined substantially, with effective victory for the government. The remnants of the GIA proper were hunted down over the next two years, and had practically disappeared by 2002.

    “However, a splinter group of the GIA, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), which was initially formed in 1998 to dissociate itself from the massacres by the GIA, rejects the amnesty and continues to fight. Despite its former repudiation of attacking non-combatants, the Al-Qaeda linked group “…eventually returned to killing civilians” [4]. While, as of 2006, its comparatively sparse activities are the only remaining fighting in Algeria, a complete end to the violence is not yet in sight.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algerian_Civil_War

  • To jdyer: Rose’s book is ranked #376,089 on Amazon. D’Souza’s and Goldberg’s are higher ranked– on pre-order— they won’t be published until next year. Follow the link to the article in Slate: if these two aren’t mainstream conservative commentators, than who is?

    “Flight or fight” are reactions to danger, not to fear. We fear the unknown, and we fear forces beyond our control. Education is the best counter to fear, since it reduces what is unknown; and democratic engagement reduces what is beyond our control.

    What do you fear, and how do you cope?

  • nother

    Potter, thank you so much for sharing. Your post illuminates for me how far reaching the effects of fear can be. How it has a ripple effect involving both mind and body. The effect of fear and anxiety on the body is underappreciated and I hope we explore that more. Everything from hair loss to heart disease can have its roots in fear.

  • nother

    Peggy Sue, your great post about attempting to let go of your hatred and fear of Bush reminded me of some beautiful lyrics:

    “When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.�

  • nother

    From an existential view, we crave fear because it’s a feeling. It’s the proverbial prick of the finger; it’s a rush, a high, in the face of ennui. We love roller coasters and scary movies like “jaws,� which, speaking of sharks, is why we watch Fox news.

  • jdyer

    rawehage Says:

    September 10th, 2006 at 5:29 pm

    “jdyer Says: “How does this justify the Islamic assault on villagers in that country and the slaughter of tens of thousands of childeren, women, and especially educated men?â€?

    Algeria was in a civil war brought on by a U.S.-backed “domocracyâ€? that turned into a dictatorship”

    This is bizarre.

    The US had very little to do with Algeria. US backing amounted to what dilomatic recognition?

    It is France which was the main backer of the Algerian government.

    Still, you support for people the cut the throats of women and little children as did the Islamic rebels in Algeria doesn’t give me much confidence in your view of the world.

  • jdyer

    Jon,

    “To jdyer: Rose’s book is ranked #376,089 on Amazon. D’Souza’s and Goldberg’s are higher ranked– on pre-order– they won’t be published until next year. Follow the link to the article in Slate: if these two aren’t mainstream conservative commentators, than who is?”

    It’s the number of copies sold, it’s the kind of presses and people who endorse a book that is important. The fact that Princeton University published such a worthless screed and that it was anthologized in places like the “The Book Forum,” and other intellectual mainstream publications is astounding.

    Having said this Godberg’s book is dreck pure and simple and its the kind of book that will be forgotten after the next election. Any one who thinks that Musollini and Hillary hold the same world view is either a total idiot or someone who has been hired to say they believe that.

    People aren’t that stupid, Jon.

    “Flight or fightâ€? are reactions to danger, not to fear.”

    True, but danger engenders fear which triggers the flight or fight response.

    “We fear the unknown, and we fear forces beyond our control.”

    I am not afraid of the unkown precisely because it is unkown. I am not afraid of abstract things. I would be afraid of Iran getting a nuclear weapons while Ahmadinejad is in power, but that is because he is a known quantity.

    I react to fear by fighting back.

    “Education is the best counter to fear, since it reduces what is unknown; and democratic engagement reduces what is beyond our control.”

    That depends on the type of education you endergo.

    The best antidote to fear is facing it honestly and doing something to counter the threat.

  • rc21

    Peggysue; You stated Bush said you fight terrorism by terrifying as many people as possible. Are you sure he actually said this? If so please give me the link,or tell me where I can find the speech. I fear that Bush has been to PC in his approach to dealing with Muslim extremists.

    Jon Garfunkel : You fear conservative journalists who are coming out with books. You also fear the reckless use of online blogs and forums. It sounds to me like you fear the first amendment. I fear house democrats threatining to pull the liscence of a major network because they have the audacity to air something that does not put there party in the favored status that they are so used to.

    Rawhage; You stated it would not be long before the total number of deaths in Iraq would exceed those of 9/11. Yes this is tragic. I will just add that since 9/11 no Americans have been killed by foreign terrorists in the USA. This is something to be grateful for .

    As one of only a few conservatives who seem to occasionally post , I think it is funny how we see things so differently.

