General Question

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

Are people still buying into the fear mongering this government is trying to pull on us?

Asked by SquirrelEStuff (9224points) September 8th, 2007

I feel like they are trying to scare us, while destroying our civil liberties, and killing the middle class, and can blame it on terrorism. Just my opinion

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21 Answers

thetmle's avatar

Well, terrorism is a real threat. Although we may not hear about it, the government receives daily threats.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

I understand that, but yet the borders are wide open, now mexican trucks can drive into the country, and all they wanna do is scare us. I dont buy it. 400,000 people a year die from smoking, 50,000 from drunk drivers, who knows how many people die from all the chemicals in our food and products we use, and less than 6,000 people have died from terrorism in this country, we have bigger things to worry about, like the taking of our civil liberties, just like the Nazis. Read these excerpts from “They Thought They Were Free.”
this book was written in 1955. it is some scary stuff

sarahsugs's avatar

Related question: What are some strategies in daily life to to simultaneously be street smart and word wise, but NOT buy in to the culture of fear?

sarahsugs's avatar

make that WORLD wise.

Poser's avatar

Is the government’s job to stop death? Or protect its citizenry?

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

their job is to protect the rights granted to us by our creator. The only oath they take is to uphold and protect the constitution.
Like Benjamin franklin said,” any society that will give up essential liberty for temporary security deserve neither.”

donok's avatar

Not to give them any excuses, but I am a firm believer that a lot of this mess can be explained more by crowd theory and the nature of what happens when the collective sh*ts their collective pants. We made this mistake with Senator McCarthy and the Japanese internment camps in WWII. I think it is a lot less of guys in a smoke filled room deciding how to pull the wool over our eyes and a lot more like a flood after a storm.

Poser's avatar

@chris—Then why should the government concern itself with 400,000 people dying from smoking, 50,000 from drunk driving, and chemicals in our food and water? Where is any of that stuff in the Constitution?

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

I dong think they should do anything about any of that, maybe educate people better. My point is why should we give up civil liberties for terrorism, when a very small number of ppl die from terrorists, most of which are created by our foreign policy.

Poser's avatar

We’ve been giving up civil liberties in this country far before your or I were born. Terrorism is simply the latest excuse.

hossman's avatar

I amazingly find myself agreeing with poser. The flaw in the “terrorism as excuse for conspiracy to scare us, destroy middle class, abrogate civil liberties” irrationality is that terrorism is simply not necessary for those goals to be accomplished. Can you name one specific civil liberty you have lost that you had before (let’s use a convenient bright line date) 9/11? You’ve already had your civil liberties impeded in the name of health (helmet laws, smoking restrictions, mandatory immunization), the environment (wetlands and endangered species restrictions, emissions controls), political correctness (hate crimes, affirmative action, sanctions against use of various words, even those of dubious offensiveness like “niggardly” and “buffaloes”), protecting/educating children (various taxes, government supervision of parental decision-making, unfunded educational mandates like No Child Left Behind) and just plain “government knows better than you what to do with your money and life.” Terrorism really is small beans.

hossman's avatar

And I won’t even point out the idiocy of your statement that our foreign policy creates terrorists. I take Osama bin Laden at his word when he states the “war” will not end until all Americans convert to Islam. As this is not an option for me, I must believe the war will continue until all who believe as he does are dead or powerless. It is their intolerance that creates terrorists, not our foreign policy. People who want you dead because you don’t conform to their religious and political ideals will be terrorists regardless of your foreign policy. Or perhaps you prefer capitulation, Mr. Chamberlain, we see how well that worked in the past. Even if we abandoned Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel, handed nuclear capability to Iran, and adopted complete isolationism, we would still be the Great Satan so long as we are a global example of a strong and successful non-Islamic government, culture, and society. Or perhaps you did not know that to a significant portion of the Islamic world, “peace” itself is defined as “submission to the will of Allah.”

