How Politicians Exploit your Fear and What to Do to Stop them?

Book review: 

Feardom: How Politicians Exploit Your Emotions and What You Can Do to Stop Them by Connor Boyack. 

Libertas Press (8 December 2014)

Connor Boyack, the founder and president of Libertas Institute a libertarian think tank in Utah, has written an important book on the subject matter of the pervasive human emotion of fear and how different power mongering people utilise it to influence the actions of their victims to control and exploit them for their own benefit. 

Since the beginning of the year 2020 and continuing into 2021, world population has been scared to death by the state authorities, medical pharmaceutical mafia world and their billionaire funders about the so-called new Coronavirus and a disease caused by it viz., Covid-19. Under the guise of Covid-19 disease fear, power mongers have acquired tremendous powers for themselves over the world population. Various governments, especially Indian, imposed draconian lockdowns on their population which destroyed economies, societies and killed scores of people; they have coerced millions of people to take their experimental drugs, which they call vaccine, without anyone being aware about what they are injecting in their bodies; people, especially kids, are forced to wear masks and do social distancing as well as draconian authoritarian ideas like vaccine passports etc., are in the making world over. Not in known human history power mongers were able to acquire so much of power in their hands by using fear of a virus, which isn’t deadly at all with a mortality rate of less than 0.15%. The frailty of human nature is on full display today. A false fear of death, which is manufactured by power mongers, has made world population submit themselves completely to despots. 

In such circumstance of global manufactured fear, Boyack’s book is important to study because he not only systematically analyses what fear is and what causes it, but also provides a strong antidote against it so that we can guard ourselves against fear mongering authoritarians. As Boyack says, this type of immunisation is of urgency today. Immunisation against fear is the need of the hour and his book provides that immunisation. 

To understand how to deal with fear, we must first understand what fear is. 

Fear is what psychologist Daniel Goleman calls, an Amygdala hijack. It is a natural response to the threat situations in life. When Human beings are faced with a danger the emotion of fear creates a response of either flight or fight in them, which is a life saviour. This emotion of fear is a natural instinct that nature has put in our brain during the history of our evolution. It has helped our specie survive. But the problem with fear is, if it is irrational then it can make us do crazy things. In the presence of seen danger our fear is rational and it saves our lives, but when the threat is not seen or perceived clearly and risk assessment is not in our hands, and it is in the hands of very people like politicians or medical mafia who communicate it to us, then an irrational fear will make us do crazy things like submit our liberties to despots who are using fear to control and manipulate us. During such times, the overwhelming response of our emotions will overpower our rationality. Boyack describes irrational fear,

When the evidence does not substantiate the threat – when there is no rational reason to produce a heightened emotional response and change your behaviour to avoid danger – then the fear is irrational.  

The on going Covid-19 pandemic depicts this irrational fear perfectly well. We have 1.5 years worth of data with us about the mortality rate of Covid-19 to be only less than 0.15% overall, but despite that there is overwhelming reaction by the world population of submitting themselves to all kinds of despotic policies of their ruling masters. There is an overwhelming evidence that measures like lockdowns or mask and social distancing mandates or vaccines etc., don’t do anything to stop the spread of virus, but still most people around the world demand these very steps to be taken by their ruling overlords. And this is nothing new. Governments and their medical mafia is at this game since last 50 years at least. For example, 

In year 2009, 152 people were infected with swine flu in Mexico. And the media manufactured a crisis out of this and people around the world where erupted into fear of an epidemic. We were warned that the threat was everywhere – that everyone was potentially at risk; however, the data showed this fear to be completely unwarranted. Weeks into the outbreak, there were around 1000 reported cases of the virus in 20 countries. The number of fatalities stood at 26 – 25 in Mexico and 1 in the United States. Yet schools were closed, travel was restricted, emergency rooms were flooded, hundreds of thousands of pigs were killed, hand sanitiser and face masks disappeared from store shelves and network news stories about swine flu consumed 43% of air time. 

