Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Sky is Falling!

"Fear always springs from ignorance." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Some recent events have been great fodder for those who get excited by perceived threats. For the easily cowed, stories of possible terrorist plots play right into their hands. They are almost gleeful at the prospect that their collective cognitive dissonance hasn't been for nought. See ... Bush was right all along for being in Iraq! It's like an after-the-fact affirmation. They are so starved for any bit of a terrorist plot, they will manufacture them where they either don't exist or they conflate them into something much bigger and much more sinister than they actually are.

In the first case (manufacturing terror), it's happened repeatedly:

Last year in Florida: Miami Bomb Plot

These were homegrown "terrorists" with no links to external groups and whose exposure (and continued operation) was largely due to FBI payments.

And just recently: Airport Fuel Pipeline Evaluated After Arrests

The reaction of government attorneys:
"... When the case was first announced this past weekend in New York, U.S. Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf spoke of "unfathomable death and destruction."

"The devastation that would be caused had this plot succeeded is just unthinkable," Mauskopf said."

And the reaction of people who knew what they were talking about, weren't jacked up on caffeine, and didn't watch quite so many "24" episodes:

But Richard Kuprewicz, a pipeline expert with Accufacts, an energy consulting firm, says fears that an explosion at one end of the pipeline would set off explosions throughout the underground network are unrealistic.

"It's just not going to happen," Kuprewicz said. "You can have what we call a potential impact zone at the release site, but the flame front will not go up or down the pipeline."

One reason is that the fuel in the pipelines is not highly combustible. It needs oxygen to burn and there are shut-off valves to stop the flow in an emergency.

... Kuprewicz says that, for the most part, pipelines can be quickly repaired. His biggest concern is that people will overreact to the latest plot.

"If the reaction on national security is to not tell people where pipelines are in their neighborhood, that's probably a step backwards."

Public awareness is one of the best ways to protect pipelines, Kuprewicz says, because people are more likely to report anything suspicious if they know where to look.

Some even go so far as to wish for a terrorist attack:

Arkansas GOP head: We need more 'attacks on American soil' so people appreciate Bush
"At the end of the day, I believe fully the president is doing the right thing, and I think all we need is some attacks on American soil like we had on [Sept. 11, 2001], and the naysayers will come around very quickly to appreciate not only the commitment for President Bush, but the sacrifice that has been made by men and women to protect this country." -- Dennis Milligan

Dennis ... you ignorant slut!

I can forgive being stupid. What I can't forgive is being willfully ignorant. To be so deluded and to so completely buy into a certain screwed-up ideology that you would wish for an attack is beyond the pale. It's like walking around with a concealed gun hoping that someone attacks you so that you can use it. Wait ... that already happens. Especially here in Arizona.

I know we sound like a broken record, but as Laura pointed out in a recent post (14 defining characteristics of fascist regimes), you are seeing classic symptoms of a society moving toward fascism. The most obvious in this instance being the use of fear and the need to identify an enemy.

For a little more analysis of the use of fear and "terrorism", check out some recent posts by JA and Kvatch, respectively:

State of Fear

Terrorist Attacks are Good

"FEAR is an acronym in the English language for "False Evidence Appearing Real"" -- Neale Donald Walsch


Laura said...

I still think everyone should read Culture of Fear by Barry Glassner. It was written prior to 9/11 and so doesn't deal with Terrorism directly, but the main points are people's perceptions of what endangers them and the real dangers to them are rarely congruent. Media, marketing, political agendas all play a part in hyping unrealistic fears while we all ignore the real ones.

That guy from Arkansas should have to stand in front of the families of the 9/11 victims and rescue workers and explain himself. It's insulting that someone would wish something like that.

And really... if that's what it's going to take for people to "get on board" with Bush, then there's something very, very wrong with Bush people...

CyberKitten said...

Fear is a great way to control your citizens.....

Scott said...

Fear is the health of the State!

It's my new mantra. Climate change, mind altering psychopathic drugs, greed, terrorists, global thermal nuclear war, giant comets hurling through space.... save us big brother!

CyberKitten said...

True scott - except that Global Warming is real and we obviously don't fear it enough - or we'd be doing more about it [grin]

.... and your Big Brother in particular hasn't really offered to 'save' you from it (unless you live in California)... [rotflmao]

dbackdad said...

Greed is real enough also. Despite what some may think, ("... greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works." -- Gordon Gekko in Wall Street), it's not something to aspire to. We've become a society that has elevated greed to a virtue and have created two classes and scant in between. Yet there are those who would elevate it even higher.

There's nothing wrong with fearing real things (global warming, greed). Fear can be a guiding force for correcting our mistakes.

Scott said...

Terrorists are real, too. Not the point whether they are real or not. The point is whether the State is the proper way to fix things.

dbackdad said...

Point taken.

Did you see Ron Paul on the Daily Show the other day? He was very funny and did a pretty good job of explaining his views. You would have been proud.

Scott said...

I did actually, I thought he nailed that interview and definitely was playing to the more liberal based audience. Stewart and Maher have both been vastly more fair in talking to him than anyone on the right, which when you take into account Paul is certainly more fiscally conservative than any of the other 9 candidates should tell you something about the state of the Republican party in America.

He’ll be in the Colbert show next Wednesday.

Laura said...

I think we need to keep in mind that it's not just fear or reality alone, it's the likelihood that your fear is justified. Terrorists are real, but for the vast majority of us, they're not a real threat to us personally. The chance of you being directly affected by global warming (heat waves, severe storms, energy crises) is much higher than your likelihood of being directly affected by a terrorist.

As far as whether or not the state is the vehicle to fix it is up for debate. But I certainly don't see a critical mass of individuals or corporate CEOs stepping up to the plate... so somebody has to pick up the slack and do something.

shrimplate said...

Ever since I was little I used to love "Alice in Wonderland," but now after years of the Bush administration I just can't stomache it anymore.