hossman's avatar

Hee. Chris, I just read your link above. First, you’d have more credibility if you quoted or linked to the text itself, rather than somebody’s review of the text. You are requiring me to accept 3rd hand information here. Second, the moment anyone talks about a CONSERVATIVE media conspiracy or bias, their credibility rapidly dwindles. Third, the premise that America could so readily become Nazi-like completely ignores significant differences between the political, social, economic, cultural factors of America and mid-20th century Germany. There are huge differences merely in the folkways and character of the two peoples alone. Is it conceivable? Of course. Probable? I don’t think so. Such speculation completely discounts the stubborn, independent, “don’t tread on me” attitude of so many Americans of so many different political stripes, as opposed to the “submission to the group” mentality of pre-WWII Germans and Japanese. Although I would agree we have come closer to such an eventuality, you and the author of the review grossly underestimate the resilience of American independence (not Independence, or democracy, but the inherently strong-willed nature of individuals resulting from our traditions of liberty and self-reliance). But really, what is Ron Paul’s position on this?

hossman's avatar

Excuse me, upon review, I find my use of the term “idiocy” above, while not necessarily inaccurate, impolite and not suiting the tone of this website. Thus, please amend “idiocy” to “poorly conceived.”

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

@hossman its been a while. lol 2 things we have lost since 9/11, the right to privacy and the right to habeus corpus. This administration has been spying on us via phone, email, and who knows what other tech. they are using. I agree that they have been taking away our liberties, little by little. Do u think this will ever catch up to us???

Have u seen the new Bin Laden video? He talks about American and corporate imperialism. Read Noam Chomsky.
Here is something you said, “People who want you dead because you don’t conform to their religious and political ideals will be terrorists regardless of your foreign policy.” Funny that the people in Iraq, a country that DID NOT attack us on 9/11, are supposed to stand there and let us put our political ideas on them and not fight back, and if they do, they are terrorists or insurgents. We can detain as many people as we want and label them as “enemy combatants”, that is ok, but it is not ok when the “terrorists” take hostages?
Do you really think we can do whatever we want there, taking the very little these people had, and expect them to not fight back??

What do you mean conservative media conspiracy??

I am gonna throw out some excerpts of “They thought they were free,” but if you think that what happened in Germany cant happen here bc of our “independence”, if there was another attack, and we fell into a depression, how independent do you think the average American will be?

The [Peorian] individual surrenders his individuality without a murmur, without, indeed, a second thought – and not just his individual hobbies and tastes, but his individual occupation, his individual family concerns, his individual needs. The primordial community, the tribe, re-emerges, it’s first function the preservation of all its members. Every normal personality of the day becomes an ‘authoritarian personality.’ A few recalcitrants have to be disciplined (vigorously, under the circumstances) for neglect or betrayal of their duty. A few groups have to be watched or, if necessary, taken in hand – the antisocial elements, the liberty-howlers, the agitators among the poor, and the criminal gangs. For the rest of the citizens – 95 percent or so of the population – duty is now the central fact of life. They obey, at first awkwardly, but, surprisingly soon, spontaneously.

What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security….
As a friend of Mayer’s noted, and Mayer recorded in his book:

This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter. ...
To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it – please try to believe me – unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, “regretted,” that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these “little measures” that no “patriotic German” could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.

“Pastor Niemoller spoke for the thousands and thousands of men like me when he spoke (too modestly of himself) and said that, when the Nazis attacked the Communists, he was a little uneasy, but, after all, he was not a Communist, and so he did nothing: and then they attacked the Socialists, and he was a little uneasier, but, still, he was not a Socialist, and he did nothing; and then the schools, the press, the Jews, and so on, and he was always uneasier, but still he did nothing. And then they attacked the Church, and he was a Churchman, and he did something – but then it was too late.”
“Yes,” I said.