  • jdyer

    nother: “From an existential view, we crave fear because it’s a feeling. It’s the proverbial prick of the finger; it’s a rush, a high, in the face of ennui. We love roller coasters and scary movies like “jaws,â€? which, speaking of sharks, is why we watch Fox news.”

    Nother, most people no the difference between controlled fear, the roller coaster, or watching a scary movie and real fear as say when you are being assaulted by some drunk with a bad attitude and a weapon in his hand.

    Spare me the crap about Fox. I find the BBC scarier than Fox because it lies about the world.

    Fox reassures people, it gives them false hope, which is why people watch it.

  • Potter

    Nother I agree. I think some people crave fear becuase they want to feel alive, they want that adrenalin rush so they watch horror movies, go on roller coaster rides and partake in dangerous sports. Probably such folks can watch the local news filled with murders kidnappings car accidents and fires. I can’t. Everyone’s nervous system is different.

    I don’t think many understand what happens to the body and the mind when it is traumatized. I think especially of a war situation where people are dying and there is destruction and upheaval, It effects the psyche long after and that reverberates out to effect others. I think of the young, children, and also of soldiers in the thick of it, also too young.

    That we went to war so easily was so immoral.

    I disagree with you Jon Garfunkel above that the “fight or flight” reaction is to danger as opposed to fear. That seems like a distinction without a difference.

    But Jon I agree with you about Israel and right wing bullying here ( your point #2).

  • rc21: I did not say “George Bush said”. I said “According to George Bush” based on his actions.

  • rc21

    peggySue; According to George Bush you fight terrorism by terrifying as many people as possible. That is what you posted. Nothing in there about according to his actions.

    Do you see how misleading your post was? I actually thought he said that,This would not have made me happy because like him or not I always felt he was doing his best.

    I hope this is not something they are teaching in journalism school. I know you detest Bush but your opinion does not equal truth. As a matter of fact it is an un-truth. He apparently never said any such thing.As for the tired old question of Iraq he is not trying to terrify anyone he liberated the Iraquis from a brutal dictator this much is not debateable even the most liberal of liberals admits S.H. was a savage killer. The killings that are happening now are at the hands of different groups of Iraquis, and outside Muslim extremists. So spare me the Bush is a terrorist bit. If you want to argue that the war was a bad idea and Bush was wrong than go to it have a field day. Just dont try and mislead. I’m sure He has made enough ”real”stupid comments for you to use in your attempt to show us how much you fear him.

  • I was thinking about scary movies and roller coasters too. These “controlled” experiences that we can pretty much count on to give us a thrill without actually killing us. Maybe we enjoy them because the physical experience of fear is a survival reflex we evolved with to keep us safe through heightened alertness.

    I once nearly stumbled onto a coiled Rattlesnake that started rattling at me. Boy did that go right up my spine like electrified ice and straight out my hair. Suddenly I was very alert! I think it is this type of experience that our fear reflexes were developed for. I think this kind of fear is very useful.

    But then I think it must be that overload – when the stressful situation does not get resolved or is repeated or is so huge that we are unable to recuperate from it that it then becomes unhealthy for us. Or when other people use fear repeatedly as a means of control or to maintain authority it becomes oppressive.

    A while ago I needed to go to the grade school and speak to the Principal. I’m not kidding. I’m over 50 but going to the Principal’s Office made me feel sick to my stomach.

  • jdyer

    Potter,

    “But Jon I agree with you about Israel and right wing bullying here ( your point #2). ”

    What bullying? He said that

    …”. I fear the capitulation of Israel, due to many possible causes, but among them, the insistence on “unifiedâ€? opinion from the American Jewish community. Weeks ago, the Jewish community urged its constituents to criticize an editorial in the Globe that merely raised questions about the war with Hizbullah. Now those same questions are being pressed by the Israeli cabinet.”

    Urging people to write letters is the same as bullying?

    If so there must be lots of bullies everywhere.

    There isn’t a day that I don’t get request from the DNC and other liberal organizations to write letters to somebody or some organization? How is that bullying?

    Besides, Jon didn’t say “right wing” he said “Jewish community.” How are these terms interchangeable?

  • jdyer

    “Do you see how misleading your post was?”

    she probably doesn’t, rc21.

    People like Peggy hate Bush so much that it distorts their sense of reality.

  • nother: Do not mistake danger with fear, danger is omnipresent, it’s up to you and your inner-self how many precious finite moments you waste fearing it.

    Ah, so this is a piece of our sympatico.