Not only this, in year 1976 a swine flu outbreak led (American) Congress to vote to vaccinate the entire country. 25 people died from the vaccination itself, while only 1 person was killed from the actual virus; hundreds, if not more, contracted Guillain-Barre syndrome, a paralysing neurological illness, as a result of vaccine. Nearly 25% of the population was vaccinated before the effort was cancelled due to safety concerns.

Not only politicians and other power mongers utilise natural crisis to instil fear in the populace to control and manipulate them, often they deliberately manufacture a crisis to fulfil their various goals like bringing people in support of their policies, like attacking some foreign country or for winning elections and reelections, for gaining more power, money, prestige, fame etc. In this evil affairs, mainstream media is the crime partner of the power mongers. H L Mencken very rightly described governments when he said, 

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

History provides us many such examples. For example, the American spy agency CIA and the Pentagon were involved in the Operation Northwoods where the joint chief of staffs in the military themselves devised a plan to attack American citizens in American cities and blame those attacks on the Fidel Castro regime of Cuba so as to give them a pretext to attack and kill him. The Gulf of Tonkin boat attack was also a ruse which started the bloody Vietnam war. In India also it is very highly likely that the Pulwama attack, which gave Narendra Modi a thumping victory in his reelection, was a an attack which government either invited or never tried to stop even after knowing about it; the same is true about the Godhra train burning incident or false encounters in Gujarat. India’s present government is known to incite communal riots to win elections. 

Reason why people are fooled by the fear tactics of power mongers is because they are not in a position to assess the imminent danger or the risk involved in the phenomenon that is being feared. The odds of risk are being communicated to them by the very same power mongers, like the government or medical mafia etc., who are going to benefit from fear mongering! This risk communication by the third parties is what causes the irrational fear and during this on-going Covid pandemic we see exactly the same thing happening. From the very beginning government and the medical mafia scared people about the coronavirus. Because information was and still not easily available to the common people, they are reacting in a very crazy manner submitting their life and liberty in the hands of these despots. And as usual, the mainstream media, especially the social media companies like Facebook, Google (YouTube), Twitter etc., are aiding these despots in their efforts by outright censoring any dissident and differing voices that are questioning their narrative of Covid-19 being dangerous pandemic that requires forever lockdowns and masks and social distancing as well the only cure of this virus is their vaccines. In their mad reach for power these companies are banning medical doctors, who are actually treating patients and know well, well known scientists as well as other experts. They are trying every bit hard to keep the populace uninformed. As Boyack explains,

A point not to be missed here is that information – or the lack thereof – shapes public opinion. More specifically, a person’s beliefs and decisions are affected by the information at his disposal. If a person’s understanding is limited only to sound bytes conveyed by politicians and pundits  – risk communication –  then he will most likely believe what he is told. 

This ignorance amongst the public is most dangerous because as, “Aldous Huxley, a writer best known for his dystopian novel Brave New World, once wrote, 

The greatest triumphs of propaganda have been accomplished not by doing something, but by refraining from doing. Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth.” Ignorance, then, is fear’s greatest catalyst; predatory politicians prefer a blindfolded people who can neither see nor respond to what’s actually around them.

Ignorance breeds fear and fear allows despots to control and manipulate us. 

Not only that lack of information and ignorance deceives people, the reason why fear is such a potent weapon in the hands of despots is because as Thomas Jefferson wrote, 

Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.

Fearful people seek security over liberty—they want to be kept safe at almost any expense. Knowing this human reaction, those who desire power and gain exploit it to great success.

We see the same phenomenon at display today. People who are fearful of losing their lives at the hands of a virus that is only 0.15% lethal are willingly submitting their liberties to one world order despots. 