“You see,” my colleague went on, “one doesn’t see exactly where or how to move. Believe me, this is true. Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for the one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow. You don’t want to act, or even to talk, alone; you don’t want to ‘go out of your way to make trouble.’ Why not? – Well, you are not in the habit of doing it. And it is not just fear, fear of standing alone, that restrains you; it is also genuine uncertainty.

“Uncertainty is a very important factor, and, instead of decreasing as time goes on, it grows. Outside, in the streets, in the general community, everyone is happy. One hears no protest, and certainly sees none. You know, in France or Italy there will be slogans against the government painted on walls and fences; in Germany, outside the great cities, perhaps, there is not even this. In the university community, in your own community, you speak privately to your colleagues, some of whom certainly feel as you do; but what do they say? They say, ‘It’s not so bad’ or ‘You’re seeing things’ or ‘You’re an alarmist.’

“And you are an alarmist. You are saying that this must lead to this, and you can’t prove it. These are the beginnings, yes; but how do you know for sure when you don’t know the end, and how do you know, or even surmise, the end? On the one hand, your enemies, the law, the regime, the Party, intimidate you. On the other, your colleagues pooh-pooh you as pessimistic or even neurotic. ...

“But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That’s the difficulty. If the last and worst act of the whole regime had come immediately after the first and the smallest, thousands, yes, millions would have been sufficiently shocked – if, let us say, the gassing of the Jews in ‘43 had come immediately after the ‘German Firm’ stickers on the windows of non-Jewish shops in ‘33. But of course this isn’t the way it happens. In between come all the hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of them preparing you not to be shocked by the next. Step C is not so much worse than Step B, and, if you did not make a stand at Step B, why should you at Step C? And so on to Step D.

“And one day, too late, your principles, if you were ever sensible of them, all rush in upon you. The burden of self-deception has grown too heavy, and some minor incident, in my case my little boy, hardly more than a baby, saying ‘Jew swine,’ collapses it all at once, and you see that everything, everything, has changed and changed completely under your nose. The world you live in – your nation, your people – is not the world you were in at all. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves; when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. Now you live in a system which rules without responsibility even to God.” ...

hossman's avatar

chris, you have missed the specificity of my question. I specifically asked you what rights you have lost since 9/11. Your concerns re government surveillance, habeas corpus and privacy as a result of terrorism concerns are all misplaced, because those surveillance programs were already in place way before 9/11 and our current terrorism concerns.

My statement re “conservative media bias” was not directed to your comments but rather a statement in the article to which you linked. It was that author’s credibility I disparaged, not your own.

I have read Noam Chomsky, and he never impressed me, either for his ideas or his writing ability. Others have expressed the same concepts far more eloquently, and he strikes me as someone who happened to gain “cachet” and has been riding his own reputation ever since. But that’s just my opinion.

As a former resident of Peoria, I understand why the author is using Peoria as an example, but he’s still wrong.

I am very well read regarding the history of Nazism in general, and Pastor Niemoller in particular, as he is one of my personal heroes. While the expressed position of the author you quote is theoretically possible, I find it highly improbable anytime in the near future. I believe the author has gravely underestimated the character of the many Americans who are never the subject of academic analysis and review, the average Joe, largely in the interior of the country, who would never accept impingement in this manner. I think both you and the author also are exaggerating the current problems and situation, although I certainly agree if we do nothing to preserve our liberty, eventually it will erode. And that’s part of the reason I assert many of my positions.

xgunther's avatar

and did u hear about the military aircraft carrying nuclear weapons flying over major US cities on “accident”? It was in the news last week.

This bothers me.

Poser's avatar


xgunther's avatar

I dunno. Something bothers me about the thought of nukes “accidentally” flying above my head. But I guess I’m just crazy.

hossman's avatar

Yeah. I’d like to think a plane with nuclear weapons taking off for ANYWHERE would trigger a few phone calls. If the plane accidentally went down, the emergency responders would have no warning to begin radiological hazard precautions.

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