    I couldn’t bury my head in a pillow. I was the recipient of the violence. I faced danger every day. I knew I was powerless. Or so I thought. Then one day I wasn’t. In one small violent act of my own, the physical violence directed at me was halted.

    The physical danger was over. The fear was not. It wasn’t the fear of danger. Or dying. I came to terms with dying at a young age. It would have meant peace.

    Living is harder. Creating a life. Claiming power. It’s easy to be the victim. You’re not responsible. Powerlessness means you don’t have anyone to answer to. You don’t have to disappoint others or yourself. You can’t fail. You don’t dream and grieve those dreams. You have an excuse for being of no service.

    Living fully means facing fears of all sorts. I thought I had left fear behind. Until I had a child. Fear of failure never loomed so large. The first time I saw a Grand Mal seizure and thought she had died, fear turned my heart to stone for a moment. When she continued to have them, I lived in fear more than ever. Not out of helplessness, though I certainly felt that. You can’t impact a seizure, you simply have to watch it play out. But I feared that she would suffer. That she would have had a few short years of a life full of promise and then experience that potential fading away. For all the suffering of my youth, I always knew that if I could survive, I had a life to live. A world of potential. I feared for my daughter. And for me, as a mother.

    As her health improved and life returned to promise, I thought I had faced it all. (Well, with the exception of the loss of a child.)

    Now, it is me. And I fear again. For her. Her life has promise, but her debilitated mom could be a hindrance. As I face long-term physical suffering again and cognitive impairment, I face frustration, not about my physical abilities, buy my life energy. Some days it is all I can do to get out of bed. I fear not being able to live to the fullest and not being able to be there fully for her.

    I’m not employable, so I have to make my business succeed. That’s a challenge if you’re healthy. But again, I fear that I won’t be able to provide for my daughter. I have to make it work. I thought I feared failure before. Now, I’m truly terrified.

    Do I worry about a “terrorist” attack? No. It is only terror if I spend my time worrying about it. If I am to suffer or die because of someone else’s actions, so be it. I’ll experience it in the moments in which it is occurring. I have a life to live and another to nurture and enough fears about how to grasp as much of life as I can without piling on more.

    How do I face the terror I do spend my time worrying about? I leave the crutches in the car, walk my daughter into the building, lead her up 23 feet of stairs and fly on the trapeze to support her as she chases a dream. As I land on the net, I realize that my six year old child has shown me how to reach beyond my limitations, yet again.

    To hell with terrorist alerts. We need inspiration alerts.

  • PeggySue– I fear a monster under my bed. I do not have the options of “fight or flight” because it doesn’t exist. As soon as the monster materializes, it becomes a clear and present danger, and then I have to start to make decisions. My only options now are to educate myself (look under the bed), or to engage in democratic action (call the property management company and verify our diligence on the monster extermination assessment).

    Hmm. I guess I did open up a can of worms above re: Israel; I should know better. Let’s scratch it. It’s the politics-of-crowds I fear, the mobs setting opinion for democratic discourse. I’m seeing the effect with the commentary over The Path to 9/11. A lot of people had been critiquing the film without having seen it.

  • But you know Jon; those monsters that live under beds are crafty devils. They can instantly become transparent and flatten themselves up against the mattress as soon as a light goes on. Now, as soon as you fall asleep, you aren’t getting sleepy are you, they send up little tendrils up that emit coded messages into your brain. Once they have your brain programmed to their satisfaction they will install the triggers. These triggers could be anything, a combination of sounds, certain foods, even certain thoughts you may think. Once you are triggered you will become a zombie slave to the under the bed monsters. And do you know how to recognize other under the bed monster zombie slaves? I’m sure you’ve almost guessed it by now. They are usually driving around in vans that advertise either mattress manufacturers or monster exterminators.

    You can trust no one.

    Sweet Dreams

  • jdyer

    “Hmm. I guess I did open up a can of worms above re: Israel; I should know better. Let’s scratch it. It’s the politics-of-crowds I fear, the mobs setting opinion for democratic discourse. I’m seeing the effect with the commentary over The Path to 9/11. A lot of people had been critiquing the film without having seen it.”

    Oy vey, monsters under Jon’s bed. Can you hire a someone to watch over you and under your bed?

    As for the ABC film, just saw part 1. Wasn’t impressed. Will see part 2 before I decide if it was any good.

    So far it just feels like an ordinary action flick. I wanted more about the Jihadist history going back to the 20’s when the Ottoman Empire was disolved and less about bomb making.

    Still, at least they did dramatise the events. Perhaps this show will motivate other to make better films and write better novels about it.

