Monday, September 12, 2011

What Does it Mean to Fear Monger?

Am I fear mongering if I tell my students the realities of the neoliberal economy--as described by the Wall Street Journal as US "income inequality" similar to the levels found in Mexico and the Philippines? (Bryon "As Middle Class Shrinks..." 9/12/2011 p. A1, A16).

Am I fear mongering when I discuss with friends and family what I read in Environmental Health Perspectives and other environmental health research journals? Am I fear mongering when I tell them the documented dangers of pesticides and herbicides?

Am I fear mongering when I recommend not drinking milk unless one has access to your state's radiation testing results?

Am I fear mongering if I express my deep concerns about the future of humanity because we are poisoning ourselves, destroying natural resources that we cannot live without (fresh water, clean air, and fertile soil), and fomenting war with imperial national, international, and corporate policies?

Am I fear mongering when I see and record the dispossession of population everywhere I turn?

Maybe I am fear mongering. Maybe that is what I do. Maybe we need fear in order to break through the complacency that is allowing all of this to happen.

It doesn't matter whether the train-wreck takes 20 years or 200, we are on the wrong track and we had better pay attention.

I can live with the Accusation


  1. Exagerating creates a situation in which a strawman is setup for easy knockdown, however, I don't think you fall into this boat.

    Fabrication is not needed, but appeals to emotion can be moving. The other side has billions and more riding on the outcome. Feel free to use emotion as a motivator.

  2. Being logical, able to consider facts from different perspectives, traceable train of thought which led to one's opinion or viewpoint is hardly fear mongering. It's just clarified thinking.

    Being simply worried is not fear mongering. But as seen at, worrying seems to be just a few steps from a brainless panic, but that's another story..

    Instead, I'd have to agree with the comment above, exaggeration and even blatant fabrication of events, or conscious misinterpreting would be fear mongering in my books. Alex Jones from infowars is a prime example, the guy sees NUCULEAR explosions everywhere along with the terrorists and goverment plots. He has a great "news reporter" voice, though.

  3. Actually, I still have a thing to say. It really seems that is becoming more and more like a religion. People are just posting their worst fears, and while it is psychologically entertaining to observe people while they rave each other deeper in the uninformed panic mode with their flawed maths and partial understanding, it is interesting that if you point out the blatant and obvious mistakes, you are met with hostile attitudes. Kinda like a glass house they build and don't want anyone to throw stones to the walls. One might see what is actually happening, since the fantasy version is so much more envigorating, it must be protected. And I find that kind of a groupthink (or should I say "groupfeel") to be, frankly, disgusting and unproductive.

    Also, one more important features of fear mongering is the "component" which draws on one's feelings. The more adjectives are used to describe the "horriblessness" of a said event, the more it is spinned in a way or another. This is a common yellow press tactic.


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