Generally we relate the word despotism to the outright display of naked power by despots like Hitler or Stalin etc., only, but as Jefferson mentioned, more calmer type of despotism is even more dangerous. Despots like Hitler can be removed easily when they transgress their limits of abuse, but democratically elected politicians exploit their subjects for decades because their exploitation is much more calmer and disguised in public policies which the voting public itself overwhelmingly supports because they (falsely) believe that those policies will give them lifetime security. People enslave themselves willingly under the false pretence of safety. Safety from neighbouring countries like Pakistan or China who our politicians constantly tell us will attack us if we don’t enact policies that they are proposing or safety from economic and social scares like losing job (unemployment) or safety of income in old age (social security) or safety from abuse of employers (job security and work conditions) etc. In this on-going so-called Covid-19 pandemic they have literally imprisoned themselves inside their homes to safeguard their lives from some virus as if hiding in home is really going to make their lives secure and better! All politicians promise their electorate a safe and better future, Narendra Modi’s Acche Din, and always the electorate end up being more chained in slavery of these politicians because all those policies enacted for supposed safety of electorate actually increase the power of the politicians. Looking at this phenomena one can for surely say that, whenever some politician is promising safety and better life in future we must expect worst days. But the fear of tough days in future makes populace keep on believing such deceiving politicians and keep on supporting them year after year. The emotion of fear is a very powerful force and political despots use it to its maximum effect. 

Just like any other despot of democracy, politicians like Narendra Modi are willingly supported by most Indians because they all believe he will make their future better and safe and he will fulfil their heart’s wish of making India a Hindu Rashtra. We all have to understand this fact that if people will not support any of these despots then they can’t accomplish anything. The real power resides with people, but because most people are fearful inherently and that fear is being manipulated by the despots, people cheerfully enslave themselves for little (false) safety while remaining in a delusion that they are free. As Benjamin Franklin said, 

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

Not just fearful people keep on voting and supporting democratic despots, people working for the government as bureaucrats, policemen, military men and other government servants also blindly keep on supporting the deadly policies of these despots under the excuse of we are just doing our jobs. As Boyack explains, 

Politicians who propose policies such as this, and pundits who generate support for them, cannot act alone. Even after the public is convinced of the necessity of surrendering their liberty in the quest for security, somebody has to actually implement the policy. Despots need obedient subordinates to execute political opponents, imprison dissidents, fight protesters, collect taxes, and harass the citizenry. Indeed, they cannot be despots unless they are able to command countless other human beings to follow their orders. Whether democratically elected or not, those who exercise tyrannical power are at the mercy of those who decide whether to listen to them. Evil triumphs, as Edmund Burke observed, when good men do nothing.

Soldiers kill innocent people; NSA agents invade our privacy; police officers shut down lemonade stands; central bankers erode the savings of senior citizens; medical marijuana patients are incarcerated; legislators vote away more of our money—these and a list of wrongful acts too lengthy to fit in this book are regularly perpetrated by persons clothed in the authority of the state. They are, we must suppose, sincere people with good intentions and families to feed. We are told that they are just doing their job, and[…]

Fearful people seeing authorities doing wrong things to them chose to remain silent or many who find it abhorring don’t have the courage to speak up against it. Such people think that they will wait for others to oppose the despot but by then it is too late. Gradual policy changes one day turns society and culture into something totally different under which one was born and grew. Take example of Nazi Germany. Most Germans didn’t realise when their country turned into a monster which killed millions of innocent jews so brutally. I see the same thing happening in India. A gradual decay that started mostly with Indira Gandhi has today turned country into a hotbed of Hindu fundamentalist who are hell bent on destroying its tolerant fabric. The poison has already spread in the Indian society. Personally I witnessed this slow poisoning of the society by Modi and his BJP party in Gujarat in last 25 years. Gujaratis have become fanatic Muslim hating society. This is a state where Hindus and Muslims can’t live together now. This is the state where municipalities like Surat has enacted laws where Hindus or Muslims can’t sell their homes to each other without government’s permission! People of Surat overwhelmingly voted for Modi and BJP party in local elections even when he has single handily destroyed Surat’s businesses with his demonetisation and GST policies. This feat Narendra Modi has achieved by using the old tactic of propaganda. He instilled the fear of Muslims taking over the Hindu society and raping and marrying their women, love jihad, as well as subjugating them. He presented himself as a saviour of Hindus who will vanquish Muslims and turn India into a glorious new Hindu Rashtra. That is how he was able to fool the Hindu heartland states which overwhelmingly decides national elections in his favour.   