  • Clever manipulation of fear has enabled the dismantling of core democratic protections in the US, bit by bit. Gore Vidal makes the case on BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program this morning. I don’t imagine he’ll be getting much airtime in the States, but I think he’s right and I’m glad to hear someone say it.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/listenagain/ram/today5_vidal_20060911.ram

  • Potter

    Jon: I fear a monster under my bed. I do not have the options of “fight or flight� because it doesn’t exist

    Options imply rationality. You can know in one sense that the monster does not exist but you are still reacting. It’s irrational. Peggy Sue has it right about triggers. These are chemical triggers that seem to short circuit rational thinking.

    Getting back to 9/11, we each imagined or we had imagined for us, mushroom clouds and all sorts of possible horrible things. We did not know and could not know the extent of the danger yet we reacted individually and as a country. The closer one was to Ground Zero ( emotionally or physically) the more of a personal trauma it was or had the potential to be (see Art Spiegelman’s ” In the Shadow of No Towers). So for instance now it is possible that a person living in NYC who happens to see any ordinary building fire or hears a fire engine gets a reaction that brings back the horror of that day.

    The additional public imaginings by our leaders on 9/11 added a layer of fear for those who did not need one more bit of it in their lives. The emotions of those days were in my view extended, milked, abused for political gain.

    Here’s an interesting article from Foreign Affairs Magazine:

    Is There Still A Terrorist Threat?

    Summary: Despite all the ominous warnings of wily terrorists and imminent attacks, there has been neither a successful strike nor a close call in the United States since 9/11. The reasonable — but rarely heard — explanation is that there are no terrorists within the United States, and few have the means or the inclination to strike from abroad.

    John Mueller is Professor of Political Science at Ohio State University and the author of “The Remnants of War.” He is currently writing a book about reactions to terrorism and other perceived international threats that will be published early next year.

    Lawrence Wright’s (“The Looming Tower”) article in the current New Yorker Magazine suggests that though Al Qaeda may cause us a lot of trouble in the coming years they do not have the means or the vision or the support to accomplish their goals ( which he lays out) or to take us over (ever). That people could ever be whipped up to believe that they might seems beyond rational. Not that there are no threats, but we are being fearmongered and paying a heavy price.

  • Potter

    Thanks Penny, good audio clip of Gore Vidal.

  • jon_m

    It’s worth noting that this ‘culture of fear’ differs quite a lot in different parts of the world. For example, I was pleased that the UK response to the recently foiled terrorist plot against our airlines was pretty much to acknowledge that it’s good this was stopped and then – far from panicking – to complain about the inconvenience of delays, restricted hand luggage, etc…

    In terms of people to speak to, probably too late for suggestions now, but Frank Furedi (http://www.frankfuredi.com/) has done some very interesting research on the culture and politics of fear. Rachel Pain (http://www.dur.ac.uk/geography/staff/geogstaffhidden/?mode=staff&id=352) has also done some very interesting research on the geography of fear with – in my opinion – a stronger empirical basis.

  • “Getting back to 9/11, we each imagined or we had imagined for us, mushroom clouds and all sorts of possible horrible things.”

    I used to live in NYC. For a short time I lived in Battery Park City right behind the WTC. I never imagined mushroom clouds. The link to Iraq and the potential WMDs always rang false.

    There will always be people who will try to gain power over you by triggering the “monster under the bed” syndrome. But we’re not 6 years old any more, are we?

  • jdyer

    Gore Vidal?

    Penny Schenk

    “Clever manipulation of fear has enabled the dismantling of core democratic protections in the US, bit by bit. Gore Vidal makes the case on BBC Radio 4’s “Todayâ€? program this morning.”

    Gore Vidle has been saying the same thing since Lyndon Johnson was President.

    It’s amazing how 9/11 hasn’t changed anyone’s thinking it merely gave them more ammunition in support of whatever views they held before.

    Hence to some dies hard right wing fanatic like Rush Limbaugh 9/11 justifies his views of politics and to a die hard Gore Vidal fanatic (I won’t call him a leftist that would be an insult to the some sensible people on the left) 9/11 justifies his own fanatical hatred of America.

  • jdyer

    In order to think clearly one needs to rise above one’s personal fears.

  • Potter

    Allison: “But we’re not 6 years old any more, are we?”

    There was no reason to imagine mushroom clouds prior to 9/11 when those images were presented to us by Rice. (Oddly btw we have done what to secure nuclear materials?)

    My family lives in NYC, My son moved to West Street across from Battery Park City a few months after 9/11 from midtown. A courageous move. He wanted to help rebuild, show defiance. It gave him a good feeling, helped to conquer whatever fear had. We walked the streets during those days when the smell was still in the air and you could see the ashes on the window ledges still months after the clean-up of apartments. One car, a little sport car, sat ( probably still does) in the open garage across the street, unclaimed, covered with ash. We let that image penetrate, our minds wander.

