Fear is a powerful emotion and for good reason. Avoiding people, places and things that can cause you harm is a pretty good way to stay alive, whether in prehistoric times or on the streets of Chicago today. Fear is also a powerful tool that has long been wielded by well meaning reformers and tyrants alike. It also makes, as they say in the newspaper business, good copy. In our modern 24 hour news cycle, every possible threat is liable to be magnified in order to capture the eyes and ears of an increasingly jaded audience. It also inevitably produces a demand for action, usually government action.
But most risks are remote as best. If not, they would be as much a part of day to day life as the risk of wild animals in the jungle. If one watches enough television or You Tube videos, you might be convinced that the outside world is “dark and filled with terrors.” Not that it isn’t. But not often the ones we read about or see. Driving a car exposes you to constant risk of death and destruction and yet we often do that without the slightest fear.
Still, many of us fret about the remote risk of our child being kidnapped by human traffickers when abuse by friends and family members is far greater. We wring our hands over minor health violations at local restaurants when our own homes would likely fail miserably. We worry over the latest designer drug that will supposedly turn you into a flesh eating zombie while medicating ourselves with a potpourri of pharmaceutical products. And we get worked into a frenzy over terrorists and illegal immigrants when we are more likely to we are more likely to be struck by lightning than to be harmed by either group.
It is tempting to fall prey to the onslaught of awful we see everyday and to imagine everything is going straight to Hell. It is fair to say that, if something bad can happen, it has happened. And someone probably recorded a video of it. So what was once a sad story in a village somewhere is now seen by everyone. Yes, it is possible that your cellphone will explode in your pocket, that you will find a worm in your peanut butter or that the Ruritanian family next door is building a nuclear warhead. But it just isn’t very likely that any of those things will happen.
Life is inherently risky but being terrified of every possible thing that could go wrong is no way to live. Most of us accept fairly significant risks as a part of living a full, rich life. Being careful is one thing but allowing yourself to be frightened by the media and the State is another. Don’t let them manipulate you into giving them more and more control over your life. That is the death of freedom and is most certainly not an acceptable risk.
Hope everyone has had a great week. We’ve had a nice increase in traffic to this page in the last few months so welcome to all the new readers. If you like what you see, tell your friends. We’ll see you again on Monday.