Propaganda is a very powerful technique in the hands of power mongering politicians. Boyack discusses propaganda,

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the German statesman, once wrote: “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are “free.” Successful despots create circumstances in which people voluntarily surrender their power, primarily through the use of weaponized fear, and those who are masters at their craft are able to accumulate power and wealth while the populace believes it is safe, happy, and free.

This is the domain of propaganda, a psychological tool to manipulate thought and emotion in favor of a certain set of ideas. The word itself simply refers to the propagation of ideas—something to which we can hardly object. Public health notices, religious advocacy, business advertisements, and a host of other common marketing efforts can all be classified as propaganda. But the term has taken on a negative connotation since the mid-19th century, when it became associated with the use of misleading information to achieve political gain. Like fear, propaganda has been weaponized by those who seek to achieve, expand, and retain power over others.

Mainstream media again is the most important vehicle of spreading propaganda amongst public e.g., Modi government’s IT cell and what is popularly known as, the Godi Media.

How to counter fear 

Given the fact that the emotion of fear is one of the most powerful forces of human nature and that politicians and other power mongers know how to manipulate it to subjugate population for their own benefit, what common people need to do to counter this manipulated fear?

First, as Thomas Jefferson said, the sea of liberty is tempestuous and there is no calm or complete safety in life. That is why people should never expect absolute safety. They must understand that when they will trade their liberty for safety, they will end up with neither. Liberty requires education, integrity and vigour. Liberty comes with responsibility. And that is why people must learn to take responsibility of their lives on their own shoulders instead of believing that some politician like Narendra Modi will come and save them for all troubles. When one is having a job, he must save and provide for future unemployment episodes. One must save for his retirement so that life can be lived honourable without relying on anyone. If one wants to earn higher wages then he must upgrade his skills instead of asking government to pass minimum wage laws, which will only unemploy him in the end! We must build strong local neighbourhoods and communities for mutual support instead of relying on conniving politicians and other such power mongers. With our hard work, we can lessen future uncertainties as much as possible. These uncertainties are what bothers people. 

Second, we must learn to assume risk. 

As I said above, life is full of risk. Risk is ever present whether we are in home or we step out of it. Hiding in home from the coronavirus is not going to make anyone safe; taking unknown experimental drugs called Covid vaccine is not going to make someone immortal or at less risk when scientists themselves are saying that the immunity given by vaccines is unknown. We have to understand the eternal truth of life that death is inevitable. God gave us life to live and not to trample in fear and hide in the closet. Because death is inevitable, before dying we must live our lives fully enjoying it in all its richness. National security and personal safety are two major reasons for which despotic policies are deemed necessary. Liberty requires proper assessment of risk. Being reckless is also not good. A proper risk assessment requires information/data and that is why those who love liberty must remain informed. We must try to gather as much information as possible from alternative sources instead of solely relying on the government sources and its lapdog  mainstream media. We also need to properly contextualise the risk and fear. In this information age of Internet gathering information from alternative sources is not very difficult. We must gather information from those people who are not very mainstream and who are passionate about their work and have a truthful record. For example, in this ongoing Coronavirus pandemic people have completely freaked out listening to media fear mongering whole day. But instead of relying on always lying mainstream media, we should do our own research from alternative sources. There are so many doctors around the world who are now coming forward and countering the mainstream narrative of COVID-19 being a dangerous disease. We must listen to them. We must listen to the dissenting voices and then weigh the evidence and properly assess the risk. All the data about the disease and its danger are available on internet. Looking at overall numbers in right context we can see that COVID-19 is not at all dangerous. 99% of people are recovering from this disease. The mortality rate of this disease is not more than 0.15%. There are many other diseases which are more dangerous than COVID-19 if we look and compare the data in the right context e.g., in India alone every year more than half a million people die because of tuberculosis. This disease is equally infectious as COVID-19 but every year we do not have government orders on wearing mask or maintaining social distance or even vaccinating ourselves against tuberculosis. There is no vaccine of tuberculosis. In fact, there is no vaccine of SARS or MERS also! The probability of dying on road accidents on Indian highways and roads is higher than dying with COVID-19. Once we see COVID-19 in its right context like this, the fear will disappear and we will no longer allow politicians to control and ruin our lives like how they are doing right now. 