    My son had to take the subway to work everyday. Acts of courage. A million similar acts of courage every day. There were all sorts of public imaginings about what would happen next and how soon it might be coming. Dirty bombs, anthrax, contaminated water. We were very frightened underneath it all. My 90 year old mother in Brooklyn who watched the smoke for weeks from her window was frightened too and she’s a tough old bird who remembers family deaths from the 1918 flu, deprivations of the depression, WW2…

    Not long after we went for a picnic here in Central MA near the reservoir (the Wachusett- holding some of the water supply for eastern MA). It’s usually deserted, our spot maybe except for a lone fisherman in the distance. A police car had seen us, followed us. He came out of his car to check out who we were.

    So no, one does not have to be six years old to be frightened. And dealing with fear can be a battle at any age.

  • Potter

    I forgot to say that my son lost a colleague of his that day five years ago. He was at an early morning meeting in the restaurant at the top. My son could have just as easily been there. But the friend he lost he had seen just a few days before in the elevator of his workplace midtown.

    It’s so easy to say “rise above”.

  • nother

    What a beautiful thread. Thankyou Mary, Chris, and the staff for creating a place free of fear, an oasis for special souls such as Allison, Peggysue, Potter, and others.

    Allison, your post above was an inspiration alert for me, thankyou. It jolted my perspective on this whole issue.

    I have to say, It is heartwrenching think of a soul as powerful as yours hindered by health problems. I only know you through your writing and in my imagination you are indestructable. I think about your daughter and I smile when I picture all the love she will spread to others through her life. In the fight against fear the seed of your soul will spread so far, as it does here at ROS. That all may sound cheesy but I mean it.

    I hope you will expand on the idea of the victim. I hope you will write some more.

  • nother

    Sorry about the grammer, I’m at my moms and I only have a minute to write.

    Peggysue, your evolution perspective was awesome!

    Potter, how did the sense of community change in NY after the attacks and did that counteract the fear?

  • Potter

    Nother-the sense of community was phenomenal and it had a tremendous effect on counteracting the fear. If you went to NY during those days after as so many did in solidarity you could feel yourself a part of it. It was a big embrace. There was so much hurt, and as you say Nother, love was a big healer… you could feel it stranger to stranger in the way people looked at and through to each other.

  • I think the real challenge is to determine what IS worth being fearful about..and what is not. What are the chances of dying in a terrorist attack? Small. Do those chances go up if i live in DC or NYC? Yes. Do I think the US is better protected against attacks since 5 years ago? Not much. When Al Qaeda threatens Israel, is that frightening? Sure is. I don;t need anyone to hype that worry. Simple humanity makes anyone ache for the tension Israelis live under. Fear is a natural, animal response based on experience..it is a survival instinct. When it gets stroked too much you become paranoid. But you don’t want to lose a sense of fear.

  • If I did fear the monsters under the bed, I wouldn’t sleep there. If I feared working in a tall building (well, 18 stories is tall for Cambridge), I wouldn’t work here. If I feared biking on busy roads I’d get to work somehow else. If I feared exposure of my identity, I wouldn’t post with my real name. If I feared eating raw fish… etc. I guess I really don’t fear very much, after all.

    We calculate risks based on what we can rationally determine; the rest we leave to fear.

    Do I fear more crap to hit the fan in Washington? No, I guess I expect it.

    I guess I’ve been lucky not to have dangers manifest in my life. I hope I can turn that into good for someone else. Allison, we should talk… I didn’t know…

  • nother

    Thank you Potter, if we could only extend that vibe. I’m sure You are trying.

    And I can’t believe I mis-selt the word grammar above, who does that? Sometimes I fear my own ignorance.

  • “So no, one does not have to be six years old to be frightened. And dealing with fear can be a battle at any age.”

    Oh Potter, I didn’t mean to suggest that we can’t have fears and we don’t have to deal with them. The idea of monsters under the bed, though, is one of a child fearing something that doesn’t exist. It’s a projection of the growing awareness of mortality. As we grow, we learn – hopefully – to modulate our fears. We ride in cars even though there are thousands of deaths each year in car accidents. We swim though we could drown. We jump off the diving board even though we’re nervous. Each of these things requires that we face a chance at mortality and screw up the courage to move forward anyway. Embracing life takes courage.

