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Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021

Are You Afraid?

Government fearmongering is rampant

FDR understood that the fear of fear causes more problems in our lives than fear itself. It is why, during his first inaugural address in March of 1933, with the nation slipping into the Great Depression, he famously said, “Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Of course, he wasn’t the first to utter such. “Nothing is so much to be feared as fear,” appears in Henry David Thoreau’s journals as far back as 1851. Aristotle wrote, “He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.” The phrase “fear not” is stated in the Bible 365 times.

And yet, according to statistics, nearly onethird of adults in the United States struggle with fear, either in the form of anxiety disorders or phobias – affecting 40 million of us. A public opinion poll released recently by the American Psychiatric Association revealed that over 40% of Americans say they are more fearful this year than last year.

But is there any surprise why? After all, President Biden has cowardly chosen fear to compel us all to fall in line and surrender. He had done this for years, long before he became president. Remember when he said (as vicepresident) that Republicans would “put y’all back in chains” when speaking to an African- American audience in 2012? Scaring folks – dividing and conquering – is just how some folks choose to preserve their position and power.

They don’t know any other way. Even today, Biden stokes fear by calling voter identification laws the rise of Jim Crow. He raises our anxiety levels by suggesting climate change is “the existential threat of our time,” even as rising gas prices at the pump make commuting for millions of Americans more expensive and the growing dependence on foreign oil threatens our national security.

He uses the fear of losing your job to compel you to become vaccinated. He increases our fear of one another by slamming our country as “systemically racist.” He promotes fear among the middle-class that the “rich” aren’t paying their “fair share.” He fans the flames for defunding the police by instituting policies that make them out as violent racists.

He uses the fear of censorship on social media to keep you from sharing “problematic posts.” He uses the fear of the FBI to keep parents from attending school board meetings and opposing the teaching of Critical Race Theory. He stokes the insecurity of the elderly, our veterans and the poor by threatening not to send out their monthly payments unless Congress agrees to his demands to suspend or raise the debt ceiling.

He uses fear because that’s all he’s got. The razor-thin majority that Democrats hold in Congress, combined with the unconvincing results of the 2020 presidential election (marred as it has been by serious allegations of fraud and mishandling), mean very simply that Joe Biden and the Democrats lack a “mandate to govern” from the consent of the governed. This is why “fear” is all this administration has to govern with.

This is no time in our nation’s history, however, to choose fear over principles. History is littered with the regrets of millions who did so, including Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler. Mao buried his dissenters alive, Pol Pot committed genocide against his own people, and Stalin killed millions.

The common denominator among these governments? They governed by fear, and tyranny resulted, proving that “when government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.”

Now some might say it won’t ever come to this extreme in the United States.

To which all the others might ask, “Have you been paying attention?”

Louis R. Avallone is a Shreveport businessman, attorney and author of “Bright Spots, Big Country, What Makes America Great.” He is also a former aide to U.S. Representative Jim McCrery and editor of The Caddo Republican. His columns have appeared regularly in 318 Forum since 2007. Follow him on Facebook, on Twitter @louisravallone or by e-mail at louisavallone@mac.com, and on American Ground Radio at 101.7FM and 710 AM, weeknights from 6 - 7 p.m., and streaming live on keelnews.com.

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