Fear is a complex emotion but it comes in two main forms. There’s anticipatory fear where we perceive a threat, know what to do about it, and take the necessary evasive action.
That happens when you see a dangerous situation looming on the road, or someone threatens you with violence.
Then there’s inhibitory fear, where the threat is too great, too amorphous or too appalling for us to know how to deal with it. Because there’s no way to discharge the fear through action, we are inhibited rather than energised. The term ‘paralysed by fear’ is a good description of inhibitory fear at work.
Hugh Mackay Speech “Be Afraid” 2007
We are again experiencing the politics of fear…however, I don’t know how effective it is going to be this time around. It is not so much that we are immune from it, but in an age of social media, and historical introspection we are all more aware of what it is all about.
There has been so many examples of this whipped up in our own lifetime: fear of Jews; reds-under-the-bed; nuclear holocaust; fear of terrorists; fear of muslims; fear of extremists etc etc,always led by both politicians, and the media. Tony Abbott’s mob are currently trying to whip up both fear of extremists in the follow-up to the crash of flight MH17 in the Ukraine (and by proxy the loss of MH370) implying that we are suddenly involved in the war going on there by sending in both the AFP AND ADF personnel not just to secure the crash sight, but that our army would train Ukrainian army personnel! (Reported 3rd Sept 2014 SMH, then denied on 4th Sept 2014 in The Guardian). We were suddenly confronted by a range of statements between then and now, not only about involvement in the Ukraine, but our insolvent in Iran in the face of the ISAS/ISOS/Islamic State (or whatever they are calling themselves today) THREAT (how quickly did the Ukraine crash become a poor cousin when all this started!), naturally, the media are just wallowing in all this pandemonium that is being whipped up. We were constantly seeing headlines and leading news reports about our sudden involvement in scuffles that have nothing to do with us – though it us essential for us to crawl up the arse of America – because they want to whip up hysteria that this MIGHT (though won’t) happen here! Naturally the lead-on from all this at home has been a redneck hatred of Muslims here – irrespective of their individual or community response – resulting in Mosques being desecrated, the burqa becoming a weapon of fear, new laws covering “supposed” civilian terrorists entering and leaving the country, additional laws allowing police to have even yet mire powers than they already have, and the general generating OF an atmosphere of FEAR, making us, the regular run-of-the-mill Australian (emphasis on that) joe-blow citizens to constantly look over our shoulders, to denigrate anyone who was Muslim or wore a burqa, too generally feel….ill at ease in our day to day lives. This is a frightening scenario, and goes to show how easy it is to manipulate a population using Politics of Fear!
I just loved how after every alarmist report, there was a request to not be afraid and to “carry on as normal”! My response, and that if many others in social media was: like we’ve been doing otherwise!
Of course, that has now carried over to the wanker G20 conference up here in Queensland! What a fucking waste of taxpayer money this giant waste of time is! Police given extra powers; control of protesting ( a supposed democratic right); shutting off of areas weeks before the bloody thing even happens; exclusion zones; cutting off access to roadways while they transport the wankers around; removing…garbage bins (potential terrorists sees no garbage bin…cancel action and go home…not!). Naturally, all the fear being whipped up about a potential terrorist attack over this period (assumes we would miss any of them if anything DID happen!) has been sugar-coated by granting additional public holidays, and telling us not to be scared to shop in the CBD over this period. To my thinking…doesn’t both these actions place more people at risk if anything does happen! Just me being paranoid! Oh no….they’ve got to me!
So are the Politics of Fear really affecting our daily lives? I don’t think it has been as successful as perhaps they like to think. All I see is people “carrying on as normal”. Certainly on social media it has been treated as a joke. Amongst those who think and evaluate, it is just another example if government stupidity, with Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop (who has scored rather well out of all this) striding the world stage like circus clowns, making us out to be bigger and more powerful than we actually are! In some respects…making us a target!
Will be interesting to see what happens here after the G20! My bet…there will be no revocation of given “specific period” powers…and no fucking garbage bins to put my rubbish in!