    And I’m not suggesting that everyone has to have courage around the same things or at the same time. When my daughter had an unsuccessful catch (swinging from her knees on one bar into the arms of a man on another bar) attempt on the trapeze, it frightened her. I think hanging upside down and having a big man swinging toward her was a little startling. When they missed, it crushed her dream of smoothly sailing through it all. She cried for twenty minutes. I let her cry and I asked her what she wanted to do. It’s not for me to tell her to buckle up and get up there again. Nor can I tell her if she should walk away. She opted to climb those stairs again. Timidly, but she did it. She had one more, successful fly – without a catch attempt. She was reassured that her dream was still possible and I think she knew that she had been brave.

    150 miles away, I could smell the smoke from Manhattan. I can’t imagine being there right next to it. Smells leave such a visceral memory.

    Indeed, we experience things that make us fear. Rape victims know this. And it takes a lot of courage to face it and conquer it. No argument there. Perhaps we need to distinquish fear from trauma and anxiety. Anyway, please forgive me if it sounded like I was invalidating or trivializing your experiences.

    What I wa suggesting was that our leaders have focused on terror and perpetuating the feelings of trauma. I wish they would have focused on courage. I wish they would have talked to us about how to be there for each other and help each other recover from trauma. Inspired us to be an inspiration to the world.

  • nother: I only know you through your writing and in my imagination you are indestructable.

    Well, I suppose I am a bit indestructible. ;-D Mortal, yes. But no one and nothing has managed to destroy the me of me, so far. I may fumber intermittently, but I’m very resilient and resourceful. Even now, I don’t feel destroyed. Maybe a bit more determined.

  • Peggy Sue @ work

    nother: your favorite color matters to me…. if you care to divulge that is.

    (my quirky way of saying it is a pleasure to be postin’ with ya)

  • lagoa

    Ok, so when I recover from my mental illness, I’ll be a liberal?

    Chris, if you’re taking volunteers to criticize Bush’s policies, I’ll be the first in line. But, please, spare me the politics as psycho-babble, at least until Sept. 12.

    I’m going to go throw up now.

  • nother, thanks.

    hey, the show right now (er, 5 minutes ago) has entered the realm of the practical– a discussion of whether airline security enhances the state of fear by making us comply.

    I dissent (of course, I’m a communitarian/greater good/goodie-two-shoes person). If the airport measure reduce the risks, then we leave less to chance (assuming that our participation in security trulyhelps the airport security folks do their job better facing the real threats. Vigilance counters fear. Who wants ignorance?

  • Peggy Sue @ work

    I am at work now in the bookstore (just checking the blog). I’d like to recommend a book too… by one of my favorite authors and teachers Pema Chodrom’s The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times.

  • Potter

    Allison- somewhat defensive of me but I thank you for the poke which made me think more deeply about today’s anniversary. I am sure that you are battling fears admirably everyday.

    Nother- I imagined you perfectly so far. I think you are rather thin right?

    Chris, Mary- loved the psycho-babble! Thanks expecially for Robert Jay Lifton. He packs a lot of wisdom and insight. Sorry lagoa!

  • nother

    Allison, while thinking about your health issues tonight I remembered a post you wrote on the Morality thread, I went back and looked it up, it was Feb 21st.

    “nother: I love the imagery of being lost in dance. Dance is something that I definitely do for my own enjoyment. I get lost in my own world and I find it euphoric. I have been this way since I was a child.�

    “Enough of this thinking stuff for the eve. I’m off to spin around the room and imitate my daughter’s “interpretive dance� technique. May I reunite with my aboriginal self…�

    Please Allison, tell me you will still be able to dance.

  • nother

    Peggy Sue, thank you I just ordered the book. I know you were joking but my favorite color is that vibrant shade of blue ocean water off the coast in Aruba. Then again I think back to that mountain in Jamaica, the luminous shades of crisp green grass gleamed with dew from the nearby rushing water. That green sticks with me, but so does the rainbow we saw driving away. Four guys in the car and we all just looked up in awe at this gift of color nature was giving us. What is your favorite color?

    Potter, yes I am thin. Although my moms awesome cooking packed on a couple of extra pounds today. I’m not sure what you look like but I have the feeling I would know you if I saw you, that wierd.

    btw, my mom and stepdad were talking about how they wanted to get a place in the woods of Maine to get away from all the doom. They watch Fox and listen to Rush everyday and it has had a huge effect on them. Fear fear fear. Then on the way home I listen to the Meet the Press podcast and our Vice President made me want to drive into oncoming traffic. How much did he get beat up in High School?

