Monday, December 7, 2015

Fear and Liberty

I am hesitant to write and record this post. With events in recent days that occurred in  California I considered postponing this post. After lengthy consideration I decided to go on and release this post with some edits to make it more applicable. You can listen and subscribe on Stitcher or iTunes.

In this episode we talk about how organizations use fear as a control mechanism and how fear is an enemy of liberty. In order to do this well we will have to look at the definition of fear.

  1. 1.
    an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

    • archaic
      a mixed feeling of dread and reverence.

      "the love and fear of God"
    • a feeling of anxiety concerning the outcome of something or the safety and well-being of someone.

      "police launched a search for the family amid fears for their safety"
    • the likelihood of something unwelcome happening.

      "she could observe the other guests without too much fear of attracting attention"



be afraid of (someone or something) as likely to be dangerous, painful, or threatening.

What is Fear

Now that we have the definition we can with full knowledge look at the emotion of fear. First of all short term fear is a natural reaction to something that is or is perceived to be dangerous. Fear is the emotion that causes the fight or flight instincts to kick in. Fear causes the pulse to quicken, the senses to become sharper, and strength and speed to increase temporarily. Perception is narrowed to pay closer attention to anything that could signal fear. These are the result of the body releasing adrenaline. Adrenaline is what has enabled parents to lift cars off of their children and men and women to do truly heroic, almost superhuman things in battle.

Fear can be internal or external. Internal fears are things like fear of heights, fear of loss of a loved one, or fear of a job loss. Internal fears tend to be more insistent and many times irrational. External fears are normally short-term unless they are manipulated by an individual or organization. External fears are things like almost being in an accident, a robbery taking place in your community, or being assaulted.  Most of the time once the danger has passed, the fear subsides.

When true emotional trauma takes place there can be residual fear. Residual fear can be triggered by a sight, smell, or sound that our brain recorded when we were in danger. Many survivors of horrible events must undergo counseling to learn to deal with these fears.

Fear as a Control

Long-term fear is a major problem and can cause health problems. The immune system is weakened, and heart disease can be common. Persistent fear is never good. So how do people use fear to control others?

Fear In The Family

There are some that as soon as I say this will automatically think spanking. Sorry spanking doesn't qualify. Spanking is a way to teach a child what is not acceptable and that doing things that are wrong comes with ramifications. When a child is properly spanked it is never done out of anger, it is always appropriate to the behavior, and it is always in conjunction with a conversation about what the child has done wrong. After a few minutes the pain is gone and the fear is as well.

When I talk about fear being used as a control in the family it normally is in conjunction with abuse. This abuse can be physical, mental, or emotional. It is most commonly seen used to control a spouse, though there are examples of it being used on every family member.

A controlling spouse will convince their husband or wife that they are worthless, that the situation is the best they could ever hope to attain, that the person actually deserves the way they are being treated. Let me state plainly, a person that will use fear to control someone they claim they love, no matter the method is scum.

Fear of the Judicial System

There is a percentage of the population that are just flat out criminals. They do what they want, to whom they want, and when/if they are caught show no sign of remorse or even concern for not only what they have done, but for their own fate. There is another group of people that are opportunistic criminals. They will do something when there is very little chance that they will be caught. There are others that would really like to rape, kill, and steal, but the fear of the justice system, the fear or jail or prison is the only thing that stops them.

You are probably thinking that this is good and in the above example it is, but laws have gone beyond just the protection of individual's rights and property and have moved into the removal and restriction of people's rights. What do I mean? We will take an example that many will consider silly. The motorcycle helmet law.

Fred loves to ride motorcycles, he loves the wind blowing through his hair, so he hates helmets, he lives in a state that requires helmets be worn. On a particularly beautiful day he decides that he is going for a ride and will not wear his helmet. An officer sees him and writes him a ticket. The officer is simply doing his job.

Before we go any further. Was Fred hunting anyone? Nope. Was he endangering anyone other than himself? Nope.

Fred decides that the law isn't fair and he isn't going to pay the fine of say $300. On the ticket there is a court date on a certain date.  If Fred goes to court he is going to lose and still have to pay the $300. He decides that the state shouldn't have a helmet law and he isn't going to court. An arrest warrant is issued for failure to appear. A man or woman with a gun and the right to use force shows up at Fred's home. If Fred will not go willingly force will be used up to the point of deadly force to bring a person in for refusal to wear a helmet. A law that was supposedly passed to help protect him.

What is the worst thing that can happen if there was no helmet law? Fred could be killed in  a wreck that he could have survived if he had worn one or he could wind up in a vegetative state. His actions while considered reckless by many, do not jeopardize anyone other than himself. It shouldn't be a law.

I am think the same way about seat belt laws. It should be a person's choice. Do I wear a seat belt? Yes. I do so because of my wife.

Fear of Financial Ruin

This one can be internal or external. I know someone that their greatest fear is to have to live in poverty. Everything they do is in an attempt to amass more money. It dominates their lives. Companies will use this fear on employees to get them to do things they wouldn't ordinarily.

Even corporations can be driven by this fear. Monsanto has started an advertising campaign and have hired people to make comments on social media and blogs that stand against their practices. You can see an article about it HERE. For anyone who thinks Monsanto cares about anything other than profits I have only one thing to say Anniston, Alabama.

The Governments Use of Fear

The government takes advantage of fear on a regular basis and it doesn't matter which side of the political spectrum you are on, it is still true of your side. After the 9/11 attacks something called the Patriot Act was passed. We were told that it was necessary to protect us from the evils of terrorists. Only one problem. It didn't do much about people outside this country. What the Patriot act did was allow our government to spy on us. It has come to light that our government has access to every phone call and text message we send or receive. They have access to all of our online records.

I have heard people say "well, I don't do anything wrong so I don't care." This is a pitiful excuse for apathy. I don't do anything wrong either. I obey even the laws that I think are stupid. I work, I pay my bills, and my taxes. Anything I do unless it is illegal should be none of their business.


Terrorists rely on fear. If you can convince an opponent that they are going to lose a fight, they have lost before the battle has even started. If you will notice terrorists are very different from guerrilla fighters. Guerrilla fighters use unconventional tactics to attack and if possible defeat a military opponent. They don't wish to harm non combatants. Terrorists target civilian populations not military targets. If a terrorist can convince you that you are in danger in your own home they have achieved their desired result.

Fear is the Enemy of Liberty

Fear is normally what drives people to take the freedoms of others away. This is true of the gun debate, marijuana,  and many, many others. Those who support gun confiscation are afraid of firearms. I don't know anyone who owns a firearm that supports a gun ban, there may be a few, but very few. The thing you have to realize is that when you act on your fear and take away someone else's rights, it will not be long before the political environment swings. They will most likely not get their rights back, but they will use the same power of the state to take away one of your rights.

Fear Not

It bugs me really bad when I see and hear Christians acting out of fear. One of the primary messages in the Bible is fear not, be not afraid, have no fear, be strong and very courageous. Even if you aren't a Christian this is still good advise. We should be working for the rights of each person, even if we don't agree with those rights. Here is another silly example.

I don't like to see people who wear pajamas in public. I think it portrays them as lazy and having no personal pride, but if I were given complete power tomorrow I wouldn't pass a law that makes wearing pajamas in public illegal. I should have no right to force my opinion on anyone and no one should be able to do that to me either.

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