What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
Reviewing the responses of American citizens to various political events over the past few years, it seems that many are plagued by a type of cognitive dissonance. Their reactions are wholly inconsistent and their outrage polarized to a few select issues. For the most part, Americans are largely apathetic, indifferent as to what’s going on in Washington.
But there’s one sure way to trigger the ire of any American citizen: hit him where it counts. No, not below the belt, but in his wallet. This manifestation of selective concern is demonstrated by the following comic:
It’s a sad observation to claim that people don’t care about issues until it impacts them directly. We’re slow to rise in fury when an issue is being promoted that may or may not affect us in the future. But there’s no better way to make Joe Q. Taxpayer feel the weight of an issue than to make him suffer financially for it. That, better than any other incentive to act, gets people to care about an issue. (What few realize is that nearly every act of Congress increases their personal financial burden.)
While America has been asleep at the wheel, Congress and a power-hungry executive branch have been running over the Constitution repeatedly with their machinations. Only in the last couple of weeks when people have been threatened with footing the bill for a financial intervention of epic proportions do they show any amount of concern.
It’s astounding to see what an active citizenry can do; Congressmen (and their website) have been overwhelmed with responses as of late, and have realized that their job is threatened when they fail to comply with America’s wishes. It’s an eternal shame that we fail to act with the same level of vigor when the issue is not perceived as being as important or costly.