  • surfacing

    explore the foundations of the Contradictory political Voice that tweaks marginal issues into the mainstream. Its implementations in society, social action, counter-action, the rhetoric and mentality of questioning power, using the institutions of power to change the mechanism of it, not much like an activist but like an explorer observing violence, death, decay in correspondence to innovation, diversity and the formation of new terretories in a consciousness deemed pricesless yet dormant, breathing, resting, in quiet peaceful communities.

  • nother: I thought you’d like blue. If I had to pick I’d probably have to go with blue too. That early morning or twilight blue with just a little violet in it or the translucent aqua of the inside curl of a cresting wave in the Straights of Juan de Fuca. Like you say it is hard to ignore the greens like velvety chartruse moss or the deep greens of a cedar grove. But I also like a dash of pink tinged with gold or a scarlet line.

    I hope you will let me know what you think of that book.

  • babu

    Spell-binding conversation, folks.

    PeggySue

    your ‘sit’ with Bush reminds me that for ten or twelve years I have been scanning the horizon watching for a cultural tsunammi which I intuit is on its way to hit our continental shelf and stand titanically upright in our collective shallows with the force of something so indifferently destructive as to defy reason.

    To me Bush is an (unconscious) semaphore of this force. As is bin Laden.

    Stalin, Hitler, they were not unconscious.

    I fear this is something that reasserts itself indicriminately in the human genome, every so-many births. Samsara on steroids. Mutating?

  • babu

    Mis-spelled ‘indiscriminately’, above.

  • Potter

    I tried to imagine Nother’s favorite color and it was blue. Then I thought maybe green. I woke up to my answer.

    I like the idea of surfacing.

    It’s interesting how that psycho-babble worked last night. It was completely complementary to ( or parallel with) this thread. I wish it had connected more but as Chris said at the end there was not enough time.

    Babu I also drift towards the verdict of unconcsious for Bush rather than conscious evil pushing this self-destructive course. That would indicate that one antidote would be to become more conscious, aware.

    Last night there was an indication in the discussion ( I have to listen again) that one answer might be learning how to absorb and even embrace that which we fear or are told to fear and so transform it and maybe be tranformed and stronger by it. That idea is to look straight at the monster CALIPHATE and declare “bring it on”. (Lawrence Wright says something similar). Accommodation. If we are so strong and so right, why are we so afraid?

    Thanks Peggy Sue for the book recommendation. I think I have something by him on my shelf.

  • Potter

    The book on my shelf is “Shambhala- the Secret Path of the Warrior” by Chogyam Trungpa

    Chapter 4: Fear and Fearlessness

    “In order to experience fearlessnes it is necessary to experience fear…….fear has to be acknowledged…(we have to)…reconcile ourselves with fear.

    ” Because we possess such fear we also are potentially entitled to experience fearlessness. True fearlessness is not the reduction of fear, but going beyond fear.”

    ” In the Shambhala tradition, discovering fearlessness comes from working with the softness of the human heart”.

    Being a gentle and decent person leads to fearlessness.

    “the ideal of warriorship is that the warrior should be sad [the sadness of the human condition] and tender, and because of that the warrior can be very brave as well. Without that heartfelt sadness, bravery is very brittle, like a china cup”…….

  • Bush’s speech yesterday sounded like biblical zealotry to me with his us vs. them good & evil thing, that we must vanquish the enemy or perish. I have heard the Dalai Lama talk about how because of globalization and technology this type of all or nothing conflict is obsolete, that we are all too interconnected to be able to survive this sort of conflict. He advocates dialog, something our administration seems to shun.

  • nother

    I so agree Peggysue, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue. That is what I lament more than anything, the lack of dialogue with these countries. The fact that we refuse to dignify them with dialogue has only alienated them more and exasperated the situation. Even thought Reagan considered the Soviet Union to be the “Evil Empire” he engaged in dialogue. I heard Richard Clark on Tavis Smiley last night and he said the refusal to talk to these leaders was like politics of Elementary school.

  • nother

    cool post by surfacing

  • nother

    Thankyou Peggy Sue for that beautiful imagery of your favorite colors.

    Have you ever seen a Van Gogh up close?

  • nother: Please Allison, tell me you will still be able to dance.

    Well, in shorter bursts. But I’d dance even in a wheelchair.

  • nother, what I really should says is, “Never fear. I’m always dancing.”

  • nother

    That’s what I want to hear. Thats what I want to hear Allison.

