Do not be afraid.
It’s easy to say, isn’t it?
It isn’t as if there weren’t real threats out there. We all see things every day that can kill us, and if you’re unfortunate enough to be a regular news-watcher you know more about threats to your person and our society than is good for your peace of mind.
In spite of this, I say, “do not be afraid”.
Now, it isn’t really my phrase. “Fear not” is the single most repeated command in the Bible, and anyone who’s been in the military, or played organized sports, has almost certainly heard something to the effect that there’s no point being afraid – they can only kill you, after all. Why do we make all that noise? Fear is natural, after all. Each of us experiences fear. Anyone who does not is not only not normal, but probably ill. One could easily argue that fear is a sign of mental health, under many circumstances.
Do not be afraid. There’s a reason.
Most of us recall Yoda in Star Wars saying “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
Fear is paralytic. It causes us to freeze when we should flee, to surrender when we should fight, or hyperventilate when we should pick up a fire extinguisher.
Fear leads us to poor judgement. We exchange liberties for the appearance of security.
Do not be afraid.
If you review the liberties infringed in the name of “security” by the Patriot Act (and other ill-advised measures), you find that we are significantly less free than we once were. The argument has been made that we are more secure than we were, that if we had not implemented these measures, we would most certainly have had another major terror incident by now.
The thing is, if you allow yourself to be afraid, you begin to think that it’s not really important if you have to take off clothing, walk through an X-ray system, give a urine sample, submit to a background check, go through an assortment of electronic monitoring and surveillance systems, present your papers to leave town, surrender any defensive weapons… all of these things are the hallmarks of police states. We are not a free people any longer, and it’s due to fear.
Butbutbut they want to kill us!
Yes, they always have, and once upon a time we accepted that and dealt with it when it came up. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying we should not be proactive! I am, however, saying that we are not a nation of cowards and it is not seemly to behave as if we were. If this keeps on, we will be a nation of cowards, make no mistake.
Have you noticed that all the fun stuff has been removed from the playgrounds? It’s fear, either fear that someone will be injured, or more likely, fear that someone will be sued.
The prospect of a lawsuit seems to frighten some of us more than the terrorists do.
Have you noticed they’re taking all the fun food out of the school cafeterias? It’s fear that this generation of children might have heart problems if they eat fun food for 50 years. That’s possible, I suppose, but if they get frustrated and drive a truckload of propane into their office, they probably won’t make it that long. Maybe the Twinkies weren’t all that bad after all?
Of course, they justify the boring (or even frightening) food by pointing to the fear of higher health care costs. We’ll agree, I’m sure, that unhealthy lifestyle choices do, in fact, lead to higher health-care costs (or shorter lives, pick one or both…). Now of course, the only reason they claim an interest in our health-care costs is because they’ve insisted on taking our responsibility to care for ourselves away.
Health care costs are going up for a large number of reasons (none of which was addressed by the health care bill, by the way) but one of the largest is the aforementioned lawsuits.
I tend to reflexively disagree with Franklin Delano Roosevelt; I believe he did more harm to the Republic than any individual in the 20th century. I will call to mind one of his quotes: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Plainly, that’s wrong. There’s plenty to be afraid of, but fear that causes us to act in haste is truly to be feared. Surrendering liberty will not make us safer; it will only make us less free.
Do not be afraid. It’s crucial to your liberty.