Perspectives: When you’re offered terror, ‘just say no’

OPINION – Anyone who was around during the 1980s should remember First Lady Nancy Reagan’s matronly advice to youngsters on how to respond when a pusher offered them illegal drugs. She told them to, “Just say no.”

This phrase became the centerpiece of a long-term campaign to create awareness about drug abuse and to bolster the moral resolve of America’s young people in resisting not just recreational chemistry, but also premarital sex and violence.

We really could use a similar “just say no” campaign today aimed at adults who are being targeted by a new, insidious kind of pusher.

This pusher is cunning, subtle, and tireless when it comes to peddling his product. He knows how to play on our emotions and how to exploit those moments when we are tired or weak and are more likely to give in to his persuasion. He has a well-organized, vast distribution network that can be accessed almost anywhere, at any time.

What starts as a small sampling of his product – usually out of curiosity – can quickly turn into a growing habit that must be fed daily. We come to crave what the pusher is selling us. It occupies every spare minute of our thoughts. It makes us toss and turn at night.

When we become dependent upon this substance, it changes the way we see others and the way we see ourselves. We find ourselves doing and saying things that would have been unthinkable in a more clear state of mind. Over time, we may abandon our deepest principles due to the effects of this powerful, addictive drug.

The pusher, in this case, consists of a great number of our political leaders and their mules in the mass media. The drug, as you may have surmised, is fear. Or you may recognize it by its more popular street name: terror.

For weeks now, every hourly newscast has led with breathless reporting on the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, crisis and how our leaders are working night and day to face what is being described as a “threat like nothing we’ve ever seen.”

The fear being peddled to the American public is almost palpable. Its object is to keep us afraid so that we’ll go along with anything our leaders tell us we must do. With every terror-filled official pronouncement, we are expected to panic, irrigate our skivvies and turn to our leaders to keep us safe.

Somehow, their efforts to secure our safety always seem to come at a significant cost to personal freedoms. But the effects of fear on the minds of decent, everyday Americans is so strong that they’ll actually thank their public officials for becoming more authoritarian and militaristic.

The addiction to crisis, terror, and uncertainty creates a desire for safety at any cost. So strong is this desire, that few people realize what they are giving up until it is too late.

Writer Claire Wolfe has warned of this for many years; she said:

Fear is the most potent of the power-mongers.  They spook us with some threat — which may be real or illusory.  Then they promise to save us from it — as long as we give up just a few more billion dollars, a few rights, a little of our privacy, a lot of our independence, and ultimately all of our freedom.

Breaking an addiction to fear and crisis starts with admitting that there is a problem. Actually, there are a couple of problems that must be addressed.

The first is the recognition that a great deal of the chaos and violence in the world today is directly connected with the imperial behavior of American policymakers who are engaging in aggressive war-mongering abroad while creating a national security state at home.

Terrorism is not the result of people resenting our remaining freedoms here in America. It is the result of many decades of bloodshed and brutal foreign policy decisions that the American people had no say in whatsoever.

Prior to the events of 9/11, there were many analysts and commentators who warned that interventionism was the incubator of terrorism. But those warnings fell on deaf ears.

The risk of another terror attack on American soil is virtually guaranteed as long as our leaders maintain a worldwide empire that engages in aggressive military conquest in matters that have nothing to do with protecting our freedoms.

The second thing that must be addressed is the acknowledgement that turning our police into a domestic standing army by making them indistinguishable from our military is not making us safer or more free. It simply plays upon the public’s fears and sense of crisis.

Government’s proper role is to keep us free, not to keep us safely locked down like prisoners.

Jacob Hornberger said it best:

Better to live and die a free person, no matter how dangerous that might be, than to live life as a cowering, fearful serf, no matter how safe you might be.

It’s time to rediscover the power of saying “no” to those leaders who are pushing terror on us to dull our senses.

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Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and opinion writer in Southern Utah. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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  • CHRIS September 18, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Look around, Brian. You’ll notice most people have and love their guns (plural) and aren’t afraid (as in terror) to defend themselves and their families. You might have a larger audience if you were to travel a little farther south.

    • Ron September 18, 2014 at 12:20 pm

      Loving your guns is yet another response to fear, Chris. You might not recognize it as such, but that’s exactly what it is. And the gun lovers I know are just as eager to get us back into war in the Middle East as our leaders who are shouting “The sky is falling.”

  • Alice September 18, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Interesting article, and I agree with the addiction to terror. I find myself addicted to the news at times. I have to conciously turn off the TV and radio and look around and see the beauty in my world. I realize that there are threats, confusion, barbarism, and extreme violence plaguing our world, but letting it make us to afraid to leave the front door is not the answer.

  • Koolaid September 18, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    The biggest pushers of fear are religions who prey on people, especially the old and the emotionally weak, by pushing the fear of not achieving salvation by almighty God unless they join some church and give tons of money to the church’s cause. Those same religious pushers dabble in political arenas, spinning their lies and propaganda to the same weak and elderly.

    • rickie September 18, 2014 at 10:07 pm

      Hay Koolaid; what does your “religion” teach? Is your religion science? $? Self gratification? Your sports team? Or your white race? What is your “religion”?

  • The Rest Of The Story September 18, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    There are so many red herrings here, I thought I was on a wharf.

  • EL JEFE September 19, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Maybe I’ll stick with….”the only thing to fear, is fear itself”. And that’s a BIG maybe.

  • Koolaid September 20, 2014 at 9:04 am

    Look how religion pushes the fear factor in regards to gays. Proposition 8 is an example of the hate generated by religion and religion pushing people to give up their money for the church’s hateful cause.

    • Usually Annoyed September 22, 2014 at 12:15 pm

      Koolaid sometimes I wonder if we live in the same world 🙂 You and Bobber live in this hateful, disillusioned world and I feel sorry for you. Maybe someday you can open your eyes to what really happens around you, instead of letting your vision be so jaded by your hatred of things that are not true. Just saying! Hatred is a miserable state of mind.

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