  • tbrucia

    ‘Terrorism’ is a bizarre word. People use it when describing actors (terrorists), as if a terrorist were a type of person, like a programmer, or a salesman, or a farmer. But a murderer only becomes a terrorist when folks ‘license’ him by becoming terrorized, frightened, scared silly, or whatever one wishes to call their emotional state. In a weird way, it takes TWO parties to create a terrorist: the actor (the murderer) and the accomplice, the person who chooses to move beyond being a victim (an involuntary state) to being a FRIGHTENED victim (one step further). When people cower, they help convert a murderer into a terrorist. When they simply refuse to cave in to their feelings of fear, they exhibit something once called ‘courage’. Courage robs the murderer of his additional power, by denying him the coveted role of being a terrorist, too. Too bad people don’t realize their failure to be courageous ‘promotes’ a simple murderer into something far more intimidating!

  • 1st/14th

    good point tbrucia, I always wonder why people give their enemies super human powers when in most cases they are bumbling fools. Perhaps it to cover their own inadequacies and weakness.

  • nother

    David, I asked some people around the restaurant about their fears and most said nothing of terrorism or foreign policy. This was obviously an informal survey but the immigrants and work release prisoners all had answers concerning personal survival. The white middle to upper class people at the bar talked more about foreign policy and Islamist fundamentalism.

    Driving home I had a revelation. The middle and upper class whites in our country are consumed by this War on Terror because it could ultimately affect their standard of living – the highest in the world. The dishwashers and busboys and cooks do not spend time worrying about terrorism because no matter how events transpire it would be hard for their standard of living to get any worse.

    The more I think about it the more I realize this is a war of avarice and our desperation to hold onto our materials is shameful.

    With that said, Chris is convinced we are an empire in decline, but I push back, maybe it’s false hope or my own desperation, but I believe we have passed the apex of fear. The House will go to the Democrats and the accountability of oversight hearings will snap us back to reality. In the fullness of time, America’s flowing sails of diversity will withstand the storm, the ship will be righted and onward we will travel in our pursuit of happiness.

  • Potter

    Beautiful post Nother. Thanks.

  • rc21

    To nother some of the overstatements and exagerations I read are very funny. First I dont think middle and upperclass whites are consumed by the war on terror. I know many middle class whites and a few upper class whites and I can say none,that would be zero percent are consumed. some are concerned and some only think of it on rare occasions.

    What about black, hispanic,and asian americans are they consumed or are there opinions irrelevent.

    ” Bus boys, dishwashers, and cooks dont worry about these things because it would be hard for their standard of living to get any lower”.

    So because one is not wealthy you dont think that they care if they live or die.

    Wealth may be very important to you but to many it is not the only thing that makes for happiness.

    I guess you have never spent much time outside the US. If you would like I can list for you a few places where I would bet none of these cooks, busboys, and dishwashers would like to try and live.by the way my friend is a cook and he makes quite a nice living. He also eats better than most.

    My advice is dont be so concerned with your materials and you wont be so fearful. You put way to much emphassis on eguating wealth and materialism with happiness.

  • jazzman

    The extent to which we fear is a function of our belief systems and especially the way we believe the Universe works (each of us creates our own idea construction that we call the Universe.) Given the limited set of scenarios for how the universe can function, fear is not a rational response under most conditions. These are they along with a fear assessment for each.

    1) Nothing is in control: The Universe is a collection of energy manifestations and events occur randomly.

    Assessment: For subscribers to this hypothesis, the extent of justifiable (rather than imagined or magnified) fear becomes a statistical function of the probability of the feared event occurring. Most fears are never realized due to the low probability of occurring. If one finds oneself in a condition of high probability that feared events will become manifest then be cautious at least and/or avoid such conditions if possible. This is the way fear may be managed in an uncaring, accidental universe.

    2) Some God is in control: There is no free will and fatalism rules.

    Assessment: The only thing to be feared is pissing off the God. The proscriptions of things that piss off God are the basis of Theistic religions. If you follow the religious canon to the best of your ability then you have nothing to fear as God will take care of you. BTW If God is in control then puppet that is you can’t behave contrary to his pleasure anyway so fear is totally irrational. Deal with it.

    3) Each of us is in control: By us I mean all entities from the smallest unit of consciousness to the largest gestalt.

    Assessment: This is the only way to have a totally fair and balanced (Fox News – fear monger extraordinaire) Universe. That is we are totally responsible for all that occurs in our experience. This is the way I prefer to believe the universe operates sans luck or victims – whether it does or not. This way we can equally take credit or blame for all situations that manifest in our reality and the only legitimate fear is fear of ourselves (We have met the enemy and he is us – Walt Kelly.) In this scenario fear is obviated by trust in oneself.

    4) Some combination of the above is in control: A catchall for agnostics.

    Assessment: Calculate the risks and keep your head down – and if you believe in God, pray you don’t piss him off.

    Peace to ALL – NO FEAR

    Jazzman

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