Liberty demands that we pursue the Truth at any cost. And once we know the truth it becomes our duty and responsibility to inform our fellow human beings so that they can also make informed decisions and assess risk in its right context. Spreading the message of liberty is very important because otherwise all our efforts will go to waste. Here is Boyack,

Truth-seekers must become truth-tellers. Obtaining reliable information may benefit us individually, but it becomes more effective when spread widely to others who have not yet encountered it. In epidemiology there’s a concept known as herd immunity theory—the idea that the total effect of a contagious disease is reduced when the chain of infection is disrupted by immunizing a large percentage of the population. As more people become resistant, the likelihood that others will become infected is reduced. The same concept applies to fear: its potential for exploitation is significantly undermined when a large percentage of the population recognizes the hobgoblin for what it is. Determining the truth is important for our own sake, but we can have a much greater impact if we help to inoculate a large percentage of the public against the rampant disease of manufactured fear. (emphasise added)

Third, as the story of boy crying wolf teaches us we must abandon those people who are always trying to scare us from imaginary hobgoblins. This group of people include politicians from all political parties, the pharmaceutical medical mafia, government scientists/bureaucrats, like Anthony Fauci, who instead of doing proper science are busy helping governments spreading fear, celebrities who are known to be of dodgy character, business leaders who are in bed with governments and of course the mainstream media which is the main propaganda machine of all these power mongers. As villagers stopped listening to the boy who was always crying wolf, once we stop listening to these fear mongers they can no longer scarce, manipulate and control us. The moment we will call their bluff, their fear mongering power game will be over. Do not trust these people. As the popular American stand-up comedian George Carlin said, 

I have certain rules I live by. My first rule: I don’t believe anything the government tells me. 

That should be the rule of our lives too. 

And lastly, as Rumi said, Love is the cure. All that we need is love to defeat the evil. Love leads to liberty while fear leads to despotism. We must spread love and peace everywhere. Instead of hating our neighbours like Pakistanis or the Chinese or fearing them because our politicians want us to fear them, we must visit Pakistan and China and get to know them. Once we will know them, we will know that they are also human beings like all of us. That will remove any fear that we have in our minds about our neighbours or our own fellow Muslim or Dalit beings in India. That love will dispel the fear and defeat the propaganda of politicians. Love will make fear mongers powerless. During this COVID-19 pandemic also, instead of mocking and hating our friends and family members who are fearful of this virus, we must try to understand their fear and their needs for safety first. We must empathise with them. With love and compassion then we must communicate the truth to them in a peaceful non-violent manner. This is the only way we can possibly make them understand that the fear is not real. If we will continue to mock and hate each other then the fear mongers and power mongers will be successful in dividing and ruling over us. They want us to fight. We must avoid this trap. Those who are vaccinating themselves are not our enemies. We must connect to their heart first understanding why they are vaccinating themselves and then try to explain to them the dangers of injecting unknown substances in their bodies. We must give them all the information that we have gathered so that they can make an informed decision. Whether they will remain in home under fear or they will take a vaccine or not is ultimately their decision. Helping them make an informed decision is our duty and we must carry out our duties. Truth seekers must become truth tellers. Compassionate reasoning is our only way to help our fellow human beings.    

At the same time we must not allow this fearful people to rule our lives. We must guard our liberty with our full energy. Mutual love and understanding is what will save all of us in the end.

These are some of the anti-dots to the poison of fear. With Boyack I conclude,

We live in a dangerous world, and threats abound: nemesis nations, debilitating diseases, or even the common crook can disrupt or destroy a previously stable and enjoyable life. Rational people will try to mitigate threats to the extent possible, but they will focus on the pursuit of their happiness, rather than being incapacitated by fear. They recognize and reject the irrational fear of hobgoblins, no matter how often they’re mentioned in the media. They understand the value of freedom and that the sea of liberty, while tempestuous at times, is well worth navigating.

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